Dairy: An Icon of Misunderstanding

In response to a post I made on facebook (back when I was foolish enough to have an account there) regarding fellow blogger, farmer, and food rights activist, Michael Schmidt, in his article, “A tale of two calves…”,  , my friend Colleen responded with the following question:

Hi Larry — interesting study…. So a question for you then…. are you a fan of humans drinking raw milk or should we rather avoid cow’s milk altogether? I’d be curious as to your opinion.

As with any food, Colleen, the answer depends on many variables for a given individual: constitutional tendencies, metabolism, allergies and sensitivities, age, time of year, physical conditions — and much more. A given food is not necessarily ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but there will be an effect from eating it. There is so much to know about a particular food, ourselves, and the universe before we can assess what those effects will be. If Americans really knew the effects of most of the foods they consume, they might not eat them. If our choices were based on intelligence, understanding, and logic, I could say they would not eat them. But, as you know, logic and intelligence don’t have much bearing on what humans choose.

So the answer for a given food is a huge discussion before we’ve even brought a specific individual into the picture.

But I’ll share with you what I know about dairy, in general. Anyone eating commercial dairy products (read: pasteurized, homogenized, non-organic, from cows wearing pinstripe suits) in any situation is doing a disservice to their health, and such behavior has cumulative effects with a high probability of unpleasant outcomes — and I’m not talking about gas. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes.




Here are three ‘one-liner’ perspectives which are representative of the most important considerations regarding dairy itself. Each one of them deserves at least one book on the subject.

Energetic Nature: Dairy is generally cooling in energetic nature. It’s also tonifying, which means that, if it’s used in excess (most Americans), it becomes cloying and leads to stagnation. So, if you have an energetically cool food, and you consume it cold (most Americans) in large quantities (a glassful), it’s going to suppress digestive fire, which accelerates its ability to create damp stagnation in the body. Ironically, that’s an odd behavior for a nation full of overweight individuals who suffer from hypothyroidism. (If you, the reader, are not overweight, please don’t make the mistaken assumption that these effects are not  taking place in your body, simply because you’re not overweight.)

Western Science: Corporate cows are nearly as abused, imbalanced, and unhealthy, as are corporate chickens. They are frail and sickly. Corporate farms respond to their ghastly state of health with constant medication. They live their miserable lives in obscenely unhealthy conditions. The milk they produce is pathetic in both taste and nutrition. As milk-producing animals, they and their milk are full of estrogen, both endogenous and exogenous. As Harry Eidenier is fond of saying, “We are swimming in a sea of estrogen.” And xenoestrogens. And it’s killing us in very large numbers, and will increasingly do so until the madness stops.

The Corporate Product: Based on faulty science and fear (see another article by Schmidt), as well as the unhealthy nature of corporate food practices, corporate dairy products must be pasteurized. They also like to homogenize it to make it more uniform and less, well, messy. These processes, unnecessary and undesirable in healthy farming practices, create a product which is even more difficult to digest (leading to yet more stagnation), more tasteless, and relatively bereft of nutrition. Ultrapasteurized milk, commonly now found in grocery stores, can sit on the shelves indefinitely — very convenient, and umm, so tasty.

There’s much more, Colleen, but any one of these would give me pause. And does. Worst of all, corporations influence government to the degree that the right to eat truly good, real foods is actually becoming endangered. The American consumer is clueless to this reality.

The only dairy regularly in our house these days is raw, organic, unpasteurized, easy-to-digest goat milk from dwarf Nigerian goats who produce absolutely sumptuous, nutrient-dense milk which also has the highest butterfat content of goat milks. And each of us consumes it differently according to our needs. It also makes the best feta cheese we know of.

What I shared here is just a taste of the issues, but I hope it’s enough to get you started.

Thanks for asking, Colleen!