If you were deciding to improve your health and you knew that animal foods were not as healthy as plant foods, which would you give up first? Milk and dairy or meat?
All the vegetarians in the world have chosen ‘meat’ to give up – and research shows that this certainly improves health in many areas and leads to living a few years longer.
The better choice, however, would be ‘milk and dairy foods’ .
Removing dairy foods while leaving in a couple of serves of meat a week will lead to even more health benefits than giving up meat but continuing with daily serves of milk and dairy. This article looks at just the oestrogen factor in cow’s milk and a few reasons why it is so detrimental to human health.
These days, most people are aware of xeno-oestrogens: chemicals in the environment that tend to have oestrogenic effects in the human body, disrupting normal hormonal activity. Many of these are in plastics. Others are found in pesticides, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, dry cleaning and personal care products. Tissues particularly targeted by xeno-oestrogens are the brain, the heart, breast tissue, the liver, the reproductive tract (male and female) and the bones.
Oestrogen is a feminising hormone. It is the main hormone responsible for causing female sexual characteristics. Females are more at risk of oestrogen-overload from the environment than men, due to having more oestrogen on board in the first place, but men are also effected by excessive oestrogen because it lowers testosterone levels which adversely affects male health in many areas.
One major problem with excessive oestrogen is that it stimulates tumour growth and reproductive abnormalities.
Oestrogen excess and health problems
The problem is not mainly these xeno-oestrogens, however. Much larger quantities of oestrogens are pouring through ours and our children’s bodies from infancy – in baby formula, ice cream, yoghurt and cheese. In fact, drinking 300mL of cow’s milk provides 4000 times more estradiol (an oestrogen) than you’d get from any other xeno-oestrogen in the environment including the plastic cup or bottle you drank it from. (And while I’m on this topic – eggs contain even more estradiol than milk, being produced in a chicken’s ovaries…and cause similar effects to milk.)
This is a good reason to avoid drinking the milk of any mammal after weaning. A cow is a large mammal which has recently had a calf. No mammal produces milk otherwise. During lactation, there is a large wash of female hormones, including oestrogens in the animal. As milk is a hormone transfer system, so cow’s milk transfers those cow hormones, including oestrogen, to those who drink it. The inability to clear it fast enough leads to breast lumps, heavy periods, fibroids, man boobs (a feminine trait), early puberty as well as tumour growth.
It is no surprise that women who drink cow’s milk have much higher rates of breast cancer. Further, these excessive oestrogen’s and the IGF-1 hormone they drive up, make prostate cells unstable, setting men at higher risk of prostate hypertrophy and cancer.
Notably, vegan women, who drink no milk, produce five times fewer twins than vegetarian and omnivorous women; twin pregnancies are risky and twin babies are far more likely to diet at birth. Excess oestrogen leads to many more multiple births. If we just look at how much cheese and milk products are in practically every meal, it is easy to see how oestrogen excess is involved in so many health issues these days.
The best thing we can do for our families and ourselves is remove cow’s milk from the fridge and replace it with any other plant milk, and if you still eat cheese, just sprinkle a little on top of a pasta dish or a small splash of yoghurt on a spicy stew occasionally – rather than making it a major part of the meal. These are traditional uses of dairy products. Get rid of those cheesy pizzas, as well as the nachos with cheese; traditional Mexican food did not even contain cheese – that is a Western anomaly. And certainly, Japanese sushi never contained cheese traditionally. We have added it to everything – hurting ourselves in the process. Best to leave it for the calves.
Pro-raw milk advocates have condemned phytoestrogens in soy in order to promote their own raw milk agenda. Phytoestrogens have been shown for centuries to actually protect against breast cancer and oestrogen excess. You’d have to eat 14 – 20 serves of soy foods daily for those phytoestrogens to exert feminising effects on men.
There are two types of receptors on cells that allow oestrogens to ‘dock’ and enter the cell. ALPHA receptors in breast tissue promote cell proliferation, and it is these receptors that oestrogens from humans and cows (and other mammals) fit into. It is these receptors that the oestrogens in Premarin (hormone replacement therapy oestrogen from horse urine) also dock at, which is why HRT causes a significant increase in breast cancer. Notably it is also these receptors that the phytoestrogens from hops (the beer-bittering plant) dock at, which is why overweight men who drink beer regularly get man boobs.
On the other hand, soy phytoestrogens dock at BETA receptors which, in breast tissue, oppose cell proliferation. That is why women who take in regular soy products through their lives (and little or no dairy) barely experience any of the oestrogen-excess symptoms of menopause, and have ridiculously low or non-existent breast cancer rates.
For decades, lactose-intolerance has paraded like a red herring before us as the problem with milk. When I say “no dairy” to a waiter in a restaurant, they say “Oh, you’re lactose-intolerant”. I don’t correct them. But lactose intolerance is by far the least of the problems with milk; lactose intolerance causes some uncomfortable digestive symptoms, at worst, vomiting after consuming milk, or a need to rush to the bathroom soon after consuming it. Oestrogens in milk and the other hormones transferred with it are the really sinister issue – and they don’t show their devilish horns till many more months and years down the track. People tend to be pleased if they grow out of lactose intolerance, not realising they are now giving themselves permission to ingest quantities of a highly health-damaging food. Better, in my opinion, to be lactose intolerant, like 8/10 of the world, and have immediate uncomfortable symptoms that encourage you to avoid milk entirely.
The oestrogen factor in milk is but one of its problems. Another is the casein, one of its proteins, but that is a topic for another post.
Calcium deficiency will not be a problem with a healthy diet rich in green leafy vegetables, and sufficient Vitamin D.