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WWL: Milk Matters
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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In this episode:

A look inside America's love-hate relationship with milk.


Episode Audio

50:02 minutes (24.02 MB)
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* This episode originally aired on December 3, 2009.

Author and food historian Anne Mendelson calls milk “the world’s first food.” And indeed, humans have been milking animals for centuries. The educated guessers say as far back as 8000 BC. Our history with milk is long and complicated and our ideas about it have changed radically over time.

We’ve actually talked quite a bit about milk on this show, usually about the industry here in Connecticut and the region. But today we’re asking a different set of questions. Less, “Got Milk?” and more “Why Milk?”

How did we get here? How did milk become a staple of the western diet when most of the world’s population is actually lactose intolerant? Is milk as good for us as we’ve been taught? What are the environmental consequences of our dairy habit? And what about raw milk?

Join the conversation, leave your questions and comments below!



Related Content:

Real milk

 When we moved to CT 6 years ago we began to enjoy raw milk and my family (with 4 growing children) will not go back to conventionally processed milk. We are lucky to know our farmers, and trust their practices more than any state agency or federal stamp of approval.  We are lucky to be in  a state where we can still (for the moment) buy it legally.  The Dept. of Ag. needs to chill out and let CT consumers decide what's right for them.  The recent bill to limit sales of raw milk would destroy the ability of raw milk farmers to survive. Under the guise of protection, the department of Ag. is really just making another annoying interference with our freedom, and a huge blow to small farmers of our region.  

As to safety, my husband is a doctor, and  sees the benefits of drinking raw milk(i.e. enzymes and vitamins humans have relied on for centuries, now completely absent in modern diets) as outweighing the small risk we take, knowing the diligence of our farmers.  

Every good argument has research behind it, and the Real Milk campaign research of the late Dr. Weston Price, and the current work of Mary Eng are compelling and sensible.

I do hope we can keep drinking raw milk in CT!

Addendum:  Here in the Northwest Corner of CT, we have both raw and pasturized but not homogenized milkavailable!




Listener email from Carlen

Listening to Anne Mendleson today I wondered if there are any reliable statistics on the number of mothers in the U.S. who actually do nurse a child the three years that the World Health Organization recommends. And further, has anyone looked at the effect on those kids in terms of subsequent cow's milk consumption, or other outcomes? I'm a mother who did nurse my now-8-year-old from birth to age 3. My own observation is that he has a very intermittent interest in cow's milk, and a very particular palate for milk that he will and will not drink. Does Ms. Mendleson know of anyone studying these populations?

Listener email from Ellen

We switched to organic milk & eggs three years ago and have noticed a tremendous difference in the health of our family.  We went from everyone getting sick and having lots of ear infections to healthy winters with no ear infections.  I know it’s anecdotal but given what’s known about cows and corn/soy diets and antibiotics/hormones in milk & eggs, this was just a decision that made sense.  We all drink less than one glass of milk each day and our daughters are healthy, growing normally, and began menstruating at 13 instead of 10 or 11.

Listener email from Clay

Your guest points out that much of the milk production is shifting to large farms in California.

Here in Connecticut, it's easy to support New England dairy farmers and avoid this wasteful practice. Just buy 'Mountain Dairy' milk and 'Cabot' cheese.

Support CT dairy farmers

I would add the 'Farmer's Cow' to that as well, a group of 6 central CT dairy farms.

Listener email from Mary

Thank you for discussing factory farms and how dairy cows are treated. In addition to not consuming milk or dairy products for health reasons (allergies, links to cancer & diabetes, digestive problems), I also don't want to support the veal industry, which is a byproduct of the dairy industry. This is a connection that consumers don't often realize and I hope you can mention that on your program. Great show!!

Listener email from Ann

There are powerful arguments against the consumption of animal milk – the decades-long work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell of Cornell University showing that casein, the primary protein in cow’s milk, is a powerful carcinogen and cancer promoter, the science linking milk consumption with Type I diabetes in children and the lack of any credible evidence that milk consumption leads to “strong bones” or prevents osteoporosis. In fact, the top 6 milk consuming countries are the 6 countries with the highest levels of osteoporosis.