Mother Nature’s Diet FAQs – Core Principle 3 and pasteurised dairy
In Core Principle 3 you say “eliminate pasteurised dairy”. Does that mean all dairy is completely out? Can you explain please?
This is a great question, and a massive topic, that goes off in many different directions. In the book MND Book 1: the 12 Core Principles the whole topic is dealt with in detail, here we will just touch on the subject in brief.
Here is ‘the short version’.
Core Principle 3 includes “eliminate pasteurised dairy” from your diet.
That is not a blanket statement to say that ‘dairy is bad for you’. In fact, it is often a sign of fad diets and inaccurate science when diet plans block out entire food groups for all people without any exception.
The reality is that we can’t make such blanket statements because in truth, all people are different. Cow’s milk contains a carbohydrate called lactose, and it contains proteins called whey and casein. Many people are intolerant to lactose or whey, and some folks can’t tolerate casein. These compounds can cause all manner of unwanted side effects from bloating, smelly gas, mucous, cold-like symptoms, gastrointestinal distress, stuffiness, lethargy, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and more.
So if you ever consume milk or dairy foods and suffer from any of those symptoms, you could try quitting dairy completely for a few months and seeing if that helps you.
But these intolerances may only affect, perhaps, half of us here in Europe. The other half, might be just fine. It seems, that if you are lactose, whey and casein tolerant, then a quality organic dairy food can be a valuable source of protein and micronutrients in your diet.
Mass-market milk, the stuff for sale in our supermarkets, is pasteurised and homogenised. These are processes designed to kill off potentially harmful bacteria in milk, and extend its shelf life for the purposes of distribution and sales. The trouble is, pasteurisation also kills off some of the digestive enzymes in milk, and this causes two problems. One is that many believe this is why so many people are intolerant to lactose these days, because pasteurised milk lacks the digestive enzymes that help digest lactose – the jury is still out on the science side of this debate, but anecdotally, a lot of people who seem to lactose intolerant can drink raw milk just fine, and suffer no ill effects.
Secondly, the digestive enzymes that help us assimilate calcium from milk are also harmed in pasteurisation, so while many people consume milk as a source of calcium, much of that calcium is not properly absorbed.
Raw dairy is an excellent food, but we have to remember there is a reason it’s not widely sold in the UK, it can make you very sick. If you live near a farm that will sell you raw milk, that’s great, just remember it has a much shorter safe shelf life than supermarket milk.
Beyond human health
Taking the milk discussion beyond your health, beyond nutrition, there are other reasons for eliminating pasteurised dairy from your diet. The dairy industry, like all other aspects of the industrialised model of agriculture, is a terrible polluter and has a shocking reputation for the poor treatment of livestock.
In some parts of the world, dairy operations are the world’s worst offenders for keeping animals in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) Just Google either CAFO, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, or ‘Feedlot’ or ‘Industrial feedlot’ for some truly disturbing images. This is not the way we should treat animals, and if you are disgusted by this, you need to be very clear where your milk is coming from.
Industrialised dairy operations are also terrible polluters, harmful to the environment as well as animal welfare. Read my extensive posts on the environmental harm of industrialised agriculture for more information.
And then there is the fate of male calves born for dairy operations. Simply, they are not wanted, and most are shot in the head when they are just one day old.
If you want to read more about this, there is an article with a slightly upsetting video here.
In that video, I actually think the guy is very professional and respectful, and he dispatches the calves quite quickly and humanely. However, I find it shameful that 90,000 male calves are ‘wasted’ this way in the UK every year.
If we could reduce dairy consumption to ‘a condiment’ rather than a staple, we could stop this waste completely…as the few unwanted males could be raised for meat and breeding.
- Eliminate consumption of any large quantity of processed pasteurised dairy
- We don’t eat cereal (Core Principle 1), so you only need milk for your tea
- You can use nut milks or goats milk
- Learn to enjoy your coffee black, the way it should be in my opinion!
- If you are lactose or whey intolerant, avoid dairy completely
- If you have a supplier local to you, you could try raw dairy, but remember there are some risks associated with raw dairy produce – it has a much shorter shelf life
- Consume dairy only as a condiment – a dollop of Greek yoghurt on a fruit salad. A splash of heavy cream on fresh summer berries for dessert. A little Feta cheese (made from goats milk) on a salad or baked sweet potato. A little artisan cheese at a dinner party
- Cook your eggs in grass-fed British butter
Aim for quality, so buy organic, grass-fed, free range, open pastured. Buy local, support local farmers.
Know that the big supermarkets all source their milk and dairy produce from the largest dairy operations, some in European countries with lower animal husbandry standards than the UK. This means supermarket milk comes with carbon mileage, greenhouse gas emissions, and dead calves all as standard.
Next time you’re tempted by that overpriced latte at in your favourite coffee shop, remember that the industrial-scale production of milk leads to greenhouse gas emissions and day-old calves being separated from their mothers and shot in the head, daily.