Ever since we were little children dairy has been an inseparable component of our diet. Parents, teachers, doctors and media have consistently pressed us to drink more milk. If we refused, they installed fear that we won’t get enough calcium and our bones and teeth won’t be as strong and healthy. Who would not want strong and healthy bones and teeth? So we drank our milk and ate our cheese.
But the popularity of milk was never more prominent than when the California Milk Processor Board launched their “Got Milk?” marketing campaign in 1993, with the intent to increase milk demand. It turned out to be one of the most successful campaign in marketing history. Who doesn’t recall at least one celebrity, actor, athlete or political figure wearing that famous white mustache?! All of the sudden, milk became nutritional powerhouse. Huh???
And then there came along the “Happy Milk comes from Happy Cows” TV commercials. Yet another marketing initiative by California dairy farmers to increase demand for their product. The animated cows auditioning to become the next California Happy Cow (as if it was an American Idol contest) portray image far from what really goes on those dairy farms. If you are naive to believe cows are happy to produce milk for you, I recommend that you watch the latest animal brutality video captured by animal protection organization Mercy for Animals. See for yourself if the dairy cows and their defenseless calves feel as happy as those TV commercials show.
Unfortunately, watching a disturbing animal abuse videos has a temporary effect on our ability to change eating habits. Even those who “have the heart” to see the truth about dairy production in America and acknowledge how wrong it is to treat animals that way, eventually continue buying their milk, cheese and butter as if nothing ever happened.
But there is much more about dairy that you don’t know. Animal abuse is just the tip of the iceberg because the real dangers of consuming dairy are far more damaging to our health. Below I will share with you my video and a detailed explanation of the ugly truth about dairy…all that stuff that parents, friends, doctors and media never told you.
Ugly truth # 1: Lactose intolerance
Lactose intolerance is a condition caused by a lack of an enzyme called lactase. The enzyme is necessary for the digestion of lactose, the sugar in milk, and without it, milk consumption can lead to bloating, flatulence, cramps and nausea. It’s estimated that about 30 – 50 million Americans (adults and children) are lactose intolerant. While this condition is least common among Caucasians (about 15% of adults), it is widespread among other ethnic groups. It is estimated that 70% of African-American, 74% of Native American, 53% of Mexican-American, and 90% of Asian American adults are affected.
Ugly truth # 2: The effects of casein
Casein is the protein molecule in cow’s milk. In his book, The China Study, T. Colin Campbell reports how he discovered, over many years of scientific research, a possible link between animal protein intake and cancer development. Casein was found to adversely affect the way cells, especially their DNA, interact with carcinogens. In fact, the correlation was so strong that researchers were able to “turn off/on” the cancer growth just by altering the animal protein with plant-based protein.
Ugly truth # 3: The prostate cancer link
In a 2001 Harvard Review research reported a positive association between dairy consumption and prostate cancer. Men with the highest consumption of dairy had approximately doubles the risk of developing prostate cancer and up to fourfold the risk of metastatic or fatal cancer in comparison to lower dairy consumers. To read more on this, please refer to The China Study book, page 178.
Ugly truth # 4: The osteoporosis paradox
After looking at 34 published studies in 16 countries, researchers at Yale University found that the countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis – including the United States, Sweden, New Zealand – were those in which people consumed the most dairy and other animal products. How could that be?! That’s because animal protein foods such as cow’s milk are acid-forming which causes the body to borrow calcium from the bones and teeth to counteract the acidity. Over time, the bone structure weakens, making us more susceptible to fractures. To read more about this, go to www.milksucks.com.
Ugly truth # 5: Pasteurization
Pasteurization is a process that heats food to high temperatures in order to kills all the bacteria that causes food to spoil. While pasteurized milk may have longer shelf life than raw milk, all the living enzymes, vitamins and minerals are lost, leaving the finished product void of nutritional value. To make pasteurized milk marketable as healthy food, synthetic Vitamin A and D and Calcium are added later to create the illusion that you can get those vitamins and minerals ONLY from milk. It’s interesting to note that raw milk left out would naturally curdle and would be still edible but pasteurized milk would spoil and stink, which shows again that pasteurization damages foods more than it benefits.
