Just the word itself sounds comforting! "How about a nice cup of warm milk?" The last time you heard that question it was from someone who cared for you--and you appreciated his or her effort.
We are a nation of milk drinkers. Most of us drink dozens, or even several hundred gallons a year and add to that many pounds of "dairy products" such as cheese, butter, and yogurt.
What is Milk? Milk is a maternal lactating secretion, a short-term nutrient for newborns. Nothing more. Invariably, the mother of any mammal will provide her milk for a short period immediately after birth. When the time comes for "weaning", the young offspring is introduced to the proper food for that species of mammal. A familiar example is that of a puppy. The mother nurses the pup for just a few weeks and then rejects the young animal and teaches it to eat solid food. Nursing is provided by nature only for the very youngest of mammals. Of course, it is not possible for animals living in a natural state to continue with the drinking of milk after weaning.
IS ALL MILK THE SAME? Then there is the matter of where we get our milk. We have settled on the cow because of its docile nature, its size, and its abundant milk supply. Somehow, this choice seems "normal" and blessed by nature, our culture, and our customs. Is it natural? Is it wise to drink the milk of another species of mammal? Human milk is for human infants. Dogs' milk is for pups. Cows' milk is for calves. Cats' milk is for kittens, and so on.
The milk of every species of mammal is unique and specifically tailored to the requirements of that animal. For example, cows' milk is very much richer in protein than human milk. Three to four times as much. It has five to seven times the mineral content. However, it is deficient in essential fatty acids when compared to human mothers' milk. Mothers' milk has six to ten times as much of the essential fatty acids, especially linoleic acid. (Incidentally, skimmed cow's milk has no linoleic acid). It simply is not designed for humans.
Biochemists and physiologists - and rarely medical doctors - are gradually learning that foods contain the crucial elements that allow a particular species to develop its unique specializations. While some foods are healthy for a number of species, not every food is equally nutritious for every specie. Humans find chocolate enjoyable – and possibly even a healthy food. Canines, however, can become deathly sick from consuming it.
Fifty years ago, an average cow produced 2,000 pounds of milk per year. Today the top producers give 50,000 pounds! How was this accomplished? Drugs, antibiotics, hormones, forced feeding plans and specialized breeding. Cow’s milk, then is yet another source of drugs for us.
Commercial milk can be hazardous to your health. It does not provide adequate nutrition. Calcium, for example, is more abundantly available from other sources – dark, green vegetables for example. In addition, milk needs to be “fortified” with additional vitamin D so that what little calcium it offers can be utilized by our bodies. Many people are sensitive to milk components – and some research suggests that sensitivity can develop over time. The more dairy consumed, the more likely that a person will develop sensitivities.
Except for the excellent marketing efforts by the dairy industry, there is no valid reason to consume more than just tiny amounts of cow’s milk. Most of the people on this planet live very healthfully without cows milk. You can too.