Natural Light

Mother's Milk

Why do humans feel ok about drinking milk from some animals, but not all? Why not drink cat or dog milk? Why be horrified about drinking milk from another human? We are a very strange & complicated species...

A mother's milk, whatever mammal, is intended for her offspring. It contains everything her baby needs to grow & develop - the perfect nutrients needed until her offspring is ready to be weaned. A cow is far bigger than any human, so for us to be including it in our diet seems crazy to me - won't it mean that we have the potential to become as big as a cow? Is that why kids are growing so much quicker? And taller? Apparently, kids are hitting puberty earlier now than ever & the cause is not only milk, but all the other stuff that's in it. Women also seem to be hitting the menopause early too - I remember being told at school that the normal age range was 51 to 55, but how often are women becoming menopausal  in their early 40s? No mammal needs milk beyond infancy, so why do we do it? Because we are told that we should consume it to maintain healthy teeth & bones, so why do so many milk drinkers end up with osteoporosis?

I wonder if there are many adults out there who have never had dairy & if so, do they enjoy better health?

All 3 of our kidlets breastfed & they all stopped of their own accord at around 12 months old. After having 2 daughters who slept soundly through the night from just a few weeks - Hugo was quite a shock, he fed more & was always hungry at night & several times during the night he would need feeding. Our health visitor told me that he needed to be bottle fed & my milk wasn't good enough... Luckily, I got a second opinion & a more supportive health visitor on a helpline told me that I needed to increase my carbohydrates, especially in the evening & always have supper - it worked, my milk was flowing & Hugo was more satisfied. Such a simple solution. It makes me think about how many mums were & still are ill advised. Sal was born in hospital & I was given the choice to breast or bottle feed, but in my mind bottle feeding seemed so unnatural. On a ward of about 16 mums, I was in the minority - most of them were repulsed by breastfeeding, isn't that sad? We even had a female friend, who never wanted children & asked me not to feed in front of her. She thought it was disgusting, so if we were at her house - I had to go to the bathroom to breastfeed!

We were foolishly led to believe that our girls needed cow's milk to grow & be healthy. Rose hated it & we were hassled by our health visitor to persevere, so we would disguise the milk in various dishes & then we discovered that she would drink cocoa. We already had lots of grief from the health centre staff because we were vegetarian & they constantly warned us that we were probably damaging our childrens' health. By the time Hugo came along, Sime & I were vegan & it was obvious once we started weaning him, that he had a milk intolerance. Again, we were advised to continue with cow's milk, even though he was really sick every time... So from then on until he was three, Hugo was vegan & wow - didn't we get some stick again... But we proved them all wrong - he developed quite normally, has always remained in good health & has never seen a doctor. He chose from 3 years old to eat dairy now & again, he still does today - even though he is fully aware of the damage it does. Of course, Hugo is young & invincible (so he thinks), but I believe one day he will wake up, as will the girls - who were both vegan during their teens.

Humans do not need milk from any other creature & any health care professional who says we do - doesn't have a clue what they are talking about. Yes dairy products are high in calcium, but they are also high in fat & animal protein.  
The body goes through a constant struggle trying to neutralise the acids in animal protein (in meat as well as milk), in doing so - it strips calcium from the bones to do the job.
This is why so many people suffer from indigestion & the more meat & milk consumed, the more calcium deficient a person becomes... 

The majority of people just don't realise what they are doing to themselves. I think we're all conditioned to believe animal milk is good for us, but in reality folks are continuing to get sick. Osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, obesity, arthritis & diabetes are all linked to a high consumption of animal protein. Doesn't this suggest that we're being lied to? Why? 

Anyway, thank goodness there is another way...
Eating a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, nuts, dried fruit, whole grains, sea vegetables, beans, chickpeas, tofu & blackstrap molasses. They may not contain as much calcium as dairy, but the body doesn't need to fight plant food as it's not high in acid. It's easily absorbed, especially if the body is getting enough Vitamin D.

For those of you who would like to hear more - this guy explains things a bit better than me...

Being mindful about what we eat & drink, in my opinion makes us better people.
We are reducing our impact on the planet & continue to take small steps towards a more compassionate life. 

Kay :)

Check out: Gentle World


Molly said…
WONDERFUL post!! It really is sad how so many people see breastfeeding now. It's even more sad that they think cow's milk is more natural for us than human's milk. Such a messed up world we live in. I'm especially disgusted that you were made to go into the bathroom like that.

A co-worker once told me that giving babies formula is just as good as breast milk. I felt like my head was going to explode when she said that!
Jane and Chris said…
Well said !
Jane x
Mrs Thrifty said…
What a fabulous post and well said. I agree with you wholeheartedly. All four of mine were fed from between 12 months to 42 months (his choice) and allowed to wean naturally. All were breastfed exclusively for 6 months and then weaned gently onto fruit and veggies - no gluten, no dairy and no sugar for the first year and beyond. There were not sickly babies, but thriving and yes, I did have to feed frequently - the last weighed in at 9lbs 15oz and was HUNGRY!!! I wouldn't swap a thing. They are all very healthy young adults and the boys are now 6'4", 6'6" and 6'7". I spent 10 years as a breastfeeding counsellor for the NCT and became very saddened by the misinformation given to women ... and don't even get me started on Nestle's free samples of formula in countries where breastfeeding is a matter of life and death, The sorrowful sound of trees in Lord of the Rings was the recordings of cows crying after the removal of their calves... you guessed it, so that the could become milk-producing machines. My last visit to Sa***burys indicated that you could buy (as well as cow's and goat's milk) soya, almond, hazelnut, oat, rice and coconut milk... nuff said xxx
Kath said…
Very thought provoking! well done for another excellent post.
Thanks Molly - I think there really is a lot of misleading information out there & unfortunately Some people believe it!

