Have you ever wondered how and why adult humans started drinking cow’s milk? Who decided to squeeze on a cow’s udder and drink what came out? And how was it decided that what came out of a cow (which is food she makes for her own baby) was supposed to be part of an adult human’s every day diet?
And why a cow? And why have we recently added sheep and goats to this list? Why not a dog’s milk or pig’s milk or monkey’s milk or giraffe’s milk? As adult humans we don’t even drink human milk!
We get to an age where we don’t need it anymore, are weaned off it and never crave it again. Every mammal drinks milk as infants but do not drink milk as adults. Yet humans have decided that continuing to drink milk through their whole life, as long as it comes from another animal is good for them!
How does this make sense? Why is this the case? Why were we taught that we need cow’s milk? Is cow’s milk so much more superior for a human than human milk? Why do we need milk at all?
On looking for answers to my questions, I found out that scientists have found evidence (degraded fat on unearthed pot shards) that Neolithic farmers in Britain and Northern Europe were some of the first to milk cows (4000 BC).
BUT, milking a cow doesn’t necessarily mean they drank the milk! Afterall, in order for the human body to cope with processing milk beyond infancy, humans had yet to develop lactase persistence. To this day, 6000 years after the first cows were milked, there are still more people on this planet who are lactose intolerant than not.
So 6000 years ago, there would have been even fewer that could process lactose beyond infancy. Also keep in mind that those were the days before Louis Pasteur and his invention of the process we now know as Pasteurisation. So I’m not convinced that drinking milk was a normal, common practice back then as it would have caused all sorts of illness and upset stomachs.
During times of famine and food shortage, milk and milk products along with vegetables have been known to be the food for sustenance. I can totally understand this logic. The cow keeps the land fertile for the vegetables to grow and also provides milk from which you can make many food products for nourishment when the vegetables are not yet ready for picking.
This would explain why certain cultures hold the cow sacred (eg. India, Ancient Egypt). I would hold view an animal with special regard too if it got me through a time of famine!
But note, humans consumed milk at times when there was nothing else to eat!! This wasn’t done every single day!
Despite this, as farming became more prevalent, milk consumption by humans was encouraged more and more. To do this, milk was marketed as the “perfect food”. By strategically targeting schools, children were encouraged to drink more milk and their parents were “educated” about the benefits of making their kids drink milk.
By the 1940’s, through a lot of campaigning by the dairy industry, milk became a mandatory inclusion in school lunch programs. See this interesting “history of milk” timeline.
These children grew up and perpetuated their understanding of milk as the perfect food and so it passed down through generations. Prior to these campaigns, milk consumption overall, was much lower.
Now we’re almost 100 years and 4-5 generations of humans, who consume milk by the gallon because we were taught that it’s good for us even though the majority of us are still lactose intolerant.
Brilliant. So when are we going to wake up? It’s only been done for 4 generations, not a millennium. Our species has survived the millennia prior to these 4 generations of large quantity milk drinking humans and been fine. In fact, free from many of the degenerative diseases we’re experiencing now.
Oh but what are you going to put into your tea, coffee, cereal, smoothies and cakes?! And what about ice cream? You just gotta have ice cream right?
Did you hear about the ice cream shop in London that started selling ice cream made of human milk? Controversy of controversies! We’ll all have milk from another adult female animal but we are NOT having milk from adult females of our own species… No, that is WRONG! Human milk being fed to adult humans must be banned!
If you just stop and think about it, that’s what propaganda does… Cow milk yum! Human milk blech!
This is effectively what we’re doing when we drink another animal’s milk. This picture was found on Wikipedia about humans nursing on non- humans. Notice though that it was done for orphaned infants and during a time when the rise of syphilis increased the health risk to wet nurse. So it was done out of necessity.
Yes, there are many cases of animals of one species caring for and nursing animals of another species. So, mammals have shown us it is ok to drink milk from other species of mammals but you have to notice that ALL animals (other than human) who drink another species’ milk are orphaned animal babies who do it for their survival because they’ve lost their own mothers!
Also note that the animal with the milk has to be willing to nurse that other animal. Nobody is forcing them to give their milk. From the pictures I could find, it seems that a dog’s milk is the most versatile, or maybe cow’s are just too tall and too big for babies of smaller species.
Again, milk drinking is only done out of necessity.
If you are reading this, it would be safe to assume that you are no longer a baby, orphaned or otherwise and since you can afford a computer and the internet, it would also be safe to assume you can afford food and therefore no longer need milk.
Can you drink tea and coffee without milk? Yes you can. Do you really need to eat cereal? Not really. If you really want to eat it, can you eat it without milk? Yes. That’s what muesli and granola bars are and if you’re into the heavily sugarcoated cereals, you can eat these straight out of the packet like you’d eat crisps or popcorn.
What about smoothies? You need milk for smoothies right? Not really, just something creamy and you can get that consistency from coconut flesh, avocado, bananas or nuts and seeds. You can also make your own nut milks (by grinding soaked nuts and water, then straining).
