Let’s take a deeper look into cow’s dairy.
Regular commercial milk can be found in whole fat, low-fat and non-fat varieties, and they are either organically or conventionally made. However, some of these milks are labeled “with no hormones” when they are actually just “reconstituted milk-flavored beverages.” Sweeteners like sugar or artificial sweeteners like Aspartame are being used in commercial milk to flavor the milks to make them more palatable. Plus a new concept is underway: Bubble Gum flavored milk. Seriously? Did you know that one 8oz. glass of milk contains 13 grams of sugar? That is 3 more grams than a Krispy Kreme donut! If the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of milk is 3.5 cups per day, think of how much sugar and artificial ingredients you are consuming.
Real, unprocessed raw milk (except for filtering) should be somewhat golden in color and taste very rich and a little sweet. It should smell like hay when it is the freshest (2 days old), and the cream should rise to the top when left untouched. Sadly, this type of milk is almost extinct in the U.S.
The milk we see in the grocery stores is completely white, plus the cream will not rise to the top. It is also fortified, pasteurized and homogenized and then cooked and emulsified. It typically comes from the Friesian’s breed of cow that is known for its high volume production, not its quality, or the Holstein cow. Friesian cows are usually kept in herds of about 800 and fed mixes of grain instead of grass. Unfortunately today, 1/3 of these herds (in California) are given hormones to increase production.
How has our milk changed over the years?
So, what has changed with our milk over the past few decades? In the 1950’s, there was the theory that raw milk was too risky to drink without pasteurization. Today, there are only 20 states that legally sell raw milk. California is leading the way for raw milk options. They are preserving the right for most stores to sell raw milk; however, the bottle must have a warning label that states “may contain disease-causing microorganisms.”
But, since the 1950’s, there has been a surge in milk production of cows to meet a growing demand for what seemed to be the best, most effective source of calcium in our daily diets. Today, the average commercial cow produces 2.5 times as much milk as a cow produced in the 1950’s. Producing such large amounts of milk causes mastitis in up to 33% of dairy cows. Are today’s cows just better able to produce milk? The answer is no. Today’s cows are very stressed and are producing 10-20 times the amount of milk they need to feed their calves, who are taken away after 24 hours and weaned before 8 weeks of age which depletes them of vital nutrients. With this vigorous milk producing pace, cows burn out at a much younger age and are then slaughtered. Cows can actually live to be 20 – 25 years old.
The daily living environments of the dairy cow do not consist of beautiful, grass covered fields as we would like to imagine. Most commercial dairy cows never leave the crowded, small dirt-covered lot where they are not protected from the elements or their own filth. They are often injured in these crowded groups, and injuries can go undetected.
Unlike organic milk which uses no growth hormones, commercial milk contains rBGH, recombinant Bovine Growth Hormones, which are used to increase the cow’s milk production. Up to 2,250,000 dairy cows are injected with rBGH to further increase milk production by 25%. Plus, the FDA does not require products containing rBGH to be labeled as such. Again, organic farms do not use rBGH. This milk also contains antibiotics that are given to the cows, and the cows are feed with feed containing meat or poultry bi-products. These antibiotics entered the human food chain through this milk and the meat of commercial dairy cattle.
Where to get your calcium
Cow’s milk is perfect for a newborn calf to grow into a 400 lb. cow in one year. It contains 3 times the protein and 7 times more minerals that human milk. However, human milk has 10 times as much essential fatty acids, 3 times as much selenium, and only ½ the calcium as cow’s milk. Though people enjoy drinking milk, it really is not necessary for our bodies to thrive, and it can possibly be harming us. The best source of calcium is from plant-based sources.
It is well recognized that calcium from dairy products will strengthen our bones and help prevent osteoporosis. However, studies show that foods originating from animal sources (like milk) make the blood acidic. When our bodies are acidic, we are very susceptible to disease. We want our bodies to stay pH balanced and high in alkalinity. When our blood is acidic, it “steals” calcium from our bones to improve or increase its alkalinity in order to combat the acidity increase. Though this thievery improves our blood’s pH balance, it seriously depletes our bones which can lead to osteoporosis.
“Consumption of more than two glasses of milk per day was associated with almost twice the risk of advanced and metastatic prostate cancer.” – health.howstuffworks.com. Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s production of IGF-1, a cancer promoter.
Milk doesn’t have the bone protective qualities we thought it had, plus consuming dairy products has never been shown to reduce the risk of bone fractures. Actually, countries with the lowest consumption of dairy and have the lowest rates of osteoporosis. Vitamin D appears to be more effective in preventing bone fractures. Calcium supplements that are plant-derived, not through dairy, may reduce the risk of colon cancer. I love Shaklee Cal-Mag and Shaklee Osteomatrix supplements.
Not everyone can stomach dairy. I know I have a problem with cow’s dairy. About 75% of people in the world are not able to properly digest milk and other dairy products. This is called lactose intolerance. This may be due to the type of dairy proteins in the milk and dairy products you consume. In the U.S., Holstein cows are the predominant dairy cows. In the milk from Holstein cows, there are more A1 proteins that have been linked to serious health conditions like diabetes, autism and heart disease. New Jersey cows, however, contain higher amounts, and better amounts of the A2 protein.
Check out my blog, Dairy Sensitive?, to find dairy alternatives that you can use in place of dairy products and still get the RDA, or more, of calcium and Vitamin D.