Vegan MoFo #4 – On Getting Angry

 

Vegan MoFo

Every time a milk commercial comes on TV., my husband looks at me to see what sort of strange face I’m making.  I usually go back and forth between disbelief “they sayin’ WHAT?” and disgust “I KNOW they did not just say that.”

I like to think that I’ve read a lot about nutrition. I started where a lot of plant-based dieters do, my first book was John Robbins Diet for a New America. And it blew my mind. Everything he writes about rang so true with me. I must admit that I skipped over the animals-in-factory parts, but that’s because I’m already sold on it, I don’t need to be reminded. I’ve read Kris Carr’s book Crazy Sexy Diet, I’ve read Skinny Bitch, I’ve read The China Study, I’ve read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I’ve read about raw food, and any vegan cookbook I can get my hands on, not to mention all the blogs out there. So yeah, I like to think that I have a good handle on nutrition and eating a plant-based diet.

Here is what I’ve learned about dairy products in a nutshell:

  1. Dairy products do contain a lot of calcium, however, because there is so much protein in animal milk, we are unable to absorb much of the calcium available
  2. Cows milk was made to make baby cows into grown-up cows. We do not need as much protein as they do. (Unless you strive to be 1200lbs…)
  3. Humans are the only species on earth that drinks another animal’s milk, AND we are the only animal to drink milk past infancy.
  4. The instance of osteoporosis in the western world has gone up alongside rising milk consumption rates!

 When I see a commercial for milk that shows a young guy turning to goop on the floor because he doesn’t drink enough milk, I go “Um, say WHAT?” And then my angry tirade starts.

How are they allowed to put sh*t like that on TV!? Doesn’t anyone care that their information is incorrect?! Doesn’t anyone check to see if what they’re saying is true?! How can they honestly believe that? Don’t they look at things like osteoporosis rates? I fume, and I threaten to write letters. And finally when Jersery Shore House comes back on, I slowly forget about it until the next time I see a milk commercial. The latest commercial had a woman cooking in the kitchen, raving about how she uses milk instead of chicken stock to make risotto, because it’s lower fat. This one threw me for a loop, because I wasn’t sure which was the lesser of two evils. While I am glad that this TV woman will no longer be using a meat product, I am confused and appalled by her use of milk as a lower fat option (remember, milk is used to make baby cows into full-grown cows, cows who are not worried about their waist size). This particular commercial suggested that I check out their website for more recipe ideas. So I went to said website (you can too: http://www.dairygoodness.ca/100-percent-canadian-milk) and found so much propaganda to feed my fire, my head almost exploded. I would in particular like to draw your attention to the section on “What is lactose intolerance” and I quote: “Lactose intolerance is not a milk allergy. In fact, most individuals with lactose intolerance can still enjoy milk products. After all, humans lack the enzyme needed to digest complex sugars in beans and we can still eat them. “

They threw beans under the bus! Poor beans, they get such a bad rep. Now, there are tricks to make beans more digestible: rinsing canned beans well, cooking dried beans in new water from what they were soaked in, adding a piece of kombu while they cook. Dairy? Sorry, nothing can change how we digest dairy. That said, I’m not too sure how people can still enjoy milk products with a lactose intolerance. The web-site actually recommends including more dairy in your diet, spread out over the day so that your body can learn to tolerate it.

As you can probably tell, I could go on.

So how do I deal with the anger that comes up from misinformation on a day to day basis? Well, I think I’m a work in progress, but I have some tricks. If the misinformation comes from a person, I use the short and sweet points I mentioned above. I keep it simple, and if they want to argue the point I either suggest a book they could read, or I use the “let’s agree to disagree” comment and move on. Most importantly keep cool. When misinformation comes up on TV and no one’s around, I make faces and sarcastic comments and award-winning speeches.

Most importantly I keep reading. We live in a world where 90% or more of our peers believe the dairy commercials. Even after everything I think I know, it’s easy to doubt myself. So when I’m feeling unsure, I head to a bookstore, a web-site, a library, and find another reason why dairy is not meant for humans. Science is our friend. Even though we know in our hearts the reasons we don’t eat animal products, the rest of the world needs proof, so keep reading, keep learning and start spreading the facts. Hopefully one day the rest of the world will remember those old milk commercials and think “Noooo they di-int!”

Primer for when people ask “What’s wrong with Diary?”

The points I listed above:

  1. Dairy products do contain a lot of calcium, however, because there is so much protein in animal milk, we are unable to absorb much of the calcium available
  2. Cows milk was made to make baby cows into grown-up cows. We do not need as much protein as they do. (Unless you strive to be 1200lbs…)
  3. Humans are the only species on earth that drinks another animal’s milk
  4. The instance of osteoporosis in the western world has gone up alongside rising milk consumption rates!

Other ways to get calcium that are better absorbed by our bodies:

  1. Dark leafy greens (kale, collards, bok choy, broccoli etc)
  2. Soy products
  3. Fortified non-dairy milks (especially almond milk)
  4. Almonds, chia seeds, other superfoods
  5. Remember that coffee, tea, pop, junk food, etc can leach calcium from your body, so cut back on those things and your dark leafy greens will go a lot further.

Check out this website for more details on calcium: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/calcium.htm

–Sarah

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About Sarah Tombler

I live in Ottawa, Canada with my husband and our twins. I work for the Public Service, and I have been a vegetarian for 18 years. Over the years, I have started to understand that what we eat effects us, through mood, weight and positive thoughts. I am working towards cutting most animal products from my diet, in an attempt to live a life of compassion, and to do what I can to help this small planet of ours. I also love letting people know that the secret to happiness may be as simple as what we put in our bodies. View all posts by Sarah Tombler

4 responses to “Vegan MoFo #4 – On Getting Angry

  • boychucker

    I am right there being angry with you. I cannot stand those commercials and the bad information they are perpetuating. It’s just sad because so many people are not reading or doing any learning of their own so they believe whatever the tv tells them. These and the corn syrup commercials really set me off.

  • Caroline

    I hate the milk adverts with a passion too. We have a commercial in the UK where a gang of cows break into a closed supermarket at night time and steal the milk. It has the strapline of ‘Cravendale milk, so good the cows want it back’. I can regularly be heard shouting at the tv ‘damn right they do!’

  • laura

    urg, we have a whole series here about “happy cows” that makes me want to punch someone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoPZXm53vuk your primer is awesome and gives folks some easy to remember responses. sadly, so many people just won’t listen even when facts are on your side.

  • Kristen

    I get angry at the commercials too. Milk commercials are some of the most infuriating! Thanks for summarizing all the problems with them!

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