I should first clarify my take on the word “weird.” Sometimes weird is good. I love weird movies, weird music, weird art. I even like weird people as long as they don’t veer off into the seriously sociopathic (even after that I still kinda like them, I just have to step away). Weird by the strictest definition refers to something unnatural or inexplicable. It is, in fact, an antonym to the word “natural.”
I haven’t always thought that drinking cow’s milk is weird. But when I was thirteen years old I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance. After years and years of pain every time I ate cheese, ice cream, or anything dairy-related, I had some relief. I thought I was weird. But on the upside, I started paying closer attention to what I ate.
When I had my son, I avoided giving him cow’s milk for one year. Then my relatives started feeding him whatever they wanted, regardless of what I said. He didn’t have the bloating or diarrhea that I had. I was relieved. He was “normal.” His favorite snack became cheese sticks, which I provided with impunity, thinking, as many parents do, that they were healthful snacks.
Fast forward 19 years. Now I’m not a ruthless food dictator, but until my daughter is old enough to have a reasoned discussion about it, she won’t be given any dairy products. Daddy snuck some cheese into her when I wasn’t looking and the poor girl had explosive diarrhea. Now, I’m standing firm (and luckily my current in-laws are not imposing and disrespectful like the ones in my first marriage). I’ve done my research, and discovered that it’s not me who’s weird for having an adverse reaction to milk. 70% of the world can’t digest it, in fact. Drinking cow’s milk is, literally speaking, abnormal. It’s just weird. Here’s why.
1.) WE DON’T NEED IT! The dairy industry has done a bang up job of convincing generations of Americans that cow’s milk is an essential part of a healthy diet. They even successfully lobbied to be included as an entire food group on that stupid food pyramid thingie (which, looking at the rate of obesity in this country is really working out well, yes?). It actually is nowhere near essential. Humans are the only adult mammals that, under normal circumstance, drink milk at all. Milk is for babies and very young animals. With a healthy diet, we don’t need milk to provide calcium or vitamin D or any of that stuff it’s supposed to be good for. Here’s an article from a NY Times blogger who concurs.
And humans are the only species that, under normal circumstance, drink the milk of another species! It’s not meant for human consumption. It’s the genetically perfect food for calves – those large hoofed herbivores who meander around chewing on grass all day that passes through their four stomach chambers. To support my point, I recently ran upon an article about a group of Chinese scientists who are trying to genetically modify cows to make human-like milk. Why would they do such a bizarro experiment? Because cow’s milk is not good for us, and they are trying to engineer cows that make cow’s milk better for humans. The unfortunate side-effect? The calves who drink it usually DIE! That’s just how different we are from baby cows. I’m not kidding. Here’s the article.
2.) MILK CONTRIBUTES TO SOME HEALTH PROBLEMS. Forget lactose intolerance and casein allergies. From eczema to reflux to constipation to ear infections to diabetes, cow’s milk often seems to have a starring role in causing or exacerbating many health issues. Most people know by now not to consume dairy when they have a cold, because it creates excess mucus, but did you know it also increases the risk of bone fractures? Diabetes research also suggests that kids who drink cow’s milk before six months of age are 150% greater chance of having Type 1 Diabetes. Milk is loaded with sugar in the form of lactose. It also inhibits the absorption of iron and other nutrients. Here’s an article written by a real MD to back me up. As he says, “Our bodies just weren’t made to digest milk on a regular basis.” And here’s a little tidbit about the APA recommendation that kids be limited to two cups of milk or less per day, because of concerns about iron deficiency.
3.) MILK CONTAINS OPIATES, AND OPIATES ARE ADDICTIVE. Ever wonder why kids who drink milk want more more more? Or why there’s that stereotypical image of the depressed and lonely woman digging into a pint of ice cream? Or why some people, if you so much as suggest they give dairy a break, seem to get downright angry? It’s because milk creates an actual physiological dependency in those who consume it regularly. Milk addiction is real. Casomorphins are protein fragments, derived from the digestion of the milk protein, Casein. Casomorphins are a lot like morphine! Because casein is most concentrated in cheese, it has the most opiate-like effects. So, if you’re finding it difficult to give up dairy, or if the thought if giving it up leaves you feeling anxious, sad, or aggravated, now you know why.
4.) PUSS The FDA allows a certain amount of cow blood and puss in your milk. They of course say it’s safe and sanitary, as they did in response to the direct question on this web site. Puss is made up of white blood cells that gather in response to infection. Mastitis, or infected udders, is common among dairy cows. To me, that’s just gross. Yes, it’s just an emotional response, and puss may not do you any harm, but still. Ew.
5.) I’VE BEEN TO A DAIRY FARM. Have you? Now, by the shear weight of the amount of beef consumed in the U.S., I know that most Americans don’t give a damn about cows. But if you care about ethics and animal welfare, visit a dairy farm. You’ll see an enslaved group of animals, being forced to reproduce so they can keep up their milk supply, standing in their own excrement, attached for hours at a time to sucking apparatus that causes their nipples to become sore, inflamed and often infected. As a breastfeeding mom the thought of it makes my boobs hurt. If you’ve ever encountered a breast pump, you’ll know what I mean. And these raped and exploited animals aren’t even put out to pasture for a peaceful retirement when their job is done. They are slaughtered around age four or five (the typical lifespan of a cow is 25 years). You want to know more about the miserable lives of dairy cows? Read this.
So, that’s why I think drinking cow’s milk is weird. And that’s not even touching on the environmental strain caused by the dairy industry, or the growth hormones that get into non-organic milk products!
And you know what? You don’t even need to replace cow’s milk with anything! Not soy milk or almond milk. Nothing. If you want a creamy beverage, hemp milk is the best because it’s packed with Omegas 3 and 6 (without the enzymes found in soy milk which can inhibit absorbtion of some minerals)! But keep in mind all these non-dairy beverages are processed foods that typically contain sugar, and some contain carrageenan which can be hard on the tummy. So consume in moderation!
My advice? Drink water! It’s really does a body good!
So have you ever tried going dairy free? Has cow’s milk been the source of any of your health problems?
More Articles About Why Drinking Cow’s Milk is Weird: