Talking to people about dairy products and its effects on our health, in my experience, is a touchy subject because we have been taught our whole lives in school and by media that dairy is a crucial part of our diet. I can remember how resistant I was to the notion that dairy products are bad for us when I first heard it several years ago. I don’t typically talk about diet with people in real life in an effort to avoid being preachy, but if you’ve found yourself here you are likely already curious about dairy and why it’s unhealthy. What I’m going to say here may not change your mind about consuming dairy products but I hope that you will use this information to make an informed choice.
Before I get started, there is something to be said about human’s drinking cows milk. I don’t know who in their right mind ever looked at a baby cow eating and thought, I’ve got to get me some of that! Most people would say drinking human breast milk beyond infancy is unnatural and disturbing, yet consider it perfectly acceptable to drink the milk from a cow. I don’t understand the logic in that.
The belief that this protein and calcium rich drink is essential to promote good health is flawed.
The first glaring problem is the state of the cows themselves. Dairy cows are fed high-protein, soy-based feed instead of their natural feed of green grass. These cows are also fed bone meals – powder of ground dead animals, which are killed from fetal disease such as mad cow disease. This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding bone meal. Study after study shows that when cows are fed omnivorous or meat diets they will get diseases, which then have been linked to humans getting Cancer, diabetes and the list goes on and on.
Feeding cattle soy beans and grains produces grown cows with abnormally enlarged pituitary glands, giving them the ability to produce milk more rapidly. The downside to humans: the process leaves the cow weak and unhealthy, forcing the milk industry to pump the animals full of a variety of antibiotics to keep them well enough to continue to produce. These antibiotics are then in the milk or dairy products that you are consuming.
The pasteurization process is the act of heating the milk up to a high temperature to kill any bacteria that it might contain. Unfortunately, heat during the pasteurization process also alters amino acids in milk, which makes milk rancid and destroys vitamins. During pasteurization process, vitamin C loss is over 50%, vitamin B-12 is totally destroyed, and other vitamin losses are up to 80%. After pasteurization, synthetic vitamin D2 may be added, but this synthetic vitamin D2 has been linked to heart disease. The pasteurization process destroys the enzymes in milk which help us digest it. In fact, about 75% of the world’s population is unable to properly digest milk, a problem called lactose intolerance.
The reason that milk has to be pasteurized is because it is contaminated with blood, pus, feces and bacteria. Think about that.
There is some evidence that raw milk produced by organic grass fed, free range, no antibiotic, no growth hormone cows is actually good for consumption. Unfortunately, the FDA’s current position is that raw milk is dangerous and in many states it is illegal to sell raw milk.
Yes, raw, organic milk eliminates concerns like pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and the effects of homogenization and pasteurization – but to me, these benefits don’t outweigh dairy’s potential risks, and they also don’t justify the need for dairy in our diets.
Most people drink milk because they have this notion that it’s the only way to get enough calcium in our diets, but the harsh truth is that our bodies barely absorb the calcium that is in milk, and to make matters worse, it actually increases calcium loss in our bodies. Foods originating from animal sources (like milk) make the blood acidic. When this occurs, the blood leeches calcium from the bones to increase alkalinity. While this works wonders for the pH balance of your blood, it sets your calcium-depleted bones up for osteoporosis. In fact, countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.
Many people avoid milk because it contains saturated fat, cholesterol, allergenic proteins, lactose sugar, or because, like myself, they don’t feel well after consuming it. There are many other sources that you can get calcium and protein that are better for your body, such as dark green leafy vegetables (c’mon, we’ve all been told how important these are but how many of us actually eat them?) like collard greens, kale (personal favorite), mustard greens, and broccoli. Soybeans, navy beans, almonds and almond butter, okra, figs, blackberries, and amaranth are all sources of calcium. Instead of drinking milk I eat plenty of greens and additionally benefit by getting vitamin K, C, potassium, magnesium and more!