Humans Shouldn’t Drink Cow’s Milk.

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 10
Hearts 0.0
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
0 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.

“Dairy is nature’s perfect food–but only if you’re a calf.”

~ Dr. Mark Hyman

I stopped drinking cow’s milk almost ten years ago.

I can’t remember why exactly I decided to except that I was desperate to alleviate the many health-related ailments I’d developed by my late teens.

What I do remember is that after eliminating dairy from my diet I felt better – physically and mentally – than I ever had in my life.  My digestive system started working properly; my skin cleared; I could concentrate like never before; I felt less depressed; I had more energy; I stopped getting carsick and plane-sick.  The list goes on.  Since then, I’ve continued avoiding dairy with the belief that it must be bad for us.

Before I’d discovered the ill effects of dairy, a British woman once told me (rather passionately) that humans shouldn’t drink cow’s milk.  She pointed out that human babies drink human milk for the first few years of their lives; calves drink cow’s milk until they can fend for themselves; but adult humans do not drink human milk, and adult cows do not drink cow’s milk.  So why, she asked, do adult humans drink cow’s milk?  Further, why are humans the only animals that not only drink milk in adulthood but another animal’s milk altogether?

I remember being angry with this woman at the suggestion that we shouldn’t drink milk.  I had grown up in Texas eating lots of dairy – macaroni and cheese, cheeseburgers, buttermilk biscuits, Blue Bell ice cream.  Not eating dairy seemed anti-America, anti-family, anti-everything familiar to me.

And no wonder.  My whole life, I had learned about the food pyramid, which featured dairy as a significant component; I had seen television commercials promoting milk as a staple of health.

The American Dairy Industry funded both, successfully propagating the cow’s milk-is-healthy myth that is still alive today.

“Milk builds strong bones,” is one of the most popular misconceptions the American Dairy Industry led us to believe.  The truth is exactly the opposite.  As Dr. Walter Willet, the Nutrition chairman of Harvard School of Public Health, explains:

Interestingly, many long-term studies have now examined milk consumption in relation to risk of fractures.  With remarkable consistency, these studies do not show reduction in fractures with high dairy product consumption.  The hype about milk is basically an effective marketing campaign by the American Dairy industry. [Scientific American, Jan. 2003.]

In fact, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asked the USDA to look into the claims of the milk advertisements, and they came to some of the following conclusions:

• There’s no evidence that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis — in fact, the animal protein it contains may cause bone loss.
• Dairy may be linked to prostate cancer.
• Dairy is full of saturated fat and is linked to heart disease.
• Dairy causes digestive problems for the 75% of the world’s population (75% of the world’s population does not have the proper enzyme to digest milk.)
• Dairy aggravates irritable bowel syndrome.

Dairy can lead to even more health problems, including:

acne, allergies, anemia, arthritis, colic, cramps, diabetes, diarrhea, ear infections, heart disease, gastrointestinal bleeding, sinusitis, skin rashes, increased frequency of colds and flu, osteoporosis, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and possibly even lung cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.

As an alternative, many people are now eating raw milk, since it eliminates some of dairy’s health risks (pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and the effects of homogenization and pasteurization.)  But according to Mark Hyman, M.D., most of dairy’s health risks remain in raw milk also.

The truth is, we can get as much calcium as we need from grains and vegetables.  So if dairy has this many health-risks, (and I haven’t even mentioned the ill-treatment of dairy cows), why does it continue to be a huge part of our diet?

I, for one, thought that I would never be able to give up milk products.  I loved them too much.  But now that I have, I honestly don’t miss them.  For me, the benefit of feeling good, physically and mentally, outweighs the temporary pleasure of eating dairy.  (As one of the thirty-seven practices of a bodhisattva goes: “Sense pleasures and desirable things are like salt water. The more one tastes them, the more one’s thirst increases.”) And this is coming from a once-long-time doughnut addict and cheeseburger connoisseur.  Embarrassing, but true.

All of this said, the point of this article isn’t to support a black-and-white point of view about the wrongs of dairy consumption.  For the small percentage of people who can tolerate dairy, eating organic products from responsible sources is best.

