Students open up about the importance of milk

Seniors Marta Helseth and Meagan Steck down a glass of refreshing milk

Many students spend their days fantasizing about the moment when he or she gets home from school, tosses his or her’s backpack on the floor, and heads straight for the kitchen to a pour delicious glass of liquid cow.

For Senior Helseth, drinking milk isn’t just a cherished pastime––it’s a full-time job. “I drink milk in the morning. I drink milk––not when I get to school, but [at school during lunch]…I also drink it when I get home. Usually, I’ll have a little snack and a glass of milk to accompany my snack. And then I will proceed to drink milk in the evening time with my dinner meal,” Helseth said.

Helseth, whose brothers Hans (‘18) and Marc (‘21) are also avid milk drinkers, has been drinking the white, creamy substance since she was born and has no plans of stopping anytime soon. “I’ve been drinking milk since I was born. You start with mother’s milk, then you work your way up the totem pole. From mother to baby bottle to plastic cup to glass. And maybe I’ll end up drinking milk from a wine glass eventually, too,” Helseth said.

Helseth, who is proud of her milk drinker status, believes whole milk to be the holiest of all the milks, noting its ability to quench one’s thirst like no other milk can. But while she certainly isn’t one to judge another based off their milk of choice, she can’t help but point out the obvious. “You can kind of pick up on [what milk people drink] based on people’s appearances,” Helseth said. 

You can kind of pick up on [what milk people drink] based on people’s appearances,

— Marta Helseth

Furthermore, Helseth isn’t afraid to acknowledge where some types of milk fall short. “People [have] free will to drink whatever type of milk, however much milk they would like. I will say, however, that I do not believe almond milk or soy milk or any of those sorts of milks provide the same benefits that regular whole milk does,” Helseth said.

Helseth believes it’s important to drink milk because of the health benefits, which includes the prevention of diseases such as osteoporosis. “[Milk is] a good source of calcium. A lot of kids these days lack that sunshine vitamin. So, it’s a good way to incorporate that into our everyday lives without having to step outside necessarily because there’s a lot of kids that just sit in their rooms and play video games. A lot of ‘indoor kids’ as they liked to be called,” Helseth said.

Jack Rahill

While Helseth may be committed to whole milk, the road to becoming a milk drinker has been anything but easy for senior Meagan Steck, who quit milk at only five years old and then returned just this past fall. Steck says she was saved by her Cross Country coaches, who encouraged her to get back on track and drink more chocolate milk, which is notorious in the running community for its ability to help rebuild muscle fibers. “I started drinking milk because my parents made it a habit. I stopped around age five and didn’t start drinking it again until recently. Cross Country brought me to my love of chocolate milk. Fairlife is the creamiest, richest chocolate milk on the market,” Steck said.

Like Helseth, Steck has been drinking milk “since hours out of the womb”, although she isn’t afraid to admit she doesn’t enjoy the creamy, calcium-filled substance as much as some (thus leading to her “milk strike” when she was only a child). In spite of this, Steck believes her indifference towards milk has also led her to be more open-minded when it comes to others’ attitudes towards the beverage. “I couldn’t care less about other people’s milk consumption. Some days I can’t even look at milk and other days I crave a tall creamy glass. Who am I to judge,” Steck said.

Despite her impartiality, there are certain milk drinkers Steck deems worthy of condemnation. “I feel like there’s a certain type [of milk drinker] that drinks, like, macadamia nut “milk” and that’s just too far for me. Stick to your basics,” Steck said.

But Steck isn’t the only milk drinker to tell it like it is. Senior Joe Munkeby admits he’d be more than happy to live in a world without coconut milk. “If you’re just drinking coconut milk because you like it, I think that’s pretty weird,” Munkeby said. 

I hope you are happy with your frail bones because you don’t drink enough milk,

— Joe Munkeby

A milk drinker since birth, one of Munkeby’s earliest memories revolves around the beverage. “We were having breakfast with my family. My brother threw a sock across the table and it landed in my [older] sister’s bowl of milk and splashed all over her face. It was really funny. We talk about it still in my family sometimes because it was pretty funny,” Munkeby said.

Although Munkeby admits the decision to start drinking milk wasn’t his own, he has certainly upheld the tradition. Now 17 years old, Munkeby is proud of the fact that he consumes a minimum of eight ounces of milk per day, with most days consisting of well over 24 ounces worth of milk. “I’ve been pretty fond of milk. I have at least a glass of milk every day. You know, I have milk at lunch, at school. I’ll get a glass with dinner usually, something like that…I have two cartons with lunch at school. But then I’ll usually have one or two others depending on if I get something in the morning. So, [I usually drink] three or four [cartons] at school probably,” Munkeby said.

A dedicated skim milk drinker, Munkeby doesn’t hide his distaste for certain milks, notably 2%. “I think 2% is too creamy for me. I don’t like it. It’s more like Half-and-Half. That’s what I think of when I drink it,” Munkeby said.

Despite his dislike of 2% milk, Munkeby does admit it won’t tell you as much about a person as some other milks do. “If it’s just like skim or 1% or 2%, that’s too wide of an area so you can’t really judge because it’s a bunch of people. But if someone’s sitting down and like drinking a carton of coconut milk, I think you can try to figure out some stuff about them, their attitudes and such,” Munkeby said. 

Milk is what you make of it. If you’re considering dabbling in the expansive world of milk, I’d definitely say ease into it, especially if you’re lactose intolerant,

— Meagan Steck

Munkeby warns non-milk drinkers about the dangers of not consuming enough calcium. “I hope you are happy with your frail bones because you don’t drink enough milk,” Munkeby said.

Helseth agrees, adding that she believes kids these days don’t drink enough milk because they aren’t informed. “I just think it stems from a lack of awareness about the importance of drinking milk, and I think as you get older you realize ‘Wow, my bones really aren’t holding up the way they should be,’” Helseth said.

Helseth, Munkeby, and Steck all agree drinking milk is important to one’s physical and mental well-being, and when asked to offer some motivation to anyone who needs it, each provided their own words of wisdom.

Helseth, for example, believes milk is all about perseverance and getting the job done. “Just do it. Hold your nose, whatever you gotta do. Just chug it. Just get it down there. Just get it down the hatch,” Helseth said.

Munkeby sees drinking milk as putting in the effort now and seeing it pay off later, rather than immediate results. “It’s not that hard. Get that calcium, strengthen those bones. You’ll be happy later in life,” Munkeby said.

For Steck, milk is more than just a beverage; it’s an entire universe. “Milk is what you make of it. If you’re considering dabbling in the expansive world of milk, I’d definitely say ease into it, especially if you’re lactose intolerant. Otherwise, have fun and be safe,” Steck said.