?Some of us can remember being told as kids that milk is the perfect food, which is true—if you’re a baby cow. Now, more and more Americans are learning that for humans, nothing could be further from the truth.
According to a report just released by market-research company Packaged Facts, a fast-growing number of consumers are shunning milk and switching to healthier options, including soy, rice, and almond beverages that are flavorful and refreshing but contain none of the scary ingredients that milk processors don’t list on their cartons. In 2011, sales of milk alternatives reached a whopping $1.33 billion. And cows tormented on dairy factory farms will be happy to know that their milk has seen a corresponding drop in per capita consumption.
Those hidden ingredients in cow’s milk are almost certainly a contributing factor to the rise in popularity of dairy alternatives. They include growth hormones that are fed to cows to drastically (and painfully) increase their milk production, antibiotics just to keep the overstressed animals alive, and pus. Yes, pus. Researchers estimate that the average glass of milk contains between one and seven drops of pus as a result of rampant udder infections. Yuck!
There are plenty of other reasons that consumers are switching from cow’s milk to healthier dairy-free options. Painful lactose intolerance and severe milk allergies are two. Also, the American Dietetic Association found that people who avoid animal-based foods have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. But doesn’t milk prevent osteoporosis? Nope. In fact, recent research indicates that milk and other dairy products actually cause osteoporosis because the animal protein leeches calcium from the body.
Another reason people are ditching milk in record numbers is because of the abuse and suffering of cows and their babies. Cows on dairy farms are continuously impregnated, causing their bodies to wear out after only four or five years. Then the animals are slaughtered. Their calves are traumatically torn away from them shortly after birth—males are either killed or relegated to cruel veal crates, and females are forced back into milk production.
Still not convinced? Consider this: Humans are the only animals on the planet who drink milk into adulthood and who choose to drink the milk of another species. As nutritional expert Michael Klaper, M.D., says in his book Pregnancy, Children, and the Vegan Diet, It’s as unnatural for a child to drink the milk of a cow as it is for a dog to nurse from a giraffe! Klaper goes on to cite research that shows that cow’s milk is linked to runny noses, ear infections, bronchitis, asthma, and more.
So the next time you’re at the supermarket, see what you’ve been missing and try some delicious soy, rice, or almond milk. They can be found in the dairy case or in aseptic containers on the shelves. Your body and your taste buds will thank you!