In fact, I recently started eating (organic) butter again after learning from a Mark Bittman video that butter is mostly fat, containing trace amounts of lactose (.1% to be specific.)  As far as I can tell, butter has no ill effects on me.  So I have continued to eat it on occasion, despite my opposition to dairy consumption in general.

For more information about the ills of dairy, I recommend reading Mark Hyman’s extensive article from The Huffington Post titled, “Dairy: 6 Reasons You Should Avoid It at All Costs or Why Following the USDA Food Pyramid Guidelines is Bad for Your Health.” At the end of his article, Hyman suggests going dairy-free for two weeks.  If you haven’t already, try it, and see if you notice a difference.

Mark Hyman, M.D., discussing the health risks of dairy:

Excerpts from his excellent Huffintgon Post article:

The Truth about Dairy

According to Dr. Willett, who has done many studies and reviewed the research on this topic, there are many reasons to pass up milk, including:

1. Milk doesn’t reduce fractures. Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50 percent!

2. Less dairy, better bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.

3. Calcium isn’t as bone-protective as we thought. Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk. Vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures.

4. Calcium may raise cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent. Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) — a known cancer promoter.

5. Calcium has benefits that dairy doesn’t. Calcium supplements, but not dairy products, may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

6. Not everyone can stomach dairy. About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products — a problem called lactose intolerance.

So here is my advice for dealing with dairy.

6 Tips for Dealing with Dairy

• Take your Cow for a Walk. It will do you much more good than drinking milk.

• Don’t rely on dairy for healthy bones. If you want healthy bones, get plenty of exercise and supplement with 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily.

• Get your calcium from food. These include dark green leafy vegetables, sesame tahini, sea vegetables, and sardines or salmon with the bones.

• Try giving up all dairy. That means eliminate milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream for two weeks and see if you feel better. You should notice improvements with your sinuses, post-nasal drip, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, energy, and weight. Then start eating dairy again and see how you feel. If you feel worse, you should try to give it up for life.

• If you can tolerate dairy, use only raw, organic dairy products. I suggest focusing on fermented products like unsweetened yogurt and kefir, occasionally.

• If you have to feed your child formula from milk, don’t worry. The milk in infant formula is hydrolyzed or broken down and easier to digest (although it can still cause allergies). Once your child is a year old, switch him or her to real food and almond milk.


~ JM

Image: Rikki’sRefuge/Flickr

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 10
Hearts 0.0
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
0 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.

Read The Best Articles of December
You voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares.

elephant journal

Elephant Journal is a independent, mission-driven communiuty. Dedicated to “bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society, we’re about anything that helps us to live a good life that’s also good for others, and our planet.

Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>>

Elephant’s been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter’s Shorty Awards for #green content…twice. >>>

Get involved:
> Get our curated online magazine, free e-newsletter.
> Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook.
> Write: send article or query.
> Advertise.
> Become an Elephant:

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

anonymous Jun 1, 2015 4:03am

Cow milk is always beneficial for human being. It makes our bone stronger, it promote sleep and weight loss, it contain potassium which reduce the risk of heart disease. It promote muscle movement, learning process etc.

anonymous Feb 13, 2015 6:12am

What about the billions, yes billions of folks in the third world who rely upon one cow or one goat for a family’s survival? We evolved relying on other animals for survival.

anonymous May 14, 2014 2:21am

As a child at school we were made to drink a bottle of milk each day. I hated it! One day I was made to drink a bottle of milk that had soured having stood in the sunshine all morning. I threw up. I have never liked milk since but 35 years ago cows milk is all we were brought up with and made to believe that's where our calcium came from. To this day I have never liked milk, only having a small amount in tea. Last year I opted to change from semi skim to using Almond, Rice and Coconut Milk and haven't looked back since.

I didn't realise there was coconut ice cream. Will try and find this.

