Is cows milk making you sick? Why avoid dairy?

glass of dairy milk - why avoid dairy?

Is cows milk making you sick? Why avoid dairy?

If you’re reading this article, then you might be wondering why some people avoid dairy. If that’s the case, stop worrying and read on! You’ll find out why it’s worth making a switch to non-dairy alternatives like oat milk.

Dairy is milk from cows. You can drink it or use it to make cheese, yogurt, butter, and other dairy products. Dairy comes in many different forms because people around the world have different ways of making it. For example, some people drink raw milk while others pasteurize their milk before they drink it or make cheese out of it. Pasteurized means that you heat up the milk to kill germs which causes food poisoning and other illnesses like tuberculosis and listeriosis. Raw means that you don’t cook the bacteria so there are more risks for getting sick but also better nutrition in your food!

Dairy has been linked to a number of health problems including acne, eczema, heart disease, and even cancer.

Fortunately, there are many dairy alternatives available today. Here’s why you should avoid dairy and switch to non-dairy alternatives:

Dairy milk is unnatural to consume

Cows milk is intended for calves who need to grow. As adults, we don’t need to grow, and what’s more, cow’s milk contains all manner of immunoglobulins from another species which can impact our human immune system. In fact, dairy is considered responsible for most of the allergic reactions in children.

Cow’s milk is one of the most common causes of food allergies in children and why we’re seeing more and more people today with frequent ear infections, eczema, irritability, constipation or diarrhea.

The dairy industry is so huge why we have so many different types of milk but most people don’t realize that about 90% of all milk sold in the US and Australia comes from cows who were fed antibiotics and hormones which are bad for your health. These hormones that the cows are being fed cause a lot of different hormonal changes in our bodies as well as those of the animals.

75% of the population is lactose intolerant

To understand why someone might want to avoid dairy, we first need to take a closer look at the origins of consuming cow’s milk as a beverage. Over 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. This means that they can’t digest a type of sugar called lactose found in dairy products, which leads to uncomfortable symptoms such as diarrhea and stomach aches.

Humans are mammals who can produce their own lactase to break down the lactose in dairy products. However, many people lose their ability to produce lactase when they’re older. This is why humans don’t naturally drink milk after they are weaned.

Dairy milk doesn’t contain the enzyme needed to digest it

Another key reason why someone would want to avoid dairy is that it doesn’t contain lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk. Lactose intolerance symptoms include bloating, cramps, nausea, gas and diarrhea after consuming dairy.

These symptoms happen because the lactose in dairy isn’t broken down and remains intact, causing microorganisms in the large intestine to have a field day on the available sugar and producing lots of by-products, including gas, bloating, cramps and diarrhea.

Dairy increases the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis

Milk is an animal protein, and as such, when it enters your digestive system, it is acidic (like all animal proteins). In order to protect your kidneys and urinary tract from this acid, your body acts to survive, and neutralise the acid, therefore it leeches calcium from the bones, in order to neutralise the acid, and this is why it is a myth that milk supplies you with calcium. It actually reduces the calcium content of the bones!

Other studies such as the Nurses’ Health Study have shown that increased consumption of milk, does not reduce bone fractures in older people, and in fact, more bone fractures were found in people who consumed milk.

Countries in Asia and Africa that do not consume milk suffer from a lot fewer cases of osteoporosis compared to Western countries that do. The highest rates of osteoporosis are found in countries like the United States, Sweden and Finland where milk consumption is high.

High levels of saturated fat can impact heart health

There’s also the issue of high saturated fat levels. Three glasses of cow’s milk contain 24 grams of saturated fat, more than one-third of the daily recommended value.

Other dairy products such as cheese have high levels of saturated fat too, and this can impact long-term heart health. In fact, a study from Harvard Medical School showed that eating one serving of cheese or other high-fat dairy products daily can increase the risk of dying from heart disease by as much as 50 per cent.

Consuming dairy may increase cancer risk

The jury is still out on whether milk increases cancer risks, but there are studies that do show a link between drinking milk and getting prostate cancer. One study in the U.S. found that men who consumed two or more glasses of milk per day had a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than those who drank less than one glass daily.

Inhumane and cruel treatment of cows

It is hard to enjoy dairy, cheese, even when you know that to produce this foodstuff, a baby calf has been ripped away from its mother as soon as it is born. Both the baby calf and mother cow experience significant trauma from this practice and are often distressed for a long time after it happens.

Female cows are artificially inseminated and spend most of their lives pregnant or lactating to produce the milk that farmers take from them.

Can you imagine how distressing that would be?

Cows possess many of the same emotional qualities as we do and, like people, some cows are playful, cheeky and outgoing, while others are more sensitive, thoughtful and shy. All are capable of happiness, though, and cows literally jump for joy when given reason to. But on our dairy and beef farms, cows suffer both physically and emotionally.

Many of the baby calves (especially the male ones) are then sent to the abattoir to be killed. This is not done in a humane fashion and the cows experience a lot of trauma before they die.

What are the alternatives?

There are many alternatives to cow’s milk including almond, soy, rice, oat, hemp, quinoa and perhaps even flax milk. These kinds of milk come in different flavours and can be used the same way you would use cow’s milk such as for cooking, baking, cereal, or just simply by themselves.

You’ll find that many of these alternative kinds of milk are fortified with vitamins and minerals you get from cow’s milk like calcium and vitamin D.

The only way anyone should drink milk is if it comes from organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised cows who are never injected with antibiotics or hormones. But even if there was an ethical and kind way to consume dairy, it is clear that it is not good for your human health.

Breast milk is meant for babies. Adults have no business drinking cows milk. If you want calcium, get it from leafy green veggies or nuts. If your body can’t digest lactose why would you want to drink toxins found in cows milk?

Want to know if you are lactose intolerant?

To identify a reaction to dairy products eliminate it completely from your diet for a period of two weeks. After that time, add one favourite source of dairy to your diet, in a good serving at two different times of the day, and then return to dairy-free eating for a period of two days.

Repeat this cycle of two days of abstinence from dairy while adding the dairy foods you wish to consume, and monitor your symptoms. Common dairy intolerance symptoms are diarrhoea, worsening of irritable bowel syndrome, acne, runny noses and mucus in the chest, and nose.

If you find that you are intolerant to dairy, then it is best avoided – for life. If you do still produce enough lactase to digest dairy, then the other reasons on this list might convince you to continue to avoid it.

Cows milk is for cows

The funniest quote I read today, was ‘take your cow for a walk. It will do you much more good than drinking her milk’. Dairy is not good for you! And I would like to see our gastronomy evolve to recognise this!

I would love to hear about your experiences with dairy, and if you agree or disagree that dairy is bad for you? What changes have you experienced if you eliminated dairy from your diet?

Image credits

“cute little milk” by striatic is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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