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)
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…
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.
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!
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.
The Earth Co.
(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].