Fab article I wish everyone would read.

anonymous Dec 30, 2013 12:08pm

This article is sorely lacking peer review and citations to actual studies. Editorials and accounts from a minority to not equate to scientific consensus. Shame on elephant for allowing pseudoscientific rhetoric to be published.

anonymous Aug 2, 2013 6:50am

We are the only species on earth who continues to drink the breast milk of another species. Why don’t we just take a squirt of human breast milk in our coffee every morning? As a race, we focus way too much in food!! I find that eating real foods is most natural. I eat cheese on occasion and suffer for days from it. I have been veg for 11 years and use plain almond milk and never have a single issue. With osteoporosis running in my family, my dr said staying away from dairy is the best thing I can do. I also think people sometime are afraid to do what different. So many people have known nothing but cows milk their whole lives do the thought of it not being as healthy or switching to another milk is daunting. Our bodies are ours, what we choose to do is also ours, this is just my opinion.

anonymous Jun 4, 2013 2:21pm

I follow this simple rule…Dairy is not part of my nutritional diet, meaning I don't use it to get my vitamins. I eat cheese and Ice cream sparingly and as a treat…kind of like chocolate…lol

anonymous Jun 4, 2013 1:34pm

From an Ayurvedic perspective, milk is medicinal. Much of the issue with milk is it is taken cold and or as extra gunk in it. However, if you took raw or organic pasteurized milk and brought it to a light boil, the hard to digest proteins are broken down and milk can be taken. Also, milk nourishes all your tissues in 24 hours unlike a meal that takes about 28 days to work its way to the cellular level. It's a great way to deliver spices into the body. And it is very grounding and can help improve ones sleep. I had stopped drinking milk for years but recently experimented with it for my Ayurvedic studies. I use organic and local. I don't drink copious amounts. No extra mucous, no getting sick.

anonymous Apr 18, 2013 6:35am

Something compelled people to try milk and that something was called hunger and survivial. Granted, it seems weird, especially on its industrial scale, but people at one time probably were desperate to find some nutrition saw milk as a possible food source and it seemed to work for many. Perhaps in this day and age of abundance and longer life spans, we have a luxury that our ancestors did not. We can analyze and pick and choose what we eat. BTW–I have met many a long lived person who was raised on milk and dairy and continued drinking milk and eating ice-cream into their eighties and nineties. I guess for some, drinking milk is fine, especialy if they have the enzymes and the digestive bacteria to handle it. Others, may not have that digestive ecosystem, so cannot digest it. As the saying goes, one size does not fit all!

anonymous Mar 7, 2013 9:12am

[…] advertisers are doing their job—from what most believe or are told to believe, milk/dairy is essential for the betterment of our public’s health. It’s as common as the old adage, an apple a […]

anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:30am

Goat milk is considerably more healthful (less unhealthful) that cow's milk. Get it raw, if you can (most likely need to purchase a 'goat share').

Also worth noting: while cow's milk is acidic in the body (which results in leaching of calcium carbonate – a base – from bones, thus weakening them), goat milk is in fact alkaline in the body, and so helps to maintain a healthful pH balance.

I like the self-experimentation suggestion in this essay – spend a month off of all dairy to clear your system. If you do decide to reintroduce dairy, try raw goat's milk first (many or most folks who have trouble with cow's milk can digest goat's milk).

A couple of pieces to consider on the question of 'raw' vs 'pasteurized':

anonymous Sep 8, 2012 10:16pm

Cow's milk is for cow babies, the word "milk" is so profound and how did it get to relate to only cows anyway , the "milk" of human kindness now includes almond, hemp, rice, soy, sunflower, oat milk. Whatever your philosophy or dietary preferences or limitations our planet cannot afford to keep all these cows, wake up and smell the methane, we will all have to go to a plant based diet soon enough. We help animals in India and there are 400 million vegetarians there but that is still a lot of cow's milk and India's cows are not treated well anymore, the land of Ahimsa is no more

anonymous Jul 9, 2012 2:57pm

Here is a NON-BIAS, factual and informative article about dairy.. BOTH it’s pros and it’s cons!! And also real percentages of people effected my lactose intolerance.

Please people.. Make your decisions off of this:

It’s much more informative than this ladies opinion of the matter!

anonymous Jul 9, 2012 11:33am

"Less dairy, better bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis."

you think this is maybe because those people have less bad shit they put in their bodies?? like McDonalds, and any processed foods??? this cant be concluded JUST from milk!!

