When I was little I remember my grandparents always telling me “drink your milk”. And my friends’ parents always said the same thing. Mine were pretty lax about it; I really didn’t like milk unless I topped it with Hershey’s syrup (I remember when it came in a can before they invented the squeeze bottle). I guess they were ahead of their time. I wonder if they even questioned whether cow’s milk was good for me.

So, is cow’s milk good for you? These are the questions I encourage you to ask yourself:

  1. Who/what kind of animal is cow’s milk designed for? (a cow)
  2. Are YOU a cow? (I hope not)
  3. Do the cows continue to drink milk after they are mature/weaned? (No)
  4. Are YOU an adult? (notice I didn’t say “mature”…I hope you still like to act like a kid sometimes)
  5. Do cows, or ANY animal you can think of, drink milk from another animal, and continue to do so after weaning? (No no no!))

Each species of mammal makes milk specially designed for that species’ growth needs, from birth until weaning. Cow’s milk is designed to DOUBLE the weight of a calf in fifty days. I doubt you will enjoy the same effect! It also contains almost three times as much protein as breast milk. The differences are many more than I want to list here.

Besides the differences in chemistry between breast milk and cow’s milk, or other species, an important argument for excluding or minimizing cow’s milk in the family’s diet is that it is heat-treated (pasteurized). Heat denatures proteins and enzymes; in other words, you are not going to get the “good stuff” from the milk because it has been “killed”. The typical dairy farm also compromises the cow’s lifestyle. They can be fed stale grain, grown in nutritionally depleted soil. Unless they can roam freely, they get no exercise. They are often pumped with hormones to make them produce more milk, and given antibiotics since they are unhealthy due to their lifestyle. These chemicals come out in the milk.

NOTE: An exception to these objections is RAW milk that comes from free-range, grass-fed, organic cows. It is possible to get benefits from this type of milk, but since it is not what most people consider buying, I am referring to the typical milk sold in the supermarkets.

Many people are “lactose intolerant”. This is actually a NORMAL condition, because our bodies do not produce the enzyme lactase needed to break down lactose after early childhood (because we are not expected to still breastfeed!)

“What about calcium?” you ask. While it’s true that milk has a lot, it’s also so high in protein that your body can’t absorb the calcium it gets at the same time. Not only can you not get calcium, but the high protein content actually causes your body to REMOVE calcium from your bones to act as a buffer in your blood. That’s right, drinking milk actually causes you to LOSE calcium from your bones. The best place to get calcium is from dark green leafy vegetables. If you are concerned that you are not getting enough of them, I highly recommend Juice Plus+ or another whole food supplement to help you get what you need. Almonds are also a good source of calcium; fresh almond milk is what we use most of the time instead of cow’s milk.

Regarding osteoporosis, there is NO evidence that increasing milk intake reduces the incidence of osteoporosis. In fact, the countries with the highest milk intake also have the highest rates of osteoporosis. This is probably because of what was mentioned above: your body REMOVES calcium from your bones to deal with the milk you put in. The Dairy Council has done a number on us! Not that I blame them.

What to drink instead of cow’s milk? Well, water is what should be drunk on a regular basis. But when it comes to milk alternatives, there are many options; we make this homemade almond milk.

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