I have been asking myself that question many times the last, say, ten years or so. If you read my post on Psoriasis, you know that for my skin’s sake I don’t tend to have a lot of dairy anymore. I did grow up on a farm and drank litres of it daily as a kid and early teenager, as well as eating plenty of cheese and yoghurt. And it didn’t seem to harm me much, I was a normal kid with a normal body, wasn’t sick very often, was active, fit and healthy. But cow’s milk is one of those foods that more and more ‘experts’ are telling us not to eat.
If we have a look at what an unbiased book about nutrition has to say about dairy products, they say milk is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals, in particularly calcium that’s great for bones and teeth (we know that, that’s been the marketing topic for milk the last decades). The usual warning about saturated fat is of course mentioned and there is advice to adapting to lower fat options. They talk about the importance of and adequate calcium intake for kids and women (especially during and after menopause).
When I grew up I was drinking unprocessed milk. It came out of the cow and was chilled, then I drank it. That’s it. If you try to sell raw milk in Australia today, you will get fined. Unless you sell it as Bath Milk – but then you have to ensure you tell anyone who buys it it’s strictly to be put in your bath, NOT in your mouth. Because you might die. Seriously. Because according to laws and regulations (and for the safety of human beings), to make the milk safe for human consumption and more palatable (what?!) it needs to be processed in various ways. It usually goes though pasteurisation, where the milk is heated so harmful bacteria and enzymes are destroyed. It can sterilized by Ultra-High-Temperature (UHT), for the long shelf life milk that doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge (yuk). Then you have Homogenisation which is when the fat molecules are broken down and mix throughout the milk (naturally the fat is lighter than the milk and lies as a layer on top – I used to just stir the milk a little before getting my jug from the tank).
That’s the tree major processes the milk goes through to become safe for human consumption. I like the idea of me (and my entire family) being super human, because it seems I have survived quite a tough upbringing! Hah, there you go, no need for harden up princess comments here, I’m tough enough!
Well, that’s the unbiased look on milk, then you have the different diets and specialists telling you milk is plain stupid. According to research Scandinavia, Africa and Australia are the few areas of the world where the populations have become accustomed to drinking cow’s milk and our bodies can deal with it a lot better than say Asians (some of them look at the cow as holy, wouldn’t mind some holy milk!). I have visited the Masais in Masai Mara in Kenya, and they drink lots of it. They all seemed pretty healthy to me (African standards of course) and while I am on the topic, my boyfriend was offered to sell me for 70 beautiful, healthy dairy cows (normal price is between 5 and 10 cows – it pays to be blond!).
I am getting way off track here. Specialists say dairy creates mucus in our bodies. It creates inflammation in your guts and the rest of your body. It’s a perfect food, if you are a calf. It’s mother milk, but unfortunately cows aren’t our mothers, so it’s just plain wrong to drink it. We can’t actually take up the calcium from dairy, so you are better off eating lots of greens instead. According to US researchers there is no evidence that dairy is good for our bones or prevents osteoporosis, they say in fact that the protein in milk may cause bone loss. Dairy may be linked to prostate cancer. As I mentioned earlier as well, I come from a country where we are adjusted to digest milk, whilst 75% of the world population is lacking that enzyme and therefor milk can cause digestive problems. Dairy is also linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is also pretty common these days to be lactose intolerant, which means you are allergic to the milk sugar and can’t digest milk properly and it messes with your intestines. They basically say stay of dairy milk, it’s no good for you.
So, where am I getting here? I used to drink lots and lots of milk. I didn’t seem to do me any harm. I never broke a bone in my body when I was a kid. I stopped drinking milk, eating yoghurt and ate very little cheese. It didn’t seem to do me any harm either. Still no broken bones in my body (and my skin benefits from it, especially when I stay off sugar, coffee and alcohol at the same time). Currently I never drink plain milk, but I use it in my coffee (I usually have one piccolo a day or I might just have a splash in my homemade coffee – or I use coconut milk), I cook with some milk and lots of butter and every now and then I eat cheese. Still no broken bones, my teeth look good and I would classify myself as pretty, damn healthy (after all I did get through the health checks they do before they let you in to Australia!!).
If you are suspicious milk is no good for you, try cutting it out for a month and see if there is a difference. If not, then I suggest you keep drinking it. If you feel like a new person, your stomach flattens out and stops growling at you and your brain fog disappears, then I would probably stop drinking it if I were you.