Nova caller Kirsten Anne's 13 reasons to ditch dairy in 2013:
1.It's COW milk. Again: milk. from. a. cow - Why are we all drinking milk from a cow when we wouldn't drink the milk from our lactating dog or cat… or milk from a horse, pig, or racoon? We are the ONLY species that drinks the milk of another species, consuming it long after weaning. Would you go out into a field and suckle from a cow? I don't think so. Think about that connection. Just think about it.
2. Lactose intolerance - I would guess that if any of us were tested, we would be deemed 'lactose intolerant'. It is estimated that about 75 per cent of the world's population are 'lactose intolerant', and those that aren't (primarily Caucasians) tolerate milk sugar because of an inherited genetic mutation. That's because the milk is meant for cows, not people.
3. Animal cruelty - Dairy production might be the most offensive and heinous of all animal farming. Baby calves are pulled from their mothers at birth. Mother cows will bellow and search after being separated from their young. While female calves are slaughtered or kept alive to produce milk, male calves are taken, chained in tiny stalls and raised for veal. And, since is unprofitable to keep dairy cows alive once their milk production declines, they are usually killed at five to six years of age (though their normal life span exceeds 20).
4. Saturated fats, cholesterol and hormones - Skim milk is marketed for lower fat content, yet a 2011 Harvard study of 12,829 children showed that the milk sugar in skim milk may make you fatter than whole milk. And, all milk products (as with ALL animal products) contain cholesterol. And, we have been sold the line that "organic" milk is the solution. But as explained in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition "just because you pay more for the 'organic' label doesn't mean you're getting a safe product. Milk products are inundated with steroids and hormones (both naturally occurring and production-induced… and microbiological contaminants (think bacteria, viruses, parasites and mycotoxins) can also find their way into your dairy products."
5. Antibiotics and hormones - The mass production of milk requires cows being stressed to unnatural levels. This stress results in mastitis in the cows, which requires antibiotics, which make their way into the milk in our markets. As well, synthetic hormones such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) are commonly used in dairy cows to increase the production of milk. Do you want to drink growth hormones and antibiotics? Do you want your children to? You may bypass this one point by choosing organic milk products - but that doesn't change the composition of milk…
6. It stinks - Okay, there is nothing scientifically or even ethically sound about this argument. But, have you ever just smelled milk? Put aside the fact that you've been drinking it since your wee years. Take a glass and smell it. It has a stink. I guarantee that if you grew up drinking almond or coconut milk and you tasted COW milk, you would immediately say "peeU"! It is what we are conditioned to drink, and cow milk is - well - stinky… and, that's even before it goes sour.
7. Constipation - Milk and cheese have no fibre (neither does meat.) Dairy is constipating for children. Our children have never been constipated, yet I have heard parents talk about poo problems over and over. And, grown-ups, if the kiddos get constipated from dairy, you will too (maybe you are right now). There's no need for laxatives. Eat a plant-based diet (rich in whole foods), and you'll poop easy. There, I said it.
8. Heart disease - All that cheese and milk (and other dairy products) pack a wallop of cholesterol and saturated fat to one's diet. A low-fat plant-based diet has been shown not only to prevent heart disease, but also reverse it. And, before you think low-fat dairy is okay, it has been linked not only to increases in allergies, but also type 1 (childhood-onset) diabetes.
9. Plant-based calcium - Last year, the "Healthy Eating Plate" food guide pushed dairy off the plate, based on Harvard's assessment that high intake can increase the risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer, and also suggesting that foods like collards, bok choy, and baked beans are safer choices than dairy for obtaining calcium. Speaking of calcium sources and absorption, did you know that kale contains more calcium per calorie than milk (90 grams per serving) and is also better absorbed by the body than dairy? And that's just ONE plant food you can eat. Other plant-foods boosting calcium include: beans, nuts like almonds and seeds like sesame, broccoli, collards, whole-grains, and tofu. (And if you think eating leafy greens is hard, I have a leafy-greens post coming up, stay tuned!)
