Call of the Conch-3-Not for Human Consumption: By Joyce Sweinberg
Dairy products in our current industry, worldwide,
foster the very same adverse effects as meat production and consumption, and even worse,
torture the dairy cow and her offspring repeatedly over time prior to the final slaughter.
For years, I drank milk and consumed milk products, never realizing that I had milk allergies which were causing my facial rashes and breakouts. Finally, someone suggested this to me and when I looked it up online, I was shocked to see how many allergies one can have to dairy products. This was my first step in removing dairy from my diet, for my own benefit. I was not always true to my vows and would often give in to pizza and on Halloween, would raid my sons’ candy for Snickers Bars, and on other holidays, eat the chocolate which was everywhere. In the summer months, I sometimes gave into the soft ice cream cones at the corner ice cream stand. And, usually, I broke out but thought it was worth it.
Until I saw some of the videos posted in the earlier parts of this series. When I saw how the dairy cow and her offspring are abused, I could no longer seek out dairy products in any way. But for some of us, we need to have other reasons than that, so I am including this part to highlight the unknown facts that dairy products really are not that healthy for us or our world, and can cause a multitude of environmental and physical problems. Many of us operate under the false assumption that dairy products make for healthy bones and this is being proven to be untrue in studies. The fact is that it is hard for people to give up their false belief systems if it would require them to remove dairy products from their diets. I have reproduced some excerpts below from online websites along with the link to the actual site for further reading.
Many sites will address the adverse environmental and other effects of the meat industry while including dairy products as a viable alternative to meat. An honest and intelligent assessment of the available facts cannot support such a conclusion. Dairy products in our current industry, worldwide, foster the very same adverse effects as meat production and consumption, and even worse, torture the dairy cow and her offspring repeatedly over time prior to the final slaughter. The simple indisputable fact is that by consuming dairy products or using them in worship, one is promulgating torture of these defenseless animals, and in the process, violating the foremost principle of dharmic behavior, ahimsa.
Let me add this about myself. While I now check the ingredients on everything I buy and I will not knowingly purchase anything which contains meat products or animal products or dairy products, I find it is still a challenge to determine whether there is dairy or animal product in what I eat when I am out, either in a restaurant or at a social event. If I am in doubt, and if the product is one which normally has dairy or eggs in it, I will politely decline.
When I am at temple, it is a more difficult position…I can refuse offers of yogurt or payasam or curd rice, or anything which is obviously milk based. But so many of the prasad offerings are laced with dairy or cooked in ghee that it is impossible to tell. I do still partake, asking His mercy and guidance in what I do. And I write this acknowledging that in co-writing this series, I am educating myself as I go along, making some decisions and deferring others as I ponder the solution that will work for me. I offer these writings to you, the reader, in the same spirit.
“Environmental DestructionLarge dairy farms have an enormously detrimental effect on the environment. In California, America’s top milk-producing state, manure from dairy farms has poisoned hundreds of square miles of groundwater, rivers, and streams. Each of the more than 1 million cows on the state’s dairy farms excretes 120 pounds of waste daily.(22) Overall, animals in animal factories, including dairy farms, produce 1.65 billion tons of manure each year, much of which ends up in our waterways and drinking water.(23) The Environmental Protection Agency reports that agricultural runoff is the primary cause of polluted lakes, streams, and rivers. The dairy-products industry is the primary source of smog-forming pollutants in California; a single cow emits more of these harmful gases than a car does.(24)
Eighty percent of all agricultural land in the U.S. is used to raise animals for food or to grow grain to feed them—that’s almost half the total land mass of the contiguous 48 states.(25) Each cow raised by the dairy-products industry consumes as much as 50 gallons of water per day.(26)
Human Bodies Fight Cow’s Milk Besides humans (and companion animals who are fed by humans), no species drinks milk beyond infancy or drinks the milk of another species. Cow’s milk is suited to the nutritional needs of calves, who have four stomachs and gain hundreds of pounds in a matter of months, sometimes weighing more than 1,000 pounds before they are 2 years old.(27)
Cow’s milk is the number one cause of food allergies among infants and children, according to the American Gastroenterological Association.(28) Most people begin to produce less lactase, the enzyme that helps with the digestion of milk, when they are as young as 2 years old. This reduction can lead to lactose intolerance.(29) Millions of Americans are lactose intolerant, and an estimated 90 percent of Asian-Americans and 75 percent of Native- and African-Americans suffer from the condition, which can cause bloating, gas, cramps, vomiting, headaches, rashes, and asthma.(30) Studies have also found that autism and schizophrenia in children may be linked to the body’s inability to digest casein, a milk protein; symptoms of these diseases diminished or disappeared in 80 percent of the children who switched to milk-free diets.(31)
