America has a love affair with milk. Oh yes, that creamy white liquid that satisfies everybody’s taste buds. Statistics show that the average person living in the United States consumes over 600 pounds of dairy products every year, including about 420 pounds of fluid milk and cream, 70 pounds of various milk-based fats and oils, 30 pounds of cheese, and 17 pounds of ice cream. In aggregate, U.S. dairy farmers produce 163 billion pounds of milk and milk products a year.
Why is this a reason for concern?
Well, there is nothing innately wrong with cow’s milk. The problem lies in the methods of production, preparation and amount of consumption. In the U.S., milk is usually served cold, unspiced, homogenized and in large amounts. Cows at the industrial farms are milked most of the day which makes them develop infections. In order to keep the production going, cows are given antibiotics as well as growth hormones so guess what? All of that ends up in the milk that you drink. You would be shocked to know that FDA allows a certain percentage of pus from the infected udders to pass into the milk that you drink every day. And not to mention that these animals are kept indoors sometimes never seeing the sunlight and are given genetically modified grains and other foods that nature never intended for them.
Human beings are the only species that drink milk from another animal. However, since I am not an extremist in any sense, I think that people don’t have to completely give up the consumption of milk in order to stay healthy. As long as you are not allergic to it or notice symptoms such as: gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation or increased phlegm production (to name a few) you should use it skillfully and in small amounts.
Here are some tips for your next milk shopping:
– Make sure that the milk that you are buying is not homogenized. Homogenization process denatures the milk of its natural enzymes that help its digestion. In the old days, milk used to be praised for the thickness of the cream that it contained on the top. The farmer that had the thickest cream on his milk used to be able to charge more money for it. Homogenization process disperses the fat and does not allow the cream to form on the surface. It is a completely unnecessary process and it makes the final product look nothing like real milk.
-Buy only organic and hormone free milk. Why would anybody add growth hormones and antibiotics to their body? There is absolutely no good reason for it.
-Fermented milk products like yogurt and kefir are easier on your digestive tract and have added benefits of adding friendly bacteria to your guts. The more friendly bacteria you have the better since it keeps the bad guys (unfriendly bacteria) in check. In many cultures people consume small amounts of fermented milk products every day in order to keep their digestive system healthy.
-Avoid pasteurized milk if possible. Pasteurization process has made mass-produced milk consumption safer in terms of eliminating bacterial contamination. However, pasteurization does not make the milk more digestible nor does it eliminate the risk of potential viral contamination. The incomplete heating of pasteurization seems to cause the partial breakdown of milk proteins into tangled coils. These disorganized tangles are difficult for digestive enzymes to hold on to and break down. For some people, this may be why pasteurized milk causes them to be constipated, while boiled raw milk does not (raw milk refers to the milk that has not been pasteurized nor homogenized and is hard to obtain in majority of stores unless you live in California, if you are motivated enough to look for it please see the websites listed on the bottom).
-If you are able to find raw milk, it is always good to boil it before consumption. You don’t need to boil it for long periods of time, it is enough if it boils once and then you can take it off the flame (make sure you watch it closely since it can boil over very fast).
-Since milk has cold energetic nature, it is always good to warm it up and add warming spices to it like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and black pepper. After warming, you can add a little bit of honey to enhance its healing properties.
http://www.pcrm.org/ – Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
http://www.realmilk.com/ – A Campaign for Real Milk, distributors of raw milk
The Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amadea Morningstar and Urmila Desai