I am juicing today, because I have eaten far too much recently and feel rubbish. I want to give my digestive system a break but take in lots of fluids, vitamins and minerals and so having a juice fast is a good way to do that. I started with this lot: 2 types of kale from the garden, 3 oranges, 1 ruby grapefruit, 1 lime, 6 apples, 2 large carrots and some ginger.
I really enjoyed 2 x 750ml glasses of this juice.
I have been vegetarian now for nearly a year and I find that easy. I actually feel disgusted at the thought of eating meat or fish. I also have no desire to eat an egg, but have had some within baked goods, such as cakes. It is the dairy I battle with. Giving up cow’s milk is easy because there are so many good alternatives and ditto yogurt. I have become accustomed to not having butter but cheese is the tough one. I ate a lot of cheese last Friday and so I am partly writing this blog about dairy to remind myself why I do not want to eat it, EVER. And hopefully to explain to you why an increasing number of people are becoming vegans.
Dairy foods include milk, cheese, butter, ice-cream and yogurt. We eat dairy products from sheep and goats too but mainly cows and while I don’t support eating any dairy products (even though I continue to struggle in giving them up completely), it is the dairy from cows that I most object to.
There are 3 main reasons why, and I have put them in the order of my personal priority:
- my health
- the environment
- the animals
1. Why dairy is bad for your health.
It contains pesticides, growth hormones, pus and antibiotics. Synthetic hormones such as recombinant bovine growth hormone are commonly used in dairy cows to increase the production of milk. Cows produce quantities of milk way beyond their natural levels and so mastitis is common. Hence pus and antibiotics are commonly found in milk.
Milk is for babies of the same species. We are the only species that consumes another species’ milk and we are highly selective about which milk we drink. Would you consume milk from a cat or a dog? Would you drink another humans breast milk? Would you let your baby consume another human’s breast milk? Probably the answer to all those questions is no so why have we allowed cow’s milk consumption to become ‘normal’?
The majority of humans stop producing significant quantities of lactase (the enzyme needed to properly metabolise lactose, the sugar in milk) between the ages of two and five.
Dairy is full of saturated fat and cholesterol which is linked to heart disease and contributes to obesity
Dairy aggravates irritable bowel syndrome, it can contribute to sinus problems, ear infections, type 1 diabetes, chronic constipation, anaemia (in children)
Milk is promoted as helping prevent Osteoporosis due to the calcium it contains. However, clinical research and epidemiological studies show otherwise. The countries with the highest dairy consumption (New Zealand and Finland) have the highest incidence of osteoporosis. The mechanism for this may be because consuming animal products makes us slightly more acidic so to neutralise the acid and return to a more alkaline state, we leach calcium from our bones. To prevent osteoporosis, consume calcium from green leafy vegetables and beans and exercise.
Several cancers such as ovarian, prostate and breast are linked to high dairy consumption. Ovarian cancer is linked to higher levels of galactose in the blood and breast and prostate to increased levels of insulin-like growth factor.
Lactose intolerance is common among many populations and symptoms include gastrointestinal distress, diarrhoea and flatulence.
Why dairy is good for your health
It isn’t and you never need to consume it! There are plenty of other sources of calcium!
2. Why dairy is bad for the Environment
Watch Cowspiracy! It says it all. You can find it free online and it is an astonishing film. I highly recommend it. It is not gory or upsetting but a shocking account of the devastating impact animal agriculture is having on the planet.
Some of the worst aspects of animal agriculture, especially cows are:
Every day, 1 football field disappears a SECOND, to provide grazing lots and crops for animals.
Every day, 100 plant, animal or insect species are lost.
91% of the destruction of the Amazon is due to animal agriculture
Over 1,100 activists have been killed in Brazil in the past 20 years
1 quarter pound hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce, which is equivalent to 2 months of showers.
Raising animals for food is using 30% of the world’s water consumption
Livestock produce 130 times more waste than humans. This waste is not treated effectively and is dumped directly or indirectly in to rivers and oceans. It is the leading cause of ocean dead zones.
Please watch Cowspiracy to understand the impact of the number of cows on the planet. Many are for meat production rather than dairy but the numbers are still significant.
3. Why dairy is bad for the animals.
People are always shocked to realise what a cruel industry the dairy industry is. Especially vegetarians actually, who give up meat, often for the sake of the animals, and then consume significant quantities of dairy.
To produce milk, a cow has to have a calf. So every year the cow is artificially inseminated to have another one. What happens to all the calves? Some boy calves are grown for a bit to produce veal and others are slaughtered straight away for dog food. The girl calves are grown in to dairy cows but they are not allowed to suckle on their mothers milk. After all, that’s for humans to consume.
They spend a day with the mother to consume the colostrum and are then separated and locked away, where they grow up alone, fed concentrated milk and grains, which is not natural for them.
They are de horned and often have their tails cut off too as the tails are inconvenient for the milking. Imagine how annoying those flies are which the cow can no longer swish away with their tails? They have tags punched through their ears.
They are then either killed or grown in to dairy cows where they are subjected to being milked 3 times a day. After 4 or 5 years of this, they are killed for dog food or cheap meat, such as pie filling.
Cows would usually live for about 20 years but dairy cows are no use to the farmer after 4-5 years.
So,these are the main reasons why I try to avoid dairy products. It is really hard but not impossible. If you can’t cut it out, try and cut down.