10. Osteoporosis - Seems counter-intuitive. We're supposed to drink milk to protect against osteoporosis, right? So why do the countries that guzzle the most dairy have the highest osteoporosis rates? We now know that it's not just calcium intake, but absorption and loss. When we eat diets high in animal protein (milk included), our bodies become acidic and calcium is drawn from our bones to neutralize that acidic environment - cheese is particularly acidic. Ditch the dairy (and the meat) to help maintain a more alkaline state in your body.
11. Cheese is addictive - That's why it's so darn hard to stop eating the stuff. But, as you'll learn in Julieanna's brief video (and through this list), it's best to kick the cheese (and dairy) habit.
12. Cancer prevention - Prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers have been linked to dairy consumption. And, if you've read The China Study, you're aware of the link between casein (the main protein in milk) and cancer. If not, READ it! Dr. T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University and author of The China Study, says casein is one of the most significant cancer promoters ever discovered. Think about how often children are pushed to eat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Childhood diets rich in dairy products are associated with cancer in adulthood. For more, watch this video from Dr Colin Campbell.
13. There have never been more - or better - dairy alternatives. I became vegan almost 20 years ago. Our alternatives for non-dairy milks were: bad-tasting soy milk and bad-tasting rice milk. That was it. Now? You are spoiled, people! Have a look at just some of the dairy-free options available: Milks: coconut milks, almond milks, rice milks, soy milks (always organic, please), hemp, flax, oat, and blends like almond-coconut. Really - there isn't ONE option in all of these that is at least as good as - or better than - cows' milk? Cheeses: Daiya shreds and Daiya wedges probably earn top spot here for commercial cheeses. But, there are many more recipes available too. Yogurts: coconut yogurts and Greek yogurts, organic soy, almond.Ice creams: Oh, you guys are lucky! Coconut ice creams, rice ice creams, soy ice creams, and then many nut and seed-based ice creams like almond creams, hemp, and cashew.
Dairy Australia's 13 reasons (based on scientific research) to include more dairy in 2013:
1. 1. 43,000 Australians rely on dairy for their livelihood - Dairy employs more than 43,000 people directly across the industry, many of these in rural communities. When you choose dairy foods you choose to support hardworking dairy families in rural communities who are already doing it hard.
2. The Australian Dietary Guidelines say we need more - The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) are Australia's peak medical body who form the basis of national healthy eating messages in Australia. In February, they released new Dietary Guidelines which have increased milk, cheese and yogurt recommendations for most of the population. And there is a reason for this...
3. Because....eating dairy foods is darn good for you - It's time to stop living in the past and relying on old wives' tales. Fact is milk and dairy foods are not just good for bone health. The latest scientific evidence shows dairy food consumption has a beneficial impact on many areas of health. The evidence statements in the Australian Dietary Guidelines show consumption of milk, cheese and yogurt is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and colorectal cancer - some of the main causes of death in Australia. That's actually six more reasons not to ditch dairy!
4. Most Australians are missing out on these benefits - Most Australians are missing out on the health benefits that dairy foods provide, with nine out of 10 women, and seven out of 10 men not meeting the minimum recommended intake of foods from the milk, yogurt, cheese and/or alternatives food group. Experts at the University of South Australia have previously estimated we could save $2 billion in health care costs if Australians consumed the recommended amount of dairy foods (based on the old 2003 Dietary Guideline serve recommendations, which were lower). This is almost what we spend on the entire annual public health budget.
5. Research shows dairy foods accelerate weight loss - Despite common misconceptions, there is no need to cut out dairy foods if you are watching your weight. Research shows eating three to four serves of milk, cheese and yogurt every day is not linked to weight gain. And if you are trying to lose weight, studies have shown these foods can actually help dieters lose more weight. A review of clinical trials showed people who consumed at least three serves of dairy foods per day as part of a calorie controlled diet lost more weight, particularly body fat. Plus they lost an additional 2.5 cm from their waist compared to those with a low dairy intake. How come? Dairy helps maintain precious muscle mass to keep our metabolism firing and assist with toning up.
