Plant Protein Versus Whey Protein – Making the Right Choice

I decided to write about this topic because I was thinking about whether whey protein powder was better than plant-based protein powder. Though whey protein can be harder to digest for some people, there is not too much to worry about in my opinion.

The real concern that came to me was the harm the production of whey and other dairy products causes to cows, the environment, and our health.

There are so many questions and controversies that come up on this topic, which is totally fair. We have been brought up with milk and dairy products from when we were born, why question it?

Choosing to remove dairy and similar products from your diet such as protein powder, more so, depends on your ethics and if you want a protein powder or a diet that is ethical.

This is why I chose to live on a plant-based diet and so consequently use a plant-based protein powder because it does not require any harm to animals, specifical to cows.

 

 

 

The Elephant in the Room

Surprisingly to many people, cows are mistreated in the dairy industry in a variety of ways. Firstly, I should point out, because you will be surprised at how many people do not think about this, is that…

A cow has to be pregnant before it is able to produce milk

This, of course, is the same with all mammals in the world, including humans.

Women don’t produce milk all the time; it only occurs when women are pregnant and have given birth so they can feed their babies. Nothing is different with cows.

Harsh Truths About the Dairy Industry

To get pregnant, the cow must be artificially inseminated which can be a painful process, especially because most farmers are inexperienced arm workers whom often constrain them in a cattle crusher as it is known in the industry and use a metal rod to forcefully inseminate them. This can be very distressing for the cow especially when they are separated from the rest of the herd in the process.

This image illustrates the process of artificial insemination. One arm is inserted into the rectum of the animal to position the uterus. The other hand inserts an instrument containing the semen and injects into the uterus.

 

 

 

A Mother Cow and her Calf

What I consider one of the most saddening processes in the dairy industry is that when the mother cow gives birth to her calf, their baby is taken away from the mother in a matter of hours, depending on the dairy farm, which is a horrible process for the mother cow and her calf, as this bond is so strong.

It is no different to a human mother and her baby. Imagine your baby being taken away from you after giving birth. I cannot even imagine, and I am not even a mum! (1)

Bobby Calves

Additional to that, if the calf born is a male, also known as a ‘Bobby calf’, they are considered a ‘waste product’ for the dairy industry. Therefore, they are sent to the slaughterhouse to be made into veal, dog meat or beef. Veal, if you do not know how it is made, is one of the cruelest meats to buy.

It requires the calf to remain standing or sitting for months in a small crate to reduce muscle growth, which softens the meat as well as to produce the classic white-color that veal has by denying the calf access to iron. They are slaughtered after only 18-20 weeks of age.

Fortunately, in Australia, the UK and Europe, the use of solid wooden crates that do not allow the calf to turn around or express normal behaviors, has been made illegal since 2007, but still remains in other countries. The calves in Australia, however, are still put in small pens, together in small spaces which do not allow much movement. (2, 3)

Knowing this was enough to make me switch from eating animal products to a plant-based lifestyle in an instant.

 

Is Milk Natural?

What we need to remember is that milk is not natural for humans, we, just like animals, only need milk when we are a baby and then that is it.

Not only that, but we are the only species on earth that not only drink milk in adulthood but also drinks the milk of another species.

A famous physician, Michael Greger M.D. and NYT Best Selling author, states that ‘Milk is a cocktail of growth hormones, to make a little animal that’s susceptible to predation to put on a few hundred pounds in a few months because they don’t want to get eaten by a lion. So it is engineered for this growing food to ensure rapid growth which is great if you are a little baby cow but if you are an adult human, those extra growth hormones are not a good thing’.

 

Isn’t Milk Needed For Strong Bones?

It has become so natural and normal for us to drink cow milk, due to the influx of advertisements telling us that we need cow milk to have strong and, healthy bones.

When we think of calcium, we can’t help but think of milk.

Interestingly, calcium is also present in other foods too! When I was learning about all of this I was so shocked to realize that broccoli has calcium in it…who knew!

