Hygienists have always adopted the position that milk is for infants, mother’s milk that is, and that this is the normal practice among all mammals. During the initial phase of life it is the invariable practice of all mammalian species to take the milk of their mothers following which they are weaned, and spend the remainder of their life sustained by other foods.
Man, on the contrary, teaches that milk is an ideal food, essentially cow’s milk, and that after mother has performed her nursing, the cow should take over. In his feeding of infants, man has produced all types of formulae and means to usurp the natural habit of breast feeding. Even in his feeding of other mammals as pets man is wont to include milk in their diet.
Many women regard breast feeding as culturally regressive and primitive, something one should abandon as quickly as possible. They say it ruins their figure, that their breasts become atonic and pendulous. Such remarks are unfounded and other factors are responsible yet seldom are considered.
It is normal in nature for the mammal to breast feed into the post dentition period, that is well past the time the infant obtains a mouth full of teeth. Not just a few teeth but all teeth. Species of apes nurse for six or seven months although their first teeth have appeared at the end of three months. With mammals, there is a wide variation in the transition period, weaning taking place in many over a long period of time.
However, should milk constitute an integral part of the diet after weaning? Is milk a normal food for adults? The answer to both these questions is an unequivocal no!
Milk and milk products such as cheese and yogurt are viewed with suspicion by hygienists. Yogurt has possibly more to commend it than the other milk products and undoubtedly the changes wrought in the milk by the bacterial activity in producing the yogurt mitigate several of the unsatisfactory features of milk.
What are the unfavourable attributes of milk? Today milk is very much a processed product. It is pasteurized, homogenized, sterilized and otherwise treated to render it ‘safe.’ All these processes impair its value.
Historically it is revealed that the primitive animal of some time ago used to produce some 200 pounds of milk a year. The ‘modern’ cow may produce up to 15,000 pounds of milk a year, seventy five times as much. How has this influenced the quality? Milk has become more of an excretion of the cow than a secretion, and many drugs, including antibiotics are present; practically all milk today contains traces of penicillin.
There is also strong evidence to indicate that the adult gastric juice does not contain rennin, an enzyme which initiates the digestion of milk and which is abundant in the infant stomach. The protein and fat of milk is constituted in such a way that the enzymes of the human digestive tract fail to digest it adequately; some of the elements are absorbed intact and cause trouble. Milk also contains a high content of the chemical cholesterol and has been a factor in the development of coronary artery disease.
Many people observe the quick action taken by the body when milk is consumed; much mucus is secreted or diseases associated with mucous membranes, asthma, sinusitis, bronchitis, etc. are aggravated. Milk is said to be a ‘mucus forming’ food and whilst I don’t favour this description, I do suggest that its presence in the body may be the occasion for greater mucosal activity.
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Milk is often considered a major source of the vital element Calcium: if we don’t drink milk, our teeth will fall out and our bones collapse, or some such nonsense. Calcium is abundant in nature. Most of the foods, fruits, vegetables and nuts we recommend are excellent sources of calcium. It would have to be a very poor diet indeed that did not supply half a gram of calcium daily. A good hygienic diet would provide in excess of one gram.
Milk forms no part of the normal diet of man after the period of infancy and therefore our advice is—don’t drink milk.