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Volume 15 Issue 6
March/April 2010

Know and Love Your Lymphatics!

The Great Milk Debate

Nia, The Joy of Movement

Sask Walk for Health 2010

Reclaiming My Joie de Vivre

Angels in Action: Only Kindness Matters

Tao of Female Sexual Energy


The Great Milk Debate
by Paulette Millis
Paulette Millis

Ummmm… a large glass of frothy cold milk. Good for us, right? Maybe not.

Did you know humans are the only mammals to drink the milk of other animals, and drink milk after the weaning period? Nature supplies the young with the ideal introductory food until its digestive tract is fully developed, at which time it loses the enzyme that has the ability to digest milk. Whether or not cow’s milk is good for humans depends on the individual’s ability to digest it, and how appropriate cow’s milk is to human nutrition.

Geneticists have identified a deviant gene on the second chromosome that causes lactase persistence—SNP C/T13910. It is a relatively recent mutation (about 10,000 years ago) when humans began to domesticate milk-producing animals, allowing these humans to breast-feed for life from another species. Barbara Kingsolver, in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, says, “We are all trying to behave like baby cows!”

As many alternative practitioners and physicians will tell you, the great majority of lactose- or casein-intolerant people don’t even know it—they just keep ingesting milk and other dairy products and continue having stomach aches, constipation, or other symptoms. Imagine how hard this is on the immune system! As we all know, an immune system that is struggling on a regular basis puts us in a weakened state, making us susceptible to all illness.

The amount of lactose in a dairy product varies. Altered forms of milk such as yogurt, kefir, quark, ricotta, and others keep longer than fresh milk, as well as having reduced lactose, making them more digestible for many people. The milk is curdled by the bacteria that eat the lactose, turning it into harmless lactic acid.

When milk is treated and made into cheese, the protein solids coagulate into a jelly-like curd, releasing liquid whey (lactose and water). When the liquid is drained off, the curd, lactose, goes with it. When we heat, press, and age the curd, still more whey is released, generally making the cheese harder and sharper tasting, therefore harder cheese generally has a lower lactose content. Factory-made cheese may vary enormously in lactose content. (Kingsolver) Higher fat content means less lactose, therefore, butter has little lactose, while sweet condensed milk has 12%.

In our culture, many of us follow a dairy-rich diet, simply because we believe it is the healthy thing to do.

Our behaviour of drinking milk, eating cheeses, ice creams, and other dairy products is ingrained, and let’s face it, we love these foods! Many people are actually addicted to ice cream, cheese, and other yummy-tasting dairy foods, as well as being aware of the tempting source of protein, calcium, minerals, and whole fats.

Many studies have found that 70% of African Americans, 50% of Hispanics, and 90% of Asians have trouble digesting lactose (milk sugar), while only 15% of Caucasians do. A high incidence of lactose intolerance has been found in Canadian Native peoples. Most cultures in the world do not drink milk, do not need the enzyme lactase, and their bodies stop producing it.

In the US, the FDA in 1994, approved the use of recombitant bovine somatrotropin (rbST), a genetically-engineered hormone from Monsanto that increases milk production in cows by 10–25%. The milk from these cows contains elevated insulin-like growth factor–1 (IGF-1). Studies show a seven-fold increase in risk of breast cancer in women with high IGF-1 levels, and a four-fold increase in prostate cancer in men with the highest levels. In addition to this risk, it also increases infection in the cows, causing more antibiotic treatments, and therefore the possibility of higher traces of drugs, puss, and bacteria found in the milk. Fortunately, many of our natural health people in Canada put up a successful fight against use of this hormone in our dairies, so our products, as well as European dairy products, are free of rbST. This also means that any products we buy from the US that contain dairy, may well have rbST.

In Baby and Child Care, Dr. Benjamin Spock withdrew his support for cows’ milk (1998). A study published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery in 1999 reported that gastrointestinal bleeding caused by an allergic response to milk was a major cause of rectal bleeding in infancy, leading to iron deficiency anemia. The World Health Organization now recommends that infants be exclusively breast fed for the first six months in preference to cow’s milk or soy formulas.