Another food that I was unable to comprehend that had calcium in it was an orange!

It has 100ml of calcium and daily we need approximately 500ml, so that is a pretty good dosage from one fruit!

 

What I also found concerning was a study that was published in 1984 had found positive correlations between fatal prostate cancer and the consumption of milk, cheese, eggs, and meat. In fact, the relative risk of fatal prostate cancer was 3.6 times more likely for those who heavily consumed all four animal products (4).

The results of this study and others show that animal product consumption along with obesity may be fatal factors for prostate cancer.

This study was published 34 years ago! The fact that this has only come to light this past couple of years is insane to think that this information has not been talked about enough to those that are struggling with these issues.

Pus in Milk?!

What is also quite disturbing is that there is pus in your bottled dairy milk…

Yes, pus!

Although professionally it is known as somatic pus cells and by law, you cannot have any more than 750,000 somatic cells per CC of milk. Because, you know, we don’t want too much pus in our milk.

 

Dairy Alternatives

At the end of the day, we don’t need to drink cow milk and cause unnecessary harm to cows and risk our health, there are so many alternatives!

 

Read More: Sunwarrior Review: A Health Plant-Based Protein Powder

My favorite plant-based kinds of milk are soy and almond milk, but you can choose from many more!

Here are some options:

  • Oat milk
  • Macadamia milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Rice milk
  • Almond milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Soy milk

If you want to know more about this topic I recommend watching ‘What the Health‘ or ‘Food Choices‘ on Netflix as they provide you with a wealth of information about this topic.

 

Thank You For Caring!

I hope I have shone a light on some information you may not have known before and are intrigued about this topic and want to find out where you can do more to help 🙂

Please feel free to comment your thoughts below as I know this is a hard tablet to swallow, but I encourage you to do further research on this topic as there really is so much to learn.

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

 

 

References:

(1) USDA. (2016). Dairt 2014: Dairy Cattle Management Practices in the United States. [online] Available at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahms/dairy/downloads/dairy14/Dairy14_dr_PartI.pdf [Accessed 23 Aug. 2018].

(2) Kb.rspca.org.au. (2011). What is veal? – RSPCA Australia knowledgebase. [online] Available at: http://kb.rspca.org.au/What-is-veal_273.html [Accessed 23 Aug. 2018].

(3) Australianbutchersguild. (2014). Veal | Australian Butchers’ Guild. [online] Available at: http://www.australianbutchersguild.com.au/farming/veal [Accessed 23 Aug. 2018].

(5) Snowdon, D., Phillips, R. and Choi, W. (1984). Diet, obesity, and risk of fatal prostate cancer. American Journal of Epidemology, [online] 120(2), pp.244-250. Available at: https://academic-oup-com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/aje/article/120/2/244/124466 [Accessed 24 Aug. 2018].

 

 

 

 

 

16 thoughts on “Plant Protein Versus Whey Protein – Making the Right Choice

  1. Its pretty eye-opening reading through your points here, the country I live in is intensely dairy farmed and the mistreatment and environmental effects are realky starting to become an issue. Why do we drink milk? Its a really good question, because we always have and its what we are brought up to consume but times are changing and hopefully for the better, for the animals and our envronment.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Vaughn! Yes it is a really interesting question as it has become so normal to us, that it feels that we are naturally meant to. This of course is not the case and we are all becoming more aware about this topic and the issues in regards to the mistreatment of animals. Thank you for being open minded 🙂 

  2. This was such an engaging read. I am horrified at what they do to those poor cows. Taking them away from their mother is heartbreaking enough but they go a step further and abuse those poor babies. It is sickening! I hope more and more people see this post. I followed your Youtube. It is nice seeing someone so young know her stuff and committed to changing the world with her knowledge! The video within the post was refreshing and I am going to keep my eyes out for those products!

