Growing up, my parents made me drink a glass of milk with dinner. I remember, even back then, despising having to drink it. As I got older, and started to protest having to drink the awful liquid, my parents would make me sit at the dinner table until it was done. No dessert, no TV, just sitting in silence until the milk was consumed. Finally, after a very long while, I would toss back the milk as fast as I could and go to the fridge for water to mask the disgusting aftertaste left in my mouth. Back then, my passion of hating milk only stemmed from how unpleasant I found the taste. However, as I got older and started to think about the concept as a whole, I began to realize how disgusting and screwed up drinking milk actually is.
Before I get into the health "benefits" of drinking milk, let me lay out for you the bigger picture of what we are actually doing. Everyone knows, as babies, we have to drink our mother's breast milk (or formula) until our bodies are ready to process real foods. It's just the same for any other animal; piglets drink from their mothers until they are old enough, chimps feed from their mother's milk supply until they are old enough, and calves drink from their mother until they are old enough. Not only are we the only animals that drinks milk past infantry, but we are also the only animals that drink the milk from other animals. Do you all understand this? When you drink the milk of a cow you are literally playing the part of a calf until you are finished. I can't get my mind to look past that fact. Not only does it confuse me, it is so cringe-worthy in my eyes that I can feel my skin crawling.
Now, lets talk about all the health factors that come with consuming milk. Ever since we were kids we've been taught that milk is essential to having healthy, strong bones. Remember the "Got Milk?" ads we would see hanging up in our school's cafeterias? It seems like everywhere we looked there would be a new celebrity sporting the infamous white milk mustache. I hate to break it to you, but the hoopla about dairy is just a marketing campaign by the American Milk Industry -- a powerful one at that. The truth? Milk doesn't have all the benefits that people claim it has. In fact, a study done by Dr. Willett shows us otherwise. Dr. Willett teaches us six important things about dairy:
1. Dairy doesn't give you stronger bones.
If you do any extra research on this, you will see that dairy actually increases fracture risk.
2. The lower the dairy intake, the stronger the bones.
If you want stronger bones, try exercising and vitamin D. Don't rely on a liquid to give you your strength.
3. Calcium isn't as effective as we think when it comes to protecting bones.
You can intake all the calcium in the world, and it would still mean nothing if you don't have the sufficient amount of vitamin D in your body.
4. Dairy can increase the risk of cancer.
I get it, basically everything these days gives you cancer. However, studies have shown that calcium can increase prostate cancer by at least 30 percent.
5. Calcium has benefits that dairy doesn't.
If you're going to milk for your calcium, you're looking in the wrong place. You can find calcium in leafy greens and seafood. Check out this list for more options.
6. Not everyone can stomach dairy.
Ever heard of someone being lactose-intolerant? They still seem just as healthy as the person next to them, don't they?
If those facts aren't enough to make you question drinking milk, maybe the way milk is produced will. Imagine how women make milk. They produce the milk to feed to their offspring, correct? When the baby comes, the milk the mother creates is used to nourish the baby into health. It's the same concept with cows, or it should be. Dairy cows in the industry are in a constant state of lactation. They are constantly being impregnated in order for the dairy industry to get enough milk to fill all of America; when in reality, the cows milk should be going straight to her baby. Dairy cows produce around 20,000 pounds of milk a year. In case you're wondering, that's 10x more than they should be producing naturally. If you don't realize how extensive this is on the cows health, a human would need to jog for six hours a day just to achieve a work-rate relatively close. In a normal world, dairy cows can live up to 25 years, but in the industry they're lucky to last three. Dairy cows are kept in horribly poor conditions, and their calves get it almost worse, all so we can have their milk (keyword: their, not our).
I have more family and friends that love milk than those who don't, so I understand the hype around it. What I don't understand is how you can know all of these facts, know the concept of what you're doing, and can still drink milk without batting an eyelash. If you love milk, and aren't sure how you can live without it, try soy or almond milk.
"Milk is nature's perfect food -- but only if you're a calf." -- Dr. Mark Hyman