February 14, 2011

We Take Their Milk And Their Babies!

From Moo to Boo; some things about milk you wish you never knew.

In the 80’s and 90’s the American Dairy Farmers brought us ‘Milk – It does a body good.’ These ads promoted that drinking milk could help with building strong arms, powerful legs and a broad chest. And, let’s not forget beautiful skin and that it’s good for our bones, good for our muscles and it’s fun! In particular, these ads portrayed youngsters confronted with adolescence and how milk was essential to growing up healthy, big and strong. Remember that little girl with the annoying voice, ‘I got news for your big brother, I’m drinking milk!’

And then in 1993, probably the most famous commodity brand campaign ever was introduced: Got Milk? From peanut butter, chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookie stuffed faces gasping for a drink of milk (remember the guy in hell?) to the present day faces of fame sporting a milk stash. Heck, even Batman did one! These ads claim that milk’s essential for protein and building muscles, and in one in particular that ‘drinking three glasses a day of low fat or fat free milk helps you look like a star.’ OK, perhaps if it does if you’re Rihanna, Tayler Swift, the Olsen twins, David Beckham, Tyra Banks or Beyonce. But, what if you’re not?

Is all the pro-milk propaganda onto something? Can it deliver healthy bones, strong muscles, yadda-yadda? Today we hear both ends of the spectrum from milk being a deadly poison to being the ultimate epitome of good health. So, what should we believe about something that is so heavily advertised and that has been quite a big part of nearly all our childhoods? I mean, who would poison Santa? Well, I say the only thing to do is a bit of investigating.

Here’s the stuff I found most intriguing and a little shocking.

75% of the world is lactose intolerant!

I read that 30-50 million Americans are lactose intolerant (and that 75% of the world is), meaning they lack an enzyme (lactase) used for digesting milk or milk products, so when they do consume, they get upset in the tummy, cramps or flatulence. These symptoms range in degree of severity from person to person. And, get this: pretty much all of us are born having this lactase enzyme. However, as we get older and become adults the levels of this enzyme drastically decline and/or shuts off completely leaving a good amount of adults lactose intolerant. Most don’t even know it!

A great source of calcium?

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, an estimated 44 million Americans a year suffer from osteoporosis and low bone mass, most diagnosed after they’ve broken a hip or another bone. Studies show that the countries with the highest consumption of milk have the highest amount of osteoporosis cases (like the United States, England and Sweden). A Harvard research study showed that women who drank at least one glass of milk a day had a 45% higher chance of hip fractures.

It’s important to know that we don’t just need Calcium for strong bones, but vitamin-C, D, K, magnesium and potassium and if you can’t get it from milk, well, why keep trying? There are definitely some alternatives. It’s something to think about!

What happens to baby cows?

Typically, this is what happens – when a female dairy cow, at a mere two years of age, is impregnated and when her calf is born it’s taken away from her within 24 hours (I don’t believe this process is much better even for organic milk!). So, the milk intended for her baby is instead taken, processed and shelved at your local supermarket for human consumption. After giving birth, six to nine weeks later she is again artificially impregnated and the cycle of giving birth and taking away her baby continues until she cannot yield anymore and not produce any more milk. She is then killed. The typical lifespan of a dairy cow is five years. If domesticated, they live to 20. The calves that are not slaughtered to be sold as by-products or used for other means are considered waste. Millions of calves are considered waste every year.

Studies also show that the consumption of milk can lead to allergies, stomach disorders, heart disease and certain types of cancers like prostate and ovarian.

Calcium and such are important, so, what are other sources?

In order for your body to even absorb calcium from milk, it needs adequate amounts of magnesium present, to which there is little in milk. Also, diets high in animal protein also cause calcium loss to double. So, what to do? Perhaps mama’s milk is the best for our babies and as they get older, we get our sources of protein, calcium and more in the form of dark leafy vegetables, carrots, celery, grains, seeds, nuts, sprouts and legumes. Five servings a day – that’ll do it!

And then we also don’t have to put our friends, the cows through all that.

A pretty darn good source is here: http://www.milkmyths.org.uk/health/index.php

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