In our modern culture, milk and cheese are readily available and frequently added to many of our favorite foods. Many of us were taught at some point in our lives that milk and dairy are good for you. They “do the body good”. They “give you strong bones”. True, there is about 30% (~300mg) of the recommended daily value of calcium in a cup of milk. It also includes moderate amounts of potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin b-12.
However, it is not the “good stuff” in milk that will hurt you.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where production is valued over safety, and this reality has resulted in a milk supply that is packed with a whole lot more than your standard nutrients. Here are 6 big reasons why you may want to dump milk in favor of healthier alternatives:
1. Pesticides, please.
Did you know, for example, that cotton is one of the most chemical-ridden crops in existence? That alone might not scare you, but consider what happens with the bi-product of cotton processing called whole cotton seed is taken and given to dairy cattle as feed: all those chemicals that were used on the cotton get ingested by the cattle. Any woman who has ever been a breast-feeding mother can tell you that what the mother takes in can easily be passed into her milk and affect the child. The same holds true for cattle. This means that all those fungicides and herbicides and fertilizers and pesticides used on cotton seed may end up tainting that cup of wholesome milk.
2. Hormones, anyone?
And milk doesn’t just contain pesticides and other chemicals used on cotton. Steroids and hormones are regularly given to cattle to increase production. According to some sources, as many as 6 different steroids and hormones are given to cattle as standard practice in the U.S.
3. Antibiotics for all!
Of course, we can’t forget antibiotics. Antibiotics are given to cows like candy. (Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but you get the point… they are given way too often!) With the effectiveness of some antibiotics being constantly challenged by ever-evolving diseases, why would we want to take any step that might dull our response to antibiotics thereby reducing their effectiveness?
4. Can’t quit the Casein…
Casein, according to one writer, is “basically like crack.” According to some, the casein in milk causes something very much like an addiction. Opiate-like substances called casomorphins are formed in your brain when you eat or drink dairy. This creates a cycle in which your body craves the feeling that it received previously from dairy, which (again) is very much like an addictive drug.
5. Watching your cholesterol?
Dairy foods are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Healthy and clear arteries are important for those of us who want to live a long and healthy life. Dairy foods work against this aim by loading us up with fat and cholesterol.
6. Organic greens give you more.
Obviously, we’re not the biggest dairy fans. “But what non-dairy foods could there possibly be that can compare to the nutritional content of milk?” Organic greens to the rescue…
Organic turnip greens, bok choy, kale, parsley, and broccoli are all high in calcium content, but they also give other nutrients that milk can’t, and do it in a safer way—a way without the physiological fanfare. A serving of kale alone provides 133% of the RDA of Vitamin A, 134% of the RDA of Vitamin C, and 10% of the RDA of both Calcium and Vitamin B6. It also provides 7% of the daily value of magnesium. Turnip greens may very well get the gold metal for nutritional content. A serving of this under-appreciated wonder-food contains:
- Over 600% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin K
- Over 200% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin A
- Over half the daily value of Vitamin C
- About 20% of the RDA of both Calcium and Fiber
- And more!
Turnip greens even contain often touted “health and mood” ingredients such as omega 3s and the mood-enhancing tryptophan.
There are, of course, more reasons to kick the milk habit. I’ve given you just a few here. We haven’t even touched on the acid-producing properties of milk and cheese, or the common allergens in milk and the increasing trend of intolerance. The bottom line is that milk may not be as good for you as you think, and may not be the “super” food that you’ve always been told it was.