Why I Don't Drink Milk
Having been vegan for nearly four years at this stage I have totally eliminated animal products from my diet. Whilst a lot of people can grasp the concepts of not eating meat, dairy seems confusing for them.
As a baby I was lactose intolerant and my skin would flare up and come out in a rash and my tummy was distended but my parents found I thrived on a dairy-free formula bucking common thought at the time (1983). I consumed some dairy during my twenties naively assuming it was 'good' for me. When I turned 30 I watched a lot of documentaries (primarily Cowspiracy and Forks Over Knives) and honestly became aware of the practices I was condoning by eating meat and consuming dairy. I wanted to outline my personal research and also my alternatives.
A few facts about dairy -
We are all aware that dairy comes from cows. What most people don't know it that, like humans, cows only produce milk after they have given birth, and dairy cows must give birth to one calf per year in order to continue producing milk. Typically they are artificially inseminated within three months of giving birth.
What Happens to the Calves -
A cow would naturally suckle her calf for nine months to a year but calves born on dairy farms are taken away from their mothers within a few days of birth – usually between 12 and 72 hours. A strong mother-infant bond is formed between cow and calf immediately after birth and the separation is extremely traumatic.
*Once take away from their mothers Calves are exported in their thousands. Male Holstein-Friesians aged between 15 and 35 days make up the vast majority of Irish calf shipments.
Ireland is involved in Live Animal Export - and whilst this is seen as a positive from a business perspective - a Recent article in The Irish Times stated that Cattle and sheep which are being exported live from Ireland to the Middle East are being slaughtered in shocking conditions in “clear breach of EU laws”
In Ireland we drink a lot of milk and there was an increase of 9.2% in milk production levels year-on-year on Irish dairy farms in 2017, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). A total of 7,268 million litres of milk were produced on dairy farms in the Republic of Ireland between January and December of the year just gone. - source >Here<
I am aware none of these are Irish farms but in recent years there have been a number of prosecutions for abuse on dairy farms. I'm only showing a few here but sadly a quick type into youtube will reveal thousands of videos (ie >here< or >here< )
*2010 Ohio - See >here<
What differences did I notice?
Within a month my skin, which always had a small crop of spots in one area or another, cleared up completely. A lot of the redness and congestion cleared also and it felt much smoother. There is some interesting research >here< about the impact of diet on skin. If I am at a wedding or a social event where I cannot control what I am eating and there happens to be butter or dairy in a meal I eat, inevitably I will get a break out along my jaw line within a few days. Personally I feel my skin looks better now at 34 than it did a decade ago. Of course I have a few lines here and there but overall I feel the condition, texture and natural glow of it is much better.
Where do I get my calcium?
I think as a result of clever marketing people naturally think that Milk is the sole source of calcium but thankfully good sources of calcium for vegans include:
- broccoli, spinach and greens.
- fortified, unsweetened soya, rice and oat drinks.
- calcium-set tofu.
- sesame seeds and tahini.
- brown and white bread (in the UK, calcium is added to white and brown flour by law)
- dried fruit, such as raisins, prunes, figs and dried apricots.
- For a more extensive list see >here<
I have never broken a bone in my life and I also get blood tests done regularly to ensure my body is getting all the nutrients it needs.
My top alternatives.
Firstly when it comes to milk - mostly I make my own almond milk. I open up all my demonstrations with this showing how quick and easily it can be done. The same method applies to any kind of nut - ie hazelnuts, cashews and brazils.
For Ice cream I really love Booja Booja
And for cheese I really like Violife. It's gorgeous on top of a veggie burger or in a cheese toastie.
I have been easily able to find these in all health food stores and some supermarkets also.
What inspires me to keep living this way:
I am currently studying a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition and I devour books and articles on wellness and plant based eating. These are some interesting videos from authorities in the health and wellness arena.
Please seek advice from your doctor or nutritional advisor before making any changes to your diet. I am simply sharing what works for me and the research I have found that inspired and led me here.