“Ice cream,” they say, “is to die for.” Unfortunately, that expression is more true than people know. Dairy products may taste good, but they cause far more problems than they solve. Don’t believe the propaganda as to how milk “does a body good.” That may help the National Dairy Council sell milk, but it will not help you become healthy and well. It goes against the grain of what we know about evolutionary and orthomolecular nutrition. Not even children need to drink milk. Read on to find out why, and what to eat instead.
As we have already seen, legumes and grains are “Trojan foods” that seem innocent enough on the surface but that actually challenge our bodies with a variety of hostile invaders. Today we turn our attention to another such food: devilish dairy.
Dairy really is a devilish food group. How can something that tastes so good be so bad? As an avid ice cream eater, I know that my Uncle Ernie, who died recently at the ripe old age of 92, would disagree with this Provision. He always attributed his longevity to a lifelong habit of eating a bowl of ice cream every night before going to bed. Unfortunately, his experience is more the exception than the rule. It doesn’t work out that way for most people, since there are plenty of problems with dairy products and plenty of reasons to go on a dairy-free diet.
For one thing, when you stop and think about it, dairy is a very weird food. What other animal drinks milk after weaning, let alone milk from another animal? By definition, colostrum and milk are secreted by the mammary glands of females to feed infant mammals. To continue to drink milk after weaning is unheard of except in humans. And that proclivity is a relatively late addition, from an evolutionary point of view, dating back less than 8,000 years ago.
Many people in the Western world, where dairy products constitute more than 10% of total energy in the diet, are surprised to learn that dairy has been an insignificant part of the human diet in many times and in many places for most of human history. It was certainly not part of the ancient Paleolithic diet (just imagine trying to catch and milk a wild animal!), and it was a small part of the diet for a significant majority of the world’s population up until about 30 years ago.
Since that time, demand has been skyrocketing. That’s the way it is with devilish dairy: one taste of its rich, creamy, sweetness and most people are hooked for good. Unfortunately, most people who get hooked on dairy are not as lucky as my uncle. Most people suffer numerous ill effects. Here are some of the problems posed by any significant and regular consumption of dairy products:
Long-Chain Saturated Fats. As you will read more about next week, not all fats are created equal. Some fats are healthy fats, while others are unhealthy. The most unhealthy of all are the long-chain saturated fats commonly found in dairy products and feedlot animals. These are the fats that make dairy products taste so rich, creamy, and good. They are also the sticky fats that lead to hardening of the arteries and other cardiovascular diseases. In most cases, these diseases are not built into our genes; in most cases, they are the direct result of eating too many long-chain saturated fats and other antinutrients. The more we can reduce our consumption of these fats, the better health we will enjoy.
And don’t be fooled by talk of low-fat dairy products. 2% milk is still 2% fat, and, depending upon how much you drink on a daily basis, that’s still a lot of long-chain saturated fats. These fats are about as bad for human health as the artificially-produced trans-fatty acids found in shortening, margarine, and most processed food products. These fats are to be eliminated or minimized as much as possible. Only no-fat dairy products are free of long-chain saturated fats, but there are many reasons to avoid no-fat dairy products as well.
Contamination. If ever there was a case of “we are what we eat eats,” it applies to dairy. Remember, mother’s milk is concentrated nutrition to meet the needs of newborns. That concentration of nutrients also concentrates contaminants. Whatever the cow eats, both good and bad, gets concentrated in the milk. If the cow eats genetically-modified organisms, then those are concentrated in the milk. If the cow eats pesticides, then those are concentrated in the milk. So, too, with medications. If the cow receives antibiotics or growth hormones, then those are concentrated in the milk.
Unfortunately, conventional cows routinely eat and receive all of the above. From the point of view of production, the additives have been phenomenally successful. Fifty years ago, the average cow produced 2,000 pounds of milk per year. Today, the top producers give 50,000 pounds! That represents an engineering marvel. Drugs, antibiotics, hormones, forced feeding plans, and specialized breeding have all combined to transform cows into prodigious calorie producers. But the residual contaminants in the milk produced, which carry through to every other dairy product, produce a wide range of human health problems. Only organic dairy products are relatively free of such contaminants, but there are many reasons to avoid no-fat, organic dairy products as well.
