Milk…Does A Body Good??

September 16, 2011
“We are the only species on the planet that drinks milk as adults.  We are also the only species on the planet that drinks the milk of another species.” 

I read this a couple years ago in one of the most eye-opening books, Skinny *itch.  This really got me thinking about why humans (adults) drink milk and does it really do a body good??  There are so many differing viewpoints on milk, but in this post I just want to make you aware of the issues surrounding milk so you can do your own research and draw your own conclusions.  After doing a little research of my own, I almost considered not adding this post because there is so much contradicting information out there about milk.  However, since you’re reading this, I decided it still would be beneficial to pass on what I have learned.

As humans, God designed for newborns/babies to drink milk and they are able to digest the lactose (sugar in milk).  The interesting thing is that the enzyme lactase is what is needed to digest lactose and we lose 90-95% of the enzyme between the ages of 18 months and 4 years.  It is interesting to note that according to the Bible, milk produced from clean animals is ok for humans to consume.  There is a verse in Proverbs that mentions having enough goats’ milk for your food…Proverbs 27:27. 
However, here is the root of the problem regarding milk: the milk we drink today is FAR different from the milk consumed in biblical times.  People back then drank milk right from the cow or goat.  It was natural and healthy.  It was not pasteurized and did not come from cows that were pumped with hormones to produce 10 times their normal amount of milk.  So, let me explain the 2 biggest problems I see that relate to the production of milk today and what that means for the milk you are drinking.
First of all, cows are injected with bovine growth hormone to make them produce more milk.  More milk = more profits for farmers so they pump them full of hormones to get 100 pounds of milk a day instead of the normal/natural 10 pounds of milk per day.  Those hormones are passed right to humans when we drink milk or eat dairy products.  So, what do you think the effect is on humans??  Yep, girls developing and going through puberty abnormally young and excess female hormones in young men. 
In addition to cows producing unnatural amounts of milk, their milk is full of tons of antibiotics, pesticides and steroids.  The fact that the cows are milked by machine leads to the second big problem:  the cow’s udders get infected from the metal clamps that are constantly attached.  As a result, bacteria is getting in the milk so milk must be pasteurized and cows are pumped with antibiotics to fight the infections.  You can see where this is going…YUCK!!  I will spare you the disgusting details, but what you do need to know is that the pasteurization process not only destroys the bad bacteria, but also the beneficial enzymes.  So, you are left with milk that has very few nutrients, but lots of hormones and antibiotics.
If your fear is that you will not get enough calcium, there are numerous other ways to get adequate calcium…foods like grains, greens, chickpeas, broccoli, tofu, seeds and nuts or you can take a calcium supplement.  I grew up not drinking milk, yet I still have strong bones, am 5’9″ (the lack of milk didn’t stunt my growth) and I am very healthy according to my doctor. 
Some of the alternatives to cows’ milk are rice milk, soy milk and almond milk.  Goats’ milk is an option, but it is controversial since it is from another animal.  In reality, all of these alternatives are somewhat controversial for one reason or another, but this is where you have to decide what is best for you and where you want to draw the line.  At the very least, make sure you buy organic milk and dairy products (see Go Organic post) to avoid the hormones, pesticides and other harmful bacteria.
Food for Thought: According to Jordan Rubin in his book The Maker’s Diet, it is estimated that 1 glass of commercial, nonorganic milk purchased from a grocery store may contain the residue of up to 100 antibiotics!  Now that you are a little more enlightened (or confused), I hope you take some time to do your own research and reconsider drinking that next glass of milk!

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