Milk: Does it really do a body good?
Let’s consider milk for a moment. I know, we all think of the advertisements with some celebrity wearing a milk mustache. Yah, yah, whatever. It’s an ad, it takes up space. But, what does it really say about milk? I mean, really. Just because ‘insert famous celebrity here’ allegedly drinks milk, we’re supposed to too? Has that celebrity somehow become the authority on milk? No. It’s just a gimmick to make you think that because they drink milk, everyone should. Blah blah blah. It’s all rhetoric.
What exactly is milk?
Milk is an infant food. It was designed for unweened babies to help them grow. After all, babies cannot eat solid food right away. So, milk is designed as an interim food until the baby reaches the point where it can be weened from milk and eat solid food. To prove this point, female animals and human women only lactate (produce milk) for a short period of time after pregnancy to feed the baby and aid its growth. How does milk aid a baby’s growth? With hormones.
So, what about cow milk, that’s ok right? Wrong. Humans are the only known animal that intentionally drink the milk from other animal species. Milk is specifically designed for growing babies. I’ll repeat that. Milk is a food designed for growing babies, not adults. As such, it contains proteins and sugars, like most foods, but it also contains hormones to help the baby grow (hormones that the baby may not yet be producing) it also contains additional ingredients that help the baby’s immune system grow. So, cow milk contains cow hormones to help calves grow. These hormones were not designed for the human body. Yet, the milk and dairy industry would have us believe that these products are ‘good’ for the human body. How can they be? They contain hormones designed for calves. So, unless humans have somehow become cows, cow milk isn’t designed for human consumption. Let alone adult human consumption.
As I stated, milk is a food designed for infants. It is not designed nor is it necessary for adults. After we’ve been weened from milk, we should eat solid foods for nutrition. For example, would any human today consider drinking female breast milk as an adult? Granted, there are probably a few people who would (and do), but most people are likely repulsed by that thought. So, why is it that no one is repulsed by the thought of drinking cow or goat milk? I mean, these aren’t even the same species as humans. Milk from human mothers is at least designed for human consumption where cow and goat milk are not. Human breast milk has the necessary nutrients for human infants and contains the proper human hormones to stimulate growth in a human infant. So, this type of milk is designed for human consumption. Yet, you don’t find the dairy industry milking lactating human mothers for cartons of milk. No, instead we exploit the infant food from other animals.
Cows and Goats
In order for any animal to give milk, it must be kept pregnant (or at least, given hormones so the animal’s body thinks that it’s pregnant). The hormones in the pregnancy tell the animal’s body to produce milk. So, whenever you buy cow’s milk, this milk is obviously from a cow who’s pregnant. This also means there is a measure of growth hormones in the milk itself. These are natural hormones that exist in the milk to aid growth of the calves. So, milk at the store also contains these hormones. So, even if ‘organic’ milk claims to be rBGH free, the milk still contains calve hormones that naturally occur to help calves grow. Because these hormones do not aid in human growth, they are unnecessary for (and possibly harmful to) the human body.
What are hormones? They are lock and key molecules that stimulate some specific part of an animal (or human). For example, Human Growth Hormone (HGH) stimulates cellular growth in humans. Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH) stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin in the presence of UV. These are but two hormones that drive specific body functions. Milk contains growth hormones necessary to help babies grow. So, feeding an infant cow milk instead of human milk, overlooking casein and other potential allergens, may not have the appropriate lock and key effect on a human child. So, a human baby fed cow milk instead of human milk might not grow properly in the same way as a human breast milk fed baby.
Milk does a body good?
Considering that milk is an infant food and the fact that it contains hormones to stimulate growth, adults don’t need these. Adult human bodies produce their own hormones in the necessary levels. Consider that cow hormones might, in fact, interfere with the absorption of human hormones by fitting the keyhole of human receptors. But, instead of producing the necessary stimulation to do what’s necessary in a human, it might do nothing at all. So, this bovine hormone key blocks the lock from human hormone keys and prevents the human hormone from functioning. That’s at least one potential scenario with cow hormones. It has also been theorized that these hormones may even be responsible for interfering with the functioning of the pancreas eyelet cells that produce insulin. The human body produces insulin to counter blood sugar levels. However, drinking cow milk could introduce bovine hormones that key into these locks in the pancreas and interfere with the workings of the human hormone to stimulate insulin production. This interference could result in lower or less production of insulin than is necessary for proper bodily functions. This could then leave higher blood sugar levels leading to diabetes. It might further produce altered insulin that’s ineffective at reducing blood glucose levels. There are any number of ways that bovine hormones could interfere with human body functions. So, with that in mind, it’s quite possible that milk is at least partially responsible for diabetes. Drink enough milk often enough with enough hormones and it’s possible.
