Believe it or not, most of the world does not consume milk, and studies show that their health definitely does not suffer from it. Milk is a cultural food that was adopted in certain areas during times of poor harvest and plant growth (such as Northern Europe in winter). It was made mainstream with industrialization and has become a part of our “four food groups” through the strong promotion efforts of the Dairy Council. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, and lean organic meats along with a small dose of sunshine, can easily provide us with all of the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients recommended by the USDA.
As an example, Okinawa, an island off the coast of Japan, is well known for having the longest living people. They consume little to no cow’s milk products, and average much less calcium per day than Americans and Northern Europeans. However, they have 20% less hip fractures than the mainland Japanese, who in turn have 40% less hip fractures than Americans. The Okinawans also have significantly lower rates of Cardiovascular Disease and Hormone Dependent Cancers (breast, ovarian, prostate, etc.) than Westerners. They live without this “food group”, as do many other cultures, and yet seem to enjoy very healthy, active lifestyles.