For the purposes of this article, unless otherwise stated, when we say milk we mean pasteurized, homogenized, conventional cow’s milk.
While I have yet to see an actual study that proves milk is good for you, there are countless studies out there that state that calcium is good for you and you can get it by drinking milk. This is true. Statements such as this sum it up perfectly: “Indeed, it is impossible in a diet based on conventional foods to obtain adequate intakes of calcium if milk and dairy products are not consumed.”1
They’re correct. But consider a conventional diet: microwaved dinners, cereal, and frozen vegetables at best. Maybe a salad made with pre-packaged iceberg lettuce, a few pieces of romaine lettuce, some shredded carrots and Hidden Valley ranch salad dressing when it’s supper time. With the soda most Americans drink, which leaches minerals including calcium from the body in order to keep the blood’s PH at 7.4, it’s no wonder milk can do a body good. So does this mean milk is good for you?
Most alternative health care practitioners and a growing number of conventional doctors say “no”. They know milk is a major source of allergen in people, especially children. Okay, so maybe a more realistic statement would be, “Milk is good for you, unless you are one of the millions who are allergic or intolerant.” On the other hand, milk allergy or not, on the holistic side of health, it’s not uncommon to have relief from other allergies when one stops consuming milk. In fact, most alternative health care practitioners will tell you before you do anything else, “Stop consuming dairy and refined sugars!”
There are so many studies. Some say milk may make you fat2, while others claim milk helps you lose weight. Some studies state that milk can help prevent heart disease3 while others claim the opposite is true4.
Many people advocate drinking raw milk, which is unpasteurized and non-homogenized. We at OLM are not fans of pasteurization or homogenization at all. And milk does contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals and very easily assimilable protein. Some argue that it is not at all easy for humans to absorb the calcium from cow’s milk, but others say that you can if it’s raw.
So what’s our take on the milk issue? Cows have four stomachs. Humans have one. Raw cow’s milk from a healthy cow is a much better choice than the homogenized and pasteurized varieties, but there is still some minor risk of food poisoning (though if the cow and the human ingesting the milk are healthy, the risk is extremely low). This is what confuses many. “Healthy” and “Safe” are not the same things. Raw milk, provided it is not tainted with e-coli, is healthier than pasteurized milk. But the pasteurization of milk does make it safer to consume. For health, raw sheep’s milk is a better choice, and raw human milk is the best. Isn’t it silly that the idea of human milk is disgusting to many people, yet cow’s milk is the norm? Come on, guys, would you rather suck on a cow’s udder, or… Well, you know.
So how do you get enough calcium? You may have heard us say this before: At least 80% of your diet should be raw fresh fruits and vegetables, mostly vegetables. And if you want to get more vitamin D, we recommend sunlight.
- Claims of Conventional Milk Health Risks Unjustified
- Milk, dairy fat, dietary calcium, and weight gain: a longitudinal study of adolescents
- Research: Milk drinkers may live longer lives
- Research on milk protein/heart disease link causes dispute
If you are an animal lover, there is also the animal cruelty issue to consider when evaluating milk as a part of your diet. The intensive dairy practices for milking cows for any type of milk significantly reduce the animal’s lifespan. If you’re considering giving up cow’s milk all together and need a little extra push, check out the video on the right and this website for some more information.
Organic or not, a dairy cow’s life is not a pretty picture.
As a child I was sick regularly. I had many allergies and other health issues. Eliminating milk made a huge difference in my quality of life. The last time I drank a glass of milk, years ago, it immediately made me feel terrible.