Dairy products have been under fire lately, due to the controversy about whether or not they are necessary for healthy bones. Many health experts claim that people should avoid dairy products and obtain calcium from other plant-based sources, but this is easier said than done. As it turns out, many people are hooked, addicted even, to dairy products.
Advertising campaigns and government suggested food pyramids have encouraged Americans to make milk an essential component of a healthy diet. When you take into account that the consumption of dairy products has been linked to skin conditions, joint inflammation, and digestive problems, the advice to consume dairy has been quite misleading, to say the least. Harvard scientists have even ridiculed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics for encouraging people to consume up to three cups of milk per day. Additionally, federal laws have mandated that public schools provide children with milk at each meal to avoid losing federal funding.
Is Dairy Natural To Consume?
Humans are the only species that consumes milk into adulthood, and they are the only species to drink the milk of other animals. Cow’s milk is intended for growing calves, and as you have astutely realized, humans are not calves. Research has shown that dairy is not necessary for optimal health, especially when you look at it from an evolutionary perspective. Additionally, 75% of the world’s adult population is lactose intolerant, due to the fact that the body stops producing the lactase enzyme, which breaks down lactose, as you age into adulthood. Despite knowing this, people consume dairy and even deal with symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Are You Addicted To Dairy?
The definitive food that prevents a vegetarian from becoming a vegan is dairy, not eggs like people think. The aroma of cheese, the way it melts, or the sharp flavor hooks you into becoming an addict, chasing that cheese high forever and always. The reason that people crave cheese is because it contains casein fragments called casomorphins, which is a morphine-like compound. To put it simply, dairy protein contains opiate molecules, triggering the same brain receptors, to which narcotics attach. A cup of milk contains 7.7 grams of protein, 80% of which is casein, but when that same cup that gets converted to cheddar, it multiplies to 56 grams, becoming the most concentrated form of casein. Think of it like this: milk is the cocaine to the crack that is cheese. Companies that sell cheese are aware of this, leveraging the addiction by adding cheese or dairy to enhancers, sauces, dressings, and other condiments.
The Problems With Dairy
The proteins in dairy have been linked to inappropriate immune reactions after they are absorbed by inflamed intestinal mucosa, commonly known as gut leakage. People who are sensitive or intolerant to dairy products can develop a variety of inflammatory responses that can impair digestion.
Did you know that dairy products are some of the most common food products that are recalled by the FDA? The reason for this is due to bacterial contamination with strains of listeria, E. coli, salmonella, staphylococci, and mycobacterium paratuberculosis. Pasteurization is designed to kill most of the bacteria in milk, but this process creates viral fragments that can also compromise human health.
Dairy cows are injected with recombinant bovine growth hormone to help maximize milk production. While this makes cows produce more milk, it also increases insulin-like growth factor-1, which has been linked to cancer cell growth in humans.
The long and short of it is that you can get all the calcium you need without ever sipping a glass of milk. If you are worried about satisfying your recommended daily intake of calcium, consider incorporating more of the following foods into your diet.
- Agar seaweed
- Raw Almonds
- Sesame Seeds
- Dried Figs (free of sulfur)
- White Beans
- Mustard Greens