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Are We All Intolerant?

As a child, were you ever forced to remain at the kitchen table, charged with the refusal to finish a glass of milk? Science shows that refusal may have also been an inability.

Some of you may be thinking, “Of course some people can’t drink milk, they are called lactose intolerant.” The thing is, we all are. Different people will have varied degrees of intolerance, but no human is meant to ingest cow’s milk. This makes enough sense, no where else in nature does a species consume the other’s milk. As the name suggests, cow’s milk not only comes from cows but is meant for cows. Just as breast milk is created to provide nutrients to infants. After infancy, we no longer need milk as we obtain necessary nutrients from the foods we eat.

This isn’t to say cow’s milk doesn’t contain high amounts of calcium or vitamin D, it does. However, humans are not made to consume it, calves are. As you’ll notice, if you haven’t already, the digestive tracts of humans and calves are greatly varied from one another.

To begin with, calves have four stomachs. The digestive tracts of cows can easily accommodate 25 gallons of food. In a cow’s stomach, food is broken down by microbes. Humans, on the other hand, can only store a gallon of food in their stomach and use enzymes or acid to break it down. This may be one of the reasons consumption of cow’s milk can “bleach out” the human stomach and actually cause calcium deficiency.

If you are worried about getting enough vitamins and minerals, consider this: vitamin D is best absorbed from the sun. Obviously, you shouldn’t bath yourself in sunlight, rather absorb it during basic outdoor activities. Just be sure your skin is protected so you don’t get too much exposure.

Another concern may be getting enough calcium. Yet many foods we already eat are high in calcium and are meant for our consumption, including spinach, sesame seeds, collard greens, and turnip greens. Tofu is an excellent source of calcium, too.

If you want to stop drinking cow’s milk but still want something to top off your cereal bowl, there are many alternatives available. Soy, almond, and coconut milks can be found at nearly any grocery store. If you search around, you can also find rice, oat, and hemp milks. There are alternatives to milk by-products as well, such as cheese and ice cream. Most milk alternatives are vitamin D fortified and are high in calcium, iron, and protein as well.

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