Ditch the Dairy for Healthier Bones
We’ve all heard from many sources that we should drink milk and consume dairy products to boost our calcium and keep our bones healthy and strong. However, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that animal proteins actually cause calcium to be leached from the bones and excreted in the urine. As a result, animal protein can contribute to the acceleration of osteoporosis as maintaining blood and tissues at a neutral pH balance takes priority over keeping calcium phosphate in the bones.
The US National Library of Medicine backs up these findings stating that consuming animal based dairy products offers no protection from bone fractures or osteoporosis. Participants in a study who drank three or more servings of cow’s milk per day actually had a slightly higher rate of fractures than women who drank little or no milk at all. Wow!
Many alternative foods and drinks contain calcium and don’t carry the same risks as dairy (animal) products. Surprisingly, the best source of calcium comes from Earth’s plants and not from the cow as everyone has been led to believe by the dairy industry!
Calcium is a mineral found in the earth’s soil that is absorbed by the roots of plants. Animals including the cow get their calcium by eating plants. So the real source of calcium comes directly from the earth’s plants – not the cows grazing on the plants. By drinking cow’s milk you’re getting the calcium second-hand instead of straight from the real source.
Our body needs calcium to function at its best. Some of the functions that need calcium include: contracts all muscles in our body (including the heart), transmits messages (nerve impulses) between the brain and virtually every other part of our body, activates blood-clotting factors, moves blood through our veins and secretes hormones. Calcium also helps stabilize and optimize proteins and enzymes in the body. Obviously, it’s an important mineral to our health and well-being.
When it comes to animal welfare, there’s an enormous amount of pain and suffering that cows endure by being byproducts of the dairy industry.
Like humans, cows carry their babies for nine months. To keep them producing milk, cows on modern dairy farms are artificially inseminated year after year. Female calves, like their mothers, are raised for milk production. At a time when they should be sleeping curled in their mothers’ warmth, the infant’s calves are taken away from their mothers and isolated in individual crates. After several weeks, they are moved to small groups where each calf has as little as 35 square feet (6’x6′). Throughout their adolescence, they are fed a milk replacement while humans drink their mothers’ milk.
Male calves are deemed useless to the dairy industry. According to the USDA, “only a small percentage” of male dairy calves are raised as steers, as dairy cows are not considered the desirable breed for beef. Instead, most male dairy calves become veal and spend their brief, miserable existence confined or chained in lonely stalls before they are brutally slaughtered for their tender flesh. Around 700,000 calves are slaughtered for veal in the U.S. each year.
In the end, whole plant-based foods such as green vegetables, beans, seeds and even fruits are rich in calcium; you can get all you need from a whole food plant-based diet without having to consume dairy (animal) products as Dr. Neal Barnard with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Dr. Joel Fuhrman clearly illustrate in their research findings.
The good news is that you don’t have to give up milk when you switch to a plant based diet. If you like milk on your cereal or in your morning coffee, try a healthy plant based alternative. Almond milk is my personal favorite and it’s easy to make plus I think it tastes better than cow’s milk and makes it easier to ditch the dairy for healthier bones.
Peace be with you, and may you always find a light on your path, good health, and true friends to make the journey with you.