A U.K. study showed that people who suffered from irregular heartbeats, asthma, headaches, fatigue, and digestive problems “showed marked and often complete improvements in their health after cutting milk from their diets.”(32)
Calcium and Protein Myths
Although American women consume tremendous amounts of calcium, their rates of osteoporosis are among the highest in the world. Conversely, Chinese people consume half as much calcium (most of it from plant sources) and have very low incidence of the bone disease.(33) Medical studies indicate that rather than preventing the disease, milk may actually increase women’s risk of getting osteoporosis. A Harvard Nurses’ Study of more than 77,000 women ages 34 to 59 found that those who consumed two or more glasses of milk per day had higher risks of broken hips and arms than those who drank one glass or less per day.(34) T. Colin Campbell, professor of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University, said, “The association between the intake of animal protein and fracture rates appears to be as strong as that between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.”(35)
Humans can get all the protein that they need from nuts, seeds, yeast, grains, beans, and other legumes. It’s very difficult not to get enough calories from protein when you eat a healthy diet; protein deficiency (also known as kwashiorkor) is very rare in the United States and is usually only a problem for people who live in famine-stricken countries.(36) Consumption of excessive protein from dairy products, eggs, and meat has been linked to the formation of kidney stones and has been associated with colon cancer and liver cancer.(37,38) It’s also suspected that consuming too much protein puts a strain on the kidneys, which compensate by leeching calcium from the bones.(39)”
FROM A PETA SPONSORED WEBPAGEHarvard School of Public Health, on the Consumption of Dairy Products (2005):
“The recommendation to drink three glasses of low-fat milk or eat three servings of other dairy products per day to prevent osteoporosis is another step in the wrong direction. … Three glasses of low-fat milk add more than 300 calories a day. This is a real issue for the millions of Americans who are trying to control their weight. What’s more, millions of Americans are lactose intolerant, and even small amounts of milk or dairy products give them stomachaches, gas, or other problems. This recommendation ignores the lack of evidence for a link between consumption of dairy products and prevention of osteoporosis. It also ignores the possible increases in risk of ovarian cancer and prostate cancer associated with dairy products.”
Cow’s milk is an inefficient food source. Cows, like humans, expend the majority of their food intake simply leading their lives. It takes a great deal of grain and other foodstuffs cycled through cows to produce a small amount of milk. And not only is milk a waste of energy and water, the production of milk is also a disastrous source of water pollution. A dairy cow produces 120 pounds of waste every day — equal to that of two dozen people, but with no toilets, sewers, or treatment plants.
In Lancaster County, Pa., manure from dairy cows is destroying the Chesapeake Bay, and in California, which produces one-fifth of the country’s total supply of milk, the manure from dairy farms has poisoned vast expanses of underground water, rivers, and streams. In the Central Valley of California, the cows produce as much excrement as a city of 21 million people, and even a smallish farm of 200 cows will produce as much nitrogen as in the sewage from a community of 5,000 to 10,000 people, according to a U.S. Senate report on animal waste.
FOR YOUR HEALTH: Dairy products are a health hazard. They contain no fiber or complex carbohydrates and are laden with saturated fat and cholesterol. They are contaminated with cow’s blood and pus and are frequently contaminated with pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. Dairy products are linked to allergies, constipation, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.
The late Dr. Benjamin Spock, America’s leading authority on child care, spoke out against feeding cow’s milk to children, saying it can cause anemia, allergies, and insulin-dependent diabetes and in the long term, will set kids up for obesity and heart disease, America’s number one cause of death.
And dairy products may actually cause osteoporosis, not prevent it, since their high-protein content leaches calcium from the body. Population studies, backed up by a groundbreaking Harvard study of more than 75,000 nurses, suggest that drinking milk can actually cause osteoporosis. Find out more by visiting our links page.”
Nursing calf photo can be found at http://www.faqs.org/photo-dict/phrase/5743/calf-nursing.html
Patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktyaa prayacchati;
Tadaham bhaktyupahritamashnaami prayataatmanah.
If one offers Me with love and devotion of a leaf,
a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it with joy. BG 9.26