Friday, February 12, 2010


I grew up drinking milk, like most of you.  I always thought it was a necessity to drink does a body good, right?  I mean, how are you going to get your calcium and Vitamin D?  Once I began searching for answers to my questions about milk and its supposed benefits, I found out that we are the only species to drink milk (from another animal, by the way) after weaning.  Here's an interesting tidbit, taken from Dr. Jay Gordon (although we don't take his advice regarding the inclusion of soy products, orange juice, and cereals to get our calcium):  (

"Thanks in part to lobbying efforts on behalf of dairy farmers, Americans feel that it's necessary to drink milk throughout their lives. We've seen countless advertisements which perpetuate the myth: "Milk. It does a body good." Milk can be a high fat product with excessive quantities of protein. It's specifically designed to efficiently grow a cow, an animal which will mature rapidly and live a relatively short time. The National Research Council, a nonprofit organization that provides scientific advice to the federal government, has reported that the cow's milk humans drink also contains all of the pesticides and hormones that cows ingest with the alfalfa they eat.

A study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in June, 1993, confirmed that there is a definite correlation between cow's milk and the incidence of diabetes. Furthermore, some allergies, which manifest themselves in runny and stuffy noses, can be traced to cow's milk. Some ear and tonsil infections also originate with the drinking of milk. Ingesting other dairy products including butter, cheese and ice cream can also result in these symptoms.

Surprisingly, we are the only species on this planet that drinks milk after infancy, and we are also the only species that drinks milk from a species other than our own. Maybe the other animals know more than we do!

Many infants have trouble digesting cow's milk. This intolerance of lactose, or to the protein in milk, manifests itself in stomach and intestinal disturbance, gas and rashes.

Lactose is the result of combining two sugars: glucose and galactose. Most of us produce an intestinal enzyme, lactase, which allows us to break down these sugars. Our bodies produce the most lactase in infancy when we drink the most milk. As we get older, our bodies produce lesser amounts of lactase so our tolerance to lactose goes down naturally.

The protein we get from milk can be obtained from dozens of vegetable sources, primarily legumes, which include soy bean products. It is a little trickier to find other sources of calcium but this substance is contained in many vegetables like broccoli. Calcium is also available, in smaller amounts, in many other foods. If you're still concerned, you can buy calcium supplements wherever vitamins are sold. Soy milk, orange juice and cereals are now calcium fortified.

I want you to be aware that cow's milk can show up in unexpected food items so you have to read labels carefully. Even a small amount hidden in a food can trigger a reaction in children with milk protein allergies."

Did you also know that countries with the highest dairy intake have the highest incidence of osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is related more to calcium excretion due to salt and protein intake than to calcium deficiency in the diet.
So, Noah has only had a few cups of cow milk so far.  We don't "drink" milk just to drink it.  He does, however, still nurse (gasp!) and complements breastmilk with almond milk, hemp milk, or coconut milk.  I think it's interesting when people comment on the fact that I am still nursing an almost four year old, yet they don't see anything wrong with giving their child milk from another animal.  I'm just doing the more natural thing!  Besides, we humans are biologically designed to benefit from breastfeeding for an average of  2.5 to 7 years of age (Breastfeeding:  Biocultural Perspectives, Katherine Dettwyler).
I do think there is some benefit in eating dairy products like cheese, yogurt, cream, and kefir in moderation. I think it is better to eat these items over grain products, if you have to make the choice.  We try our best to avoid grains and have found that including some dairy products gives us more variety.  When Noah does eat grains, we make sure they are sprouted (like Ezekiel products) or pre-soaked oats.  I will get into grains another time in another post. 
But I have also learned that not all dairy is equal.  Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Weston Price both promote raw dairy products.  According to Dr. Price (
"Pasteurization is a process of heat treating milk to kill bacteria. Although Louis Pasteur developed this technique for preserving beer and wine, he was not responsible for applying it to milk. That was done at the end of the 1800s as a temporary solution until filthy urban dairies could find a way to produce cleaner milk. But instead of cleaning up milk production, dairies used pasteurization as a way to cover up dirty milk. As milk became more mass produced, pasteurization became necessary for large dairies to increase their profits. So the public then had to be convinced that pasteurized milk was safer than raw milk. Soon raw milk consumption was blamed for all sorts of diseases and outbreaks until the public was finally convinced that pasteurized milk was superior to milk in its natural state.

Today if you mention raw milk, many people gasp and utter ridiculous statements like, You can die from drinking raw milk!" But the truth is that there are far more risks from drinking pasteurized milk than unpasteurized milk. Raw milk naturally contains healthy bacteria that inhibit the growth of undesirable and dangerous organisms. Without these friendly bacteria, pasteurized milk is more susceptible to contamination. Furthermore, modern equipment, such as milking machines, stainless steel tanks and refrigerated trucks, make it entirely possible to bring clean, raw milk to the market anywhere in the US.

Not only does pasteurization kill the friendly bacteria, it also greatly diminishes the nutrient content of the milk. Pasteurized milk has up to a 66 percent loss of vitamins A, D and E. Vitamin C loss usually exceeds 50 percent. Heat affects water soluble vitamins and can make them 38 percent to 80 percent less effective. Vitamins B6 and B12 are completely destroyed during pasteurization. Pasteurization also destroys beneficial enzymes, antibodies and hormones. Pasteurization destroys lipase (an enzyme that breaksdown fat), which impairs fat metabolism and the ability to properly absorb fat soluble vitamins A and D. (The dairy industry is aware of the diminished vitamin D content in commercial milk, so they fortify it with a form of this vitamin.)

We have all been led to believe that milk is a wonderful source of calcium, when in fact, pasteurization makes calcium and other minerals less available. Complete destruction of phosphatase is one method of testing to see if milk has been adequately pasteurized. Phosphatase is essential for the absorption of calcium."

While Dr. Mercola and Dr. Price are both fans of drinking raw milk, we don't focus too heavily on dairy products in our diet.  I have found that even raw dairy products create a lot of mucous and I just don't feel as good when I'm eating a lot of dairy.  But when we do eat dairy, we strive to buy the raw, grass-fed, organic brands.  You can visit to find a supplier near you. 


  1. LOVE this... thanks!
    You were a behavior modification specialist?

  2. Yeah, can you believe it? I use to train kids!