The lactose (milk sugar) in human milk is greater than in cow’s milk, and is needed for the greater brain development in humans. Galactose (a constituent of lactose) is needed to develop the myelin sheath which insulates all nerves in the body. Beta-lactose in human milk produces and maintains pure bacillus bifidus in the baby’s intestines, whereas the alpha-lactose found in cow’s milk neither produces nor maintains these important flora. These flora inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and also produce B vitamins and lactic acid. (Rowland)

T. Colin Campbell, Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and author of The China Study, also suggests a correlation between milk consumption and at least two kinds of cancer: breast and prostate. In Asia, breast cancer tends to be rare, and many people there drink no milk whatsoever. Edward Giovannucci, associate professor of nutrition at Harvard, co-authored two Physicians’ Health Studies on consumption of dairy and prostate cancer. He believes that high levels of calcium consumption promotes prostate cancer by depleting levels of Vitamin D. (Hively)

It is interesting to note that Louis Pasteur did not invent the pasteurization of milk; he initiated the heating process itself to control fermentation in wine in order to prevent spoilage. A German scientist applied the method to preservation of milk for infant feeding 20 years after Pasteur’s death. A wealthy New York philanthropist established milk depots to heat treat milk when children were dying from bacteria- and tuberculosis-contaminated raw milk. Although this seemed to solve the problem, nothing was said about the poor hygiene and lack of sterilization in handling in the milking sheds. (Lake)

If you can buy raw milk, you can pasteurize it if you like, although most outbreaks of listeria and other milk-borne diseases occur in factory-style dairies, not among small dairies and artisans where product quality is the centre of attention. (Kingsolver)

There are numerous articles detailing the protective components and health benefits of raw milk, and the nutrient degradation by pasteurization. Dr. Joseph Mercola does not recommend drinking pasteurized milk of any kind as “the heating process completely changes the structure of the milk proteins into something far less healthy.” He says it is the number one allergic food in the US, and is linked to many symptoms and illnesses.

Dr. Kevin Woodward, author of The Devil in the Milk, and Professor of Farm Management and Agribusiness at Lincoln University in New Zealand, states that knowing health benefits of raw milk is not enough. There is a link between the type of milk we drink and a range of serious illnesses, such as Type 1 diabetes, autism, schizophrenia, and heart disease. Evidence shows A1 positive cows are responsible for this.

A1 cows have a mutated chain of amino acids called Beta casein (human milk beta casein is more like the A2 type). In A2 cows, or “old-fashioned” cows, this chain is intact, while A1 cows have mutated proline amino acid, converting it to histidine. A2 cows are the breeds Guernsey, Jersey, Asian, and African, and A1 cows are more recent breeds, such as Holstein. (Minton)

Minton states there is only one A2 dairy in the US at this time. It is hoped that farmers will begin conversion to A2 herds as the consumer demand rises, such as New Zealand farmers are doing.

Two mothers, Anne and Micki, in New England moved to home-dairying (and Jersey cows!) after their pediatrician suggested they switch to organic milk. From the doctor’s experience, even though the industry says growth hormones in milk are safe, he (and others) had seen too many girls going into early puberty. (Kingsolver)

Casein, the protein in milk, is two to three times higher in cow’s milk as opposed to human milk. Cow’s milk is approximately 85% casein and 15% whey, while human milk is 40% casein and 60% whey protein. Casein is much more difficult to digest than the water-soluble whey protein. Casein tends to form a curd in the stomach, contributing to the constipation many people experience from cow’s milk. Infants are able to digest 100% of human milk proteins, and only 50% of cow milk protein, thus stressing the tiny kidneys that have to excrete it. (Rowland)

The mineral and vitamin contents of cow and human milk vary, in that cow’s milk has four times the mineral content, including seven times as much phosphorus and five times as much sodium. Human milk contains ten times as much vitamin E and twice as much vitamin A as cow’s milk.

Essential fatty acids (EFA) are necessary for health, and insufficient EFAs in infants can cause diarrhea, diaper rash, and eczema. Human milk contains 7% linoleic acid, and cow’s milk about 3%.

