Although promoted by the dairy industry as a health food, is milk really that good for us? And is it a necessary part of a healthy diet?
Humans are the only species on the planet that drinks the breast milk of another species. We are also the only species that continues to drink milk into adulthood. One of the reasons so many adults are lactose intolerant is because we lose the enzymes necessary to digest breast milk by the time we reach the age of 3. Cow milk is, after all, designed for baby cows, not baby humans. And unless you are purchasing organic milk, you are consuming milk that contains numerous antibiotics and hormones. There have even been studies that clearly show the difference between calves raised on raw cow milk and those raised on pasteurized milk (which is what we buy in our local grocery stores). There have been many cases where calves fed pasteurized milk failed to thrive at all and died.
So where are we to get our calcium? Milk is actually not the best source of calcium and our daily needs are easily met through broccoli, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, almonds, and salmon to name a few. Although drinking milk is heavily promoted as a key to weight loss, bodybuilders often use it in order to gain weight quickly. It makes sense that milk would be used for weight gain since a calf can grow into a cow by drinking its mother's milk. Milk can also grow human baby from a 7 pound infant to a 24 pound toddler.
There are many alternatives to cow's milk that better meet our nutritional needs as well as satisfy our taste buds. The most common milk substitute is soy milk, though some may not care for the somewhat 'beany' aftertaste. For those with more of a sweet tooth, there is rice milk, which goes well on cereal as well as drinking it plain. Another alternative is nut milk made from almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews. There is also hemp milk, which is quite rich and creamy, making it perfect for adding to coffee or using to make smoothies.
Many people have some allergy to milk whether they realize it or not. If you experience frequent sinus congestion, abdominal bloating or pain, or nausea, try eliminating milk from you diet for a couple of weeks to see if you notice a difference in the way you feel.