Did you know that if you gave a baby cow “milk” as we know it (the kind you get from the supermarket), it develops markedly more health probl
We humans seem to be more resilient – most of us don’t die quite that soon(!), although overtime we develop oesteoporosis, prostate and breast cancers, diabetes, cardio vascular diseases… (Read this excerpt from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and see why many medical doctors have spoken up about why dairy can negatively affect health in many ways)
High childhood intake of cow’s milk triples risk of colon cancer later in life, studies found. (Click here for original article)
So why do we keep hearing (or have heard on the past) that milk is “nature’s perfect food”? The dairy industry is highly subsidised in America. Even the American Dietetic Association is much influenced by dairy industry lobbying. That’s why many of our well intentioned health practitioners still recommend us to drink milk for strong bones and eat yogurt for digestion, etc.
Milk may be a very nourishing food for very malnourished people for a short period, and if it’s milk in its original form (naturally produced, whole and unpasturised). And mother’s milk is still the best food for us as infant as nature has intended. Cow’s milk and human milk do not have the same nutritional ratio for one. And as we grow out of infant stage we gradually lose the enzymes to FULLY digest and utilise milk, whether it’s human milk or milk from another mammal.
Dairy and immune responses: Undigested dairy causes immune reaction in the body, making it one of the most congesting and gut irritating foods in our diet today. In my work with my clients, I have seen endless cases where people feel much better by reducing dairy and other congesting and highly allergenic foods. As they use more plant base foods and/or animal foods that are digestible, their overall health improves and their long standing allergies subside…
How different is milk in the old days and milk you get now? Northern European cultures have a long history of dairy consumption and generally people from dairy consuming ancestry have developed a better ability to utilise milk.
However the kind of dairy products one can get commercially nowadays is far removed from what our body may recognise as food, as all commercial milk is pasteurised and the extreme high heat alters the molecular structure of the milk and leaving behind no enzymes and good bacteria that are required for full digestion and assimilation. Not to say commercial milk is loaded with growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticide residues, pus (yes pus from infected teats as the dairy cows are kept lactating continously), sugar and chemicals for preservative and flavouring reasons.
What about calcium and strong bones?
You are only getting the nutritional benefits of milk if you are able to digest and assimilate it. How much calcium milk contains have no relevance to you if your body cannot utilise it.
In fact the countries with highest dairy consumption (mostly Northern European cpuntries) also have the highest rates of bone fracture which indicates oesteoporosis. The article quoted above by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine explains it.
Some of the strongest-boned animals on earth are actually vegetarian and they get their calcium (and magenisum, Vitamin C etc which are also essential for bone building) from grass and green foods. A cup of dark leafy greens has at least the same if not more calcium and magnesium than milk (and Vitamin C too for the building of the collagen matrix that holds the bone together) and it is easily aborbable.
So if you want strong bones (and teeth), eat your greens (your mom is right!). And if you do not get to eat high amount of organic greens in your diet, take a high quality organic super green powder for an efficient boost as our soil is very mineral deficient. (Of course ideally you grow your own greens organically in mineral rich soil!) We like to alternate to cover all grounds – spiruina, chloerella, blue-green algae, sea vegetables…
But milk drinking people are taller and bigger?
Yes they seem to be in general. They grow faster and bigger (think the growth hormones in milk) but they also develop oesteoporosis and other problems related to dairy consumption earlier. Asian people who moved to Western countries may grow bigger but they have same increased health risks as their Western counterparts. Again, refer to the article quoted above for more.
What about “organic” dairy?
“While “organic” dairy may be less contaminated, dairy farms, even organic ones, would aim to maximise milk production and the dairy cows would be impregnated as often as possible, to keep them lactating for economic reasons. Dairy cows have unusually high levels of estrogen during pregnancy, so the milk produced is too high in estrogen for our daily consumption, and can exert hormonal effects on us. (And studies have shown the correlation in increased cancers of the breast, ovaries and prostate, as well as weight gain, associated with dairy consumption, organic or not).
What about “raw milk”?
Some consider raw (unpasturised) milk a superfood. In most countries, raw (unpasturised) milk is illegal because of public health concerns. Cows in dairy farms are often infected and not in the best state of health. A natural cow’s lifespan is 20 years but a dairy cow in commercial farm live to only 4 to 5 years.
So if you really want milk AND you happen to have access to fresh raw (unpasturised) and fresh milk from a dairy cow which is well treated, you may use it, especially if your ancestors used to have it and you feel better with it. The enzymes and good bacteria that come with the raw milk help you digest and utilise it. (In nature, raw milk is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-viral. No pasturisation is required. Baby cows drink it from bacteria and feaces infected udders!)
For the rest of us who don’t keep a cow in our backyard/living room (!)/ tolerate milk (which is majority of population!), remember most of the world’s population did not use dairy in their adult life and we have come this far.
You may also want to check out my post Healthy Alternatives to Dairy Milk.