Is milk a healthy part of the diet?

by on 11/01/2013

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Milk – nectar of the gods? Or horrid sticky stuff that clogs up the body?

You can guess my view from the way I phrase the question!

Is milk essential in your diet?

No, definitely not, is the simple answer. But milk has become a regular part of the diet for most of us. And it is hard to avoid in manufactured foods – it’s added to so many.

If you think about it, what is milk really for?

Milk is for feeding the babies of mammals. Nothing more. A mother’s milk varies in composition from hour to hour, depending on the needs of the baby. Its precise composition is ‘computerised’ for that baby.

In the case of cows’ milk – it’s designed to feed baby cows. And the nutritional needs of humans are very, very different from those of baby cows.

We are, in fact, the only ‘animal’ that regularly consumes milk after weaning. (You can’t really count domesticated cats…!)

Is milk even safe?

You might say “Yes – we break down the excess food components in milk that we don’t need, and this makes it safe to drink.”

Some, yes. But can we break down the hormones in milk?

Hormones are highly active chemicals which govern the intricate bio-chemistry of our bodies. They cannot always be broken down immediately by our bodies.

External hormones can wreak havoc on our own hormone systems. Professor Jane Plant – whose case we study below – is certain that cows’ milk was implicated in causing her breast cancer. This, she believes, is because of its hormone content.

This is not far fetched. Remember how early contraceptive pills and HRT caused a marked increase in breast cancer? And that was because scientists decided to mess around with the human hormone system without realising the implications.

Milk and Calcium

A common view is that milk provides loads of calcium for the body. Doctors, for example, often advise women diagnosed with osteoporosis to drink lots of milk.

I admit, I love challenging ‘sacred cows’ – that is, tearing down widely held, but erroneous, beliefs. Nevertheless, this one really does deserve it.

If you accept that widely held view – of milk providing calcium – then see if you can reconcile these two conflicting statements:

  1. Milk is consumed in huge quantities in the western world.
  2. Osteoporosis is very widespread only in the western world.

Surely:

  • If milk is so good at providing calcium, and
  • If calcium counteracts osteoporosis as many doctors tell us, then shouldn’t osteoporosis be rare in the western world?

Whereas, it is common.

Milk clearly does not counteract osteoporosis. In fact:

  1. The calcium in milk is very hard to absorb by the digestive system of humans, and
  2. Osteoporosis – a complex condition which is often over-diagnosed – is not cured by simple calcium supplementation.

In fact, milk can CAUSE low calcium! This is because calcium is lost in the urine when getting rid of excess protein. Milk contains protein. ‘Excess’ means more than a couple of ounces a day for an average person. Most Westerners eat much more than a couple of ounces of protein a day. So, to preserve calcium in the body, don’t drink milk – rather, eat less protein.

Milk and disease

It has long been apparent that dairy foods (milk, cheese, butter) are the second most common cause of allergy in humans. (In case you don’t know, the most common is that other staple of the human diet, wheat.)

This is not so surprising when you consider that 70% of the world’s population cannot digest lactose – the sugar found in milk.

It is common for health problems to disappear when consumption of milk and other dairy food is stopped.

Examples of problems commonly caused – partly or completely – by dairy foods include:

  • Catarrh
  • Frequent colds
  • Eczema
  • Asthma

More worrying statistics are highlighted by Kitty Campion, author of many health books. Kitty states that 20% of US milk-producing cows are affected by leukaemia viruses. Further research indicates that the highest incidence of leukaemia in America occurs among:

  • Children aged 3-13 who consume the most milk, and
  • Dairy farmers.

This suggests a possible link between milk consumption and leukaemia.

Breast Cancer

I mentioned Professor Jane Plant above. She is a respected scientist, who was first struck by breast cancer in 1987, aged 42. The disease has now occurred five times for Jane.

As a scientist, she was struck by the question: Why do one in 10,000 women in China die from breast cancer – whereas in the UK the figure is 1 in 12?

The answer is not genetic. When Chinese families moved to the West, their figures matched those of native Westerners within a generation or two.

So, the answer has to be to do with lifestyle.

Jane and her husband – who had spent a lot of time in China – remembered that the Chinese eat very little dairy food. Rural (ie non-Westernised) Chinese won’t eat dairy. If invited to dinner, (Jane’s husband knows the Chinese well) they will usually turn down cheese dishes, or ice cream because of the dairy content. They regard Westerners as ‘strange’ eating so much dairy food.

