The Dairy Debate- Should Kids Drink Milk?

I’m writing this to share my journey- through client feedback, personal experience and my daughters’ too. Here’s something you need to know about ‘Milk’.
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I’m writing this to share my journey- through client feedback, personal experience and my daughters’ too.

Milk is a commonly debated topic, with a spectrum of views ranging from ‘never touch it’, to ‘consume at least one glass a day’. I don’t intend to preach what is best for you, but I hope to support you to better understand your body and listen when it talks to you through symptoms and illnesses (my previous article discusses this in greater detail). This article blends my views, with support from recent studies, to help you understand why milk isn’t for everyone, and its evolution through time.

Do you remember the “Got Milk” campaign? It encouraged us to drink milk and consume its products. Later it was licensed for use by milk processors and dairy farmers- genius, isn’t it? The B2C guys could just ride the wave of this brilliant marketing idea, with almost no investment.

While the campaign ran in the West, it’s not a foreign concept world over. As kids, milk was part of our staple breakfast, if not the only thing we had before rushing to school; and most of us have done the same with our children. I did…till I learned better.

Which Animal Drinks Another Animal’s Milk?

Apart from us, humans, I believe the answer is none. It takes a calf about 2 years to become a cow; while at 2 we are just about walking and forming words- far from adulthood. Humans are brainy animals, unlike others, such as cows, who are bony animals. And, what do cows eat to get milk? Grass, i.e. plant-based foods.

Growing up I struggled with various health issues, nothing major but definitely frustrating. I had a cold for about 5 years, on top of whatever else would come and go.

Several doctors, specialists, and alternate healers later I discovered how to heal myself (and it wasn’t any of the medications). Eliminating milk and milk products created a big shift in my overall well-being.

Fortunately, it wasn’t very hard for me as I’m not a milk (products) fan, apart from cheese, which I ate once in a while, and would soon after feel my nose getting blocked. While, this no longer happens, I know not to push too hard. 

“Lactose”- Heard Of It?

Did you know, lactose, a natural enzyme in our body that helps digest milk, naturally diminishes after the age of 4? This isn’t to say everyone in the world is lactose intolerant thereafter, but our body definitely struggles to digest milk the same way (not breast milk). My daughter struggled with bronchitis since the age of 1, however, she loves milk! After trying everything else, I finally decided to cut it out cold turkey. While her attacks didn’t stop, the intensity changed and she would recover quicker.

Milk is mucus-generating, especially when you already have an underlying issue.

The Defense Of Milk:

“But my grandparents grew up drinking milk and they are totally fine” is a common argument I battle. My first question is, what do you mean by fine? Are they clear of all chronic ailments? And next, the more pertinent point- the milk our ancestors were drinking versus what we consume today are technically, almost different products (although still termed milk).

The milk we drink today is a far more processed version than 20 years ago. Milk isn’t usually white, but the milk we drink is…it’s obviously bleached, and modified in ways we rather not know.

Milk Is Good For Bones?

Milk, is prescribed to build stronger bones, however, there are enough studies that prove otherwise. The 2012 report published in the Archives of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine, authored by Kendrin Sonneville from Harvard University, tracked fracture rates in 6,712 adolescents.

The results proved that active children who consumed the largest quantities of milk actually had more bone fractures than those who consumed less. 

I am of the opinion our high calcium and protein are perpetuated by the junk and dairy industry. In reality, the amount of calcium in your diet has little effect on the way your body finally utilises it! The body’s ability to absorb and assimilate calcium depends on the amount of phosphorus in our diet (something I won’t delve into now). My point is, it’s not as simple as eating calcium and getting calcium- the body is far more complex and smarter than abiding by this simple equation.

We don’t eat hair to get hair, we eat foods rich in various vitamins and minerals that support hair growth- the same applies to our bones! And milk is definitely not that superfood!

Bones are calcium banks. The body withdraws calcium in order to control muscular contractions, clotting, the heart, nerve impulses and a few more things. Our amazing body can mobilise calcium from the bones when required and naturally redeposit it.

The average human body contains 2 ¾ lbs of calcium (primarily in our bones and teeth).

Bones are the only part of our body that outlive us by years, yet grow fragile with age (when we are alive)…so how does that work? Without getting too technical (I am no Doctor here), when our body and blood are in an acidic state, which is what our bones are in direct contact with, it naturally and gradually erodes our bones.

Taking calcium supplements almost definitely won’t help, as they are not in a form for our body to easily absorb. 

Apart from all the health aspects surrounding the consumption of milk, what really tugs at my heart is how cows and their calves are treated. I too am guilty of consuming dairy products (very occasionally, but I don’t label myself as vegan), so I’m not here to give you a lecture on ethics or personal belief, but more to open your eyes to reality; a reality I didn’t know till I dove into the milk debate myself.

Heard Of Artificial Insemination (AI)?

I am not going to explain it here as the world wide web does a good and literal job. Some argue it’s a safe, harmless and even humane way to manage cattle. I beg to differ; I know I never want this to happen to me. And let’s not get started on how calves are taken away from their mothers at birth so us, humans, can drink their milk! And thanks to AI this happens on repeat! 

On this very high note, I will conclude by saying, if you chose to drink milk, do so with awareness, know it’s not adding life to your life, it’s not protecting your bones, and it definitely is not helping growth in any form; drink to enjoy it for its taste, or the flavour it adds to your meal. 

Share this with fellow parents too!

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