" Food or any other thing that is not wholesome and that has unpleasant consequences should not be used out of ignorance and carelessness".
Charaka Samhita [six BC]
Aim of this article is not at all to create any further dilemma in the mind of readers about an another issue named "Milk" but to mirror other aspect about the same that most of us are ignorant about Or we are aware but reluctant to pay attention out of being a slave to our own age old habits. Or, do I say, we are not allowed to pay attention by all those people who are product of today's so called modern "commercial world" who survive only upon vitamin-M [money].
Whatever may be the reason, it is worth paying a little attention to all other aspects "Today's milk" carries with it not only to give justice to issue that concern our health but also to the same issue that concerns millions of other lives around.
Since thousands of years milk and other dairy products have been consumed by us for them considered being a rich source of various nutrients such as proteins, calcium, vitamins, fat, minerals etc; it is considered as a "Complete Food" especially for Vegetarians and Kids.
Milk has always been a common cause of concern for all those mothers whose child refuses to have it. And anxieties in such cases are not a surprise because probably its necessity as "Prime Food" is deeply imbibed in our blood and genes by our ancestors, so much so that it has almost become a habit! I still have to listen to scolding from my mother if she happens to see me not having my milk in the mornings.
Since ancient times milk is valued a lot and so were the cows. Traditionally cows were raised as members of the family and revered as a mother because they gave milk. Calves were first given their share of milk. Female calves were raised as milk producers and male, to work in the fields. In return, they [cow/buffalo] received food, shelter and care from human. Thus, in this symbiotic relationship between human and cows, there was a balance. In the absence of refrigeration, milk did not have commercial value.
Today, the commercialization has created tremendous imbalance in this symbiosis. Today, the treatments a cow or a buffalo receive are far beyond the wildest of our wilder imaginations. Every single part of a cow – be it cow dung/urine/leather/bone is of commercial value. May be they are paying a high price for being the prime source of milk and also for us [human] being the most intelligent animal on the planet!
We will discuss this issue later in this article; let us first check out whether "today's Milk" still holds up those qualities for which it was highly valued by our ancestors.
Today's cow milk: "A product for "Health" or "Wealth"? :
Infected, pus mixed Today's commercial milk: In cow or a buffalo, milk is collected from their Udder. Continuous harsh milking by human and machines causes indurations and infection of the udder (mastitis) resulting in pus and bacteria that gets added to the milk. Amongst various bacteria, one, which stands prominent, is a Paratuberculosis bacterium; it causes Johne's disease in cattle and is believed to cause Crohn's disease in humans.
In India overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions contribute to widespread tuberculosis amongst cows in city dairies. Pasteurization does not kill the TB bacilli, which may be passed to the consumer.
Antibiotics in Today's milk: Dairy farmers try to control the mastitis with huge doses of antibiotics, which also end up in the milk. Children are particularly vulnerable; these antibiotics inhibit the development of the immune system, and cause antibiotic resistance. Despite the antibiotics every glass of milk contains an estimated 1 - 7 drops of pus!
Pesticides used on the feeds for the animals are concentrated in their milk and meat. The ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) researched milk for 7 years taking 50,000 samples from across India. They found large amounts of DDT, and HCH. Under the food adulteration act only 0.01 mg/kg of HCH is allowed. They found 5.7 mg/kg on an average! They also found arsenic, cadmium and lead. These cause kidney damage, heart disease, brain damage and cancer.
In India, milkmen dissolve urea or earthworms in the milk to prevent it from curdling since the trucks for transporting the milk are not refrigerated.
Also, for continuous flow of the milk, cows [and buffalos] are given hormones in high amount, which also ends up in milk.
The result: every glass of milk is a cocktail composed of 1 or more of the following - pus, antibiotics, pesticides, urea, and hormones!
Dairy cattle are now fed a fixed ration of feeds that they would not typically eat if given a choice. Not only this is inhumane, but one can imagine what kind of quality such milk must be having.
But, does this matter to any of those sellers who just want to make their wealth at the cost of consumer's health?
Heath hazards of "Today's milk": "Gifts from something you loved so much"
There is ample amount of studies available upon milk with equal amount of controversies as in 'Milk as medicine' verses 'milk as poison'. But following are the authenticated results where risks has come to outweigh the benefits of "today's commercial milk" [Research results by various scientists over the Globe]
- Sixty percent of Ear infections in kids less than six years of age.
- Iron-deficiency anemia in infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend against cow's milk for the first year of life, not only because of the allergic and autoimmune threat to immature immune systems, but because cow's milk is a recipe for iron-deficiency anemia, which makes babies weak, sad, listless, and dull.
- Food Allergies, Lactose intolerance: Food allergy is a common cause of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), and other childhood behavioral disorders.
-A large study coming from researchers at the Uppsala University in Sweden found that drinking milk led to an increased mortality rate and actually made bones more prone to fracturing, not less
- Autism- There is also consistent evidence that as many as two-thirds of children with autism can benefit significantly, sometimes dramatically, by eliminating milk and/or gluten from their diets.
- Autoimmune disorders such as Multiple sclerosis, IDDM [Insulin Dependant Diabetes Mellitus]
- Prostate cancer
- Altered mental state such as long term Sadness and Melancholy
- Chron's disease (an illness that causes uncontrollable diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting) in humans.
- Whole milk is full of artery-clogging LDL-cholesterol that causes narrowed arteries and cause heart attacks, strokes, and the thousand tiny brain insults that contribute to senile dementia.
