People have been programmed to believe that dairy is the best source of calcium, which promotes the healthy growing of bones and what not. This, like many things that we are raised to believe in school about nutrition is not true. There are plenty of alternatives for the intake of key nutrients that dairy is supposed to impart – like calcium, protein, and various other vitamins and minerals. Leafy greens, like spinach, broccoli, and kale are excellent sources of this vital mineral. In fact, two of the best foods a person can consume that are nutrient dense are spinach and broccoli. So, Popeye was on to something, right? “Strong to the Finish.” For example, a cup of spinach contains about 245 mg of calcium and broccoli 124 mg. Almonds are also a great source of calcium, protein and fiber.
When was the last time people read the label on their milk? See that part that says Vitamin D has been added… that isn’t a good sign. I have learned that if you have to add or fortify something in order for the good stuff to be absorbed into your body, than you should just put it back on the shelf and walk away. That is not the product you want. No additions should be necessary. That’s perfectly logical, right? So, why do so many people not get it?
Pasteurized dairy that is sold in supermarkets is out of the question. Just stay away from it. The primary point of pasturing milk is to destroy germs that may be contained, but the process also destroys the nutritional value. Pasteurized dairy has been linked to all sorts of health issues, including allergies, diabetes, and cancer.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Washington Center for Clinical Research have complied studies to show the connection between the consumption of pasteurized dairy and increased cancers in specific body regions. Namely: prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers. I’m sure many people will roll their eyes at the thought of another thing that causes cancer, but honestly it is a fact of life in our society. Diseases, like cancer, are a result of the modern age, the Industrial Revolution, and the change of human diets to include processed, refined, infused garbage. Dr. Cordain highlights these findings in his book about The Paleo Diet and the influx of modern disease in our civilized society.
In a Harvard Physicians Health Study about the effects of dairy on men, it concluded that males who consumed more than two dairy servings a day had a 34% greater risk for developing prostate cancer than in men who consumed one or none a day. You are probably wondering what the link or cause is. They have determined that dairy products increase the level of IGF-1 in the bloodstream, which is a potent stimulus for cancer cell growth. IGF-1 is insulin-like growth factor 1. It is a hormone that has a similar structure to insulin in the body. It is important to growth in children and in adults has anabolic effects. Which means, it causes organ and tissue growth. It is a long banned performance enhancer in the realm of sports. It is only approved by the FDA for children with a rare condition where their bodies do not make enough of it; therefore they are allowed to have injections to promote the growth of muscles and bones.
In women, the study correlated that for every 10 grams of lactose consumed, about one glass, ovarian cancer risk increased by 13%. I’m pretty sure that means that milk doesn’t do the body good. Or at least, the kind of milk we buy on the shelves in most supermarkets. The key player that affects women is galactose, which is a component of lactose.
Studying various cultures’ and societies’ diets has allowed correlations to be drawn to pinpoint issues in the diets of other societies. For example, in Asian cultures where dairy is not a normal part of consumption, breast cancer is much rarer than in the United States and Europe where dairy is a large part of diets. Dairy products do not contain the cancer fighting agents and nutrients that the green leafy veggies I mentioned before have.
There is of course the debate of raw milk vs. pasteurized milk. The FDA and the CDC would have us believe that raw milk is dangerous because it contains microorganisms and harmful bacteria that are not killed off during the processing of dairy. The bacteria, like Salmonella, E. Coli, and Listeria can be responsible for foodborne illness. Sure, that’s possible. Anything is really. Contamination is possible with any and all foods. Look at the outbreak of Salmonella a few years back in regards to spinach because of the lack of hygiene in the fields where workers were picking the vegetable. It comes down to hygiene. Most states have strict regulations for raw milk. The California Department of Food and Agriculture notes on their website that the use of proper procedures and sanitation of equipment allows for raw milk to meet the bacterial standards outlined for all milk. California is the leading milk producer in the United States.
Obtaining non-hormone, non-antibiotic, grass fed dairy can be a challenge. Why are those three components important if a person is thinking about consuming some sort of dairy?
– The infusion of hormones into foods can cause cellular mutations, leading to the increased health risks. rBGH, a synthetic growth hormone, is used to get cows to produce more milk, bringing the average up to around 50 pounds (6+ gallons), whereas in 1930 they produced about 12 pounds (1 ½ gallons). Unnatural, huh? Wanna put that into your body? Gross.
– The over prescription of antibiotics and the use of them in food sources is creating super bugs, in a nutshell. Antibiotic resistance has become a serious issue with a lot of media attention in the past few years. The bacteria strands are mutating and rendering antibiotics ineffective. Factory farmed animals have a sickly nature, due to a combination of hormone injections, living conditions, and food supply. Therefore, they are fed antibiotics from birth to death. Milk contains traces of up to 80 different antibiotics, according to Nutrition News and Views. Commercially raised meats and poultry are laden with these chemicals, which are then consumed by people.
– Grass fed is extremely important. The natural diet of a cow is grass. They are meant to graze along a pasture. However, in order to produce the quantity needed to satisfy consumer needs at quick and cheap rates, cows are fed mainly a grain mixture. Grain in cows, like in humans, is difficult to digest. The typical diet on large commercial farms is corn, which receives of about 80% of all herbicides. Animal products contain 14 times more pesticides then the plants we consume. Another very chilling factor in what cow’s consume, is approximately 40 billion pounds of slaughterhouse waste (think blood, bone, and intestines) plus millions of euthanized cats and dogs, according to a US News & World Report article. The FDA halted the feeding of slaughterhouse waste for a brief period during the Mad Cow Disease scare in 2003. There was a proposal introduced in the early 2000’s to end the feeding of animal byproducts to other animals that has yet to be implemented.
You are what you eat, right? Well, if you eat foods that are infused with chemicals, hormones, and all other manners of nasty things then logic dictates that is exactly what will happen to your body. The consumption of those unnatural products will cause unnatural results in the human body.
I could go on and on about the treatment of animals on these big agri-business farms, but I won’t. After all, that is the primary reason that I was a vegetarian for over a decade. But, that isn’t the point of this posting. Dairy – it’s a grey area, that’s for sure. To me, it is not Paleo. It violates one of the basic principles of the Paleo lifestyle/diet plan. So, I certainly wouldn’t recommend consuming it. If you can’t live without diary for whatever reason, or are going to use it as your cheat, than buy raw, grass fed. And remember moderation, please.
Here is the link to assist in finding your local source for raw milk: Where To Find Raw Milk