4. Calcium may raise cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent. Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) — a known cancer promoter.
5. Calcium has benefits that dairy doesn’t. Calcium supplements, but not dairy products, may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

GAH!! Bitch you're all kinds of crazy!!

anonymous Jul 9, 2012 11:25am

so… what about those who are allergic to raw fruits and veggies?? if milk is bad, and I cant eat leafy greens and such… am I stuck with meat only??…

this is bull!! lol to each their own. plenty of people live healthy lives eating all kinds of different food, but I have a hard time believing that the ONLY variable you changed in your diet was dairy and all of a sudden you dont get car sick, and your face cleared up, etc… just saying!!

I have irritable bowel syndrome, and yogurt helps me! I also have horrible stomach and gal bladder pains that doctors can not figure out, but milk helps!! it has its advantages! I dont think you should be going around telling people its bad just because YOU feel better without it!

anonymous Apr 17, 2011 8:56pm

Because thy take the baby away from the mother and make veal from it, means it just not right or kind. Milk is mucus with blood in it ,It is not vegetarian

    anonymous Sep 9, 2012 9:33am

    I'm having a hard time understanding this reply. If milk is mucus with blood in it, would you suggest not breastfeeding infants, despite the abundant evidence of it's immense benefits? Sorry, but this response seems a little incoherent to me…

      anonymous Jul 16, 2013 6:48am

      I agree with oz_. This is a ridiculous claim. How were you feed as an infant? You were either fed from human milk or cow milk, with it's protein broken down and hydrolyzed into infant formula. Shame on your lack of vegetarianism in infancy (sense my total sarcasm.)

    anonymous Dec 16, 2014 11:41am

    This is what the vegan heard wants you to believe. We have very close friends who run a dairy farm, and they most certainly do not rip the baby from the mother and sell it for veal. They either raise the calves themselves after they are done nursing, or sell them to other local dairy farms.

    The more you milk a cow, the more milk it makes…just like humans. There is enough for both the calf and humans. Of course, this is a small time dairy farm…but you cannot assume that all dairy farms do that.

anonymous Mar 31, 2011 3:09pm

[…] male athletes, but partaking in this activity can assist in the prevention of diseases such as osteoporosis, prostate conditions, heart problems as well as impotence. Therefore, irrespective of your age or […]

anonymous Feb 15, 2011 12:43am

Love this article! So informative and so well written. I just wrote a little article supporting this:

anonymous Feb 4, 2011 12:52pm

[…] Dietary regimen […]

anonymous Jan 23, 2011 9:35pm

Oye, it's amazing how trained we are. I feed my 15 month old daughter organic cow's milk because I was led to believe she needs it. Also, she eats things sporadically, so I can't guarantee she'll get when she needs in other veggies, especially leafy greens. But everything you are saying makes perfect sense. I appreciate the good information.

anonymous Jan 17, 2011 2:51pm

[…] fair share of the stuff. So recently when Elephant Journal published an (awesome) article entitled “Humans Shouldn’t Drink Cow’s Milk,” I was surprised and intrigued. I was surprised because I was always told as a child that, since I […]

anonymous Jan 16, 2011 8:59am

Great article and a fresh reminder.

anonymous Jan 15, 2011 10:19pm

[…] more sociological questions arises, such as: Why is it that we don’t cringe at the thought of cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or even sheep’s milk, but the idea of human milk, which we are […]

anonymous Jan 13, 2011 12:01am

Im so glad I came across this article. I'm going to try and go without dairy and see how I do mentally and physically. I was amazed at how a lot of the issues I deal with were in this article. I believe that all things happen for a reason. I looked forward to starting my journey dairy free and to feeling better. Thanks so much for writing this article; its an eye opener for me.

anonymous Jan 4, 2011 12:29pm

Milking a cow doesn't hurt it. I am a vegetarian and I don't see any humanitarian reason to avoid milk or dairy. If you have an idiosyncratic response to dairy like the author, then I applaud anyone who can modify their diet to avoid dairy. But as someone who doesn't have any adverse reaction and who loves cheese, milk and butter, I do not plan to make any changes and don't see any connection between eating dairy and doing yoga.

