“Milk does a body good”…but does it really?
The dairy industry pours about $140 million into advertising each year to scare you into consuming their products. And they have done a pretty good job at it too. Because of their scare tactics most believe that milk and dairy products are a natural and essential part of the human diet. However, nothing could be further from the truth. I am here to sort through the misconceptions which may make you think twice about sporting that milk mustache.
Here are some reasons why I have chosen to almost completely eliminate dairy foods in my family’s diet.
Cow’s milk is for calves.
Breast milk is produced for feeding human babies. Dog milk is produced to feed puppies. Cat milk is produced for feeding kittens. Goat milk is produced for feeding kids. Pig milk is produced for feeding piglets. You get the picture. Cow’s milk is a fatty hormonal secretion designed to take a 65 pound newborn calf and turn it into a 700-pound cow in less than one year. And if it can make a cow fat, it can make you fat too. Humans are the only species on the planet that drink the milk of another animal after weaning from our mother. Logically, it just doesn’t even begin to make sense to keep consuming milk for the rest of our lives.
Milk may INCREASE the likeliness of osteoporosis.
If we don’t consume dairy products, where will we get our calcium? How will be build strong bones? We’re doomed, right? Wrong. While the dairy industry has advertised for years that milk makes bones stronger, we have begun to find that actually the complete opposite happens when you consume too much dairy. In the book, The China Study, T. Colin Campbell explains that when you consume a high protein diet (including protein-casein-from dairy), it creates acidity in the body. In order to neutralize that acidity, your body draws salts such as calcium and phosphorus from your bones so it can return to its naturally alkaline state. The result is weakened bones and teeth – totally the opposite of what the dairy industry has been touting all these years. Countries in the world that consume very little dairy, like China, experience very little osteoporosis. Go figure. Calcium can be found in a variety of other, healthier food choices such as broccoli, kale, collard greens, other leafy green vegetables, sesame seeds, and beans. Just to name new.
Cow’s milk is difficult to digest.
People are lactose intolerant because they can’t digest lactose, the sugar found in milk. Lactase, the enzyme that helps people digest lactose stops being produced between the ages of 2-5 years. Less than 40% of people are able to retain the ability to digest lactose after early childhood. This leaves more than 60% of the population lactose intolerant. And since cow’s milk is, in fact, intended for baby cows then it really isn’t surprising that majority of us can’t even tolerate drinking milk from another species after being weaned from our mothers.
Milk can contain hormones and antibiotics.
When you drink a glass of milk you might be getting more in that milk than you bargained for. Synthetic hormones such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) are often given to cows to help increase milk production. It has been used since our cohorts at the FDA approved it, but due to it’s link to cancer our friends across the pond and our northern neighbors all have banned it for use. Gee, why am I not surprised?
Due to common practices that have cows producing way more milk than nature ever intended, antibiotics are often used to treat mastitis which is an inflammation of the mammary glands. These antibiotics are finding their way into our bodies as well creating a resistance to the drugs. This wide-spread resistance makes it harder and harder to treat certain bugs.
Diseases linked to dairy
Dairy products have been linked to increased susceptibility to allergies, childhood-onset (Type 1) diabetes, chronic constipation, Crohn’s disease, ear infections, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, prostate cancer and ear infections, migraines, acne, arthritis and more.
If I shouldn’t drink milk what can we use instead?
There are many fantastic alternatives on the market that can replace cow’s milk in all the places you need to use milk. Plant-based milks are healthy and great tasting. Try almond, rice, hemp, hazelnut or oat milk. You can even get creative and try pistachio nut or flax milk. The possibilities are endless. Think you might miss ice cream? Try my 1 ingredient ice cream and you’ll never feel deprived of a creamy treat. Can’t give up cheese? Use nutritional yeast as a replacement and get a excellent dose of B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein.
Why I decided to ditch dairy.
I suffered from adult acne for 8 years. Trying every pill, lotion, soap, cream, facial on the market I failed at obtaining a clear complexion. After reading and researching information on dairy, and how it can affect your skin, I decided to give it up when I started our real food journey in 2012. Within 3 months my skin was clear. I couldn’t believe it. After trying EVERYTHING else, all I needed to do was give up dairy despite the dermatologist telling me that nutrition wouldn’t cure me. Still, to this day, if I eat something with dairy in it I can pretty much guarantee a pimple will pop up 2-3 days later.
That said, we are not 100% dairy free. Real life happens and when it does we roll along with it. I let my children enjoy a trip to the ice cream parlor for a treat every now and again. Sometimes we enjoy homemade cheese pizza on movie nights in which I use organic, grass-fed cheeses. Despite the occasional times that we use dairy, I can’t tell you the last time I actually bought a gallon of cow’s milk. Now I make my own milk right here at home…but out of almonds.
Milk and dairy products are not necessary in the diet and can, in fact, be harmful to your health. Consume a healthful diet of a variety of veggies, fruits, grains, legumes, and beans and get plenty of sunshine. These nutrient-dense foods can help you meet your calcium, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin D requirements with ease—and without the health risks.
Until next time, keep it real.
Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.