by: Gabrielle Welch, Welch Wellness

There has been quite a bit of controversy over the past few years surrounding dairy and its benefits versus its potential dangers. With the increasing number of children showing signs of dairy allergies, ranging from severe to just a constant runny nose, we need to reevaluate the necessity of drinking milk and whether it really IS helping our kids bodies and bones or doing just the opposite to some of us.

Did you know that we are the only mammals weaned from our mothers that continue to drink milk from a different species?

“You can be absolutely certain of one thing: milk is the most political food in America.” (Harvey Diamond, author, Fit for Life). The dairy industry is subsidized by US, the taxpayers, for almost three billion dollars a year, even though the demand for dairy has declined substantially over the past few years.

Let’s look at a few facts:

*Unless you are buying organic milk, the milk you are drinking has hormones, antibiotics and udder pus, which is going from the cow to the sippy cup directly into your child’s body.
*Contamination through the milk supply with pesticides and insecticides (from what the cows are EATING) as well has given rise to concerns with child health, including allergy, ear and tonsillar infections, bedwetting, asthma intestinal bleeding and colic. (Pediatrics, “Is Bovine Milk a Health Hazard?” 75:182-18;1985)
*Increased estrogen intake from farmers giving their cows hormones (rBGH) to increase their milk production has been liked in adults to breast and ovarian cancers.
*Cow’s milk is not a replacement for human milk: it has 3-4x the protein as mother’s milk and the enzymes we need to break it down, renin and lactase, are no longer in our bodies by the age of three. What does this tell you?

We have been scared from day one by the medical community and Big Food or by our own parents that if we don’t get enough milk, our bones will break, our teeth will fall out, we won’t grow and we will have osteoporosis at a very young age!

Did you know that the US boasts the highest consumption of dairy products in the world but also has the highest incidence of bone fractures and osteoporosis?

FACT: The consumption of dairy greatly increases acidity in our body, which requires our bodies to use water and calcium to adjust the ph balance. Where do we get the calcium to do this? FROM OUR OWN BONES!!! So the more milk we drink, the more calcium we take from our own bones.

Fact: Relying on dairy products for calcium is likely to lead to magnesium deficiency and imbalance. Seeds, nuts, crunchy veggies like kale, cabbage , carrots and cauliflower give us both these minerals and other, more inline with our needs. (The New Optimum Nutrition Bible, p.63). You don’t need dairy for calcium!!!!

SO what do we take away from all of this as moms? Pay attention to your kids and trust your own instincts!

Do you have a child who has been to the doctor every month for an ear infection that won’t go away? Do they have a constant runny nose? Do they sleeping issues? Do they have asthma or eczema?

They could very well have an allergy to dairy and you can determine this through an elimination diet. Take them off it for a week, and see what happens.
You might be shocked! We have so many choices now: rice milk, hemp milk , soy milk and many nut milks. They even offer vanilla and chocolate flavors now.

For young kids, I would suggest the rice or hemp milk as you still want to reduce their exposure to nuts and unless the soy milk is organic, it’s going to be genetically modified, which is bad.

For some kids, organic milk in moderation is fine and they will never have an issue. Only you as the parent can observe if this is your child or not.

So do a study on your family this week and don’t be afraid to take the plunge….sometimes the hardest part about change is just taking the first step!

Gabrielle

( P.S. I did the switcheroo on my 2 year old nephew who is allergic to dairy but still drinks milk. I gave him rice milk instead and he never knew the difference!)