The irony that is milk

milkGot milk?

When we think of strong bones and tooth decay prevention…or when needing our daily calcium fix, or a soothing bedtime drink…..what comes to mind?

Milk, of course.

It’s our favorite bone-building, calcium-providing beverage.  Good old milk, the one thing we can rely on for strong bones and teeth, right?

The reality?  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Pasteurized milk is probably one of the worst things any adult can drink.  It is not beneficial to the human body at all.  Sure, it is filled with Vitamins A, D, and Calcium, but we lack the ability to absorb these nutrients, due to the decline in lactase – an enzyme that allows milk to digest– from about age 3 onwards.   Toddler complaints such as colic and skin rashes have been linked to cow’s milk consumption, a little-known fact that deserves wider recognition and acceptance, especially amongst mothers who habitually feed it to their infants.  The public are not solely to blame for the misinformation, as the hugely profitable dairy industry does a pretty fine job of promoting the health virtues of their hugely profitable beverage!

Need something to sooth your stomach?  Milk makes it worse!
Foods fall into one of two categories:  Acid-forming or Alkaline-forming in the body.  Most people would consider milk to be alkaline, but this is not so.  When milk enters the body, it becomes acidic.  Many people attempt to “soothe” an acid stomach by drinking milk, but milk actually makes matters worse!  If too many acid-forming foods are consumed over a prolonged period, the body will attempt to neutralize the acid by:

–  Robbing the bones of calcium.  Calcium has a neutralizing affect on acidic levels
–  Retaining water.  People who constantly feel bloated may want to check how many acid-forming foods they eat.  The body is a remarkable machine which will go to any lengths to maintain an acid/alkaline balance.

Osteoporosis
Consider this:  In countries where little to no dairy is eaten, osteoporosis is virtually unheard of!  But in the United States – the biggest dairy consumers in the world – osteoporosis cases amongst women are growing.   There are currently 40 million people either with – or at risk of – osteoporosis in America.   In addition (and this may shock you), despite the enormous quantities of dairy consumption, many American children are calcium-deficient, suffering from tooth decay from a very early age.   This, despite most American children drinking milk by the liter!   Something isn’t right with this picture.

Milk hampers the digestion of food
If milk is consumed with a meal it coagulates around food particles, preventing the food from digesting properly.   Over time, the undigested food particles get stored as toxins in the fat cells, or become sticky and clog the colon walls, making nutrient absorption impossible.  Milk and dairy products also create mucus in the body, which slows down the body’s metabolic processes.  In other words, frequent consumption of milk in this form can only lead to weight-gain and misery.

Raw Milk
Raw milk is by far the healthier choice, as it contains all the crucial enzymes destroyed in the pasteurization process.  Of course drinking raw milk is feasible if you can obtain it where you live, otherwise look at dairy alternatives such as almond, soy, or rice milk.  (Fortified almond milk, for instance, contains as much calcium as dairy milk, and is more easily assimilated by the body).

Pasteurization – is it really necessary in 2012?
The process of pasteurization destroys lactase, the enzyme required for the digestion of milk.   Raw goat’s milk is the best alternative…if you can find it.   Unfortunately, raw milk has an undeserved bad reputation as being unsafe and unhealthy.   As a result, people are constantly misled and misinformed, and therefore won’t offer raw milk any consideration.  In fact it is filled with beneficial bacteria that facilitate a healthy gut in humans…unlike chemically-treated pasteurized milk which destroys healthy intestinal flora in humans, wreaking havoc on the immune system.
Note:  Make sure that you buy raw milk from a reputable local farmer, as it can be unsafe if improperly handled.   It is most unfortunate that raw milk in general is so condemned by the media and food manufacturers, but the powerful the dairy industry is far too profitable, and too entwined politically with grants and subsidies, to give the raw milk industry the recognition and attention it deserves. *

Pasteurization was developed in the 1800’s to kill pathogens in milk and to prevent the spread of tuberculosis, scarlet fever, diptheria, and other diseases of that era.  However in the 21st century our improved standards of hygiene together with scientific research should make us ponder the necessity of continued pasteurization.  After all, humans consumed raw milk for thousands of years prior to the advent of pasteurization, and given the connection between pasteurized milk and modern diseases and ailments, it really does beg the question.

The skim milk folly
I have some more bad news, sorry!
Skim milk might actually worse for you than whole milk.  Whole milk contains cream, which steadies the blood sugar levels, and is thus the healthier option.  Skim milk is quite literally skimmed of all its goodness, and actually raises blood sugar levels as it has more lactose per serving.
Diabetics, take note:  If you must drink milk, full cream is obviously better than skim for this reason.

The bottom line:  Pasteurized milk is acid-forming in the body, causing a breakdown of calcium.  It is indigestible by the human stomach, so the calcium and vitamins remain unabsorbed.  Raw, organic milk from grass-fed cows (or goats) is the best choice.  Milk should never be drunk with food, as it inhibits digestion.   Milk is a food and should thus be consumed alone.

What milk cows eat, we eat
The cheap supermarket milk on virtually every supermarket shelf in the Western world is from corn-fed cows.

Why corn, and why is this relevant?

Because corn fattens animals up a lot quicker than grass!   Keeping 20 cows in CAFO’s (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) is a lot more lucrative for a dairy farmer than having 20 cows spread over acres of pasture.  It all comes down to profit, of course.
Cows in CAFO’s are prone to a multitude of diseases, such as E-Coli, Mad Cow Disease, and other bovine miseries that manifest when cattle are kept in abnormal surroundings whilst fed unnatural food.  In contrast to their grass-fed counterparts, corn-fed cows release methane gas into the atmosphere, poisoning the air supply.  Man’s over-manipulated dairy products are manufactured to feed a massive, growing global population with very little consideration for our health.  Gone are the days when mainstream dairy products were naturally sourced and fresh.

Consider this:  Keeping continuously pregnant cows disease-free in such close quarters, whilst feeding them fattening, unnatural corn requires a lot of chemical exploitation.  Large quantities of bovine growth hormones, sex hormones, anti-fungal drugs, antibiotics, and steroid hormones are injected into these poor animals on a continual basis.  And who pays the price by consuming all of this?  Humans do.  We are, after all, at the top of the food chain.

Milk alternatives
There are plenty of dairy alternatives available that provide as much calcium and vitamins as dairy milk.  In addition, one can avoid all the side-effects that drinking milk creates: bloating, constipation, allergies, excess mucus, allergies, wrecked immune systems, etc.
The dairy industry constantly bombards us with advertising propaganda about how desperately we need more calcium.  The truth is, an average sized human adult can eat a handful of raw almonds every day and never be calcium deficient, or in need of supplements.
The best sources of calcium are found in raw almonds, salmon, freshly squeezed orange juice, and broccoli.   These four foods are also better digested and assimilated by the body.   Each of them – with exception of the salmon – is an alkaline-forming food.  Alkaline-forming foods should make up at least 60% of your daily intake.

So the next time you find yourself in the dairy isle at your local supermarket staring at pasteurized milk, please take a moment to consider the journey that the beverage took from factory farm to supermarket shelf, and whether it really deserves to be a part of your healthy lifestyle.

Many thanks for reading, and best of health to you.

* For more info on the dairy industry scandal, please visit this excellent online resource: www.realmilk.com

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About fithealthyfab

Yoga, Home Detox programs, nutritional advice
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