“The human body has no more need for cow’s milk than it does for dog’s milk, horse’s milk, or giraffe’s milk.” ~Michael Klaper
Though the dairy industry has done its best to convince everyone that they desparately need milk for strong bones, and many nutritionists and dietitians agree, there are just as many holistic nutrition experts that disagree. In fact, I am one of them. You have been told for years that you have to drink milk to get your recommended amount of calcium which is essential for maintaining healthy bones but the truth is that there is much more to the calcium story than just drinking milk.
For starters, calcium is not the only nutrient needed for bone health and it must remain in the proper ratio with other nutrients to encourage proper bone formation. When too much calcium is taken in compared to other minerals such as magnesium and sodium, it can cause kidney stones as well as heart disease. And did you know that compared to cultures that don’t drink cow’s milk (yes, there are a LOT of them), we have higher rates of osteoporosis?
Here are some more great reasons why it may be time for you to ditch the dairy:
- Cow’s milk is nutritionally designed for a 70-100 pound newborn calf that is able to walk within minutes of birth. It is higher in sodium and protein while being lower in carbs, calories, unsaturated fat and vitamin C than infants require.
- Milk is intended for infancy during which a mammal cannot feed itself or obtain all of the nutrition it needs while young. Many people lose the digestive enzyme required by the body to break down and digest milk properly by age 5, seemingly because there is no need for milk passed that age, whether it be breast milk, cow’s milk or any other kind. Poor digestion can lead to many health issues in addition to constipation and/or diarrhea such as leaky gut syndrome.
- Humans are the only species that drinks milk from another species of animal. Haven’t you ever wondered why that is? It is not because it is necessary for our survival, especially in the modern world where you have access to plenty of nutritious fruits and vegetables.
- Think your glass of milk is tasty? Sure, if you enjoy drinking pus from infected cows (milk contains an average of 298 million pus cells per quart), antibiotics and other drugs that were used to treat the infection, growth hormones, pesticides from their feed, additives and other junk. Yuck!
- You can drink all of the milk in the world that you want, but without vitamin D to help absorb it, most of it is eliminated by your body. A balanced diet is essential for nutrient absorption.
- There are so many foods from which you can get calcium other than dairy- collard and other greens, tofu, beans, broccoli, black strap molasses, almonds, okra, and bok choy just to name a few. Supplements and fortified foods can also help you meet calcium requirements, but I stress the importance of using whole foods to try to meet your needs first. Most adults need 1,000-1,300mg of calcium daily which can easily be reached by paying close attention to your diet.
On top of all of these reasons, there are many more, especially those relating to the health and welfare of dairy animals. They are often kept confined in small areas without being allowed to graze as they naturally do. They are kept in a constant state of pregnancy or nursing to maintain milk supplies and separated from their young which is not healthy for the mama or the baby.
As someone who does not consume any dairy products at all, I am happy to say that I still have normal calcium levels as indicated on my hair mineral analysis. Yes, you can absolutely ditch dairy and still be healthy!