Nutrition & Fitness Expert Laura Moxley continues her regular online column in the Thurrock Independent.
Could you ditch the dairy for the month of May?
Good use of propaganda for many years has led us to believe that animal milk has been the ‘go to’ source of calcium for the growth of strong bones. Humans never started out with the ability to digest animal milk, nevertheless over time we have evolved to tolerating dairy. From childhood we have been genetically modified to consume milk and conditioned to believe that from doing so, we will reap the benefits of strong bones and teeth. However after much research it has been deemed in actual fact, animal milk is bad for you. That we should ditch the dairy for three good reasons: it’s better for you, for the animal and for the planet!
Children drink cow’s milk because they need it! Rain check!
Lets talk lactose.
Cows milk contains a sugar called lactose that can be extremely difficult for people to digest, notably more so in infants. Causing symptoms such as nausea, cramps, bloating and diarrhoea. Has your new born been diagnosed lactose intolerant? The reason being is because humans are not supposed to drink cow’s milk. The only baby who should in fact suckle on that milk, is the calf of the mother that produced it.
Studies have shown that women who consume four or more servings of dairy products each day are twice likely to develop ovarian cancer. Equally for men, evidence suggests that the consumption of milk and other dairy products can lead to an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Calcium can be found in alternative food rich in the stuff! Kale; cabbage, broccoli, white beans, tofu, nuts and sesame seeds.
The dirty dairy secrets
Effects on us
Antibiotics are given to animals to enhance growth. Typically fed in the cows hard feed, sometimes via injections or mixed in their drinking water. During the process of weaning, it is more than likely that antibiotics are used on both calf and the female dairy cow. (Due to the stress of separation, their immunity can drop drastically and cause pneumonia, hence the use of antibiotics). All the while the cow is still being milked for human consumption. Following this, the milk has to be pasteurised to ensure it is fit for human drinking. Exposing the milk briefly to high temperatures to kill microorganisms and prevent fermentation. Because naturally the milk was formulated to feed an animal and not the human, therefore adjustments have to be made.
Effects on the cow
A female cow is forcibly impregnated shortly after her first birthday. After a nine month pregnancy (the same as the female human) her ‘BABY’ is taken from her just hours after birth leaving her bereft.
Why ? So that we, the human can drink the milk she has produced for her baby. The calf, if female is kept to join the dairy farming industry while the male is generally sold on and slaughtered for meat called veal. This normally happens when the baby calf is no more than two weeks old. Unfortunate for both sexes, wouldn’t you agree?
Cruelty free milk swaps that are also beneficial for the environment
Many scientists agree that the dairy industry has had an overly negative affect on our environment. It takes immense amounts of fertilizer, land and water to grow food for the cows to eat. Not to mention the more cows we have to produce milk, the more methane gas is produced and released into our atmosphere which is a large contribution to
global warming. Many milk alternatives are available for purchase that are much more environmentally friendly to our planet that also use less water and land to create.
- · Almond – Is the lowest in calories and uses the least amount of emissions of all milk including dairy milk to create.
- · Coconut – Naturally high in fat, with many health benefits.
- · Oat – Creamy in taste, slightly higher in carbohydrates and calories but creates delicious tasting porridge and is the perfect mixer for protein shakes.
- · Rice – Comes in second from highest in the emissions category at 0.2 kg per 200ml. However still coming in under cow’s milk which creates 0.6kg of emissions per 200ml of milk.
- · Cashew – Produces the highest amount of vitamin B12 and is lowest in calories.
- · Soya – Is very diverse. Tasty in tea and on top of cereal. Soya uses the least amount of water to produce out of all milks offered on the market including dairy milk.
It is strange really isn’t it? We steal the milk created by a mother who isn’t our own. We’re drinking milk which isn’t formulated for us, the human. Milk unwillingly taken from her, the dairy cow. So that we, the human can consume. She, the female cow who has worked tirelessly for nine months to grow a healthy baby calf; then creates this milk for her young who she will never get to feed. But instead her only purpose is to birth and serve the human species.
Milk comes from a grieving mother. A mother exploited for her own sexuality and reproductive system. The cycle of reproduction and exploitation will continue until her body can no longer carry, she will then be sentenced to death. The average lifespan of a dairy cow is 6 years. Naturally her life could range between 20 to 30 years.
Supermarkets are now offering a vast amount of dairy alternative foods for us to try, why not take the month of May to experiment with a new cheese, milk or milkshake. You never know, you may well like it.