So, many of you have asked us why we decided to significantly reduce the amount of dairy that we eat.
And the short and sweet answer is that it all comes down to the quality of milk as a food.
So let’s start at the beginning…
Cow’s milk, well…
It is designed to grow baby cows
Into adult cows as quickly as possible.
From a small calf to a large cow. Now, as you have probably guessed, calves have different nutritional requirements than us humans. Cow’s milk has a different protein, fat, and mineral composition than human breast milk.
You may be thinking: “I’m obviously not a baby, so it doesn’t matter.”
And while it is true that you are not a baby anymore, your genetic makeup is still the same as when you were an infant. And it is known that cow’s milk should not be given to infants younger than one year old, because it can cause intestinal inflammation leading to bleeding, which could ultimately cause anemia. The proteins can be more difficult to digest and more difficult for the body to handle.
Protein in cow’s milk is in the top 8 most common allergies. It is known to be associated with eczema. Now, we have not found anything in the literature that says milk directly causes eczema, and researchers are quick to say that people with an allergy to milk who have eczema are just simply more prone to allergies. Perhaps, but that doesn’t change the fact that those people are having an allergic reaction to that substance, and this is prevalent. Common sense should dictate that we probably shouldn’t eat it, especially in large quantities.
The saturated fats in cow’s milk are designed for causing rapid body growth in calves. Our bodies, especially as children, require unsaturated fat to support our brain development and normal functioning.
The next big issue is the way that cows are treated. Most are fed a diet of corn and grains, when their normal diet is grass.
This is known to cause an unfavorable change to the composition of the fats within the animal and it’s milk. Have you ever seen a cow grazing in a corn field? I suppose it could happen, but it’s certainly not the norm.
Many cows are kept in inhumane living conditions, which causes significant Stress to the animal. This is unacceptable in and of itself, but this also effects the quality of the milk.
Synthetic growth hormones are used in cows to stimulate cows to produce more milk…… Why?! The ONLY reason is to make the cow produce even MORE milk to sale. While the official governmental stance is that there is no significant different between milk made from cows given the hormone and those that aren’t, we are still very leery to subject our family to any outside hormones, especially those that are artificial. Hormones can be very powerful substances within our bodies even if we don’t feel their effects.
It is illegal to give antibiotics to dairy cows because the antibiotics quickly filter into the milk. Even though it is illegal, antibiotics are still found in milk. An article by NPR in 2015 stated that when tested, 0.5% of milk samples tested were found to have antibiotic residues. To make the problem worse, some of the antibiotics found are not even legal to use in cows.
The way that milk is treated after it is collected causes a drastic reduction in its nutritive value. Usually, milk is pasteurized, which is done to kill any bacteria, but pasteurization breaks down proteins and destroys enzymes that help you to digest the milk. The process of pasteurization also oxidizes the cholesterol in the milk, and it is oxidized cholesterol that sticks to arterial walls creating plaques. There are other things that can cause cholesterol to oxidize once in our bodies, such as smoking. Even though pasteurized dairy is not the only culprit…
It doesn’t seem like a very good idea to add more oxidized cholesterol to our bodies if we can avoid it.
Are we saying milk is evil? No.
Are we saying it is completely devoid of any nutrients? No.
Are we saying you should never, ever consume it? No, that’s for you to decide.
What we are saying is that if you do decide to eat it, it should be in the best form possible, the form that God created, from cow’s doing what cow’s naturally do. They would normally graze on fields of natural, untreated grass in the bright outdoors communing with other cows in non-crowded spaces. Then, ideally, it would be collected and consumed in it’s natural state without pasteurization.
We would also add to eat it in moderation- in balance with healthy nutrient-rich foods.
We do still eat some dairy, but probably 90+% less than we used to eat. Neither of us can remember the last time we bought milk. So what to we do instead?
We regularly find or develop fantastic plant-based substitutions that taste great and offer important nutrient benefits that will allow our bodies to thrive. Because, like we always say…
“If you start removing something that’s not good for you from your diet, you MUST be replacing it with something GREAT!”
After all, healthy changes should be enjoyable, livable, and taste amazing!
For more on this, see our post- Dairy: The Struggle Is Real
*If you do choose to purchase dairy products, please remember that it is very important to buy better quality products such as grass fed and organic.