Many times I have heard the argument(s) that: dairy isn't cruel, milk is good for us, and/or that you will have brittle bones if you don't drink enough of it. Though this has been believed for a long time, there is quite a bit of evidence saying otherwise.
First off, a definition. Milk: noun: "an opaque white or bluish-white liquid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals, serving for the nourishment of their young" (Milk, 2017) -----> 🤢
Topic A. Yeah, But dairy isn't cruel: Back in the days of small dairy farms, farmers would wake up early, bring their pale and stool out to the pasture, and milk their cows by hand. This was common practice until the population started growing, demand started increasing, and corporations cast a dark shadow on small farms. As time progressed, the factories got smaller, the herds got larger, and the processes became more mechanical. Cows are led into milking rooms where their udders are attached to pumping machines that continuously pump milk. The cold metal of a machine has replaced the warm hands of a farmer, but that is not the worst part. The high numbers of cows sharing one common area (and equipment) can spread diseases such as mastitis; "According to the USDA, 1 in 6 dairy cows in the United States suffers from clinical mastitis, which is responsible for 1 in 6 dairy cow deaths on U.S. dairy farms" (Greger, 2011). Once a dairy cow cannot produce adequate amounts of milk, she is often sent to slaughter. Losing cows to disease and old age is incredibly unfortunate, but still not the worst part.
The reason I stopped using dairy products was because of a video similar to this. I was unaware of the confusion and heartbreak that these cows and their babies endured everyday just so I could enjoy cheese and chocolate. If a dairy cow gives birth to a female calf, she will be kept to become a dairy cow herself, but if she gives birth to a male, he will be taken away, put in a small containment pen or box, and eventually slaughtered for veal. Do a quick Google search for "veal crates" or just click here if you're feeling lazy. I will save all the details for another post, but please feel free to do some research on your own. Moving on.
Topic: B: Okay, but dairy is good for us: The first U.S. dietary guidelines were published in 1980, which suggested that Americans should reduce their intake of saturated fat. This suggestion caused an uproar within the dairy industry since most dairy products provided high amounts of saturated fat, and people began reducing their intakes after reading the news. The dairy industry fought back by sponsoring groups that released misleading studies trying to prove that "saturated fat intake is not harmful" (Greger, 2011).
Dairy is high in cholesterol, trans fats, endotoxins, choline, and many more potentially harmful components. The hormones in milk can raise the risk of inflammation, heart disease, certain cancers (breast, prostate), acne, premature puberty, heart disease, excess estrogen, reduced sperm count, and milk overall can actually increase bone fractures. Industrial toxins found in dairy can promote cancer, Parkinson's disease, lower testosterone levels, and obesity. Dairy products can harbor these risky toxins, and a California study showed that the highest sources of lead and pesticides found in the children studied were from dairy products they were consuming.
Dairy intake can increase mortality rates as well as promote accelerated aging, obesity, kidney stones, childhood asthma, constipation/discomfort, diabetes, heart disease, cancer(s), hormone imbalance, Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, wrinkles, SIDs, and multiple sclerosis. To add insult to injury, the dairy industry has also been heavily linked to climate change (video here)
Last, but not least: Topic C: What about brittle bones though? People have been led to believe that in order to get the calcium your bones need, you must drink milk. This is not true. Here is an article discussing common misconceptions. Not only do many plant-based foods provide more calcium than milk, they also do not carry the health, environmental, and cruelty risks. Sources such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, nuts, dried fruits, seeds, and beans provide just as much, if not more, calcium than milk (Rosenberg, 2012). Studies have shown that dairy consumption can actually increase your risk of osteoporosis and that a plant-based diet can actually help treat it. I personally use Silk protein milk (10g protein & 45% DV of calcium per cup). This product is plant-based and actually has quite a bit more protein and calcium than the equivalent amount of cow's milk.
Overall, the choice is yours: to milk or not to milk.
A human's milk is made for a human baby. A dog's milk is made for a puppy. A cow's milk is made for a calf. I'm not sure why we think it is so weird to drink the milk of most other species except for cows and goats. Those boobie fluids must be magical.
I am not a doctor, but I am a human who has watched countless documentaries, plenty of Youtube videos, and read many articles written by actual doctors, nutritionists, ex-dairy farm workers, and people who swear by a dairy-free diet. I personally have noticed a monumental difference in my own digestive health since I adopted a vegan. Some of you might have read this post and thought this was just some more "vegan propaganda", as my brother jokingly puts it, and others might not have even read down this far. Others, I hope, might have learned something new and this might spark a flame of curiosity that could change their life for the better. No matter who you are or what you think, I will always be here to answer any questions, point you in the right direction of any information, recommend any recipes/ products/ documentaries/ books, and whatever else you need to quiet that curiosity (I secretly hope it never stops shouting, though, because you will only learn more and become vegan for life! muahah ---> evil laugh).
Seriously though... I am here to help. Reach out on my "Contact" tab, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, or even just call or text if you are a friend or family member.
It makes me so happy when people are genuinely curious about a meat and dairy-free life, and even happier when they tell me they are making the switch! :D Please reach out! 💚🌱 I love you guys.
----> Just for fun, here is a Good Mythical Morning taste test challenge of dairy vs. dairy free products.
Milk. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/milk
Oliveira, R. (2015). Getting Clarity About Calcium. Retrieved from: https://www.forksoverknives.com/milk-myth-why-you-dont-need-dairy-for-calcium/#gs.mQQ4zCY
Rosenberg, M. (2012). Got Propoganda? Why All of the Milk Industry's Health Claims Have Been Proven Wrong. Retrieved from http://www.alternet.org/story/154443/got_propaganda_why_all_of_the_milk_industry%27s_health_claims_have_been_proven_wrong