Why you should eat less dairy
There is Veganuary, where groups urge people to try vegan for the month. There is a lesser-known movement in February called Februdairy, promoted by the dairy industry. We are happy to opine!
Dairy is Scary - Ditch Dairy
These are some Google-able topics to learn more, but we like to say “Dairy is Nuts!”
There are three main factors for switching away from animal products:
FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Cows eat and poop! A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people. Dairy cows in the US alone produce over ONE BILLION pounds of waste PER SECOND!!! And it does not disappear. Where does it go?
The water supply: Dairy farms are responsible for more water pollution incidents than any other form of farming. Slurry from dairy farms can leak into rivers and streams where it kills fish and spreads disease. And just as importantly: Water consumption of all cows account for 80-90% of US water consumption. Each cow drinks about 30 gallons of water and 100 pounds of food per day. It takes about 1,000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk. And think about this: animal agriculture is responsible for 20%-33% of all fresh water consumption in the world today. We need that water!
The Air: Dairy increases greenhouses gas, methane, nitrous oxide, and all those other things we blame on transportation. Animal agriculture (all animal food) is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. This is not just the animals themselves, but their full effect on us, including their food consumption, transportation to and from slaughterhouses and getting their milk and body to stores, etc.
FOR THE ANIMALS
We are the only species that drinks the lactation excretions of another species AND the only species who continues to drink milk after being weaned. Take that in for a moment. Not your mother, not your milk!
Cows in the dairy industry suffer their entire lives, worse than cows raised for meat. In factory farms, they are commodities, forcibly impregnated, with the female babies housed in tiny hutches and fed milk replacer until they are hooked up to milking machines. Over 90% of US dairy cows are confined in primarily indoor operations, with more than 60% tethered by the neck inside barren stalls, barely able to move.
If you think small farms are better, consider this: Special bonds between mother and babies are still broken. The mother’s milk is used for humans, not her babies, and cows often develop painful conditions (mastitis) from being milked. Cows, like humans, produce milk for their offspring. They CRY when their babies are taken away. It’s great they may see sunshine or get to eat grass, but they are still just commodities, exploited for their secretions.
No matter where you buy your milk, cows (and goats) are forced through cycles of cruelty that ends with their slaughters. Males born often become veal. Female calves suffer the fates of their mothers until about five years, when they don’t produce enough milk anymore, and are also sent to slaughter.
Sorry to be a bummer, but humans, especially mothers, can understand why this feels so wrong.
FOR YOUR HEALTH
You do not need cow or goat milk for healthy bones. In fact, that is a well-planned public relations myth.
The National Institutes of Health estimates that:
30-50 million American adults are lactose intolerant, which can cause bloating, diarrhea, and gas. And that may mean you!
95 percent of Asians
60-80 percent of African-Americans and Ashkenazi Jews
80-100 percent of American Indians
50-80 percent of Hispanics
Scientific evidence shows that dairy products can: increase the risk of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, cognitive decline, and early death. So many people say they can’t live without cheese. Truth be told: they can.
Switch to plants with calcium that are alkalizing and support bone health: Broccoli, kale, leafy greens, sesame seeds, tahini, organic tofu, almonds all have adequate amounts of calcium to meet daily requirements. You can buy fortified versions of many commercial non-dairy milks. If you don’t like the taste, try another one. There are creamers for coffee, coconut milk in cans for cooking, all sorts of nut cheeses and dressings, full fat, low fat, all the options to find what you like and need.
And don’t forget your vitamin D! Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health too. No matter how much calcium you are consuming, you need vitamin D to help absorb it. Take supplements, get some sun, or buy nut milks with vitamin D added.
There are great vegan vitamins out there. We are currently all taking Complement. https://lovecomplement.com/ They write: “We started out with the simple idea of creating a blend of the 3 essential nutrients that vegans need: B12, Vitamin D3, and DHA/EPA Omega-3s (long chain, poly-unsaturated fatty acids, if you want to get scientific about it). And we wanted it in the purest form possible, where we knew exactly what went into the product and where it came from.” You can read more on their site. All from natural sources, and cows need not apply!
WHY DOES DAIRY GET SO MUCH SUPPORT?
This is a long story going back to the 1930s. The Government is dairy’s support, NOT the consumer. The National Dairy Council (NDC) is critical for the re-election of many in Congress. We need to look at this seriously when voting! (If you have no faith, remember when cigarettes had such a pull!)
From ABC news, August 2018: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it's buying 11 to 13 million gallons of milk from dairy farmers for $50 million and planning to send it to local food banks. It's the first time the USDA program that buys surplus products has purchased liquid milk.” Get that expensive cycle? The government pays farmers to produce dairy, and then pays for the product because consumers don’t want it. Yikes!
From Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary and an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: “For decades, the federal government has enabled our dairy industry by subsidizing the excess production of cow’s milk even as American consumers drink less of it and we face a glut of 1.4 billion pounds of cheese in storage. Our milk supply is outpacing demand, but dairy farms continue to receive government support, which promotes further wasteful overproduction. Industrial dairies are exploiting tax breaks and other benefits to consolidate their influence, while smaller dairies are in crisis. Many of these smaller farms are going out of business, despite the government subsidies meant to keep them afloat.”
And why are you reading about almond milk and the like being so terrible? Oh, that’s the dairy lobby, makers of the Got Milk? campaign and the ones trying to say if it is not a secretion, it should not legally be allowed to be called “milk.”
So… Time to DITCH DAIRY, because DAIRY IS SCARY! We will post our favorite alternatives (homemade and store-bought) in a near-future post! Stay tuned, and follow our site.
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