Standing on a Soap Box

Hello bloggers! How are you all? I’m not sure what happened to “consistent posting” but it is what it is. Life is busy!

I originally went into this vegan thing thinking I’d give it 6 months, I’d get my cholesterol checked, and if it was helping lower my cholesterol, then that would be cool ,and I’d try to stick to a somewhat vegan diet. As it is, I’m not really sure how much its helping my cholesterol. (Last time I got it checked, my good cholesterol went up and my bad cholesterol went down, but my total cholesterol is still very high.) So I was thinking I’d maybe just go back to being a vegetarian… but now the more I think about it, the less appealing dairy seems…

Don’t get me wrong, I kind of miss pizza, I miss real cheese, I even miss yogurt (although I think soy yogurt comes decently close to regular yogurt. I’m sure there are plenty of people who would disagree with me on that, but seriously, I think it tastes almost the same!) but I’m not sure I really want to go back to eating dairy. Have any of you read Food Politics? It’s a long book, so don’t think it’s a quick read, but it’s really interesting. There was a lot of interesting information about the development of the food pyramid, and the influence that food marketers have had on the government regulated food things like the good pyramid and nutritional guidelines. It’s actually a little disturbing. I try to take all of these types of books with a grain of salt (no pun intended) because everything has a slant… but they definitely have some solid points.

The people that are giving us our food recommendations aren’t neutral parties. They aren’t even scientists or dieticians. They’re a government group made up of people from the meat & dairy industry. They receive grants and funding and other things from food marketers. These aren’t people with your best interests in mind, they’re people with the bottom line in mind. I’m not trying to say that the entire system is corrupt, but it bothers me how unaware people are of their own health and nutrition. I don’t expect everyone to spend hours researching this stuff, but I think it’s something to be aware of. When it comes to eating, who are you listening to? Your body? The people around you? The hundreds of messages we’re taking in consciously or subconsciously every day?

On a non-political note, did you ever think about milk, and why we drink it? It has a very specific purpose. And it’s clear that breast milk is the best thing you can give to your baby. But once we’re past that stage, we don’t “need” milk anymore. And what about how they’re getting that milk? A cow only produces milk when it’s pregnant (like any other mammal) but do you think the milk we’re drinking comes from cows that are naturally pregnant? Of course not, that would be too expensive, and they’re wouldn’t be enough prego cows in the world to make enough milk for the amount of dairy products we’re consuming. So what’s the solution? Let’s inject cows with hormones and chemicals so they keep producing milk. Is it natural? No. Is it cheap? Yep.

Why is this ok? Why are we ok with settling? Because it’s cheap? Because it’s convenient? Is no one looking at the end effects? It’s no coincidence that people are being diagnosed with diabetes and heart disease at alarming rates. With all of the advances in health care, our life expectancy makes it look like it’s not so bad… but why are we spending all of our time and money treating a disease that could have been prevented from the beginning?

I’m not sure if I’ll start eating dairy again. I’m not sure I want to. I want to know what I’m eating, and I’m just not sure what I’m getting with dairy.

Disclaimer: those are my thoughts, and nothing more. I’m not a scientist, a dietician, or anything more than a blogger who is stuck on an airplane with nothing but a laptop and too many thoughts to keep in her head. That said, it doesn’t bother me what other people want to eat. You want some bacon? Go for it, but I think I’ll pass…

10 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    I completely agree with you – I have no desire to eat dairy, lactose intolerant or not!!!

  2. 2

    Mimi said,

    Don’t feel the need to disclaim! Claim it out loud and clear! I LOVE it when bloggers actually share their opinions.

    I don’t feel quite the same way about dairy. I think the probiotics found in yogurt and the protein found in cottage cheese (and cheeses in general) have nutritional benefits. Personally, I don’t like plain cows milk because I feel there are far better sources for protein and calcium, but that’s just me.

    As for natural, I’m not very fond of that argument. Way too many things are unnatural to us — air conditioning, agriculture, etc. — for the issue of dairy being “natural” to be too sound. In the wild, animals simply don’t HAVE milk when there isn’t a lactating female. But give a dog milk and it will lap it up.

    But I think you hit home with some of my ethical issues with dairy farming. This country’s health and nutriton-related decisions are way too dependent on the grain, corn, and dairy industries. It skews a lot of information. And, for the cows, many of their conditions are grotesque. I find my compromise in seeking out dairy from pastured cows that I know have been raised and treated well.

    I hope you do not take this as any kind of flame–I just love a chance for a little dialogue!

    • 3

      Thank you so much for the comment!! I love getting other opinions and perspectives!! (Especially when I go off on such a rant!) I think seeking out dairy from pastured cows that have been raised in better conditions is a really good thing. If I go back to eating dairy, I think that will be how I do it 🙂

  3. 4

    Yes! I read the book . The politics of food angered me so much that it the issue contribute to 50% of the reason I chose to go back to veganism. The other was health. But, it is sad that so many Americans have no idea that the nutrion pyramid is nothing more than a huge advertisement for the industries with lots of money. The dairy industry angers me almost as much as the beef industry and poultry industry. I’m glad to see you are sticking with veganism and that your health has improved so much!!

  4. 5

    I think its awesome that you are going to keep giving up dairy! I cant imagine life without yogurt; I eat it every day. And I personally dont think that milk products are bad for us, but thats just me! And that is onlyyy if the milk is coming from a cow with an organic grass diet and no hormones. And preferably raw milk…. Thats a lot of conditions though!

  5. 6

    I have read some literature on why we shouldn’t ingest dairy, and it consisted of many of the reasons you listed.

    Jason and I don’t ingest dairy because Jason has allergic reactions when he does, and I just don’t because I want to be supportive.

    I’m glad you are making decisions on what will work best for you. I know my skin cleared up and my body works better when I don’t have any dairy.

  6. 7

    emily said,

    i’m really interested in reading food politics. i saw food inc, which was the main reason i don’t eat meat that is not organic or locally produced. as a dietitian, i tailor nutrition advice to individuals, which means working with all sorts of diets. personally, i believe everyone can benefit from eating a plant based diet. i include dairy in moderate amounts and always prefer it to be organic, but my family eats a primarily vegan diet.

    i think it’s great to be aware of what works for you and of what you are putting into your body! i rarely use the food guide pyramid at all. i really like harvard school of public health’s version:

  7. 9

    Lisa said,

    Its terrible the things they do to our foods. I can’t drink milk anyways because I am lactose and tolerant, which I am very glad about (especially after reading this post). I think its so important to know where your food comes from. I make sure never to eat any meat or fish unless its made without antibiotics/organic and its wild (fish).

  8. 10

    Wonderfully written post! Thanks for sharing! I have not read Food Politics, but I have heard several of those arguments before. Isn’t it funny how pretty much everything in this world is marketing?! It really makes you think! It’s definitely good to know the source(s) of your information – (who’s telling you the info, where it comes from, what research they have done), so that you know what bias, if any, they have. I think it is really good to keep informed, but also, as you said, take everything with a grain of salt.

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