Milk is a tricky subject. For years the dairy industry has led us to believe that if we don’t drink milk, we won’t have enough calcium for strong bones. Truth is, that isn’t true. Countries that have higher milk consumption, actually have a higher percentage of osteoporosis. Wait, what?
Milk is acidic within your body and throws off your pH balance. Your body then tries to correct this imbalance by using calcium and potassium and other minerals from inside the body to neutralize the excess acid. Don’t have any alkalinizing minerals just laying around? Not to worry, your body will just pull it out of your bones.
Humans are the only species that drinks the milk of another animal. And we are the only creatures that consume milk after being weaned off breast milk. Unfortunately as we get older our bodies stop producing the enzymes needed to break down the lactose found in milk. It’s nature.
Let’s start with where milk comes from – typically cows, but goats and sheep are gaining popularity now as well.
Lady cows are artificially inseminated every year for a several years to produce more cows. That’s until they are slaughtered because they have wrecked themselves having baby after baby so close together, all the while producing way more milk then their babies would ever drink. The average life span of a dairy cow is around 5 years, although naturally they would live 20 years or more. These moma cows rarely feed their babies as all their milk goes for our consumption. (I’m not getting into what happens to the babies. Warning: if you google it, you’re going to cry.)
Non-organic and organic dairy cows are given limited amounts of yard time. Meaning they are housed inside cramped living conditions that would make you cry, and then they get “recess”. They are usually fed grains, which is not their native diet, but it’s cheap. In Canada non-organic dairy feed usually contains GMO ingredients. Our milk needs to be fortified with Vitamin D because the cows don’t get it from the sun as they live mostly inside barns. Cows would also get vitamin D from eating grass, but not in the feed used. So supplements are needed.
Constant demand for more and more milk from these lactating cows can cause metastasis. Metastasis is a blockage of the milk duct that can lead to infection and bleeding. There is an “acceptable” level of blood and puss allowed milk for human consumption. Think about that one for a second… How do we clear infections? Antibiotics… What goes in mommy, comes out in milk. Ta Da – you’re taking antibiotics you don’t even need. That goes for stress too. Cows shoved in electrified milking stalls are under stress, and these stress hormones are in the milk you drink. You have enough stress of your own, don’t need more for breakfast!
How do you get certain fat percentages in milk? You spin the milk until it separates and then make other products such as butter or cream from what is left. Fun fact: People who drink skim milk are more likely to be obese. Fat makes you feel full longer. Fat free milk still has calories but you’re hungry very soon after and therefore you will eat larger portions or more frequently to feel full again.
We pasteurize our milk to kill potential harmful bacteria. Pasteurizing means heating the milk to over 150 degrees F. This kills the potentially harmful bacteria. Healthy cows, raised in clean humane conditions produce milk that probably wouldn’t need pasteurizing. Pasteurizing also kills so much more. It kills vitamins, and enzymes required to absorb vitamins and minerals from the milk. It heats the delicate fat molecules causing them to deteriorate and creates free radicals. But hey, it increases the shelf life of milk. This means less will spoil and dairy industry will make more money.
After being pasteurized milk is then homogenized. This is how they keep the milk from separating once in a carton. The process is essentially firing milk through the finest screen at very high pressure to break apart the fat molecules so they will be evenly dispersed within the milk. What’s the big deal here? This oxidizes the fat. Oxidized cholesterol, is now rancid fat, which causes heart disease. You are drinking free radicals. Better get those anti-oxidants up!
And the last step for this science project, the milk is put into BPA plastic bags and sent to your store.
So you think you’re eating healthy food because on the label there are lots of vitamins and minerals. Labels don’t tell you how absorbable these vitamins and minerals are. Labels don’t disclose oxidized cholesterol, or antibiotics or GMO feed, crazy stress hormones or puss and blood…. Let that one sink in again… You want to be healthy? Eat a vegetable! Leafy greens are packed with absorbable calcium. Eat some almonds or sunflower seeds. Make almond milk.
I know cheese tastes so good, and sour cream goes well on everything! Just try removing dairy from you diet, even for a few weeks and see how you feel. You might be surprised.
Learn more: Why Milk Is Bad For You And Your Bones by Vivian Goldschmidt, MA