my thoughts on dairy.

I don’t drink milk… and I havent in a very long time. 
I remember as a kid my mom pouring me a glass of milk, but I never remember specifically asking for it with a meal. I only remember wanting some after having a fudgy brownie or warm chocolate chip cookie.
As a kid, I would eat cereal, but I wasn’t one to drink the remaining milk after the cereal was gone.
I actually thought it was gross when people did that.
And, growing up, we never, ever had anything other than skim milk. So, when I went over to friends houses or my grandparents house and someone had whole milk or 2% I literally thought I was drinking heavy cream, it truly disgusted me. and it actually made me feel bad.

So, it should come as no surprise that eventually I just stopped buying milk altogether.
I moved out of my parents house and off to Baylor University the Fall of 2002.. that’s when my milk consumption really started dwindling. I would notice that I would buy a gallon or half-gallon of milk, but would end up having to throw the majority out because it would go bad before I was able to finish it. The only time I ever really used milk was when I was baking. 

Today, I stick with Trader Joe’s Unsweetened, Regular Soy Milk for cooking, Blue Diamond Unsweetened, Original Almond Milk for drinking & cereals, and Silk French Vanilla Soy Creamer for my morning coffee.

Since I never really consumed that much milk as a child, and quickly eliminated it from my diet as a young adult I actually developed a slight intolerance to lactose. If I did eat a rare bowl of Blue Bell Ice cream or drink a rare milkshake, I would become bloated and miserable soon after. So then, it was even easier to avoid it all together. 

I have always liked cheese and have never had any issue with that.
I eventually found out that’s because I tend to eat aged cheese and the lactose breaks down during the aging process so its in much lower doses. Highly processed cheese has the most lactose, and I don’t consume processed cheese (ie. velveeta, sliced American cheese, etc). Velveeta actually has the same amount of lactose as whole milk!
Also, skim milk (which, is what I was raised on) has a lower lactose count that higher fat milks, so my body was always accustomed to very little lactose anyway.
On that note, 
Did you know that Westerners are one of the few populations of people that consume dairy as an adult?
As Westerners, we (as a whole) view milk as a beverage that can be consumed with breakfast, lunch, dinner and is a key component to desired meals like cereal.

However, in most parts of the world milk is only consumed as a nursing infant and once the weaning process happens milk is no longer a suitable source of nutrients. 

But make sure you hear me correctly, that would be a nursing baby who is drinking their own mothers milk. and only until they are weaned. Think about what we, as Westerners do: we drink the milk of another mammal! and well into adulthood!

Just think about that for a second.

There is a plethora of research and information regarding milk. Just google it, you will me amazed.
Some say to avoid it, some say that it “does a body good”… but, just like anything, I think we should all become educated on the subject matter and decide for our own bodies what we want to put into it.
(but also be weary of the agenda on some of the “credible” sources that may pop up).

My opinion on the whole thing is that milk is an secretion from another mammal. 

So, why should I drink it?
I can get my calcium and Vitamin D from other, more natural and suitable sources…. ones that my body is a bit more equipped to digest.

This is one of my favorite articles on the subject, granted… its a bit old (okay, very old), but the main point is there and I think its worth reading:

*I have included a few key points below, but please, take some time and read the whole thing!
We are a nation of milk drinkers. Nearly all of us. Infants, the young, adolescents, adults and even the aged. We drink dozens or even several hundred gallons a year and add to that many pounds of “dairy products” such as cheese, butter, and yogurt. 
You may be surprised to learn that most of the human beings that live on planet Earth today do not drink or use cow’s milk. Further, most of them can’t drink milk because it makes them ill.
 Milk is a maternal lactating secretion, a short term nutrient for new-borns. Nothing more, nothing less. Invariably, the mother of any mammal will provide her milk for a short period of time 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.  
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. But is it natural? Is it wise to drink the milk of another species of mammal?  Consider for a moment, if it was possible, to drink the milk of a mammal other than a cow, let’s say a rat. Or perhaps the milk of a dog would be more to your liking. Possibly some horse milk or cat milk. Do you get the idea? Well, I’m not serious about this, except to suggest that human milk is for human infants, dogs’ milk is for pups, cows’ milk is for calves, cats’ milk is for kittens, and so forth. Clearly, this is the way nature intends it. Just use your own good judgement on this one.  Milk is not just milk. 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 markedly 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.
 Any lactating mammal excretes toxins through her milk. This includes antibiotics, pesticides, chemicals and hormones. Also, all cows’ milk contains blood! The inspectors are simply asked to keep it under certain limits. You may be horrified to learn that the USDA allows milk to contain from one to one and a half million white blood cells per millilitre. (That’s only 1/30 of an ounce). If you don’t already know this, I’m sorry to tell you that another way to describe white cells where they don’t belong would be to call them pus cells. To get to the point, is milk pure or is it a chemical, biological, and bacterial cocktail? Finally, will the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protect you? The United States General Accounting Office (GAO) tells us that the FDA and the individual States are failing to protect the public from drug residues in milk. Authorities test for only 4 of the 82 drugs in dairy cows.
A study showed that human breast milk in over 14,000 women had contamination by pesticides! Further, it seems that the sources of the pesticides are meat and–you guessed it– dairy products. Well, why not? These pesticides are concentrated in fat and that’s what’s in these products. (Of interest, a subgroup of lactating vegetarian mothers had only half the levels of contamination).
Here is another article that I suggest reading, it talks about health risks associated with milk/dairy consumption:
Milk: America’s Health Problem (from the American Nutrition Association)

and here is a quote from a Nutrition Journal that I found interesting (I wish I could post a link to the article, but I had to sign-in to my college account to access the article):

“Is cow’s milk a superfood or a substance unfit for human consumption? 

Its abundance of proteins, vitamins, and calcium is especially important for growing kids, yet It’s also associated with a plethora of ills, including allergic reactions. According to the National Institutes of Health, between 30 million and 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant to some degree. This inability to digest lactose, the main sugar in milk, can result In nausea, diarrhea, and gas. Less common are allergic reactions to casein and whey, two milk proteins.
Meanwhile, milk’s reputation as the ultimate calcium source Is facing new scrutiny. Research suggests that too much animal protein β€” a key element in cow’s milk β€” can cause the body to lose calcium and that vegetarian sources may be better for getting this essential nutrient. In addition, milk is relatively high in saturated fat and has been implicated in a greater risk of certain cancers, including ovarian cancer. And while cow’s milk contains Important vitamins and minerals, so do nondairy options.
“It’s Important to remember that humans don’t have a biological need for milk, but we do have a biological need for calcium,” says Jennifer Wilkins, Ph.D., R.D. “Other great nondairy sources of calcium include broccoli, green cabbage, kale, sesame seeds, and pinto beans.”

bottom line? I think if you can reduce your intake of cow’s milk, then its not a bad idea.
you can get the nutrients from other, more suitable sources that make more sense.
but that’s just my, undergraduate student in Nutrition Science, opinion πŸ™‚

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