Dairy products and milk have long been propagated as a source of goodness and essential for building strong, healthy bones and protecting against osteoporosis.
At the risk of people having a cow at me…. I have to get it out there: the notion that calcium absorption in the body is promoted by the consumption of dairy is utter garbage, to put it lightly. Cow’s milk and cow’s milk products* contain large amounts of the protein casein, which essentially is just too difficult for the human body to break down. Since it is so difficult for us to break down, it is an extremely acid-forming food, promoting sticky mucus and toxicity to build up in the body.
Commercial cow’s milk today is almost always pasteurized upon consumption (especially here in Australia), and therefore no longer contains its natural live enzymes that might have slightly helped it work its way through our digestive system.
When you stop and think about it, do you not find it utterly bizarre (and slightly grotesque) that we are the only species in existence that continues to consume milk after infancy, and another species’ milk at that?!
If you are concerned about calcium intake, consider this:
- Magnesium is needed in order for calcium to be absorbed in the body, rather than leached from the bones. Dairy products contain hardly any magnesium, while leafy greens contain both calcium and magnesium in optimal amounts for perfect calcium absorption.
- Despite the fact that Western developed nations consume so much dairy, osteoporosis is rife in these populations, while studies show that people living in countries such as Japan, China, Peru and Northern Africa all consume significantly lower quantities of calcium from dairy and report extremely low rates of osteoporosis.
If you love dairy products, consider goat and sheep milk products as viable alternatives, as the protein makeup of these milks are more similar to that of human milk and easier for us to digest. Many people who have had problems with ‘lactose intolerance’ when consuming cow’s milk products often find they have no problems when switching to these alternatives. Almond or other nut milks are even better. For calcium, the healthiest sources are by far leafy, green vegetables such as kale and swiss chard, so get stuck into them!
From a purely environmental standpoint, cattle farming for the dairy industry uses more irrigation water than any other industry in Australia, approximately 9 times more water from the Murray Darling Basin than the fruit and vegetable industries combined (from CSIRO Perfidy by Geoff Russell).
I feel very strongly about the dairy issue, particularly as cow’s milk is so widely recommended as a healthful food for growing children. To me, the misinformation that is so extensively circulated in regards to milk and dairy products is a critical reflection of the nutritional ignorance that propagates the Western world. Clearly, I’m fighting an uphill battle here against a hugely powerful multi-billion dollar industry.
*The exceptions to this are heavy cream and butter, which are not heavy in casein and therefore are much easier to break down and are fine to eat in small quantities.
If you’re still not ready to ditch the dairy, I highly recommend reading this amazing book…
Now, does anyone have a good nut or seed milk recipe? I just tried Casey Lorraine Thomas’ Cinnamon Spiced Pumpkin Seed Milk, which was absolutely dee-licious!!