Milk is nature's food for the new-born mammal. It is highly diluted and well adapted to the delicate and undeveloped stomach of the young for which it is prepared. Cow's milk is prepared to meet the nutritive needs of the calf; goat's milk is prepared to meet the nutritive needs of the kid; the milk of the bitch is designed to meet the nutritive needs of her puppies. The same with the milk of other animals. Each animal produces milk for its own young.
The young of all mammalian species naturally subsist for a certain period exclusively on milk--the milk of their own mothers which is especially prepared for them. But there comes a time when they begin instinctively to add other foods to their diets. Finally, they abandon milk completely and the fountains of supply dry up.
The lactating period of all mammals is brief. The same is true in human mothers. From this fact, it is evident that nature has not designed us for a milk diet. She has made no provision to supply us with milk beyond a certain stage of our development. The nursing period of various mammalian young varies according to the rapidity of their growth, those animals that grow slowest having the longest nursing periods. The length of the nursing period is in direct ratio to the time required to reach maturity. It is but natural that in man whose growth is slowest and who requires longest to reach maturity, the nursing period should be longest.
The digestive organs of babies are in a condition requiring liquid food and milk, particularly their mother's milk, is peculiarly adapted to their physiological needs and powers. As they grow, new organs and new powers are developed. The new functions adapt the child to new kinds of food. Simultaneously with the development of the teeth, corresponding developments in the physiological powers of the digestive system take place so that they are fitted to digest solid foods and are ready to discontinue the use of milk. As in the case of the lower animals, there is a transition period, during which the child eats both milk and other articles of diet, but there should also come a time when milk is no longer needed and should no longer be taken. Man should be weaned.
Milk has grown to be the basis of one of the country's staple businesses. New York city alone pays more than half a million dollars a day for milk. The profits of milk distributing are very high, consequently, the business has attracted some of the nation's wealthiest and most influential citizens. The result has been the creation of a milk trust that is ever expanding and more and more monopolizing the milk industry. Laws requiring pasteurization of all milk sold in commerce is one of their weapons against the small dairymen and the individual farmers who seek to sell their milk.
This milk trust, assisted by certain members of the medical profession, medical organizations and even by Boards of Health, has fostered the idea that man should remain a suckling all his life. He should never be weaned. By this they do not mean that he should continue to nurse at his mother's breasts all of his life (this would net them no profits) but that he should suck the teats of the cow throughout life, even if he lives to be ninety or a hundred years old. This fallacy is promoted for purely commercial reasons.
In Japan male children are nursed at the breast during childhood and sometimes to the age of nine years. Viewing the physique and the mentality of the Japanese one can see no evidence of any advantage to be gained from such prolonged use of milk.
There can be no doubt that the present practice of forcing children to consume a quart of milk (sometimes more) a day is a vicious practice. The children are certainly getting too much milk. There are better foods that the children should be given and the forced feeding program should be abandoned.
For adults milk is both an inefficient and uneconomical food. It is certainly not an essential element of the adult diet. No mammal in a state of nature ever receives milk after it is weaned. This is also true of those peoples who have no herds or flocks that produce milk. Before man domesticated the cow, goat, camel, ass, horse, reindeer, etc., he received no milk after weaning. In various parts of the earth today, he consumes the milk of a variety of different animals, but there are still large portions of the human race that do not drink milk.
It is important to note that milk is totally absent from the diet of adults in many virile peoples and certainly cannot be regarded as an indispensable item of adult diet. Indeed, there are important, reasons to think that it is not a good article of diet for children after they have passed the normal nursing period. It is not employed by any other mammal after the period of infancy has passed and, with a few exceptions, has not been an article of diet in the human family after weaning, until compartively modern times. The dairy industry is very new.
When the Americas were discovered they were inhabited by millions of "red" men who possessed no milk animals. After an Indian child was weaned, usually at the age of four years, he never again had milk to drink. In 1624 the first cattle were introduced into New England and by 1632 no farmer was satisfied without a cow. The cow was raised for both domestic and export purposes. But, "the market was soon over-stocked, and the price of cattle went down from fifteen and twenty pounds to five pounds; and milk was a penny a quart." "This latter statement about the price of milk means very little, as cows were seldom milked at this time, being raised principally for their hides, and secondarily for meat, and only incidentally for milk."--Social Forces in American History, A. M. Simons.
