Saturday, February 21, 2009

Does Milk Really Do a Body Good?

Milk, which is defined as an opaque white liquid produced by the mammary glands of female mammals, has been the subject of deliberation among both conventional doctors and holistic healers alike. Mother’s milk serves the purpose of providing proper nutrients to newborns. However, throughout all mammalian species, once the young reach a certain level of development, mother’s milk is no longer needed. Nonetheless, humans cease drinking the milk of our own mothers and turn to the milk of other living creatures--all in the name of obtaining the daily recommended allowance of protein and calcium.

According to Harvard School of Public Health, “Calcium is important. But milk isn’t the only, or even best, source.Calcium and protein are easily obtained from many plant sources. For example; eating a cup of broccoli provides approximately the same amount of calcium as drinking a glass of milk. The experts at Harvard School of Public Health also report that, “Dairy products can be high in saturated fat as well as retinol (vitamin A), which at high levels can paradoxically weaken bones.”

It’s no wonder that there are so many questions around drinking a glass of milk. For one, there is the ever growing debate over the use of genetically engineered Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). Additionally, our good old public broadcasting system has been threatened to suppress pertinent information surrounding the negative findings on the use of growth hormones. This is a well known practice used among big businesses that are out to make money off of keeping the public uninformed.

What’s more is that the happy, healthy cows pictured on most dairy products are actually false advertisement. Most dairy cows are subject to horribly inhumane treatments. Not only are they packed into cramped, unsanitary quarters, but the baby calves are ripped from the mothers at a young age, so the milk can go to humans and not to the intended recipient--their own calves. Additionally, mama cows, which hardly see the natural light of day, are hooked up to massive machines that pump milk in a vigorous and rough manner, unlike the caring hands of most farmers. Often times, the combination of rBGH and over-pumping of milk leads to the formation of painful ulcers and sores full of puss, which form on the udders of the cows.

According to www.milksucks.com, “One culprit causing the hundreds of millions of pus cells in every liter of milk may be “bovine growth hormone,” the Monsanto chemical company’s growth hormone marketed as Posilac. Because cows are not built to produce vast amounts of milk, they are prone to a painful udder infection called mastitis. When they are milked, pus and bacteria from the infection flow right along with the milk. Researchers estimate that an ordinary glass of milk contains between one and seven drops of pus. This isn’t just disgusting—it can also be dangerous. Pus can contain paratuberculosis bacteria, which are believed to cause Crohn’s disease in human beings.” These ill conditions are treated with large does of antibiotics, which are proven to be found in the very milk intended for human consumption.

Sustainabletable.org states that, “Cows forced to produce unnaturally high quantities of milk can become malnourished because they lose more nutrients through their milk than they ingest in their feed15, and are therefore more susceptible to disease. In addition to artificial hormones, factory farms also use such methods as selective breeding, feeding dairy cows large amounts of grain (instead of grass), and exposing cows to longer periods of artificial light to make them produce more milk. Cows put under large amounts of stress do not live as long as cows that are not stressed.”

Furthermore, one of the largest producers of organic milk, Horizon Organic, was found by the USDA to be perpetrating fraud and violating organic standards. “This giant agribusiness enterprise, with majority ownership by Charlesbank, the investment arm of the Harvard endowment fund, was found to have illegally confined their cattle to feedlots, depriving them of fresh air and healthy grazing conditions as required by law,” said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst for the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute. In addition Kastel stated, “Aurora was also found to have brought in conventional cattle to their operation instead of milking cows that had been managed organically for their entire lives. This corporation was out and out cheating.” This is not to say that all farms practice horrific treatment of their livestock, so it is important to become an educated consumer by locating sources for buying locally and getting to know where your food products come from.

On another note, many vegetarians are unaware of the ingredient, rennet, which is used in the process of making cheese. Although there are now three types (animal, microbial, and vegetable) most rennet is still derived from animals. The process of creating rennet involves killing young calves, which usually end up as veal, and emptying the 4th stomach of its contents. This is done prior to drying and then mixing the stomach with water and whey. The resulting blend helps in the coagulation of milk to make cheese. What's more is that the "loose" guidelines of the FDA do not require the disclosure of which type of rennet is used in food products. Therefore, rennet is often disguised under the description of “enzymes” on cheese and dairy package labels, so most vegetarians are not informed of what they are eating.

There is continuing debate around the value of milk and dairy products. However, the benefits of eliminating these items from my own diet led me to experience increased feelings of well being and happiness, and brought an end to my frequent incidence of stomach ailments and the overproduction of mucous. Plus, I also benefit from the awareness that I no longer partake in practices known to cause unnecessary suffering to animals. Therefore, living dairy-free has become the perfect choice for my body and my soul. Maybe one day you might want to give it a try yourself........

3 comments:

kkryno said...

I'm so glad that I stumbled upon your blog!

I hope that you don't mind if I add you to my blog-roll. If so let me know; but I feel if I can just help you get the word out in whatever small way that I can...

Thank you for all of your diligence in the sharing of your knowledge.

:::sm::: said...

I love that you cite all of your references. I'm definitely going to come back later to read more. I am a recent vegan convert and am looking for support and knowledge.

jeanniy said...

i like your blog! your life is full of sunshine.hope to be your friend from china.