- Diabetes [specifically Type 2]
- Ovarian Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Osteoporosis [a condition where bone start getting deprived of its calcium content]
-Eczema, Psoriasis, Urticaria
All these problems are caused by milk first because of the way it has been commertially produced
and second because for the simple reason that cow 's milk is for cow's baby [calf] like how each mamal's milk is specifically designed for perfect growth and developement of their babies. Do you know, we (HUMAN) are the only species that drink milk of other animal species and we are actually paying high price for that. Milk [cow's milk that most of us drink] that is designed for their calves when consumed by us causes acidic envirnment in our digestive system leading to various above mentioned health problems on long run and many more.
Know about Milk production companies - Cow and Buffalo and their mercy-"Tear speaks":
In today's world,
- Instead of grazing outdoors every day on fresh grass or straw, cow or buffalo spends most of their time in the heat of the sun, confined or tied in a small stall, in a crowded, noisy barn, standing in their own excreta. They get very little fresh air and exercise resulting in widespread disease.
- Her unnatural diet is optimized to turn her into a cost-efficient milk delivery system.
- She is milked not by hand but by rough, failure-prone machinery. Her huge, swollen udders are often infected and probably a source of chronic pain.
- Her horns are usually removed by cutting, scooping, or gouging.
- No sooner do the dairy cows give birth then the calf is snatched away from them leaving mother cows in tears. Calves are kept deprived of their share of milk.
- Calves are Fed a cheap milk substitute
- Newly born male calves are largely unwanted. They are sent to slaughter, or sent out to fend for themselves. Or they are tied to a pole allowed to die slowly of starvation. Their carcasses are collected to make 'Ahimsic' leather products.
- In the West, they are sold to veal farms at birth, to endure the 14 – 17 weeks before slaughter in isolation in veal crates that prevent movement and are fed an anaemia inducing diet so as to produce the tender white veal meat.
- Some male calves have their stomachs slit soon after birth, while they are still alive, to make rennet for the cheese industry. In India this is supposed to be banned in favor of microbial rennet.
- Female calves are brought up to join their mothers as milk producers.
- Cows may produce milk for two or three years while nursing their calves. In the absence of the calf they die earlier. To keep the milk flowing cows (and buffaloes) are artificially inseminated within 2 months of giving birth. The animal has to produce milk while pregnant. After about 4 pregnancies she must be retired (slaughtered). The average natural life span of a cow is 26 years yet today most live no more than 6 - 8 years.
- Once they stop producing milk, are sent to Slaughterhouse, where they are cut in front of each other.
Do we need more information to call it a mercy?
Yogic concept says that our level of development, physical, mental and spiritual, is highly influenced by the kind of food we eat and it recommends sattvic, healthy diet, which does not entertain any kind of hinsa or violence.
Will it not be a foolish optimism from our sides if we expect even an optimum amount of "Sattvic" and "Healthy" qualities out of today's milk, which come from an ever-tortured cow?
As long as we continue to exploit the cow for her milk and other body products, do you think this slaughter will stop?
There is a possibility that the milk that you are getting may not be the part of these commercial games, but there are equal chances for it to carry all these mercies as well.
So, how do we know then?
Few options that we have with us are,
- To investigate ourselves the quality of milk that we buy.
- To investigate the treatment cows /buffalos receive from whom I get milk.
And if you decide to give up your "milk habit", don't worry-check this out.
What if you decide "NO Milk":" better health through better alternatives"
The question arises in our mind is, 'what if I stop drinking milk?'
Will I/ my child not suffer from calcium deficiency?
It specifically troubles mind of a vegetarian and specifically to mothers.
The answer to these are- simple: We have better options of all the nutrients available from whole plant food that we are illusioned to be present in milk.
"Cow's milk is not the evil villain it is portrayed to be," says Brenda Davis, Past Chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. "But I feel strongly that it is not essential for human health – in fact we can get the nutrients from milk in foods that provide even greater health benefits, such as greens."
Robert Heaney, a leading calcium scientist, seconds that emotion: "The sheer quantity of calcium in dairy products certainly makes them attractive sources, but they have no monopoly on calcium. There's no reason in the world why you couldn't get an adequate intake from a vegetable source."
Nondairy sources of highly absorbable calcium:
Dark leafy greens (except oxalate-rich spinach),
Whole sesame seeds
For vitamin D:
supplements (under your doctor's recomendation)
Sesame milk, rice milk, oat milk, almond milk, groundnut milk are other healthier alternatives.
Soya milk and all its milk products [Tofu, curd etc] are also a good substitute.
Various nut butters like peanut butter, sesame butter, almond butter, cashew and sunflower seed butter are easy to make at home for use on bread.
The main difficulty lies in making choices and appropriate changes. Most of us are slaves to our palates. However a web search will yield a host of vegan recipes with alternatives for almost all daily items.
In today's world, where we claim ourselves of being learned and aware about various issues, moving towards spirituality, a question arises is -
- "Is Today's milk really Health-offering?"
Does this question require more investigation?
Should we be selfish enough to think only about our "health and Interests" by over looking all different aspects it carries including the mercy and suffering of millions of other lives?
What is my role as a human being for a cause that concerns thousands of other sentient lives?
time to give these a thought and some conscious consideration...
Dr. Urvi Chauhan
PS: For Milk alternatives stay tuned to my FB page where i post many dairy- free delicious recipes or google
Also read: What abount my Calcium?
Stay tuned to www.swasthyaudaan.com
(wholesome +Vegan :Blogs/articles/Recipes) ((coming shortely))