Why should we avoid cow’s milk?
When asked what I recommend to start with a more conscious diet – regardless of the ethical thought, my first answer is: “Please stop consuming dairy products!” Today’s “normal” cow milk consumption has achieved amounts which are simply too much for the human body. Milk is hidden in many foods that many people consume on a daily basis: yoghurt, cream, cottage cheese, cheese, mascarpone, butter, crème fraîche, sour cream, skimmed milk powder, milk powder, whey protein, etc.
What is milk?
In general, milk is produced in the mammary glands by so-called “mammals” because they nurse their newborns with it. Accordingly, milk is the mother’s milk of female mammals and the first food that babies are given in nature. It should let babies grow as fast as possible and is therefore a kind of hormone cocktail which should accelerate just this growth. In addition to cow’s milk which is often just called “milk”, there are several other types of milk where the species must be included with such as goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, etc.
Milk produced from plants is not labeled as “milk” in Germany but as a “drink”. The term “drink” is intended to protect the consumer from misleading. Coconut milk is the exception as well as scouring milk or sun milk. You do not have to understand that – nor do I. 🙂
What’s wrong with milk?
In addition to the highly controversial animal husbandry, there are many problematic factors associated with milk consumption. I would like to briefly address a few of them.
- According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Germany (BfR) cow’s milk is one of the “most important food allergens in children” (including, among others, chicken eggs, fish, wheat, soybeans and nuts). Cow’s milk, thus, increasingly leads to food allergies in childhood and is an important food allergen in adulthood. It can trigger allergies at all ages.
- The saying “You are what you eat!” not only applies to humans but also to animals. So it comes to the fact that you can find residues in animal milk from the animal feed and thus pharmaceutical residues. Depending on the farming situation, the animals are given medicines and especially antibiotics which can not only be deposited in the nerve and muscle cells but also in other tissues. The residues get into the secretions and thus into the milk. Frequently, residue tests by the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety in Germany (BVL) are alarming. Residues can be held responsible for causing cancer and genetic damage.
Lactose intolerance or just not a baby cow?
Lactose or milk sugar intolerance is a very common phenomenon or intolerance. For the digestion of lactose (milk sugar) an enzyme called lactase is necessary. Lactase is still produced by babies and toddlers during breastfeeding and then goes back in part or in full. Our body is designed to process only breast milk during breastfeeding, not in adulthood, and certainly not from any other mammal. Lactose intolerances can range from bloating, diarrhea, feeling of fullness, regurgitation, migraine attacks, colic, vomiting to circulatory problems. One could also say that we are not lactose intolerant but we are simply not calves. The enzyme lactase can be added externally by so-called lactase tablets. About 15 percent of the German population is completely lactose intolerant. A much higher percentage suffers from a weakened lactose intolerance that still allows small amounts of dairy products.
However, the question is: Should one really eat something that the body clearly signals to you through complaints that it DOES NOT want that?
Risk factor milk
- Numerous studies dealing with the development of diabetes, especially type I diabetes (mellitus), pull milk to pieces. They suggest that cow’s milk can trigger one of the worst autoimmune diseases. When infants are fed cow’s milk in the form of baby food, the proteins can cause severe irreversible damage in the small intestine. One of the possible consequences is the disease of type I diabetes. At the very least, numerous studies show that children who switch to dairy-based infant formula too early have a 13-fold increased risk of developing type I diabetes. To better understand this value, smokers are about 10 times more likely to develop lung cancer.
- A study by Harvard University or the Harvard Public School for Health with 75,000 women over the age of 12, looking at the effects of milk on their bones, found that they did not become more resilient, and that milk increased the risk of breakage! Milk consumption is exactly the opposite of what many osteoporosis patients are advised to do every day: drinking more milk. This result comes from the fact that animal milk reacts strongly acidic in our acid-base household. As a result, this can lead to acidification of the body. Frequent milk consumption and thus frequent acidification of the body must be compensated. The balance, also called neutralization, is achieved by the body extracting a base from the bone, namely calcium. You can find more about the acid-base balance here.
That’s exactly the grotesqueness of the whole story: Milk which has been propagated as a remedy for osteoporosis for years (I see it in my mom visiting the family doctor), provokes just the opposite and promotes bone fractures!
