“It seems ridiculous that a man, in midst of his pleasures, should have to go beneath a cow…like a calf, three times a day…never weaned.”
Henry David Thoreau
Human beings are the only animal that drinks the milk of another animal. Not only that, but as Thoreau states, it´s the only adult animal in nature that was never weaned from milk. All other baby animals, at one point or another, no longer return to their mother´s breasts, as nature intended it to be. Yet, we intelligent humans decided to break with nature´s law and not only continue to consume milk but also process it into dairy products, such as cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream.
HOW DID ALL THIS COME ABOUT?
Well, there was a time when humans didn´t drink the milk of other animals, a time when osteoporosis and bone fractures were rare. Today, most of the world´s population doesn´t consume dairy (i.e., rural China, Japan, India and parts of Africa) and rarely experience osteoporosis and fractures. That´s also the case with some of the world´s strongest vegan animals (i.e., gorillas, elephants, rhinos, water buffalos) and numerous elite vegan athletes (i.e., Tom Brady – football, Kyrie Irving – basketball, Serena and Venus Williams – tennis, Lionel Messi – soccer, Carl Lewis – Olympics, David Haye – boxing, Scott Jurek – ultra-marathoner, Marc Danzig – martial arts, etc.).
Despite the overwhelming research evidence showing the connection between the consumption of milk and dairy and chronic diseases such as heart, cancer, diabetes 2, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension and obesity, our love affair and attachment seems to be unbreakable. For so many on the Standard American Diet, milk is still the “perfect” food, as American as “apple pie” and the “flag”. The intense promotion of milk and dairy by dairy institutions has been going on since the early 1900s.
One of the first slogans I clearly remember from elementary school was “YOU NEVER OUTGROW YOUR NEED FOR MILK”.
Whenever sales dropped marketing teams came up with new slogans such as “MILK LIFE” and the famous moustache adds…“GOT MILK?”
A fortune was spent on the “got milk” adds, promoted by many notable people in politics, sports and the entertainment industry. As a result, milk and dairy sales again skyrocketed and the industries´ CEOs and investors were once again…satisfied! In the words of Jeff Manning, executive director of the California Milk Processor Board, “This is our objective statement today: Sell More Milk. Everything that we do, every moment that I spend, gets filtered through this objective. If it doesn´t sell more milk or have the potential to sell more milk, we won´t do it – It´s just that simple”. The Dairy Industry´s prime objective is to sell as much milk and dairy products to as many people possible.
Does that sound like our health is their priority?
And if health is indeed an issue, WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT FOR MOST PEOPLE TO STOP CONSUMING DAIRY?
According to Dr. Neal Barnard, author of the NY Times best seller “The Cheese Trap”, nature has gifted all pregnant female animals with a substance in their milk called casomorphin. Just this word should get you thinking…morphine? Yes. It´s an opiate and It´s mother nature´s way of making sure that the baby returns time and again to it´s mother´s breast. Nature is just not taking any chances! What does that mean for us humans? Well, by consuming a small dosage of a cow´s casomorphin, maybe that´s what keeps us coming back for more cheese…or pizza or cheeseburgers. In other words, because of the casomorphin, we´ve actually become addicted to cow´s milk and dairy products.
AND HOW (UN)HEALTHY IS COW´S MILK?
For the calf, it´s the perfect food! For humans, whether babies or grownups, it´s far from perfect.
As I mentioned in a previous post, as a vegetarian I became sick at least once a year with a sore throat, a cough and/or chest congestion. Once I turned whole food vegan, I never got sick again…8 years and counting. However, at first and even though my brother Arthur tried to convince me about the benefits of whole food plant based nutrition, it was difficult to surrender my attachment to cheese. What changed everything for me and brought me some clarity was the book he insisted that I read…”The China Study”, by T. Colin Campbell, PHD. With over 2 million copies sold it´s considered to be the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted. I consider it a must read for anyone interested in nutrition facts soundly based on research studies.
So, here are some of my conclusions from these past 2 posts as well as points to consider regarding milk and dairy…based on my own personal experience and research during these past 8 years:
• Cow´s milk is designed for calves, not humans and especially adult humans. The fat, protein and hormone content is meant to grow a cow and is way too high and therefore unhealthy for human consumption. Think about it: A cow doubles it´s birth weight at 47 days. A human at 180 days
• “Milk builds strong bones” is a myth fed to us since childhood. The calcium in milk actually has the opposite effect…leading to osteoporosis and hip fractures.
• Since all calcium comes originally from plants, why not avoid the middle man…the cow. That´s what the strongest animals do (i.e., elephant, rhinoceros, gorilla, water buffalo, hippo and even the extinct brontosaurus). A cow doesn´t get it´s calcium from eating another cow!!
• Populations that don´t consume dairy (i.e., rural China and Japan, India and parts of Africa) rarely suffer the chronic diseases as populations that do consume dairy.
• Mountains of research show the connection between milk and dairy and chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes 2 and obesity. Removal of dairy from our diets has been shown to prevent and often reverse these same diseases.
• Dairy institutions spend 100 billion dollars annually on slogans, propaganda and unsubstantiated studies to keep us confused and therefore not open to changing our diet.
• Cheese is concentrated calories from fat that makes us overweight and obese. One cup of milk = 149 calories whereas one cup of melted cheddar = 986 calories.
• Countries that consume the most dairy have the highest per capita incidence of osteoporosis and hip fractures (i.e., United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden, Finland, Germany, etc.).
• Cheese is arguably the most processed food on the planet (pasteurized, fermented by bacteria, coagulated with enzymes, separated into solids, salted and aged and further processed when added to pizza and casseroles).
• In 1909 the average American ate 4 pounds of cheese per year. In 2013 the annual intake climbed to 33 pounds.
• Cheese is loaded with salt which is added as a preservative and flavoring. Not good for our blood pressure
• Fiber is not only important for digestion and the production of good bacteria in the gut but helps us to feel full and control our appetite. Cheese has zero fiber so that you can eat a lot of it before feel satisfied.
• Milk is addictive because of the morphine like compound, casomorphin, found in the milk protein…casein. Cheese is even more addictive because of the added salt and fat. In other words, it´s not easy for many people, to break the habit. That´s the way it was for me.
And last but not least…
• It is estimated that worldwide, ¾ of the population is lactose intolerant after childhood (Asians – 90%, African Americans – 75%, Mexican Americans – 50%). This is because, in most cases, the enzyme lactase which digests the complex sugar lactose in milk, is usually no longer produced by the body, after the age of 4. This can lead to symptoms such as headaches, cramps, gas, bloating, nausea and diarrhea. Yet, if you don´t make the connection, then you could be suffering from the symptoms without knowing the real cause…trying in vain one remedy after another. This happened with my son Adán. When he was very young, every time he got a fever, he got headaches and convulsions. His eyes would role back into his head and sometimes he would become unconscious. Needless to say, It was very scary for him and us. Whenever he came down with a fever he would inevitably cry…expecting the inevitable return of the convulsions. Eventually we met a Naturopath doctor who concluded, after we told him that he would gulp down 3 or four glasses of chocolate milk every day, that Adán was lactose intolerant. End of story and convulsions as Adán hasn´t tasted milk or dairy for the past 35 years. By the way, he´s an extreme sports professional.
If you would like to connect all the dots I invite you to check out my previous posts…www.gowholefoodvegan.org