Think back to elementary school. I’m guessing that you were taught to eat according to a food pyramid or some other scheme that emphasized meat and milk and other dairy “products”—more so than healthy, humane foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
Why is that? It would be preposterous for the U.S. government to allow schools to promote fatty, cholesterol-laden foods with addictive properties and little-to-no nutritional value to schoolchildren. Right?
But the misleading dietary pyramid implied that we need to consume cow’s milk or other dairy-based foods in order to get an adequate amount of calcium and potassium—never mind that these nutrients can be found in plenty of healthful foods, including broccoli, kale, okra, almonds, sesame seeds, blackstrap molasses, tofu, and fortified soy milk and orange juice.
And never mind that animal protein and sodium—which is found in cow’s milk and other animal-based foods—actually leach calcium from the bones, causing osteoporosis. You probably weren’t taught that in school, were you?
Many humans can’t even tolerate cow’s milk (just like many of us can’t tolerate cruelty to cows). That’s because it’s meant for calves—who have four stomachs and gain hundreds of pounds in a matter of months—not humans.
So why is the government still peddling cow’s milk to Americans? Officials have had a hand in virtually everything that the dairy industry does, from school lunch partnerships to milk mustache ads to fast-food alliances. Even now that the so-called healthy food plate has replaced the archaic food pyramid, the government is advising adults to consume 3 cups of food daily from the “Dairy Group”—which at least includes calcium-fortified soy milk now.
It may seem good that the government is acknowledging that humans can get calcium from foods that don’t come from cows—but we really should be fed up with Uncle Sam trying to shove cow’s milk and other dairy “products” down our throats.
Why? Check back for the second installment in this series, which will explain how the unholy union between the federal government and the dairy industry came to be. I’ll give you a hint, though: It has to do with $$$.