Could there be a link?

There was definitely a link for Jane. For the happy conclusion of her story, see below under ‘Giving Up Milk’.

How is milk produced?

This is pretty disgusting. I have covered this before -so here is a brief summary.

When do cows give milk? As with all mammals – when they are pregnant.

So, first of all the cow is made pregnant. She is given artificial hormones to increase the amount of milk produced. Milk is taken as long as the cow produces it. When the calf is born, it is taken away immediately. Most are killed straight away and used, for example, in pet food. When the cow’s milk yield starts to fall, she is then impregnated again – and off she goes around the cycle to have another calf.

After seven or eight years – half its natural life – the milk yields are lower than for a younger animal. The cow is then killed and replaced.

I’m afraid it’s not much of a life for dairy cows.

Giving up milk

Should you give up milk? There are strong arguments for doing so. If you want to avoid breast cancer, you should seriously consider it. Read Jane’s book – [easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”0753508508″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411YNA0CRWL._SL160_.jpg” width=”102″]
Similarly, the Chinese have a very low incidence of prostate cancer; there may be a similar connection here for men to be concerned about.

You may wonder whether symptoms you are suffering from are caused by milk. To test, try giving up milk for a month, and note down in a diary how you feel each day. Then make your judgement.

Giving it up is harder than you think. Milk protein is very cheap, and so is used in a huge variety of manufactured foods. Look at the ingredient list on the labels of manufactured products; you will find ‘skimmed milk’ or ‘skimmed milk powder’ or ‘whey’ in a surprising number of foods – and even health products.

The only way to avoid dairy foods, is to read every single label.

Jane Plant – conclusion

The end of Professor Jane Plant’s story, at least up to May 2000, was as follows. She detected a breast lump for the fifth time, and was monitoring its size in true scientific style – with calipers. She plotted the slow increase in size on a graph.

She was taking chemotherapy – which was having no effect.

This was the time that she and her husband realised the possible importance of the dairy link in breast cancer. Jane gave up all dairy food. Within days, the breast lump started rapidly to reduce in size. About two weeks later, a cancerous lump she had developed in her neck started to itch, soften and reduce in size – rapidly.

Her doctor was bemused and amazed. Jane had cancer which had spread to the lymphatic system in her neck. The prognosis was bad. But now, the doctor could find no trace of the cancer at all. It had disappeared!

That doctor now recommends a dairy-free diet to his other cancer patients.

What about my calcium?

Don’t worry – if you eat lots of vegetables and some seeds and nuts, you’ll get lots of calcium.

In fact, by far the highest content – ounce for ounce – of calcium in the vegetable kingdom, is found in sesame seeds. These are those small seeds – smaller than sunflower seeds – you find in health food shops. These can be ground and sprinkled on foods, or mixed into soups. They are ground up to make ‘tahini’. This is used as a savoury spread, or as a dip, or added to soups. You find this in middle eastern shops. You can also find ‘halva’ there – a middle eastern sweet made from sesame.

Vegetables, especially green vegetables, contain lots of calcium. Just make sure your digestion is working well, so that they are digested.

How to do that? You can take a course of digestion boosting drops. Take them with each meal for 3-4 months. Specialist Herbal Supplies make the only one we know of. I believe BioCare make a similar formula.

You need to ‘taste’ the bitter herbs, to get the best benefit for the digestion – hence drops are better. Specialist Herbal Supplies have an advert with their website and email address elsewhere in this ezine.

Rule of thumb – if you are over 40, you definitely need a 3-4 month boost for your digestion from somewhere.

Alternatives to milk

Milk is simply a liquid containing fat and protein. Alternatives abound. Soya milk is probably one you know about. You can also find ‘oat milk’ in some shops. And you can easily make your own. Just grind up some nuts or seeds, and add water. This can be used for most things you use cows milk for. Certainly in cooking. Try almond milk. Grind 12-15 almonds in a coffee grinder, and stir into a mug or two of water. Simple!

Basically, to consume less milk, just eat and drink less of the things that you use milk for! Change that lifestyle!

Hard – yes. Live longer? Very possibly.

It may be worth it! It’s up to you.

PS Goats Milk?

Years ago, I heard someone ask Dr Bernard Jensen – naturopath, and pioneer of Iridology (iris diagnosis); “What about using goats milk?”

He quipped; “Leave it for the kids”! Sure – the fat particles in goats’ milk are easier for humans to digest; but it’s really meant for baby goats, not grown humans!

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