Ugly truth # 6: Hormones & Antibiotics
In 1994, after aggressive lobbying from Monsanto, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). According to rBGH manufacturers, injections of rBGH causes cows to produce up to 20 percent more milk. But industry data shows that cows treated with rBGH had up to 80 percent incidence of mastitis, an udder infection, resulting in the contamination of milk with significant levels of pus. Mastitis requires the use of antibiotics to treat, which leaves residues to pass on through the milk for human consumption. With all those hormones and antibiotics in milk, it’s no wonder children today have weaker immune systems and are prone to develop much quicker in the teenage years than generations before. To read more on this, please visit Cancer Prevention Coalition.
Ugly truth # 7: Mycotoxic food
Dairy products from cows, whether pasteurized or raw, are the most mucus forming of all foods. Mucus clogs organs, slows down absorption of other nutrients and causes buildup of additional toxins throughout the body. According to the former director of pediatrics at John Hopkins University, Dr. Frank Oski, the is evidence to indicate that up to half of the U.S. children have some allergic reaction to milk. Milk can lead to persistent problems such as chronic coughs and sinus infections, asthma, and ear infections. Autistic children are always advised to stay away from casein and gluten in their diet. In adults, mucus-forming milk can also lead to hardening of the intestinal walls, which may hinder absorption of nutrients and lead to chronic fatigue. To read more on this, please click here.
Ugly truth # 8: Acidic foe
All animal-based foods are acid-forming and dairy is no exception. In his book The pH Miracle Dr. Robert Young explains that to neutralize one cup of milk we need to take 20 cups of something alkaline such as green vegetable juice for instance. Since it takes 10 pounds of milk to produce a pound of cheese and 12 pounds of milk for a pound of ice cream, that ratio can get out of control! The more acid-forming foods we consume the weaker our immune system becomes, making it easier for bacteria, fungi and viruses to cause havoc in our body. For a list of Alkaline/Acid foods, please click here.
If you are concerned about getting enough calcium in your diet without dairy, here are a few things to consider:
- Protein from animal products is much more likely to cause calcium loss than protein from plant foods. This may be one reason that vegetarians tend to have stronger bones than meat eaters.
- To be absorbed efficiently, calcium has to be paired with an adequate amount of magnesium. Milk does not contain magnesium.
- Caffeine increases the rate at which calcium is lost through urine.
- Diets high in sodium, especially packaged processed foods, increase calcium losses in the urine.
- Diets high in refined carbohydrates such as cereal, candies, pasta and white bread decrease the availability of calcium in the body.
- Alcohol inhibits calcium absorption.
- The mineral boron may slow the loss of calcium from bones.
- Exercise slows bone loss and is one of the most important factors in maintaining bone health.
Plant-based sources of calcium are:
- Green leafy vegetables such as kale, collard, turnip greens, spinach. Just 3/4 cup of collard greens contains more calcium than 1 cup of cow’s milk.
- Vegetables such as broccoli, bok choi, green beans, celery
- Citrus fruit, especially oranges
- Ocean plants/seaweed such as kelp, wakame, arame
- Raw nuts and seeds such as almonds and sesame seeds
- For more complete list, please click here.
Homemade Almond Mylk
- 1 Cup raw, unpasteurized almonds, soaked for 8 hours
- 4-6 Cups filtered or spring water
- 1/8 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Sweetener choices: Medjool dates, honey, agave nectar, stevia
- Measuring cup
- Nutmylk bag (contact me if interested)
- Large bowl
- Glass pitcher
- Drain and rinse the soaked almonds. Discard water.
- Add to blender with salt and 4-6 cups of water, pending how creamy you like your mylk.
- Blend well until all almonds are broken down to fine meal.
- Pour through nutmylk bag and squeeze out the mylk.
- Use the pulp to make nut breads, crackers or cookies.
- Drink as is or pour back into clean blender with vanilla extract and your choice of sweetener. No need to strain this time.
- Store in glass pitcher int he refrigerator. Will keep for 2-3 days.
You can use almond mylk for just about everything – cereal, smoothie, shake, vegan ice cream, desserts, or to wean of a baby from formula. Nut mylk is high in protein and offers superior nutritional profile to dairy milk.
Worried how you’d give up cheese? Check out my blog “Making Fermented Feta Cheeze Without Milk.”
If you are still skeptical about the health dangers of consuming dairy, I encourage you to begin your own research into the matter. Please visit some of the links and books I have recommended on my blog. It’s important to educate yourself so you can make smarter food choices. And if not for you, do it for your family…for your children. They deserve to be healthy and happy.
P.S. Did you know that humans are the only mammals in nature that continue drinking milk beyond the infancy stage AND from another specie?!?!