Kay :)
Thanks Jane!

Kay :)
Thanks Mrs Thrifty & well done - Sounds like you had it all sussed! The kids insisted we boycotted Nestle years ago, when we first heard about their formula samples & we've all stuck to it. We didn't know about LOTR though - that's really upsetting...

Kay x
Thanks Kath!

Kay :)
Karin said…
An interesting post.

I agree wholeheartedly about breast feeding and I'm sure more mothers need encouragement and better information to help them breast-feed their babies.

I'm not so sure about cows' milk. I've read conflicting things about it, and of course most Europeans have evolved drinking cows' milk for 100's of years. Clearly it is not a good idea for anyone who is intolerant, but on the other hand when my son became a vegetarian in his teens he lived mostly on milk, baked beans, peanut butter eggs and chips and grew to over 6 foot.

I haven't heard before that our bodies have to neutralise the acids in animal protein by using calcium from our bones. All proteins are acid (amino acids), so I wonder why we don't need calcium to neutralise those as well.

Whether an article promotes drinking milk or tells us it is a bad idea chances are that the writer has some kind of vested interest in getting us to consume more milk or less milk, even if it is an ideological interest, so I find it hard to know what the real truth is. Clearly the way cows and their calves are treated can be much improved, though.

I am considering whether to start drinking milk again at the moment as I want to be sure I have enough calcium in my diet to prevent problems with my bones later on. I find too much cabbage-type greens more indigestible than milk products, in fact I have always found that milk, yoghurt and many cheeses help calm my stomach.

The drawback with alternatives to milk is that they cost more financially and the processing and packaging must cost a lot more environmentally than organic milk from grass-fed cows in re-usable glass bottles, plus they don't all contain calcium.
Thanks Karin - We've enjoyed thinking about all you've said!

Animal proteins contain complete essential amino acids - which could be argued to be good, but they do take longer to break down in the stomach, which is why more calcium is used. Plant food is readily broken down, so therefore it doesn't hang around & cause problems.

My nan would probably agree with you about green vegetables & milk... But I can only say that she was badly affected by arthritis, asthma, chronic bronchitis, hiatus hernia, stomach ulcers, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, bowel cancer & vascular dementia - but always insisted that her consumption of animal protein had nothing to do with it... I had a calcium deficiency when eating dairy, my muscles had completely withered (which happens with an over active thyroid) & once I gave up dairy, my immune system started to function properly. My muscles started to develop & bones became stronger, so I really believe eating a good variety of vegetables, whole grains, nuts & seeds is far better.

Since the no impact week last year, we've made our own milks, so there's no packaging - we buy a 5kg bag of British organic oat groats for £10 & that gives us about 160 pints of milk!

Hope this helps!

Kay :)
Karin said…
Clearly your diet seems to be good for you, Kay. I think I'd need to read more about it before I'm convinced it's best for everyone. I come from a fairly healthy family, so if meat was the cause of all your nan's ailments it hasn't effected my parents and grandparents the same way - although my granddads both died young(ish) of lung cancer as they both smoked. My dad is 87 so some problems are not too surprising, but he did enjoy cream and fatty meats until about 20 years ago. My mum is a very fit 79 and Dad was very fit until after he turned 80.

Making your own oat milk from British organic oats is a good solution.
Hi again Karin,

It's like the folks who live into their 100s & swear by a diet of cigarettes & alcohol! Genes have a lot to do with how our bodies function, but I do think that the older generation of today will be the last to age well. They grew up on a much more natural diet of home grown foods, there wasn't the junk food & additives we have today.

Those of us who have grown up on convenience foods from a young age will find it harder to stay well into old age. The milk & meat that the majority of people are eating & drinking today, is very poor quality & from animals who suffer terrible lives & cruel deaths. We feel so good about not supporting any of it.

We all have to make our own choices & do what we feel is right...

Thanks Karin - you always get us discussing things in great length!

Kay :)
Karin said…
Our diet as children does seem to have a considerable bearing on our health in later life, it is true. I'm lucky that my mum bought very little in the way of convenience foods and I still make most of our meals myself, although hubby helps out at weekends and sometimes the kids cook for us when they are home. I did buy fish fingers when the kids were young as it seemed the thing to eat when they had friends round and they asked for them, but I made sure they were good quality and free of additives.

I think the main thing is to eat the best quality food we can afford, as fresh and natural as possible, and if animals are involved (i.e. with meat and milk) to opt for as high a level of animal welfare as we can afford. This seems especially important when feeding our children in order to set them up for a healthy life.

I can understand people feeling uncomfortable about eating meat, and agree that the dairy industry needs to increase its levels of animal welfare, but I'm not sure that modest amounts of good quality, dairy products, fish and lean meat are harmful to most human beings - or most Westerners where dairy is concerned.
Unknown said…
I have really enjoyed reading this blog, so thank you for your thoughts Kay. I was on the fence with dairy until watching these two very witty yet compelling documentaries:
"Got the facts on milk?"
and "Get Vegucated".
Although from a US perspective, it really helped me to understand the huge power of the dairy industry. We are in the UK similarly grossly misinformed and misled on healthy approaches to eating. This is clearly demonstrated by rocketing levels of obesity and disease - fact. As a nation we are literally hooked on dairy which interestingly has mild opiate like effects in the brain. My view is that dairy, once a way to supplement and sustain a varied, limited diet, has unfortunately in this day and age become a complete addiction. I've only been off it for 3 weeks but blimey do I feel better!
Hi Phoebe,

Thanks for commenting.

There is no doubt you will feel better... It's like waking up from a long slumber!

Look forward to chatting more.

Kay :)