Monday, August 16, 2010

Got Milk? Hell No!

Meatless Monday

For as long as I can remember I have heard the benefits of milk touted from all directions.  Commercials and ads stating “It does a body good”, “builds strong bones” and my mom saying “Drink your milk, it's good for you!"  

Even today these messages are in our face.  “Got Milk?” ads are ever present, using sexy celebrities to persuade us to drink cow secretions.  (Secretion is the technical term for the fluid that comes from the gland of an animal, yes it's gross, and yes we drink it.)  Sometimes milk ads seem like PSAs but remember, they are advertisements paid for by the multi-billion dollar dairy industry.  They have a lot to lose if we stop drinking cow's milk.

Cow's milk is for calves - Not us!
About 75 % of the world's population is lactose intolerant after weaning.  This is a fact.  What this means is most people do not have the enzyme necessary to digest lactose, which is found in dairy products.  Let’s back up a few steps.  Cows produce milk to feed their young.  Their milk is suited to the nutritional needs of calves, who have four stomachs and gain hundreds of pounds in a matter of months, sometimes weighing more than 1,000 pounds before they are 2 years old.  It was never intended for human beings.  That would explain why most people are lactose intolerant.

Where will I get my calcium?
Many people worry that if they don't consume dairy they won't take in enough calcium.  The truth is, the reason cow’s milk is rich in calcium is simply because their feed is supplemented with calcium; it is not naturally calcium-rich.  Back in the days before factory farming, cows got their calcium from the green grass they grazed on.  Today, cows do not roam in the fields chewing on grass like commercials lead us to believe.  Instead, farmers must supplement their feed.  While the milk is high in calcium it often contains pus, antibiotics, blood and pesticides as well.  So, what if we skipped the cow and went straight to the source: the dark, leafy greens, a supplement or other sources?   It is a safer, more economical approach.   The amount of calcium we need is also questionable at this point anyway (read some of the studies linked at the bottom of the page for more info).  With the variety of dairy substitutes it is easy to make the switch.

Milk Machines
It is important to also remember that we must artificially inseminate cows in order for them to produce milk.  It may seem like common sense but I think we often forget this fundamental step.  Thanks to genetic manipulation, cows produce 10 times more milk than they would in nature.  This leads to painfully large udders and frequent infections and subsequently the overuse of antibiotics.   This is one of the reasons there are traces of blood and pus in our milk.  Either cows are sent to slaughter early because they are too sick to produce or they are considered “spent” within 4-5 years and go to slaughter then.  Their natural lifespan is 25 years, but dairy cows will never know what life really is.  Their days are spent as milk machines and nothing more.

The Dairy - Veal Connection
At this point are you wondering what happens to the babies that are born out of the artificial insemination?  Obviously, the boys can not produce milk so they are usually taken from their mother as soon as one day after birth and crated to become veal.  Many cringe at the thought of veal, and if you didn’t already know about the link between dairy and veal, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  Once I learned of this sad connection I was done.  Hence the title of this post. 

Health Risks
On top of all the horror I already mentioned, there are the health risks such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, food allergies and many other ailments that are more common among those that consume dairy products than those that do not.  There is the environmental destruction of our rivers, lakes and streams as well.  I could easily blog all day about the harsh realities of the dairy industry, but I will stop here and let you breathe.  

 If you are interested in studies about milk in regard to your health, google STUDIES ON MILK CONSUMPTION and see what you find.  Below are a few professional research articles I found to be thought provoking.  

Study finds that kids need exercise, not calcium. -Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Study finds that Vitamin D reduces bone fractures in women, not calcium. -The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Study finds that individuals consuming milk have an increased incidence of colorectal cancer. -National Institutes of Health


  1. I have horrible skin (bad genes from parents with bad skin) and this year I have greatly cut down on the amount of milk I drink and I am noticing that my skin is SO much more clearer. As soon as I up the milk, my skin breaks out. Is it from all of the hormones in the milk?

    I am reading more and more about how much calcium there is in Kale. Just need to find a good recipe for it.

    Nice post!

  2. Jon- That is great news that you've noticed improvements by cutting down on your milk consumption. I wish I could have spent more time writing about all of the benefits of a non-dairy diet. Yes, you are absolutely right about your complexion. Here is an excerpt from an article written in the UK.

    "Milk is full of hormones: not only ones intended to help the calf grow, but also those produced by the placenta to aid the cow's pregnancy. They include DHT, and other hormones that are the pre-cursors to DHT. In other words, the hormones teenagers naturally produce are plentiful in milk. It of course contains other growth-enhancing hormones too - as Danby says: "Milk is, after all, specifically designed to make things grow." "

    It's like being a teenager all over again! :) Thanks for reading, Jon.

  3. YAY thanks for the comment now I found YOU and your awesome blog!

    I sooooooooooooooo need this post. I try and try and try to give up dairy --- I need dairy free cottage cheese! ;)

  4. Kate, this post is amazing. Talk about thought-provoking!

    I've really never considered giving up dairy, but this post has haunted me since I read it this morning. Why have I never thought about some of this stuff??????

    I have to ask though... I have been buying only organic milk, eggs, etc., for a while, thinking it was okay. Is organic milk production any better?

  5. Wow Kate... i never thought it was that bad... If only mom would buy more coconut milk ice cream more often... then it wouldnt be that hard to be full vegan but for now i think i just wont eat anthing with a face(:

    P.S. my goal is to eventually go full vegan im just not sure when that will be.....

  6. Pam- That is such a great question!

    The only advantage that organic products have is that they are not laced with arsenic, antibiotics, or hormones. Although flesh from these animals might be safer than that from drugged animals, the best choice is to avoid all meat. Organic, natural, and free-range flesh, milk, and eggs are devoid of complex carbohydrates and fiber and are laden with artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol, just as all animal products are. Major studies linking the consumption of animal products to heart disease, cancer, and other leading killers suggest that it's these components of animal foods-animal fat, animal protein, and a lack of fiber-that cause disease. Organic and free-range animals are killed in the same filthy slaughterhouses as animals from factory farms, so their flesh is subject to the same bacterial contamination from unsanitary conditions as well.

    Check out:

    As always, Thanks for reading!

  7. Yikes...I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to drink milk again after readig this. These are the facts that most people DON'T want to hear...and DON'T want to know. Problem is that once you know, you can't erase the information from your brain and pretend that it's healthy. I'm done with milk. Thanks Kate!

  8. LOVE this post! It's so interesting and thought provoking! It is so easy to get caught up in the hype of advertising and commercial commerce and forget to look and read about what is really good and right for your body (and what is really in your food!). You want to trust the companies that are putting food in the supermarkets and eventually on your table... it's just crazy to think about what really happens to animals during food production and consequently what we are putting in our bodies!! Great informational post!!

  9. I have not eaten dairy products in over two years and everyone gives me shit for it because "you shouldn't remove whole food groups from your diet"....blah blah blah. This post is so refreshing and I'm glad the comments show optimism and not criticism. People focus too much on intake of calcium when they should be focused more on the foods that are leaching calcium from your bones. A lot of the processed crap people eat contains shit that takes the calcium out of your bones. Stick to eating REAL food and you'll be fine...and always remember KISS(keep it simple stupid)! Awesome post!

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