Milk & Dairy: All You Need to Know Plus a Cherry

- My friend is breastfeeding, but she is producing so much milk that she doesn't know what to do with the excess, would you drink it?

Whenever milk becomes the subject, it is very common getting a sour expression as an answer to this question, and this is probably caused by years learning that consuming cow's milk and dairy products are really good for us. If you agree or not on drinking or eating anything derived from milk, here are three facts and a cherry, that as a trainer I suggest you consider before reaching the fridge for one more cup, or down the road for more cheese and yogurt.

1) Milk & Dairy are Processed & Industrialized. Except for fresh organic milk from pasture raised cows and goats, most of our milk comes from industrialized farms, where animals are being fed genetically modified grains, drugs, hormones and antibiotics, while living under stressful conditions for the sake of profits and increased rate of production.

The milk produced is then collected and transported (quality decreases over the hours), so that it is processed through UHT (Ultra High Temperature), Homogenization or Pasteurization. These processes are used to sterilize milk assuring it is free from airborne contamination, but they also change it into a less digestible food, poor in probiotics and lower in nutrients if compared to raw milk.

Once processed, milk can then be used for the production of dairy. As in any industrialized food, it becomes then a mix of preservatives and additives, which even though may be considered safe by Legal Authorities, are also linked to serious diseases as cancer, allergies, nervous and metabolic disorders. Additives and preservatives may be added to make it last longer in the shelves, lower cost production, hide or enhance product taste and even to make us willing to have some more.

2) You don't need Milk & Dairy for Calcium. Have you ever seen a cow drinking milk? Nope. Animals get their calcium from alternative food sources as nuts, seeds, leaves and vegetables. Milk is high in calcium if you measure it by cup, on the other hand, when you view it by Calories, milk is poor in calcium. A hundred Calories of spinach has over three times as much calcium as 100 Calories of whole milk.

Still, focusing only on calcium does not seem to be a smart decision, as our bones are composed of at least a dozen minerals and numerous studies have found no association between high calcium intake and lower fracture risk. Consider that osteoporosis, often related to aging process and gender, is related to poor Nutrition, not enough physical activity and high levels of stress.

Moreover, it is not everyone who can digest milk, therefore it is important considering chance of lactose intolerance.

3) Milk is for Babies. Arnold "Terminator Will Be Back in 2015" Schwarzenegger made it simple. Although raw milk is full of nutrients and favorable to muscle growth due to being high in Calories and Growth Hormone, we are the only species in the whole planet drinking milk from another animal after weaning. Milk, unless we are babies, becomes unnecessary in our diets as soon as we are introduced to solid foods. If milk was really necessary our mothers would still be able to breastfeed. Come on! Not even cows drink their milk after weaning.

And finally, your prize for reading, the Cherry:

After many years drinking and eating dairy, I recognize that good quality milk, cheese, yogurt and ice-cream taste great, nevertheless, science shows that the health benefits of consuming these products may also be provided by several other food options.

Millions and millions of years of human evolution have passed. However, it has been no more than ten thousand years since we started drinking milk. Maybe it was the taste which brought us to this habit, after all, even if I wanted to blame the Industry, they were not there by that time.

As if these three factors were not enough, it is worth analysing milk, dairy and any animal food option, from a more holistic, less egoistic point of view, so that you can also realize that it is not only about being healthy to you or effective for bigger biceps and bones, but also how its comsumption affects the world around you and the life of other living creatures.

Product packaging depletes natural sources of energy, pollutes the environment and despite 75% of the world garbage being recyclabe, only 30% is really recycled. Animals are being confined, fed with hormones and antibiotics, forced to produce milk, tortured to live in unacceptable conditions, while we only care about our pleasure and comfort. Water is being wasted, forests are being replaced by cattle fields and monocultural agriculture, and food quality is dropping in order to sustain the market needs and keep profits high for the Industry.

A Final Silly Note for The Longest Post Ever: It has been four years since I started decreasing my consumption of milk and dairy; I started by switching milk to a few scoops of whey protein; quitting daily comsumption of cheese and yogurt; adhering to organic milk comsumption and now finally it's been three months since I decided to remove dairy completely from my diet. I am not prohibiting myself of having it, I am simply choosing not to do so.

Just because you can, does not mean you should. Think and act. Keep strong.