Calcium Loss. I have written before about the acid-base balance and the way the body maintains a slightly alkaline, but more-or-less neutral, pH . When we eat foods that tip our system in an acidic direction, our bodies takes calcium and other minerals out of our bones and vital organs in order to buffer the acid load. The opposite happens when we eat foods that tip our system in an alkaline (or base) direction. Eating too many foods that produce an acid load can cause such problems as osteoporosis, age-related muscle wasting, kidney stones, high blood pressure, and exercise-induced asthma.
Animal protein, including dairy, along with cereal grains are net acid-producing foods, whereas fresh fruits, vegetables, tubers, roots, and nuts are net base-producing. That’s one reason why high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are bad for long-term health. They do not balance the acid load of animal protein with the alkaline load of plant protein. The more animal protein and dairy we eat, the more plant protein we need to eat in order to avoid the loss of calcium and other vital minerals. Contrary to those who think that diary is a good source of calcium, the acid load of dairy products means that they make us lose more calcium than they add. That’s one reason to avoid them altogether, and to get your calcium instead from green leafy vegetables, nuts, canned fish like salmon and sardines (with their soft bones), and supplemental calcium citrate. This is as true for children as for adults.
Digestive Problems. Dairy products contain unique proteins (casein and whey) as well as carbohydrates (primarily lactose) that many people are not well suited to eat. We did not evolve eating these proteins and carbohydrates, and they still do not sit well with many people. The problem is often a lack of the necessary enzymes to digest these nutrients properly. 95 percent of Asian Americans, 74 percent of Native Americans, 70 percent of African Americans, 53 percent of Mexican Americans and 15 percent of European Americans are lactose intolerant. Perhaps that’s why my uncle of German ancestry was able to get away with his nightly bowl of ice cream.
On the protein side, research indicates that the proteins in cow’s milk stimulates the production of antibodies which, in turn, destroy the insulin-producing pancreatic cells. This means that the more milk we drink and the more dairy products we consume, the more likely we are to develop problems with diabetes. As in the case of lactose intolerance, more people are genetically inclined to have such problems than not. That’s because we all go back to a time over millions of years when milk and milk products, after weaning, played absolutely no part in our diets. It’s no surprise, then, that such products would cause digestive problems and surface food allergies for many people.
Disease Factors. We have already mentioned many of the disease factors that stem from dairy products: the long-chain saturated fats contribute to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease; the contaminants spill over into our systems; the acid load contributes to calcium loss; while the proteins and sugars trigger digestive problems, diabetes, and cancer. But there is more.
Milk is among the most common of food allergies, generating a self-destructive immune-system response. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against giving whole cow’s milk to children under one year of age. They know that their systems are not able to cope with the allergens and other antinutrients. Many do not realize, however, that nursing mothers who drink lots of cow’s milk pass the same problematic antibodies on to their babies through breast milk. So too with synthetic hormones, such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), and antibiotics. These also pass on deleteriously through breast milk to newborns and infants.
It would seem that our tender, young bodies are trying to tell us something when it comes to dairy products: our bodies are not well designed to consume these Trojan foods. They are best eliminated or minimized from the diets of young, old, and everyone in between. In our house, we have chosen to eliminate dairy products; it is only when we go out that I will, on occasion, indulge. Such a practice works with (rather than against) my genetic inheritance to promote health and wellness. It’s a practice that evolutionary and orthomolecular nutrition studies recommend to one and all.
Coaching Inquiries: How much milk and dairy products do you consume on a regular basis? Are they no-fat, low-fat, or full-fat? Are they conventional or organic? Are they combined with alkaline-producing foods, or consumed on their own? How could you reduce or eliminate your consumption of milk and other dairy products? What changes would you have to make? Who could assist you to become a dairy-free zone on the road to wellness?
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Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob..
Your last Provision, “How To Be Happy“, is one of the most beautiful and succinct compilations of wisdom I have seen. This needs more prominence than a weekly Provision, that will be only one of 52 in another year. I don’t know if you need these on cards, posters, PDA memos, or as a creed on your web-site menu. But these certainly deserve to be seen as how to live out the philosophy and wisdom of LifeTrek, as well as a guide for all of us who want to live useful and satisfying lives. Thanks for the great Provision.
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Thank you all for the timely Provisions this week. I am in the process of removing myself from a toxic marriage and all the Provisions have tied the revelations from my recovery process together and have given me enlightenment as well as hope. As usual, your weekly Provisions hit a note with me that are part of my current situation.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
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