There is no question that dairy products are a good source of calcium, but it is NOT TRUE that they are the only reliable source. Think about what cows eat! They eat grains and grass, and the calcium that ends up in their milk comes from these (see chart below for non-dairy calcium sources).

What about calcium intake and osteoporosis? T. Colin Campbell’s lifetime of research shows that the more dairy and animal protein consumed, the higher the incidence of osteoporosis.

Dr. Julian Whitaker, founder and editor of the widely-read health newsletter, Health and Healing, explains that osteoporosis results from calcium loss, not insufficient calcium intake. Studies show that high consumption of dairy products are associated with high osteoporosis due to the fact that the high protein content in dairy promotes calcium loss. The suggestion then is, if you want strong bones, don’t drink milk!

Statistics taken from McDougall’s Medicine: A Challenging Second Medical Opinion by John A. McDougall shows the relationship between hip fractures and dairy intake. (The higher the dairy intake the higher the rate of hip fractures.) For example, the United States has a rate of 98 fractures per 100,000 people with a dairy intake of 462 grams, Sweden 70 per 502 grams dairy, Singapore 20 per 113 grams intake, South Africa 6 per 10 grams of dairy.

Dr. Zoltan Rona states, “An intake of more than three glasses of milk per day can produce a calcium magnesium imbalance, and lead to symptoms of magnesium deficiency such as insomnia, constipation, anxiety, irritability, heart-beat irregularities, and muscle spasms.” He also believes pregnant women should NOT drink a lot of milk, as magnesium deficiency is involved in several disorders of pregnancy, such as premature delivery, hypertension, muscle cramping, and more. (Health Naturally)

Sources of Calcium

Seeds and Nuts
1 cup sesame seeds, 2,200 mg calcium
1 cup almonds, 600 mg calcium
1 cup filberts (hazelnuts), 424 mg calcium
1 cup sunflower seeds, 260 mg calcium
1 cup walnuts, 216 mg calcium

Nut Butters
3 oz sesame butter, 843 mg calcium
3 oz almond butter, 225 mg calcium
3 oz cashew butter, 36 mg calcium
3 oz peanut butter, 15 mg calcium
(Note: organic peanut butter only is recommended)

Vegetables—1/2 cup portions
Swiss chard, 51 mg calcium
Kale, 47 mg calcium
Parsley, 39 mg calcium
Green Beans, 29 mg calcium
Asparagus (6 spears), 22 mg calcium
Green peas, 22 mg calcium
Broccoli, 21 mg calcium
Cabbage, 18 mg calcium
Spinach, 16 mg calcium
Avocado (1 med.), 19 mg calcium
Carrot (1 med.), 19 mg calcium

1 tbsp Blackstrap molasses, 137 mg calcium

Beans and Rice—1 cup portions
Navy beans, 128 mg calcium
Pinto beans, 82 mg calcium
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), 80 mg calcium
Kidney beans, 50 mg calcium
Wild rice, 30 mg calcium
Brown rice, 23 mg calcium

Sardines, canned, 3 oz, 375 mg calcium
Salmon, canned, 3 oz, 203 mg calcium
(Source: Allergies: Disease in Disguise by Carolee Bateson-Koch, DC, ND, Alive Books, 2002.)

How about owning your own cow? I was raised with clean, fresh raw milk from our own cows. We had Jerseys and Holsteins over the years, and the Jerseys were my favourite. Our first cow, a Jersey cross named Blackie, had a high test of 5.8% butterfat. Jerseys and Guernseys generally have a higher percentage of cream to milk than other breeds. We churned our own butter, and my mother made cottage cheese which I distinctly remember disliking.