anonymous Dec 30, 2010 7:01pm

If you want to investigate the other side of the debate (especially where raw milk is concerned as well as the dangers of processed soy) visit and if you want to find sources of raw milk go to
I began drinking raw milk a few years ago to help me recover from menopausal symptoms so severe I required surgery for fibroids, endometriosis, and ovarian cysts. I later attended Kripalu School of Ayurveda (and am now a certified consultant and yoga specialist) and learned that Ayurveda considers milk and ghee to be superior foods for boosting ojas and nourishing all dhatus. Many cultures have included milk and milk products from various species – buffalo, goat, horse, camel, sheep… if a mother cannot nurse her baby it's nice to have the possibility of making a similar food. If an adult needs added nutrition or a grounding food milk is wonderful (heat til foamy with some cardamom and nutmeg!). Ghee is a perfect anupana for various medicinal herbs and spices and is better for cooking than butter, which can burn.

What should be avoided (not just with milk but with any other food, including veggies) is highly processed, adulterated, and violently produced food – no genetic modification by unnatural means (normal crossing is fine…), no factory/industrial torture pens, no added poisons (like the hexane which is used to extract protein from soy), or clearcutting of forests and jungles to grow acres of soy or run millions of head of cattle.

What should be encouraged is the development of urban "farms" so inner cities can reap the benefits of healthy food, and raw milk and cheese from clean small dairies should be legal everywhere.

    anonymous Dec 16, 2014 11:38am

    We get raw milk when we can. We have friends who run a wonderful dairy farm, but it is not close. Their cows are loved and treated wonderfully…and I can attest to them LIKING it when they are milked. Their cows are their family! Also, it is a lie that they have to stay pregnant all the time…once they give birth, they can keep producing milk for a long time after the calf is done. As long as they keep milking, they will keep producing. I think it depends on the type of cow however, some cows naturally make more milk than others.

    They also don't rip the baby from the mother, they either raise the calf with all the cows, or they sell them to other local dairy farms.

anonymous Dec 30, 2010 5:49pm

Great article! Milk/dairy can be hard to avoid in today's Western world, but in my experience it has been well worth it!

anonymous Dec 30, 2010 5:23pm

Most people replace dairy with sugar-based "milks" that sound healthier but are often worse like soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, etc. I did this for 11 years as a vegetarian and found out I was allergic to soy which was causing stomach problems, fatigue, and contributing to me being underweight. Dairy has been a godsend for me. Just goes to show–nutrition is highly personal.

    anonymous Sep 9, 2012 2:07pm

    Agreed Duff, when it comes to soy and the idiosyncratic nature of diet and health!

    That said, not finding myself wholly in agreement with your statement about almond milk and other milk substitutes. I'm under the impression that – aside from soy milk – these are pretty safe and healthful. You say 'sugar-based' milks but plain almond milk, for example, contains 0g sugar. Same goes for rice milk. Even the substitutes that have sugar – like hemp and coconut milks – have less sugar by far than cow's milk. Soy milk is the only one I would consider 'worse' than cow's milk, health-wise.

      anonymous Dec 16, 2014 11:32am

      Almond milk contains carrageenan, which is believed to cause tummy issues, lecithin & gellan gum. They also have to add calcium and sugar (if you're drinking the sweet kind). Altogether, almond milk is far more processed than organic whole milk, and has many additives that aren't good for people…especially if they are drinking the sweeter varieties. Unless you make your own almond milk at home, it's not a good alternative. Also, homemade almond milk does not contain nearly as many vitamins. It's better to eat a handful of raw almonds if you want any nutrition at all from these wonderful nuts.

