“Got Milk?” – the Untold Story…

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 9.16.09 AMMost people believe they need to consume large, daily quantities of milk to achieve good health. Unfortunately, except in times of famine, we have no need at all for cow’s milk and with today’s milk processing methods; it is actually quite harmful to our health.

Anthropologically, we are the only species that continues to drink milk past weaning and the only species to drink the milk of another species. This is just not part of nature’s design.

Cow’s milk is perfect for cows. It is a high fat fluid exquisitely designed to turn a 65 lb baby calf into a 400 lb cow in one year. When you look at commercial milk today, compared to 50 years ago it doesn’t even look the same. I remember when the milkman brought the bottles to our doorstep. The thick yellow white cream (which contains the healthy fat soluble vitamins) sat on top and my siblings and I would argue over who got to have the tastier, richer cream. Nowadays commercial milk looks kind of blue and it is much thinner. We children hated the taste of skimmed milk when it first appeared. The longer shelf life and bigger profits meant nothing to our palates. But, the Dairy Council did such a great job of marketing it as a healthier and necessary product that we eventually and reluctantly learned to tolerate the taste. Sometimes children are wiser than adults.

Who was to know that losing local dairy sources would have such a drastic effect on our health? The cows in large corporate dairies are overworked and kept to quotas by artificial means. They are forced to produce over 55 lbs of milk a day as compared to 4 pounds 50 years ago. This is accomplished with the help of regular injections of BGH (Bovine Growth Hormone which was never sufficiently tested for its effect on humans). BGH makes their pituitary glands grow very large and stimulates the production of another hormone called IGF-1 which speeds up the cow’s metabolism. IGF stands for Insulin-like Growth Factor One. IGF-1 is considered to be a “fuel cell” for cancer, especially breast, prostate and colon cancers. It can be directly absorbed into the human bloodstream, particularly in infants, setting the stage for Infantile Diabetes.

Due to their unnatural lifestyle, environment, and consumption, dairy cows are generally unhealthy. As a result, antibiotics are a regular part of their “diet” to keep them “well”. There are 53 different antibiotics given to the cows which pass through to our milk contributing to the growing range of antibiotic resistant bacteria in humans.   These antibiotics also adulterate the fatty composition of the milk, particularly conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has since been found to have many health benefits. Some benefits of CLA are an increased metabolic rate, decreased abdominal fat, muscle growth, lowered insulin resistance, reduction of food allergies, strengthened immune system and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. While antibiotics have saved many lives, their prolific overuse has been contributing to our health crisis.

Sadly, in spite of pasteurization and ‘sanitary’ practices in dairy houses, most cows’ milk has measurable quantities of herbicides, pesticides, industrial bleaches called dioxins (up to 200 times the safe levels), blood, pus, feces, bacteria and viruses (including leukemia).

Well, when we think about omitting milk from our diets, the first concern is “where am I going to get my calcium from?” “Will my teeth fall out and my bones become brittle?” The answer is you are meant to get your calcium from the same source that cows get theirs – mother earth’s green foods and lots of them! The truth is milk is not at all the best source of calcium. Cow’s milk is rich in phosphorus which binds to calcium and prevents its absorption. Magnesium is critical to calcium absorption and is found in large amounts in the plants both humans and cows eat whereas milk has insufficient magnesium to help with calcium uptake. Due to milk’s high protein content especially that of casein (a binder used in furniture glue and plastics as well as a very common allergen in my practice) it actually LEACHES calcium from the body.

Can you get enough calcium from foods? It’s difficult by today’s commercial growing practices. . Eat as much dark green leafy vegetables as you can but keep in mind that a cup of spinach in 1950 yielded as much calcium as is available nowadays in 64 cups. You would need to eat truckloads of greens. It’s a good idea to take a balanced mineral supplement with perhaps extra calcium lactate for best absorption. What about cheese?   Each bite of hard cheese has TEN TIMES whatever was in that sip of milk… because it takes ten pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese and every swipe of butter has 21 times whatever is contained in the fat molecules in a sip of milk so those would be better dairy choices than skimmed milk.

For a more detailed documentary on the history, politics and science behind commercial milk products, read The Untold Story of Milk by Dr. Ron Schmidt.


signature_w_heartCathy Lidster, Health Educator, offers free nutrition classes monthly. She can be reached at Centennial Building Wellness Centre, 250-819-9041, www.cathylidster.com, or cathylidster@gmail.com