6. Milk is nature's sport recovery drink - Milk is shaping up as the best drink for rehydration and recovery after exercise! Milk naturally provides both fluid and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) to assist with rehydration. The electrolyte concentration of milk is similar to conventional sports drinks and studies have now shown that milk is a more effective drink for rehydration than sports drinks or water. Milk also contains high quality proteins (whey and casein) that can help repair damaged muscle tissue and promote lean muscle growth. With footy and netball finals coming up, it might be the secret nutrition weapon to get you and your team across the line.
7. Dairy contributes $13 billion to Australia's economy each year - Dairy is a $13b farm, manufacturing and export industry that makes a vital contribution to the Australian national economy. With a farm gate value alone of $4 billion, the dairy industry enriches regional Australian communities, where one in eight Australians live.
8. It's hard to get enough calcium from other sources - Everyone knows dairy foods are packed with calcium - they are the largest contributor of calcium in the Australian diet! To get the same amount of calcium as one 250 ml glass of milk you would need to eat 32 brussels sprouts, 21 cups of raw chopped spinach, 11 cups of diced sweet potato, six cups of shredded green cabbage, five cups of cooked broccoli or one cup of dry roasted almonds. Vegies are great - but 32 brussels sprouts?
9. Cheese is awesome - Yep, cheese is one of those foods that you can't get enough of - because it tastes so great. And there is no need to feel guilty about that. Cheese is jam-packed with goodness: it is an excellent source of calcium for bone health, is high in protein and significantly contributes to vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin, phosphorous and zinc intake. And research has found that cheese is not the cholesterol-raising culprit it was once believed to be. Several recent studies have shown that adding three 40 g serves of cheese a day to a moderately reduced-fat diet will not raise blood cholesterol levels, which is great news for cheese lovers.
10. The dairy industry cares for their animals and the environment - Dairy farmers are committed to providing the best care for their cows. A cow's health and wellbeing is critically important to dairy farmers; their cows are their livelihood. Dairy farmers and the dairy industry are constantly investing, adapting and innovating for a sustainable future. As environmental caretakers- dairy farmers manage land and water responsibly, reducing greenhouse gases and protecting our natural resources for future generations. Right now, the industry is in a $1m-plus commitment to cut on-farm power use across 900 dairy farms.
11. Milk - your muscles' best friend - The proteins in milk play an important role in lean muscle growth. In a study of healthy, untrained men, those who drank skim milk after exercise gained more muscle and lost more body fat at the end of a 12-week training program than those who drank a soy protein beverage or a carbohydrate-only beverage. All three beverages had the same amount of calories. A second study found similar results for women. The females who drank 500ml of skim milk one hour after lifting weights gained more lean muscle and lost more fat than those who had a carbohydrate-based drink.
12. Even people with lactose intolerance can enjoy dairyFor those who have been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, the good news is they do not have to completely eliminate dairy foods. They can usually tolerate up to 12 g of lactose (the amount in one glass of milk) without symptoms, particularly if it is consumed with other food. Many dairy foods are naturally low in lactose. For example, most cheeses such as Parmesan, Cheddar and Swiss contain virtually zero lactose. Yogurt is also well tolerated because the healthy bacteria present digest much of the lactose.13. Australian dairy is world class.
13. Local producers make a wide variety of high quality specialty dairy products. From farm fresh local milk to the most sticky and delicious brie, Australian dairy products stack up on the world stage. In 2012 Berry's Creek Oak Blue from Victoria, Woodside Wakame Blue from SA and Tasmanian Heritage Red Square all won Supergold at the World Cheese Awards, placing them among the top 55 cheeses in the world! And dairy foods are the perfect partner to so many other great foods - you can enjoy them at any occasion. What would Milo be without milk? Or cereal in the morning... or crackers without cheese?