Copyright © 2010 Zoe V. All Rights Reserved
Thanks for the enlightening and informative blog regarding dairy. I was never a big fan of milk but drank it while pregnant with my daughter……
So many options to get calcium in our diets with whole foods.
Great post Zoe! I haven’t drunk milk since high school. But I do eat cheese and yogurt. The enzymes and probiotics make it easier to digest. It is true our lactase diminishes in later childhood. It actually coincides with when children would stop nursing (and in a lot of cultures that is age 4-7). That’s when we don’t need milk anymore. I agree with your points – but I also think if we could all source milk from cows raised on biodynamic farms where the calves get to actually nurse from their mother (the way nature intended) and the cows don’t get their horns burned off (even organic farms do this) then I don’t have a problem with taking limited milk for cheese, yogurt and the occasional ice cream treat. My issue is – as with so much – OVER CONSUMPTION!
I don’t think we need to drink milk. We don’t. But if everyone only took a little bit for a bit of cheese or yogurt a few times each week and let the calves get the majority, the cows and I would be much happier.
Also, just a note – peanuts have way more mycotoxins than milk and those get pushed on to kids too! Oi Vey! Poor kids today. Denzin is lucky to have such a healthy Mama! I wish I wasn’t allergic to almonds. I miss almond mylk! We drink rice, hemp, oat and coconut milk here.
Oh – I ordered a Vita Mix here in London. I will be emailing you for recipes! And, I got my mom the book “The World Peace Diet”. She just finished it and is ready to go Vegan! She was a beef, pork, lamb – you name it – eater before! Have you read this book? I am about to read it.
Keep up the great posts! xo
Zoe, this is so well-done. I have shared widely!! Thank you for writing this important piece!
I did share this blog with my family and friends! Thanks Zoe! You are amazing. The pics of you and your family are beautiful!!! Big hugs, Gigi
I loved this article, my house is mostly dairy free. My infant twins are both allergic to soy, dairy and nuts. Unfortunately my milk supply died out at 6 months. So they have been on organic formula that based off goats milk it’s the only one that seems to be okay with their allergies. I love this article anytime someone gives me sympathetic looks as to why my kids don’t have milk I can show them this!
@Deb ~ great to hear from you, my friend! Congrats on getting the Vita-Mix! You’ll be in love once you get it in the mail. Let me know if you have questions how to use it and I’ll be happy to help. By the way, I just became an affiliate for Vita-Mix in the US so if you know anyone here that is looking to purchase one, send them my way. 🙂
And I’ve heard of the “World Peace Diet.” Would have to check it out again. My book suggestion for you is “The China Study.” If you want to build a solid foundation on nutrition, that’s the place to start.
Veronica, Tricia, Jenn and GiGi – thank you for spreading the word. I truly appreciate it. 🙂
I forgot to add another Ugly Truth About Dairy – the treatment of the cows! Even organic farms still take the calves away from their mothers and get bottle fed. They only get the colostrum! How bizarre that the majority of America feeds with bottles (formula or pumped breast milk) and cows get bottled fed so they can detach from their mothers. It’s cruel. We are stealing their milk. And their horns are burned off – and if they have an extra teat that won’t fit into the machines – it gets burned off. The only humane dairy is from biodynamic farms.
This looks absolutely delicious!! I have been dairy-free since 1999, and I would love to try this. Please keep us posted if you will be selling it via a website, etc. I am definitely interested! The pictures make my mouth water. Yum!!
To be correct, perhaps you should say that milk contains only a small amount of magnesium rather than “Milk does not contain magnesium”. At least, the research I found stated that 1 cup of “whole milk” contains 24 mg. of magnesium.
Also, are you sure that Pasteurization causes all minerals to be lost?
To be clear, I agree with you and am glad that you wrote this article. I do not eat or drink dairy products.
I just don’t like to see good information discredited by people who don’t agree with it, due to a little bit of misinformation.
Interesting article. I would never consume commercial dairy. My family really enjoys dairy, but the milk-like-food-product available at the grocery store is so unhealthy! Because we have enough land, we purchased a cow. Her name is Blossom. Her calves are left to nurse for as long as Blossom allows, and we get the rest of the milk. Blossom came to us with horns burned off, but we’ve never burned the horns off any calf. Blossom is out on fresh growing green grass for as much of the year as the weather allows, and gets organic home-grown hay the rest of the year. We make our own cheeses, milk kefir, yogurt, butter, and ice cream. We expect Blossom to live to be 15 years old. (Commercial cows have a MUCH shorter life expectancy.)