Other dairy products
Milk is only part of the problem here. Cheese and other dairy products made from milk are just as problematic. For example, cheese requires gallons of milk to produce a much smaller amount of cheese. The reason is that the milk solids separate from the whey and leave the solid cheese. Because the whey liquid is pulled out, the cheese condenses into a smaller more compact space. Because cheese is, then, concentrated, so are any hormones present in the cheese. Again, milk is an infant food. Thus, it follows that because cheese is made from an infant food, it is also and still an infant food. I know this may seem contrary, but think about it for about 2 minutes logically and you will come to this same realization.
This issue exists with yogurt, kefir, butter, cream and cottage cheese (to name a few). Anything that is made from milk (and specifically cow or goat milk) is still a problematic food.
Some advertisements claim that milk is the perfect food. Yes, it’s perfect… perfect for babies. They need this formula to help them grow. It is not perfect for adults. Adults need solid food to survive. After infancy, we need to give up milk. That’s why the mother stops producing milk. But, humans have used their knowledge and engineering skills to take the cow and keep her continually pregnant so that she’ll give off milk. Because cows produce a lot of milk, it seemed a no brainer. I’m not sure, though, who first thought up the idea of adult humans drinking cow milk or why. But, someone did and here we are today. We have an industry that is based solely on stocking grocery store shelves with something we should have long given up past infancy.
If you are concerned about health issues, you might want to consider giving up dairy products. Above and beyond the hormone issues that can interfere with the adult body, there are also allergy issues because of casein (among other ingredients). Giving up milk and milk products may help you in your own personal health goals. Certainly, the two primary substances in milk that the industry harps on is calcium and vitamin D. You can get the same amount or more calcium from eating green vegetables such as Broccoli, Spinach, Collard Greens and even Kelp (seaweed). You can get vitamin D from sunlight. There are also questions about how bio-available both the calcium and vitamin D are within milk.
If not cow or goat milk, what alternatives are there? There are several. Those that come to mind include soy milk, coconut milk and almond milk. I’ve tried all three and of the three I prefer almond milk for flavor and consistency. It doesn’t really taste a whole lot like cow milk, but it’s still creamy enough that for baking or cereal, it works fine. Since these milks are produced from plant products rather than other animals, it won’t contain stray animal hormones… especially not related to growing babies. As far as I know, though, you may not be able to produce cheeses from any of these milks. Although, in the process of producing almond milk, the leftovers can be turned into an almond cheese and soy produces tofu.
Are these alternatives healthier than cow milk? Well, clearly, they don’t contain unnecessary animal hormones. So, from that point of view, they probably are healthier for the human body. Overall, it’s still a processed and concentrated product. The human body really does better when foods are eaten in the proportions and concentrations found in nature instead of being condensed into highly concentrated versions.
Health Issues, let’s start with milk!
While animal milk cannot be blamed on every illness out there, no one seems to point fingers at the dairy industry at all. In fact, way too many people tout the benefits of milk and few are willing to say anything negative. We are all so ready to blame soft drink, hamburger and potato chip manufacturers for society’s ills, but what about all of the alleged food staples? Why should these foods be allowed a free ticket from health reviews? They shouldn’t. Clearly, our food sources need to be examined thoroughly from top to bottom. Yes, these examinations need to not only include potato chips, hamburgers, fries and soda, but it also needs to include eggs, cheese, dairy and also processed and canned foods.
We’ve all heard the adage, “You are what you eat” and this phrase is as true as it always was. This adage also should and does include those foods we have always considered healthy and beneficial. We need to rethink foods in a more intelligent way. Unfortunately, we have agencies like the FDA, USDA and FTC that are there to help subsidize big agro-business. After all, we can’t have those farmers out of business now can we? It’s always more important to keep business humming along than help keep people healthy, or is it?