Benjamin Riggs Dec 29, 2010 9:29pm

Jules Mack… This was an informative post…
If everyone is lactose intolerant, I am lactose repellent! But that doesn't seem to stop me. I haven't had a glass of milk in years, but cheese and ice cream… Wait not scratch that Blue Bell ice cream (I live in Louisiana, where Blue Bell is also what it is all about!) It does seem pretty common sense though to say, that a cows milk was not engineered by evolution for anyone other than a calf! And definitely not a human…

anonymous Dec 29, 2010 2:13pm

Milk is a beautiful product. I am a fourth generation dairy farmer, with my family farming for generations before that in Eastern Europe. Milk, cheese, yogurt, creams, butter have been a part of my family's diet for generations, with numerous family members living into their late 90's, almost 100. My family has had the same herd of cows descended from the cows my family purchased during the Great Depression. Here in my area, the cattle graze on extensive grasslands, converting the grass into milk that is sent primarily to New York City for fluid consumption. Studies in NY are showing a positive correlation between grazing and biodiversity. As dairy farms fall here, they are replaced with large lot subdivisions where the people mow out the beautiful pastures into huge lawns and smash the wild life habitats. I am not telling people to stuff themselves, but a diet with dairy products is healthful and a far cry better than the super processed foods that most Americans are eating. I wish that your readers could share the beauty I have seen in cattle and their gift of milk.

    anonymous Jan 5, 2011 10:21am

    I'm not sure that something which has been taken can be considered a "gift".

      anonymous Apr 22, 2014 11:49am

      There's no reason to attack the woman. Small dairy farms and industry farms are worlds apart. My family used to raise animals, and our cows didn't mind being milked at all. At times they seemed to enjoy it. They were happy and healthy, and there's nothing wrong with that kind of relationship with that kind of animal. Same as a pet dog who gives the gift of protection and companionship.

    anonymous Dec 30, 2013 10:28am

    really the gift of milk………….but not for who it is intended …….the calves are ripped away from the mothers……really a gift….i don't think so……….however i understand that you would think so being a farmer.

anonymous Dec 29, 2010 9:52am

I also understand that this article is more health related and could be valuable to a person's health. As a buddhist, shall I be so discriminatiing of my diet ?, this is good this is bad? I do not live my life that way and I do not think,though I am not completely sure, that the Buddha ate that way. I eat as I eat. The spirit in which these dietary "enlightened" eating blogs are written really are all the same…In Dylan's "Idiot Wind" …'you're an idiot babe …its a wonder we can even feed ourselves…" I for one do not ascribe to a politically correct diet for correctness sake…We place too much importance in the outer manifestations and our perception that they in fact are so important already in our daily lives but then we need to write and discuss them in adnauseum? I have lived with Yuroks on the Klamath river for years and ate salmon, deer, pork, beef, acorns,milk. I have lived with Tibetansand ate butter tea, yogurt, cheese, and Milk. It just so happens that the people that I respect the most and actually displayed an authentic wisdom ate what was placed in front of them without our "enlightened PC food" issues.

    anonymous Dec 29, 2010 9:56am

    Again..Jules…I understand the value in your health aspect in this article. Maybe my sounding off is a bit misplaced in regard to your thesis. But this is what came to mind.

    anonymous Dec 29, 2010 12:20pm

    Thanks for this response. Very interesting. No, I wasn't coming at this from a Buddhist perspective. But it's an interesting topic. I've found that the more I practice, the more sensitive I become to my body and what works and what doesn't. Actually, I've heard that many Tibetan monks don't eat garlic and onions in monasteries because of the effect it has on them physically and mentally. And I know their diets are based largely on what's available to them — it's difficult to grow vegetables in Tibet but there is a lot of milk and dairy available. That said, I believe in mind over matter, and when the mind is strong and settled, we can probably tolerate much more in our bodies without problems.

    But ultimately, I believe in listening to your own body and doing what feels best. When I feel good physically, I'm much better able to take care of myself and help others — which seems Buddhist. Then again, as you said, I was really just writing this from the perspective of health.

      anonymous Dec 30, 2010 8:28am

      You are right about food and meditation. The simpler the diet the better. The easiest to digest the better. But we that meditate know this from experience. I think that probably my comments regarding your article were meant really to say that our "enlightened selves" still don't know how to eat? That we need to be writing articles about PC food as much as we do? Are we concentrating on the right things in order to gain some kind of "ultimate health? So as I said, my comments are really about this subject as a whole…not to single your article out. This food topic can be so volitile politically and morally. It really is a waste of time. From my experience with those teachers I hold in great esteem…a discussion on food was rarely discussed. Particular practices do have food restrictions. usually not for the reasons we associate to them. It's interesting.