While this post is very informational, what discredits it is the huge ad of two double cheeseburgers, just dripping with animal products. Perhaps you could be more discerning with who can advertise on your site?
@Anastasia – I’m surprised by your comment because I do not have any outside ads on my blog. I’ve never had them to begin with. So where did you see cheeseburgers, I have no idea. Perhaps it’s your computer.
Hi Zoe, I love your blog. I am in the process of becoming a vegetarian/vegan for health and ethical reasons after reading the book ‘Eating Animals’. Your blog is a great source of ideas for recipes which I am in great need of. Thank you for being such an inspiration!
Hi Zoe, I like and am attracted to your writings and explaining truths about what we eat. I was from small ages concerened about people’s food and how I could help them find food especially for poor people. Now the question is not the food but to find what is food and what is non-food(we presume those are food). We eat to live healthy.It is better to die rather having stomch full with non-food. Finally,it will be the same end result only thing is it is slow and delayed death with non-food. We were pressing on producing more in the past, numbers, kilos, quantities. We did not think about the dangers in the methods what we used to increase quantities. Now we find there is a reationship between quantity and quality. Now we have to go back to nature to find how quality could be restored.
…i am listening….drinking in your information, Zoe. i have digested it and am totally with you, on this. i showed my mother and father, the ‘ugly truth about dairy’, then my brother….his family will also benefit from knowing the facts.
i had cervical cancer, two years ago….while i do not think that there is a connection between dairy and the cancer, that i had (i think it was the contraceptive coil, that i had fitted….i had it taken out, because it was painful….) i do think that your claims are valid for everyone.
Thankyou, Zoe….i am going to be following your blog (not good with computers…)
i am changing my diet and am loving it.
Another biggie here….my son has eczhema….we see a holistic practitioner, who has given him some teeny weeny tablets. She advised him to stop dairy. We are nearing the end of the course of tablets, which worked in the beginning….but, as we noticed he was getting better…we gave him bits of dairy, here and there. i think that is why the skin condition has returned….
So, now…..we are being real strict with his diet!! Luckily, i have seen this as an oppotunity to ‘jump on the wagon’ myself…so, i have stopped cows milk.
i am looking at the whole thing….alkaline 80%…acid 20% diet??? Is this about right, for the balance…this idea is from Philip Day…do you know of him???
You will be busy, i guess….please try to stay in touch….
Bones are constantly varying with the times and therefore old bones are replaced instead by new ones . With the growth in actual age , your bones beginning to build up fragile . 99 per cent of physique calcium is kept in your bones . Calcium is extremely vital it is employed by human body for effective working of your muscles or even neural system . We primarily just acquire calcium from our meal or possibly other stuff we consume due to the fact physique never produce calcium independently . Too little availability of calcium will mean system will probably make use of the bones calcium . Just as female grows over thirty , body system will start dropping the bone mass more quickly when compared with the frequency of on which human body substitutes it . This raises the threat of getting affected by Osteoporosis . The ladies are more inclined to be impacted prior to adult males seeing that their bones are smaller in size as well as thinner than males . .
Newest write-up coming from our new blog
Hi Zoe, I am in the Uk writing about my 4.5 year old boy. His name is Ailbe and for the last few years he has been suffering with constant ear infections. Anyway like you do he has been in and out of the doctors being prescribed antibiotic after antibiotic with no long term gain. I have spent the day researching the links between dairy and ear infections and have been amazed with what I have found. He has had grommets and as we speak he is on his humpteenth antibiotic fix. Do you believe that Dairy products increase mucas in the ears? I am starting to believe why no health professional will confirm this is because of the loss of revenue involved for the dairy companies and the large pharmecuticals who churn out billions of £$ worth each year. Maybe I am just frustrated with my poors boy constant ear infections but something smells fishy to me.
Stephen, yes, I do believe that dairy is mucus-forming. It’s really the over-consumption of highly-processed dairy that causes issues in our body. However, some dairy such as fermented foods – cheese, yogurt, kefir – may be beneficial as it introduces beneficial bacteria in our gut. Hope your little boy’s health improves soon.
Hi…well been about 9 months and a change of milk from A1 milk to A2 milk has cleared my boys ears. Instantly and not one infection since. 🙂