I grew up drinking milk every single day, especially with dinner. I loved it and never thought twice. It’s got calcium, which is supposed to be super duper good for my bones, right?
TV said so, mum said so, the Canadian Food Guide said so.
So I believed it. But is milk good for you?
Cow’s milk is not the necessity that everyone thinks it is. We don’t need it. In fact, maybe we shouldn’t be drinking it at all?
Here are 4 reasons why I stopped drinking milk:
Cow’s milk can have hormones and antibiotics.
As someone who suffers from acne, I was looking for dietary changes that I could make to help rid myself of pimples. The very first thing I did was go dairy-free for just over 2 months. Why?
Because some cow’s milk contains hormones and antibiotics. Have you heard of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH)? It’s a hormone injected into cows which increases milk production. There is concern that rBGH increases levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in our blood, which is linked to several kinds of cancer.
rBGH is not approved for use in Canada, or Europe, but it is in the United States. Canadian stores do import some dairy products with non-Canadian milk, so it’s something to be cautious about. Although Canadian cattle isn’t exposed to these same growth hormones, the cow’s natural hormones are transmitted through the milk. Is it a good idea to ingest hormones that weren’t made by your body? Probably not.
Since a lot of acne out there is hormonal, adding synthetic and unnatural hormones into my body probably wasn’t a good idea. So, I stopped drinking milk. When this happened, the mini red pimples on the back of my arms cleared up, and all of the little white bumps under the skin on my chin were gone. My hormonal acne is still around (other factors affect it), but I have seen positive results since removing milk from my diet.
Milk is acidic in our bodies.
Did you know milk is acidic in our digestive tract? Once we consume it, it leaves an acidic residue, or “ash” that our body needs to balance out. To do this, it our body has a buffer system made up of organs like our kidneys and lungs. Our blood needs to maintain a certain pH level for our body to function, so it’s equipped to deal with too much acidity or too much alkalinity.
Too much acidity, all the time, overburdens the organs. Acidic foods leach out alkaline minerals in our body to help buffer the acidity. A common mineral is calcium, which gets pulled from the bones. The irony here, is that to balance our acidic milk that we drink FOR calcium ends up pulling calcium from our bones in the end. What??
The long-term affects of acidic diets are mostly theory-based at this point, but the idea cannot be ignored. Our body does many fascinating things to keep us alive and running – but there are many reasons why the standard American diet is failing us. Acidity/alkalinity in our foods could be a contributing factor, considering how acidic our standard diet is (filled with sugar, high-protein, and processed foods).
There are many other ways to get protein, calcium and other nutrients.
Most people drink milk because it has calcium and protein, among other minerals and nutrients. With what we know about milk, it may not be the best place to get these minerals and nutrients.
We can get protein from so many other sources. If you are a meat-eater, great sources of protein include organic chicken, fresh wild salmon, and organic and free-range eggs. If you’re staying away from meat, eat beans/legumes, brown rice, seeds and nuts – just be sure you are consuming a complete protein (eating all of the essential amino acids that make up a protein).
Where can you find calcium and other minerals? VEGETABLES! And guess what – vegetables are generally super alkaline and very good for us. Calcium-packed greens like kale and broccoli should be your best friends. If you’re eating a good array of colourful vegetables every day along with nuts, seeds along with organic and grass-fed meats here and there, you shouldn’t be concerned with “missing out” on those minerals you’d get from milk.
Lactose intolerance is prevalent in society for a reason.
I know people hate this argument, but it is true: Cow’s milk is intended for cows only – for mammals like cows that are meant to grow up and be humongous. That’s why it has so many nutrients and so much protein! But just because it’s nutrient-filled doesn’t mean we should be drinking it. Biologically it wasn’t meant for us.
About 75% of the world is lactose-intolerant. This statistic should be a good indication that milk isn’t meant for humans. Lactose is one of the sugars in milk – and we break it down in our bodies with the enzyme lactase. We have this enzyme as babies so we can break down our mothers’ milk, but many people lose it as they grow up. In the Americas and Europe, there are fewer people with lactose intolerance, but that’s mostly because many of us have continued to drink milk after infancy and throughout childhood. We are adapting to our diets – but it is not our biological nature.
What are alternatives to cow’s milk?
Milk is a common ingredient in recipes, and a very common drink in some households. Coming from someone who hasn’t had milk in about 3 years, it’s easy to find substitutes that work nearly as well.
I typically substitute milk with nut milks. Homemade almond milk and cashew milk are my go-to’s (to avoid preservatives and carrageenan). I make these at home with some soaked nuts, water, and a blender. They’re a great option to add creaminess to oatmeal, cereals, soups, coffee or tea, smoothies and more. Nut milks are easier on our digestion, are easy to make, and offer so many opportunities to add flavouring if we choose to – such as vanilla, strawberry or even matcha!
If you’re looking for a protein-boosting milk, try making homemade hemp milk. One cup of shelled hemp seeds, 3 cups of water and a bit of stevia (optional) is all you need. Blend it and enjoyin oatmeal, smoothies and baked goods. Hemp hearts are complete proteins, meaning all essential amino acids are present. They’re also a great source of your good fats, omega-3’s and omega-6’s.
Do you drink dairy? If not, what are your favourite milk substitutes?