        anonymous Dec 16, 2014 11:12am

        My experience with eastern teachers is the same. In fact, many have outright said that diet is the least of our worries on this path.

anonymous Dec 29, 2010 9:51am

We are very preoccupied with eating, what we are eating, what we should not eat. When taking all of the articles and opinions as a whole on this subject of eating right…if we are buddhist…there is no such thing as "enlightened eating" …if this is the unspoken thesis in this or any food related article. I felt that because of your reference to the Thirty Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva it left the commentary wide open to Buddhist view.

anonymous Dec 29, 2010 8:01am

sorry almond Milk:)

anonymous Dec 29, 2010 8:00am

Alomd milk is great as well!

anonymous Dec 29, 2010 7:44am

love this because it's so true. Raw milk and Raw Cheese like they have in Europe contains enough live enzymes to help us digest without the terrible side effects of regular dairy. All in all, i stay away from most dairy (i indulge once in a while) and my health, weight and skin thank me for it. If I'm in the mood for some adult acne and a few extra pounds, i go back to dairy!

anonymous Dec 29, 2010 6:16am

Well, I must be among that 25% of the population who doesn't have any problems with milk. I don't have any of the health issues supposedely associated with it.

anonymous Dec 28, 2010 11:09pm

And this to boot.

anonymous Dec 28, 2010 9:39pm

Drink Almond Milk, eat coconut ice cream and SMILE b/c its great for you and the filter cows blood "MILK" can be saved for the calf who will be putting on hundreds of pounds with in the first year of life.

anonymous Dec 28, 2010 8:23pm

Imagine a bunch of us sitting in a field, under a cow, all crowding in, taking turns sucking away? Mother cow looking back in wonder, thinking, what the hell?

I try to forget that image, however, when eating ice cream.

It's an adaptable species that can suck the teats of another. And make it all work and seem natural.

anonymous Dec 28, 2010 4:00pm

This article reminds me of a past "scare" article saying phenylalanine (aspartame) was killing entire countries of people. This was eventually debunked. At one time, red meat was said to be killing people worldwide. It really does boil down to which marketing campaign you believe in – for or against. It's interesting, but difficult for me to know who's being more honest and what information is being suppressed. Most internet/magazine/TV articles only provide the information that helps lead most consumers in the desired direction. As far as milk goes, maybe we should ask the cows what they think.

    anonymous Dec 28, 2010 6:42pm

    Cows would probably say "stop keeping me pregnant my whole life"!

      anonymous Dec 30, 2010 5:30pm

      To me the real problem (i.e. the MORAL problem) with milk is industrialized factory farms which pretty much guarantee mistreatment and abuse of animals.

    anonymous Dec 28, 2010 6:42pm

    I tend to go with what makes me feel good. Not eating dairy makes me feel much better than eating dairy. But as I said, I have no problems with butter and eat it regularly. Many people can tolerate raw milk also, and I'm all for it if it works for them.

    I'm into your skepticism. I'm not a fan of fundamentalism or extremism in any direction. And I'm definitely into experiential testing before believing anything.

    As for the cows, I agree with above. If everyone was drinking raw milk from responsible sources, that'd be a different story.

anonymous Dec 28, 2010 3:23pm

Great article, Juliana. Important info for all…

anonymous Dec 28, 2010 7:59am

Can not drinking milk help clear up psoriasis?

    anonymous Dec 28, 2010 11:02am

    I've read that it can.

    anonymous Dec 28, 2010 8:36pm

    Vit D can, not milk. Where ever this person read it can they have bad info. Vit D about 5000 IU daily will help.

      anonymous Dec 28, 2010 9:34pm

      I was saying that *not* drinking milk helps clear psoriasis. You may have misread.

anonymous Dec 28, 2010 6:30am

Great article. I didn’t know the USDA has been so clear about the false claims of the American Dairy Assoc…hope your article can help raise more awareness!

anonymous Dec 28, 2010 12:41am

JoDee M: My bf constantly teases me because I tell him I am not a cow so I don't drink cow milk.

