DAIRY:

Amazing Wellness - - HEALTHY Q AND A -

IT ’S RE­ALLY IM­POS­SI­BLE TO JUMP INTO A dis­cus­sion of dairy with­out first talk­ing about cows.

Once upon a time, cows grazed on grass and lived on sprawl­ing pas­tures, and their own­ers treated them hu­manely. Chick­ens ran around peck­ing at worms, cows grazed peace­fully on pas­ture, eggs were plucked from the hens’ nests at dawn, roost­ers would crow, and the owner’s son would du­ti­fully milk the cows ev­ery morn­ing.

To­day? Not so much. In the mod­ern fac­tory farm, cows are milk-and-beef pro­duc­tion ma­chines that ex­ist to turn corn and grain—all of it ge­net­i­cally

mod­i­fied, by the way—into milk and meat as quickly as pos­si­ble. The nat­u­ral food of cows is grass, not ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied grain. A con­cen­trated diet of corn and grain gives cows aci­do­sis, which can lead to a gen­eral weak­en­ing of the im­mune sys­tem that leaves the an­i­mal vul­ner­a­ble to a host of hor­ri­ble feed­lot dis­eases. Cat­tle rarely man­age to live on these di­ets for more than 150 days.

With in­ten­sive pro­duc­tion sched­ules (they don’t call them “fac­tory” farms for noth­ing), mod­ern dairy cows com­monly pro­duce many times the num­ber of pounds of milk they would pro­duce in na­ture. Growth hor­mones and un­natu- ral milk­ing sched­ules cause dairy cows’ ud­ders to be­come painful, heavy, and in­fected. To pre­vent this, fac­tory-farmed cows are rou­tinely given large doses of an­tibi­otics, the residue of which—along with that of the steroids and growth hor­mones they’re given—in­vari­ably wind up in the milk and meat they pro­duce. The an­tibi­otics serve a dou­ble pur­pose—they also fat­ten the cat­tle up.

If you think all those hor­mones and an­tibi­otics don’t have any im­pact on your health, think again. One study in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Academy of Der­ma­tol­ogy demon­strated a sig­nif­i­cant as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween milk drink­ing and teenage acne. Re­searchers sug­gested that the most likely ex­pla­na­tion was the pres­ence of hor­mones and “bioac­tive mol­e­cules” in the milk.

Maybe you’ve guessed by now that I’m not a huge fan of milk. At least not the ho­mog­e­nized, pas­teur­ized kind you get in su­per­mar­kets. What I am a fan of is raw, or­ganic, un­pas­teur­ized, non­ho­mog­e­nized milk from grass-fed cows. (Full dis­clo­sure: I drink a quart of cold, raw, whole-fat milk ev­ery week, and they’ll pry it from my cold dead hands!) The dairy in­dus­try has long pro­moted the no­tion that “milk builds strong bones.” But a re­search re­view, pub­lished in Te Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nutri­tion, showed that os­teo­porotic bone frac­ture rates are high­est in coun­tries that con­sume the most dairy. Could there be other fac­tors at work here? Sure. But the firm con­nec­tion be­tween more milk drink­ing and stronger bones is far from es­tab­lished, much as dairy-in­dus­try-sup­ported sci­en­tists would like you to be­lieve.

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