The Skinny on Milk | Vegan Food | Veggie Magnifique

Holy Cow — The Skinny on Milk



You may be curious about this “controversial” cow’s milk topic.

Is it actually harmful?

You hear all this conflicting info, and you’re just confused.

There’s, like, calcium in cow’s milk, no? 
It “does a body good,” right?

Let’s end the confusion.

Just to satisfy you up front — no. The supposed benefits of cow’s milk, once touted as “nature’s perfect food,” have largely been debunked.

And the reason you’re confused is…

The dairy council. The dairy farmers.  The lobbyists.

The dairy industry (like any industry) is a business — a huge one. And, well, they have friends in high places (the FDA), and an insane budget to invest in confusing you.

Plus, cow milk consumption is so ingrained in our culture that the moment you start to question the veracity of this “milk does a body good thing” suddenly it’s almost an affront on Americana… as Dr. Mark Hyman says, “Criticizing milk in American is like taking on motherhood, apple pie, or baseball.”

But don’t buy it.

The Question of Calcium

First let’s first debunk the calcium myth:

So cow’s milk does have calcium, around 300 mg per cup. However, scientific studies prove time and time again (unless they are funded by the dairy council, bien entendu,) that consuming cow’s milk has a slew of detrimental effects… above all, our bodies don’t absorb the calcium in cow’s milk (especially if pasteurized). Cow’s milk actually depletes the bones of calcium. 

Wait, what?

I’ll explain…

Milk, like animal protein, acidifies the body’s pH, which then activates a biological correction, and, well, calcium is the superstar of acid neutralization. And, uh where do you think that calcium is stored? Your bones! So the calcium gets removed from the bones, and ends up leaving the body through our urine.

Result: calcium deficit.

(Want some calcium? Leafy greens, baby.)

To note: Countries with the lowest consumption of dairy products have the fewest incidences of bone fractures, and the lowest rates of osteoporosis. (Btw, want to prevent bone fractures? Vitamin D.)

Here’s a very comprehensive and quick video that is a great overview on this subject.

(Plus: Here’s another video on milk en français, for our dear Francophone readers.)

Another thing you have to know…


I know, I know… this is perhaps the grossest word in the dictionary, but I have to tell you the truth. Picture this… a bunch miserable cows in rows, in cages, being artificially impregnated over and over again, and milked nearly nonstop. What happens to the udders? Infection. Those poor cow nippies get majorly infected, so hence pus gets into the milk. But don’t worry! They blast the milk later with antibiotics to remove (nearly) all the pus…. *barf*

Plus dairy, in general, contains the allergenic proteins casein, and our modern version of dairy, which is from hybridized cows, has been genetically altered which creates a greater chance of autoimmune disease, inflammation, and even type 1 diabetes.

Are you hearing this?

Not to mention other ailments exacerbated or caused in part by cow milk consumption, such as asthma, allergies, eczema, acne, constipation, excess mucus, weight gain, and candida.

Listen, I understand if you’re used to cow’s milk, that at first blush, any other non-dairy alternative is just not going to thrill you. I get it. Non-dairy milks aren’t as…. creamy/thick (fill in the blank.) And I get it because I used to grapple with this. Milk was a hard thing to let go of, most especially since (in Paris, at least) it’s hard to find a thick and velvety hot chocolate made without cow’s milk. (And hot chocolate is very important to me.)

Here’s what has worked for me…

3 Tips to Get Off of Cow’s Milk

  1. Inform yourself – The why is by far the most important, as it will affect your actions. This isn’t a negligible or inconsequential choice to make. It’s serious. And don’t just take my word for, do more research! Here’s another fascinating video filled with info. (Skip to 3:30 if you want to jump to the report.)
  2. Find your favorite alternative – It’s different for everyone. I love rice milk in tea, almond or coconut milk for baking, and cashew for smoothies. Experiment! (See below for recipe for yummy cashew milk.)
  3. Inquire – Start asking at your favorite haunts and hangouts to stock a non-dairy milk. Seeds need to be planted, and things can change. (After repeatedly and diligently inquiring, I got a bubble tea place here in Paris to carry almond milk. #success)

So what about raw milk?

Though the idea of drinking another mammal’s milk — that is designed to fatten up their calf — is a weeee bit unnerving to me, if you are still unable to give up this substance, raw cow’s milk is better than the industrial antibiotical-pus-cocktail sold in grocery stores. There are some benefits you can derive from drinking organic, raw milk. I mean, it’s still weird, but, like, if you must have bovine breast milk, go find a cow on an organic farm, I guess?

Feel free to comment below on how giving up cow’s milk has changed your life, or if you have any Qs, or tips and tricks!

Love and cowabunga,

Cashew Milk

Prep time

3 min.

Cook time

4 min.

Total time

7 min.

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • dash sea salt (I like pink Himalayan or RealSalt)
  • pinch cinnamon (if you like)

Soak your cashews for at least four hours (I like to just soak them overnight.) In the AM, drain and rinse your cashews. Put the now soft and tender cashews into your blender with half of the water (2 cups) and blend, blend, blend. Then add in the remaining water, and the other ingredients.

Your milk should be smooth and creamy and not need straining, however, if there are still bits of cashew in it, blend more, or strain through some cheese cloth or a nutmilk bag. (The milk lasts a few days.)

Enjoy how you would normally use milk — hot chocolate, cereal, tea… etc.

{Recipe adapted from Cookies + Kate.}

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