Valerie Mitchell: Ants 'milk' aphids. That's got to be the only example I can think of from the natural world where one animal continues to harvest the milk of another (except in times of desperation / for survival).

Great article!

    anonymous Apr 18, 2013 6:43am

    Ants actually harvest aphid excretions known as honeydew, which is produced after the aphids suck the juices out of plant leaves. Mosquitos harvest blood.

anonymous Dec 28, 2010 12:39am

Wonderful article!!!!! One minor comment because I've recently researched the topic for school… The second bullet should read "Dairy might be linked to prostate cancer" instead of "Dairy is linked to prostate cancer". The jury is still out on this issue; we have not conducted enough epidemiological studies to conclusively say it 'is' linked to prostate cancer. I recently did an exhaustive review of the studies that investigated this hypothesis and the findings have been mixed.. several found an association and several did not. The meta-analyses (studies that aggregate the results of multiple studies) on this topic are conflicting as well.

    anonymous Jan 5, 2011 11:56pm

    Have you read the China study? (
    The extensive list of peer-reviewed research that is behind the book can be found on the Cornell University website:

    That's a lot of research, but some not-too-shabby academic institutions…

    (aside: since reading the China Study, I haven't touched dairy, the link to cancer, and all disease, is too close for my comfort. Bonus, I haven't had a cold or flu in the years since I got it out of my diet …!)

anonymous Dec 27, 2010 11:34pm

What about goat or sheep milk ? ie; cheeses Are they not healthy for humans either?

    anonymous Dec 28, 2010 11:11am

    I've read that Goat and Sheep Milk are a little better than Cow's Milk because they are less likely to contain hormones and additives. Plus, Goat's Milk is more easily digestible because its proteins more closely resemble those of human milk. That said, both Goat and Sheep Milk are still hard on the body — they contain lactose, increase acidity in the body, and trigger mucus production, inflammation, and congestion — just like cow milk.

    anonymous Dec 28, 2010 11:16am

    Goats milk is closer to human milk. I have found it just as nice in certain circumstances e.g. Adding it to hot drinks. But nothing comes close to cow's milk for breakfast cereal. Rice milk is awesome though for museli but it's defo not for hot drinks.

    Never tried sheep's milk before. Being Scottish we eat most of the sheep (in it's own stomach no less) but she eps milk…I'll pass.

    But I think i need to take the 2 week challenge though of completely eliminating dairy from animals(currently in the middle of an IBS attack!!!!)

    Ironic thing though is my home town has a large employer in the dairy industry… Wiseman Dairies!!!

Marta Bergen Jun 26, 2018 5:05pm

I'm 59 years old. I stopped drinking milk when I was 37, just on a hunch. I'd been to several doctors to treat my incessant sinus and ear infections. They simply would not go away. I finally got them under control them with cortisone nasal spray and high doses of vitamin C, but I was still getting congestion and dizziness. I decided to do a food elimination trial, and started by eliminating milk. Bingo!! All the sinus problems disappeared. I was worried about "getting enough calcium" for my bones, so I took a bone test shortly after that. I had 85% bone density, a bit worrisome for a 37-year-old. I bought some calcium supplements but barely used them. I took another bone test when I was 50. I was VERY worried beforehand, since I was supposedly at high risk for osteoporosis: white, female, post-menopausal, light-boned, and fairly sedentary. My bone density was 95%! It had actually increased, with no changes to my habits except the elimination of milk. I started doing a lot of online, seat-of-the-pants research on milk, and was horrified. We've been sold a bill of goods by the dairy industry all these years. But whenever I mentioned this to people, they thought I was a lunatic or had an "allergy" to milk, and basically told me to shut up. But I won't. The bone-building drugs they prescribe for osteoporosis are horrific; I would rather have the disease. I'm so angry at this society for allowing this to happen. I won't drink raw milk, either. It has more nutrition but higher risk of bacterial infection. We simply do NOT need this in our diets! The food pyramid is a lie. Somebody say it out loud.