In the earlier editions of his The Newer Knowledge of Nutrition, before he became a highly paid consultant on nutrition to the National Dairy Products Co., Prof. E. V. McCollum stressed the fact that milk is not an essential in the diet of man. He pointed out that the inhabitants of southern Asia have no herds and do not drink milk. Their diet is made up of rice, soy beans, sweet potatoes, bamboo sprouts, and other vegetables. According to Prof. McCollum these people are exceptional for the development of their physique and endurance, while their capacity for work is exceptional. They escape skeletal defects in childhood and have the finest teeth of any people in the world. This is a sharp and favorable contrast with milk-drinking peoples. The professor found it expedient to delete these facts from all editions of his work published subsequent to his becoming Consultant to National Dairy. Truth must be suppressed when and if it threatens profits and salaries.
For a time Graham favored the use of milk by adults, but he tells us: "eight years of very extensive experiment and careful observation, have shaken many of my preconceived opinions concerning milk as an article of human food." Hundreds of Graham's followers who tried the experiment of using milk and of doing without it all stated that they did better with milk and vegetables than with flesh and vegetables, but that they did better when they confined themselves to a purely vegetable regimen and drank only water. Physical workers of various kinds--farmers, mechanics, etc.,--found they were more vigorous and active and had more endurance when they left milk out of their diets. They stated that they experienced less exhaustion and fatigue at the end of the day if they ate only vegetable fare and no milk. "I have found," says Graham, "that dyspeptics and invalids of every description, do better when they abstain from the use of milk than when they use it, and in many cases it is indispensably necessary to prohibit milk." He adds: "Dyspeptics almost invariably find it oppressive to their stomachs, causing a sense of distention and heaviness."
Graham conceded that there may be conditions of life, outside of infancy, when milk may be used to advantage, but gave it as a general rule for adults, that they should abstain from milk entirely.
It is now quite generally admitted that milk is not as valuable as a "protective" food as it was thought to be a few years ago. That the free use of milk will prevent tooth decay is a fallacy that can be seen on every hand. There is no evidence of its superiority in providing for bone development.
Dr. Victor Lindlahr says "close to one-half of the daily protective food intake should be composed of fresh raw foods. This will include milk." Yet all over the country, almost all the milk the people can get is pasteurized milk and this is no longer a "protective food." Too many dietitians, doctors and physicians are feeding pasteurized milk under the delusion that it possesses all the virtues of raw milk.
Milk is held to be the "carrier" of a number of serious diseases such as tuberculosis, colds, septic sore throat, rheumatic fever, heart disease, undulant fever, typhoid fever, scarlet fever, measles, dysentery, and other infections which are said to be frequently "traceable to contaminated milk." Epidemics of ulcers of the stomach and intestinal tracts of children have also been said to have been traced to drinking milk from cows with inflamed udders. Hygienists consider all this to be sheer nonsense that will be outgrown in time. Robert Koch first "discovered" that tuberculosis may be transmitted from cow to man by drinking milk from tubercular cows. The so-called scientific world accepted his alleged discovery. Koch continued his investigations of the matter and came to the conclusion that he had been wrong. He repudiated his "discovery" and said that tuberculosis is not transmitted in this manner. The so-called "scientific" world refused to accept his repudiation. They had found the "discovery" profitable and useful--they refused to give it up.
Intensive and high-priced propaganda has been employed to make the people believe that pasteurizing makes milk "safe," and that no milk save pasteurized milk is "safe." Millions of people are literally afraid of unpasteurized milk. They are convinced that they take their lives in their hands when they drink a glass of unpasteurized milk. The big dairies and certain medical organizations, helped in some states, by the Boards of Health, have fostered this deliberate fraud upon the people for commercial reasons. The first and, so far as is conceivable, the only reason for the existence of laws and regulations requiring the pasteurization of milk is the protection of the interests of the big milk distributors.
The milk trust has also fostered the belief that bottled milk is "safer" than loose milk. There is not a shred of evidence for the truth of this idea, but its acceptance by the public has led to the outlawing of the sale of loose milk, hence has helped the milk trust in securing its monopoly of the industry.
Despite the law, milk is regularly adulterated and the adulteration is never put on the label. Although this is a violation of the Pure Food and Drug Act, the dairying industry has never been prosecuted for its adulteration of milk. One of the most common adulterations put into milk is the so-called "alkalinizers." These are used most during the summer months to mask the taste of milk produced by the growth of bacilli in it. This enables the milk industry to sell old milk as "fresh milk."
Modern methods of milk production--overfeeding of cows on rich fare and forced long periods of milking, ever-production of milk with its inevitable drain on the organism of the cow, tuberculin testing and vaccination of cows, etc.--are not designed to produce the best quality of milk. Certified milk, produced by cows kept in sunless barns and fed on dry foods, is an especially inadequate food.