BUT WHAT ABOUT ICE CREAM? Well, have you tried freezing a very ripe banana? That is actually one of the best banana sorbets you will ever have in your life. 100% fresh, 100% raw, 100% vegan and 100% delicious! Plus you can flavour that frozen banana with anything you want including fruit, nut butters and cocoa.
Oh but the calcium! You need the calcium!! Yes, you do need calcium but is a cow’s milk the only source of calcium on the planet? I don’t think so! There are plenty of plants that will provide calcium eg. kale, spinach, broccoli, collard greens.
There are studies that have shown that the body leaches calcium from the bones in order to process the calcium that exists in milk. This being further supported by the fact that osteoporosis (brittle bones) exists prolifically in all dairy consuming countries but is practically non-existent in countries that do not consume any dairy (except in places/cities where dairy is made available)! Is this not a major correlation that everyone is ignoring? For more information, read The China Study and here is a blog citing sources of scientific studies finding the same.
What about the probiotics from yogurt? You need probiotics right! They’re good for your gut! Yes, I agree with you and guess what? There is a non-dairy alternative to that in the form of Water Kefir. I’ve got plenty to share by the way so get in touch if you want some.
But you have to admit dairy tastes good! OK you got me on that one. We’ve had our fair share of cheese. We particularly love the French cheeses. Cornish clotted cream is so good with strawberry jam on scones. Melting butter on a hot piece of freshly baked bread is delicious! It does taste good but tasting good doesn’t always mean it’s good for you and that you should have it every day, let alone 3-4 times a day in the quantities that some people are having!
Besides, the good stuff is all the full fat stuff!!! Full cream, 80% fat butter, unpasteurised cheese! They taste so much better than all that processed skimmed, fat free junk. And what does anyone who’s anyone say about eating foods with a high fat content (whether animal or plant based)? You can eat them but only in small amounts compared to everything else! So why do we get taught that dairy does not fall into this category?
Have you seen what people who eat a lot of dairy look like? Yes that’s right, they look exactly like what they’re supposed to look like… big, strong and plump just like growing baby cows. Have you seen the size of some humans today? They might as well be cows!
Have you also noticed how most children (past weaning) don’t really like drinking milk? If they did, milk wouldn’t have to be made more palatable for them through the addition of sugar and artificial flavours!
I am not saying that you should avoid dairy at all costs. Although the studies show it probably would be better for you to!! What I am saying is to stop and think about what you are consuming and why you are consuming it. Stop and think about how much of it you are consuming.
We don’t need that much dairy and the incidences of humans being lactose intolerant says it all.
Now, you know how I mentioned that nobody is forcing the adult female mammal to give her milk but she gives it willingly to nurse orphaned babies (even of another species)?
Well, until this year, I never stopped to think about the cows that we’re getting milk from. It’s not like they’re donating milk voluntarily. Those cows don’t have a choice and neither do their babies.
Until a couple of months ago, I never even stopped to wonder, if we humans are drinking the cow’s milk then what is her calf drinking?
I never thought that cows would have an unlimited supply of milk but I didn’t think about where the continuous flow of milk and dairy that fills the aisles of millions of supermarkets worldwide comes from…. did you?
The sad fact is that the cows are impregnated artificially. As with all mothers, they start lactating (producing milk) to prepare for their baby’s birth. But, when their babies are born, in order to keep their mothers making milk, they will impregnate her again! These cows are not rotated or given healing time or time out, they are just continuously pregnant!
At only a few days old (sometimes only 1 day old), the calves are separated from their mothers and sent to slaughter. The baby cows are killed so we can drink the milk their mothers produced for them.
Many dairy cows are chained to their milking stations and impregnated and milked to exhaustion. They collapse after 4 years when cows are supposed to live for 20 years. When they don’t produce as much milk or collapse, they are slaughtered.
This really doesn’t need to happen. We’re forcing cows to produce milk for a majority of people who can’t even digest the stuff! It’s insane!
We don’t all need to turn vegan or vegetarian, we do have that choice. I don’t know about you but I’m thinking, if a cow happens to be pregnant and lactating and she’s OK to be milked occasionally and from that, we make some cream, butter and cheese then great!
Do we really have to chain them, milk them to exhaustion, have them give birth continuously, only to then take away and kill their babies?
We don’t need that much milk, cream and cheese. They are nice as treats to eat occasionally and in this day of abundance, there are a lot of alternatives to getting the creaminess in your tea, coffee and cereals.
Fact: Animal milk is for animal babies and, as used by our forefathers, good for times of famine.
Today, none of us fall into either of those categories.
- Minimise your dairy intake.
- Source only high welfare, organic dairy products.
- If you’re used to milk by habit, why not try some plant based milk? Coconut milk, soy milk, hemp milk, almond milk, oat milk, hazelnut milk, rice milk just to name a few. The best part is you can make these yourselves at home and you don’t need to inadvertently abuse a cow in the process.