In my time as a natural therapist one thing has become abundantly clear to me. When the natural therapy movement as a whole embraces an idea as true, it takes at least 10 years for it to become even considered by the general public. And probably another 10 years for it to become common enough knowledge to be accepted.
One of these myths is dairy. Dairy is considered essential for the growth of children, for bone health and to prevent osteoporosis.
The west is a high consumer of dairy products. The east, on the other hand is not. In traditional China (before westernisation), dairy was rare.
The west has a high incidence of osteoporosis. The east has a much lower incidence.
So does this idea of consuming dairy make much sense?
Agreed, milk IS important for the growth and development of babies. But that’s their own mother’s milk. And as soon as the infant is weaned, the enzymes in the stomach change to be better equipped to digest more complicated foods. This results in milk becoming indigestible. This is shown as loose stool, sometimes diarrhoea.
Another factor is that the quality of milk varies with each species. Cows grow to maturity in a year. It takes a human 15 odd years to reach the same maturity. This raises the question of how suitable milk from another species is.
When milk is tested for calcium and other essential nutrients, it comes up trumps, with exceptionally high levels. But is this the end of the story? Doesn’t digestibility come into the equation, the ability of the food to be assimilated? It transpires that calcium is not bioavailable to humans through milk.
In nature, milk is not consumed after weaning. To me, this means it is not required.
Another point to consider is the way milk is denatured. Natural milk is very different from the pasteurised and homogenised milk common of today. Pasteurisation kills off essential enzymes and other nutrients, as well as the pathogens it is targeting. TB, or tuberculosis, is considered to be easily transmitted through raw milk. This is not the case when the milk is clean. So presumably pasteurisation was created to cope with the unscrupulous dairy farmers.
By killing off certain enzymes, the milk cannot be digested as easily as when they are present.
An interesting find by an American cardiologist is that homogenisation of milk (a process which combines the cream into the milk, preventing separation) is the cause of high levels of cholesterol. A destructive enzyme is now able to pass into the blood stream and attacks the walls of the arteries. To try to prevent this, your body puts down layers of cholesterol. (Your body is infinitely wise.)
Don’t look at the effect, in this case the cholesterol. Look at the reason for it to be there, or the cause. In many, perhaps most, cases this is likely to be the consumption of homogenised dairy products.
A final factor to consider is the way milk is ‘harvested’. For the commercial production of milk, calves are removed from their mothers at about two days old. Any mother can understand the enormous anxiety and grief this creates in her. And the calf will also have a strong sense of abandonment.
With these strong emotions coursing through the cow, the milk must be affected. If the milk is affected, so too will be the consumer.
And this is quite apart from the pesticides and fertilised used in pastures, the hormones used to increase yields and the constant antibiotics to ‘prevent disease’. And so on.
Free yourself from the bonds of common myths! Think things though and find what works for you. Anyone else may not have your best interests at heart.
So what are the best foods for bone health? You can discover these in Healthy Eating For Weight Loss.