    1. Thank you for commenting Wilona! Thank you for your kind words, they really inspired me to get doing what I am doing! It is pretty sad what happens to those calves, but more and more people are making the switch! And thank you for following me on YouTube, that means a lot! 🙂

  3. This was a good reading. I feel so bad for those poor cows. Taking them away from their mommy is heartbreaking and yet they go an action even more and also abuse those inadequate children. I wish even more as well as even more individuals see this blog post. The video clip within the article was rejuvenating and also I am going to maintain my eyes out for those items!

    1. That is so great to hear Sonia! I am glad you found the video informative as well as are willing to check out a few dairy replacement options! It is indeed so sad what happens in the dairy industry, but change is becoming easier and easier!

  4. Hello Danielle,

    I already drink non-dairy milk exclusively but I still eat cheese. I prefer almond coconut milk but it there are so many options!

    I am not lactose intolerant but I am allergic to the proteins in milk. I am trying to get away from other milk products such as yogurt as well. I love ice cream and am always trying non-dairy alternatives. I should not have sugar either however and without real milk or sugar ice cream just doesn’t taste the same. I have decided to just avoid it altogether.

    My husband drinks milk but we only get organic milk from free range cows with no growth hormones. I think that is a good compromise.

    I don’t eat veal since it always seemed cruel. Thank you for explaining all this and reminding people there are good, tasty alternatives to milk.

    Jessica

    1. Thank you for commenting Jessica! Yes, there really are so many options!
      Unfortunately in regards to the organic milk you were describing, even though the cows are free-range, the cow is still separated from her calf and the calves are still sent to slaughter or made into Veal. The sufferings the cows go through do not change. But it is great you drink non-dairy milk! That is so much better for you, the cows and the environment! That is also amazing that you have chosen to stay away from consuming Veal, it really is such an awful process for the calves.

  5. Thanks for this amazing and comprehensive article on plant protein and whey protein. I’ve ALWAYS gone with whey protein and had no idea what was actually behind it. I am not worried because as you say, it is only difficult to digest for some people and not all, and because it’s easy on me I’ll keep sticking with whey protein. Cheers for the valuable insight 🙂

    1. Thanks for commenting, Brandon. I can understand that you are probably very used to whey protein but maybe give a plant protein a try one day! I promise you may be presently surprised at how great they taste, and that way, you can help end the sufferings associated with the dairy industry and help our environment! 🙂 Best wishes

  6. I really appreciate that you are helping to expose all the ethical problems of the dairy industry and the harmful health effects of consuming dairy. When I first learned about what really goes on in the dairy industry, I was amazed that it is kept so well hidden. Milk is portrayed by the media as being so healthy and wholesome, but that’s far from the truth. It’s so important that we educate ourselves and make truly ethical decisions instead of following the propaganda.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Bailey! I agree with you in that they keep it so well hidden and advertise it as something that is crucial for a healthy diet, but that is far from the truth. I am glad more people are becoming open about it!

  7. Hi Danielle. I think the best way to make people aware of how badly dairy animals are treated is to start taking classes of primary school children to the abattoirs. I realize that this is never going to happen, but the desired effect would be immediate. There will be many people who disagree very strongly with me on this, but shouldn’t we all be made aware of the production processes of the foods we are eating. The children who are still naturally empathetic would be horrified, and once they had finished crying and throwing up they would go and tell everyone how terrible the experience is for the tortured animals. They would then demand that their parents stopped buying and consuming unethically produced foods! Good solution? Not so good for the kids who are exposed to the ‘reality’ of our dairy industries, but it would only take one generation to change the whole industry.
    Yes, we have been consuming dairy products for thousands of years, and no we do not need them. Our systems are not designed to consume meat. And who’s bright idea was it to begin drinking the milk of another species, that is specifically designed and generated for baby calves, not humans!
    Great post, filled with great information. Many thanks for sharing.

    1. Hey, Andrew! I love what you have written here and it would change a lot if school kids (maybe high school is better) were taken to slaughterhouses. That would have changed me back in the day! I love how enthusiastic you are and agree with you 100%! Keep fighting the good fight!

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