- Another 20,000-year long-term Harvard study also found that those who consumed milk twice a day had a 34% increased risk of developing prostate cancer than those who consumed very little or no dairy.
A few ethical trains of thought
In addition, a few thoughts you should mull over:
- When do women give milk? Right! When they have recently been pregnant and have had a baby. Milk is the natural first food for infants. Milk is supposed to turn small babies into strong people as soon as possible. That is why it contains the growth hormones already mentioned. It is the same with all other mammals! A cow gives milk only if it has just calved. Few people know that in today’s conventional livestock farming cows are permanently impregnated to produce milk. Since male calves are useless for milk production, most are brought to the butcher after about half a year and sold as veal. The rest comes to the cattle fattening. The female calf expects the same fate as that of her mother: the life of a dairy cow that has always been forcibly impregnated. Although cows can normally live up to 20 years, they are usually slaughtered as “high performance cows” in milk production after 5 years. After 5 years they lose daily milk yield and are therefore “not profitable” enough.
- Man is the only creature that voluntarily drinks the milk of another being without any need. Cow’s milk is actually there for making big, strong cattle out of little calves as fast as possible. I’ve already mentioned that animal growth hormones enter the human body when it comes to cow’s milk consumption. In adulthood, when we are no longer growing tall, there is only one dimension left to affect growth: width. In addition, these growth hormones can also accelerate the aging process and stimulate the growth of tumors as the signal of growth arrives at all cells.
- Milk and many dairy products are often heavily processed foods. Not only through the pasteurization and ultra heat treatment (especially for preservation and sterilization) many vitamins get lost. The reputation of the “natural food” can also be called into question. I can only repeat myself: Man is the only creature that unnecessarily drinks the mother’s milk of other animals. For example, if we give cow’s milk to a hedgehog, we will see in a very short time what is a creeping process for us. Hedgehogs die very quickly after consuming cow’s milk.
What about organic milk?
Even with organic milk cows, sheep, goats, etc. are subjected to a “forced pregnancy”. They are also bred to high performance animals and are slaughtered after a quarter (!) of the actual life expectancy, too. Only the use of medicines and thus of antibiotics and the maintenance area are somewhat regulated. The negative factors also exist for organic milk: acidification & strengthening of osteoporosis, lactose & milk protein intolerance, allergic reactions, increased risk of cancer, etc. Organic foods are generally more recommendable than their conventional counterparts. Nevertheless, a waiver of milk and dairy products is the even better option.
One thing I would like to mention in the end because I have recently noticed that many people do not ask themselves the following question: Would you drink dog’s milk? Or maybe cat’s milk? Mouse milk? Why do you drink cow’s milk then?
Where’s the difference? Just because XY decided 10,000 years ago that it is the cow that will provide us with milk in the future? Haven’t we evolved since then? Do we still have to dress with animal skins and exploit animals? Because we have done it like this all along? We consume milk for a long time but never to that extent and even then, the animals were neither kept nor bred and stuffed with tablets/antibiotics, as is the case today. In the past, asbestos was also used because it was considered to be a heat-resistant, acid-resistant, rot-proof, and therefore a durable construction material. Until it came to the conclusion that asbestos is directly related to lung cancer and tumors in the abdominal and pleura. Just because you’ve always done something like this does not mean it’s right. Otherwise you could also justify slavery. Think about it!
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Here are all studies for this blogpost
Bayless, T. M./Brown, E./Paige, D. M. 2017: Lactase Non-persistence and Lactose Intolerance, in: Current Gastroenterology Reports, Vol. 19, 2017, p. 23.
Harrison, S. et al. 2017: Does milk intake promote prostate cancer inititaion or progression via effects on insulin-like growth factors (IGFs)? A systematic review and meta-analysis, in: Cancer Causes & Control, Vol. 28, 2017, No. 6, pp. 497-528.
Lane, N. E./Nevitt, M. C. 2002: Osteoarthritis, bone mass, and fractures: how are they related?, in: Arthritis Rheumatism, Vol. 46, 2002, pp. 1-4.
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Sellmeyer, D. E./Stone, K. L./Sebastian, A./Cummings, S. R. 2001: A high ratio of dietary animal to vegetable protein increases the rate of bone loss and the risk of fracture in postmenopausal women, in: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 73, 2001, pp. 118-122.