I am fortunate to know of a family who, in recent years, has chosen to have a milk cow for their family’s needs. Joyce and her husband John (not their real names) live on an acreage outside Saskatoon. She tells me she grew up drinking raw milk, and after they were married, decided to find a source of raw milk as they believed it to be healthier than the pasteurized, homogenized variety. Because they had the facilities on their acreage—a building that could be used as a barn, fencing, and the stock-waterer, they decided to purchase their own cow. Joyce, being the person without the off-farm job, became the caretaker of the cow, milking her, and looking after her calf, as well as making yogurt, cottage cheese, puddings, cream soups, custards, butter, and sour cream with the daily milk supply. John helped with getting feed for the winter, cleaning barns, fixing fences, and the myriad of chores that arise. The children helped with the chores as they grew up.

Joyce says that owning a cow is truly a time commitment. You either are there to milk twice a day, or hire someone to do it, as they did when on vacation. They believe when you have your own cow, you can then monitor its health and feed quality. You are in charge of the cleanliness of your own milking procedures and milk-handling. She believes raw milk is simply healthier because the nutrients and the necessary enzymes haven’t been destroyed in the pasteurization process. They decided they valued good health, and while it did not make a lot of sense economically, decided it was worth it in the long run. Some of the couple’s family feel as they do, and have owned a milk cow, and some friends agree with their philosophy but don’t go to the trouble of locating a source of raw milk. “Some acquaintances think we come from the stone age; that we’re weird, or misinformed, or just regard the idea as a bit ‘off the wall’,” says Joyce.

What About Goat Milk?

The Dairy Goat Journal states when goat milk is produced in sanitary conditions it is practically indistinguishable from cow milk.

BCM-7 (found in A1 cows) is NOT in goat or sheep milk, an important fact, as detailed above. Milk from goats has higher digestibility, superior vitamin and mineral content, and distinct alkalinity. Both the fat and protein are “finer” than cow milk, resulting in casein assimilation, and digestion is complete in 20% of the time needed for cow’s milk. Goat milk more closely resembles human milk than any other domesticated animal.

Goat milk is naturally homogenized, and some research shows 99% of people allergic to cows’ milk do well on goat milk. (Dairy Goat Journal)

According to the spokesman at Happy Days Goat Dairy, a Canadian company, goat milk is similar in fat content to cow milk. Unfortunately, he states it is difficult for them to source organic goat milk in Canada as there is only one small organic farm near Vancouver.

For those of you wishing to use non-dairy milk, it is easy to prepare it yourself. For example hemp milk can be made with 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds and 1-1/2 cups filtered water, then blended. Health food stores and many supermarkets now carry dairy milk substitutes made from almonds, rice, hemp, and others. Read ingredients and buy those without sugar added.

Recommended Reading: Milk—The Deadly Poison, Robert Cohen (Argus Publishing, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ); The Devil in the Milk, Dr. Kevin Woodward; The China Study, T. Colin Campbell; Don’t Drink Your Milk, Frank Oski, MD, 1983; Eat Away Illness, Strategies and Recipes for Healing with Gluten-free and Dairy-free Recipes, Paulette Millis, RNCP; http://thebovine.wordpress.com/2008; http://thebovine.wordpress.com/2009.

References: Milk—Healthy or Hazardous?, David Rowland, PhD, RNC, Health Naturally Magazine, Oct/Nov, 1993; The Milk Debate, Rhody Lake, Alive Magazine #146; Worrying About Milk, Will Hively, Discover Magazine, August 2000; Milk Protein Linked to Autism, Schizophrenia, Diabetes, and Heart Disease, Barbara Minton, Healthy Horizons Magazine, Summer 2009; Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: A Year of Food Life, Barbara Kingsolver; McDougall’s Medicine, A Challenging Second Medical Opinion, John A. McDougall; Happy Days Goat Dairy, 250-832-0209, www.happydaysdairy.com; www.vegetarian.org.uk/campaigns/
; www.gotohealth.com/articles/read.cfm?article_id=30.

The above information regarding nutritious food is not intended to replace any instruction from medical or health professionals.

Paulette Millis is a speaker, author, and nutritional consultant. To contract her for speaking engagements call (306) 244-8890 in Saskatoon, or email eatingforhealth@sasktel.net. Website: www.healingwithnutrition.ca. Her books, Eat Away Illness and Cook Your Way to Health, are available at health food stores and at McNally Robinson Booksellers.


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