From Guidance to Wellness
‘Drink your milk so you can have strong bones and teeth.’ Surely you have heard those words before. This misinformation is still being propagated in many households and schools to this day. I would like to share with you three reasons why it may be time to wean off the cow’s milk, along with some alternatives for better health.
Dairy and Diseases
Cancer: The news is not good regarding milk and our health. The studies have shown that there is a clear and strong association between dairy and ischemic heart disease. There is also a clear association between dairy products and bladder, prostate, colorectal and testicular cancers. Animal protein feeds cancer cells like fertilizer feeds a lawn. Dairy fat, such as butter and cheese, is also highly contaminated with various toxins, including dioxin. (1)
Osteoporosis: Milk is an acid-forming food that causes the body to use calcium as a buffer to return the blood pH to its normal level. In the process of being used as a buffer, calcium is leached out of the bones creating a situation that leads to osteoporosis.
Diabetes: What is the connection between dairy and diabetes? One pathway is explained in T. Colin Campbell’s book, The China Study. “The antigens that trick our bodies into attacking our own cells may be in food. During the process of digestion, for example, some proteins slip into our bloodstream from the intestine without being fully broken down into their amino acid parts. The remnants of undigested proteins are treated as foreign invaders by our immune system . . . and sets into motion the self-destructive autoimmune process.” “[One] of the foods that supply many of the foreign proteins that mimic our own body proteins is cow’s milk.” (2)
Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the pancreas cells responsible for insulin production, has been linked specifically to dairy products.
Just as Type 2 diabetes is increasing around the globe, so is Type 1 diabetes. According to Dr. Campbell, there “is very strong evidence that genes are not solely responsible for this disease.” (2)
It’s unfortunate that the general public is not being made aware of this dangerous connection. The research results are being hidden under the guise of “controversy.” As Dr. Campbell relates, one of the reasons this knowledge is not being disseminated is “because the reaction would be so strong, and the economic impact monumental . . . regardless of the scientific evidence.” (2)
Have You Seen a Factory Farm Dairy Cow Lately?
More than 95% of the meat, dairy, and eggs consumed in the U.S. come from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), also known as factory farms. Dairy cows are given (synthetic) recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to continually produce milk. Hence, the dairy cow’s udders become so filled with milk that they can hardly walk. They get hooked up several times a day on the milking machine where many develop mastitis. Mastitis is an inflammation of the udder and/or teats as a result of chemical, mechanical, or thermal injury from the milking machine process. Recombinant BGH is banned in Europe, Canada, and other countries. The normal lifespan of a dairy cow is 25 years or more. That of a factory farm dairy cow is four or five years. The “spent” cows are used for soup and animal feed–yes, even for cattle.
Dairy Cows and the Environment
“Dairy cow and pig factories routinely dump millions of gallons of putrefying waste into massive open-air cesspits, which can then contaminate the water used to irrigate our crops. That’s how a deadly fecal pathogen like E. coli O157:H7 can end up contaminating our spinach.” (4) Animal farms take up 70 percent of all agricultural land. They are responsible for at least 50% of the problem with climate change. They pollute the air with their methane gas waste and flatulence. And they consume most of the water in this country.
The video Glass Walls, narrated by Sir Paul McCartney, gives a realistic picture of the meat and fish industry. it may be a challenge to watch the entire video in one sitting, as it may be disturbing to some, but it is a worthwhile educational event.
Animal agriculture as it is presently practiced is not sustainable. As individuals, we can do something about it. “Every time you go to the grocery store or out to eat, we get a chance to vote against” this unsustainable situation. (4)
Eat consciously. When you pour your next glass of milk, or sit in front of a plate with cheese, or a bowl of ice cream or yogurt, think of the violence and the suffering that the animal went through for that choice. Think about how that food choice has impacted the environment and how it will affect your health.
Instead of This . . . Eat That
ice cream . . . sorbet, coconut milk ice cream
yogurt . . . soft tofu, coconut water kefir
cheese . . . .seasoned firm tofu, tempeh
milk . . . hemp milk, coconut milk, oat milk, rice milk, almond milk
Act judiciously. Take the step to better health and wean off the cow’s milk.
2. Campbell, T. Colin. The China Study. BenBella Books, Inc., Dallas:BenBella Books. 2006: 187, 191-192
4. Freston, Kathy. Veganist. Weinstein Books, New York:Weinstein Books. 2011