Milk: Is it Right for You?

Tuesday September 13, 2011

ANNOUNCEMENT:

During the month of October, CrossFit Redondo will be having a "No Bread Challenge".  The details of the challenge will be revealed later in the month, but I wanted to let everyone know now, to get mentally prepared.  We will do a baseline type workout in late September, and then return to it on November 1st to see how the dietary adjustment worked.  More details later!

 

A. Prowler Pushes

15 minutes of rotations

 

B. 10 Minute AMRAP:

Sprint 200 meters

10 Release Pushups

12 Box Jumps (24/20)

 

I've been getting a few questions about milk lately so I wanted to repost a blog I wrote awhile back. Enjoy!

 

I, like many of you, grew up with jugs of milk in the refrigerator and drank it daily. We’ve all heard the slogan it “does a body a good.” There are even commercials comparing milk to performance enhancing drugs, trying to make light of the steroid era, but nevertheless making a big impact on consumers. Celebrities are seen touting their mustaches in prominent magazines. It is provided for free or for a small price in elementary schools. For our entire lives we have been led to believe that milk is good for us. The following is some information that hopefully helps level the playing field. 

Let me clarify that throughout this note that when talking about milk I am referring to cow’s milk. Mother’s milk is the perfect food for human growth in infants. It contains all the amino acids and enzymes needed for the baby to digest.

First let’s talk about how powerful the dairy companies are. In 1991, Luise Light, along with agricultural scientists and medical doctors convened to create the first government sponsored nutritional guidelines. After extensive research and considering ONLY the health of Americans, this team created a sound pyramid, designed to reduce obesity and western disease. It was rich in fruits and vegetables and whole grains. It limited meat, dairy, sweats and sodium. The USDA was all set to release this pyramid until it was recalled due to strong lobbying by both the National Milk Producers Federation and the National Cattleman’s Association. Fearing that this document would cause people to eat less meat and drink less milk, it was recalled and revamped to accommodate these big businesses. Luise Light and her associates barely recognized the pyramid when it was released to the public.

The reason I bring this up is to illustrate how the government censors nutritional information. Here you have the brightest nutritional minds of their time, with the best research available, coming up with an unbiased pyramid that was developed to improve health. They said drink less milk for a reason. Then, vested interests get involved and money is thrown around and it becomes easy to forget about the people who suffer: you and I. 

In order to fully jump into this issue it is important to start with the original source: the cow. The current state of the cow is a sad one to say the least. With the induction of CAFO’s (confined animal feeding operations) the cow went from a roaming animal to a food-producing prisoner. I’m not here to talk about animal rights. But the CAFO system has created an inferior animal and therefore inferior milk. Here are some problems with this new mass production of cows:

1. The CAFO’s create an environment in which the cows are in extreme close proximity to each other. In open land, cows will congregate, but not be anywhere near as close to one another as they are in the CAFO’s. As a result, disease manifests and is spread like wildfire throughout the stock. At first, the farmers would treat each individual sick cow once they became ill. Now, with cheap antibiotics, CAFO’s put antibiotics in ALL of the feed. Sick or not, Betsy is getting a dose of antibiotics with every meal. These antibiotics get into the milk and create digestive problems in humans. Not to mention, many of the cows are milked when seriously ill.

2. In the natural order of things, animals get pregnant and then produce milk. But it isn’t very cost effective to only milk cows when they aren’t pregnant. So, hormones are injected into cows which keeps production of milk a year round affair. In addition to the artificial hormones, the cows produce significant amounts of their own hormones during pregnancy that alter their milk. These hormones subsequently get into to milk we drink and are linked with breast cancer in women, among other problems. 

3. One of the more graphic issues in modern milking involves the milking itself. It used to be the farmer hand milking his cows into bottles and carrying them fresh to the community. Now metal suction devices are put on the cows in a mass milking procedure. The cow’s udders become irritated and infected by these devices. Also, with the induction of growth hormones (see #4), the udders become so filled with milk they drag on the ground. Puss and blood has been found in randomly tested milk. 

4. In the natural order of things, a cow slowly grows to an age where eventually she can reproduce and milk her young. This process is far too slow for the dairy industry. To combat this ever-to-slow growth period, they administer steroids and growth hormone to make bigger cows that will give more meat and produce more milk. Cows udders get so large they drag on the ground, infecting the udders. Again, a great opportunity to administer more antibiotics. There are other consequences of these growth hormones. The most common accelerator of growth given to cows is called bovine growth hormone (BGH). This hormone triggers cows to naturally produce another hormone called Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) in large amounts. In humans, IGF is needed in childhood for normal body growth. However, adults produce only little or no IGF. Milk is rich in IGF and adults who consume milk are at increased risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer because of this rogue hormone entering their bodies.

5. In the natural order of things, cows roam free and eat grass. They get exercise and eat their designed diet. They have four chambered stomachs called rumen, which evolved to digest grass. In CAFO’s, cows are fed grain which creates a fattier milk and meat, but better tasting. No one knows for certain the consequences of this grain diet except that it adds omega 6 (from the corn) and takes out Omega 3’s (from the grass). 

As you can see, the dairy industry loves to alter nature to increase profit. I believe this has led to an inferior product. The cows today are nowhere near as healthy as they were 50 years ago. Our grandparents drank milk that was much different from what we are drinking today. The milk man came weekly to deliver fresh milk from cows that roamed free and ate grass. Artificial hormones didn’t exist yet. What you thought you were getting was what you got. Now, milk has been stripped from its original form and a completely different product.

After all the antibiotics, hormones, unnatural diet, disease, and lack of exercise you would think that’s about all the industry could do to the cows to make milk a strange new product….for the worse. But, they weren’t done yet.

Homogenization and pasteurization were two processes that were a miracle for the dairy industry. Both essentially eliminated the milk-man, and allowed milk to sit on grocery shelves for weeks before spoiling. However, these breakthroughs may be doing more harm than good. Pasteurization causes the vitamins in milk to be lost, especially vitamin A, D, E, and B12. Homogenization involves spinning the milk at high speeds, which creates fat globules that are difficult for the body to digest. Studies have shown correlations between homogenization of milk and heart disease (1).

The final thing I want to discuss is lactose intolerance. These people’s bodies do not produce the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the milk sugar, lactose. Worldwide, around 65-75% of adults are lactose intolerant. This means their bodies are not capable of properly digesting milk. Interpret this as you may, but this tells me that the majority of the people on earth are not meant to drink cows milk. After all, cow’s milk is meant for baby cows.

All of these technological changes to the cows and to milk itself have altered it to something further and further away from food. Mass production is one of the biggest enemies of quality food, and milk is no exception. To be frank, I believe the standard milk found in grocery stores should be avoided by all adults. It has just gotten to the point where it is so far from its true form. There are farms that offer raw milk where cows are treated humanely and free to roam and eat grass. If you enjoy milk I would recommend seeking out these products. 

Thanks for reading, Doyle

More information: notmilk.com

References 

1. Haas, Elson. Staying Healthy with Nutrition. Celestial Arts. Berkeley, Ca, 2006.