My mom would pour me the milk first and then dump in whatever particular cereal brand I happened to be obsessing over that month.
I know most people pour the cereal first, but my mom really only put the cereal in there to encourage me to finish the whole bowl, milk and all. She always criticized most cereal brands for being overly sugary and less healthy than the commercials or the boxes implied.
The problem with this breakfast every morning was that I did not like milk as a kid. In fact, I despised it. I’d always fish out every last piece of cereal, and then I’d leave the almost-full bowl on the dining table. Without fail, my mom would then call me back and demand that I finish more of the leftover milk. I’d gingerly take a few sips, shake my head and refuse to drink any more.
I wasted a lot of milk as a kid. It makes me immensely guilty now to realize that there were cows being milked for my sake, with some most likely under inhumane conditions, for ultimately no reason. Gallons of milk would end up down the drain each month because of my pickiness.
You might be wondering why my mom didn’t just make me a different breakfast that would be more enjoyable and less wasteful. The answer was that my mom considered pancakes and waffles even unhealthier than the travesty that was cereal, and I literally gag on her oatmeal.
Her oatmeal is the blandest oatmeal I’ve ever tasted. She literally takes plain instant oats, boils them in water and leaves it at that. Funnily enough, I probably would’ve enjoyed her oatmeal more if she used milk instead, just so my tongue could actually taste something sweet, even if it were extremely subtle. Until my suitemate introduced me to flavored oatmeal packets this year, I actually never realized how amazing oatmeal could taste. Now oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts.
My hate for milk also turned around a few years ago, when I started getting into making my own lattes at home instead of relying on Starbucks all the time. I didn’t have enough allowance to grab Starbucks everyday, but my parents were always more than happy to buy me as much cow milk or nut milk as I wanted. I think the opportunity to experiment by myself was what led me to start liking milk so much more. The psychological effect of being force-fed milk made it so much less enjoyable. Eventually, as I started drinking more and more of my homemade coffee creations, I naturally started drinking more and more milk. This was in order to perfect my milk-to-espresso ratios and figure out what types of milk mixed well with whatever I was trying to make.
It’s frankly strange for me to reflect on my past dislike for milk, because milk is now one of my favorite beverages — not just cow milk, but all kinds of vegan-friendly milk as well. There are only two reasons why I don’t drink milk at every opportunity, like I do with tea. One: That would mean going way over my calorie limit (it’s actually upsetting how high in calorie content a single glass of milk is). Two: I’d probably develop health problems from an excessive amount of calcium and vitamins A or D.
I can down a glass of milk easier than I can down a glass of anything else, including water. In fact, I once literally had an entire quart of almond milk in one sitting. (Well, standing.) I took it out of the fridge after a workout a few months ago and just chugged the entire contents. I’m pretty sure it defeated the purpose of my workout, but the taste of a cold, creamy beverage with subtle sweetness was just euphoric to me.
Nowadays, I’ve been desperately exploring ways to drink lots of milk without overloading on the aforementioned calories. I’ve discovered that unsweetened almond milk is decently low in calories per serving, but the caveat is that I tend to drink way more than the recommended serving size. It looks like I’ll have to stick with drinking milk just a few times a day, but I’ll be eagerly awaiting the day when zero-calorie milk appears — it better.