The Dangers of Dairy
According to Dr. Frank Oski, the former director of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, “There is no reason to drink cow’s milk at any time in your life. It was designed for calves, it was not designed for humans, and we should all stop drinking it today, this afternoon.”(18) Dr. Spock agreed, saying, “[T]here was a time when cow’s milk was considered very desirable. But research, along with clinical experience, has forced doctors and nutritionists to rethink this recommendation.”(1)
Cow’s milk is the number one cause of food allergies in infants and children, according to the American Gastroenterological Association.(2) Millions of Americans are lactose-intolerant, and an estimated 80 percent of African-Americans and up to 100 percent of Native Americans and Asian-Americans suffer from the condition, which can include symptoms such as bloating, gas, cramps, vomiting, headaches, rashes, or asthma.(3) As early as 2 years of age, most people begin to produce less lactase, the enzyme that helps with the digestion of milk. This reduction can lead to lactose intolerance. (4) Breast-feeding mothers should also shun cow’s milk from their diets, as the proteins can be transferred to infants and upset babies’ intestines. (5)
Milk is suspected of triggering juvenile diabetes, a disease that causes blindness and other serious effects.(6) Some children’s bodies treat cow’s milk protein as a foreign substance and produce high levels of antibodies to fend off this “invader.” These antibodies also destroy the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas, leading to diabetes. Studies have also found that autism and schizophrenia in children may be linked to the body’s inability to digest the milk protein casein; symptoms of these diseases diminished or disappeared in 80 percent of the children who were switched to milk-free diets. (7)
Other common childhood ailments such as chronic ear infections, asthma, and skin conditions can also be eliminated if cow’s milk is avoided. (8)
1) “Dr. Spock Joins Milk’s Detractors; Nutritional Value, Safety Are Questioned,” The Washington Post 30 Sep. 1992.
2) American Gastroenterological Association, “American Gastroenterological Association Medical Position Statement: Guidelines for the Evaluation of Food Allergies,” Gastroenterology 120 (2001): 1023-5.
3) National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, “Lactose Intolerance,” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Mar. 2006.
4) National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
5) Spock and Parker 113.
6) “Study Explores Link between Cow’s Milk, Juvenile Diabetes,” Kitchener-Waterloo Record 20 Sep. 2002.24) “Study Explores Link between Cow’s Milk, Juvenile Diabetes,” Kitchener-Waterloo Record 20 Sep. 2002.
7) “Milk Protein May Play Role in Mental Disorders,” Reuters Health, 1 Apr. 1999.
Spock and Parker 332.
8) American Dietetic Association, “Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dieticians of Canada: Vegetarian Diets,” Journal of the American Dietetic Association Jun. 2003.
Calcium Content of Selected Vegan Foods
|Food Amount Calcium (mg)|
|Blackstrap molasses 2 Tbsp 400|
|Collard greens 1 cup 357|
|Tofu ½ cup 200-330|
|Soy or rice milk 1 cup 300|
|Tempeh 1 cup 215|
|Green veggies 1 cup 100-200|
|Soybeans 1 cup 175|
|Almond butter 2tbs 85|
|Almonds 1 cup 332|
|Sea veggies 1 cup 1000|
|Tin fish 85g tin 180|
|Baked beans 1 cup 130|
|Potato 1 cup 100|
|Chickpeas 1 cup 80|
|Tahini 1Tbs 64|