There’s a chance you read the title of this article and thought that maybe it was about breast milk versus baby formula.
Here’s the real point of this article: When a human gets pregnant, she begins producing breast milk that is specially formulated for her baby human to drink. Cows are the same way. They produce milk specially formulated for baby cows. So, the question that seems to bother no one else but me – why do we drink the cow’s milk, not human milk? Why can’t we go into a grocery store and buy a jug of human milk?
You’re probably thinking something along the lines of “that’s obvious!” or “gross, why would we drink human milk?” I would counter that with “why not?” Why is it more socially acceptable to drink cow milk, but not our own? Even if it’s specially made for human consumption? First, let’s delve into our normal milk drinking habits.
Milk is widely consumed in America as a common drink. Many use it as ingredients, with cereal, before bed, with breakfast, for babies, etc. It’s drank by nearly all ages – and by the gallons. The average American citizen drinks around 20 gallons of milk a year (compared to 28 gallons of water a year and 44 gallons of soda a year). That’s a lot. Drinking milk is not a global thing and varies country to country. In the US, most of this milk comes from dairy cows on dairy farms. In order to provide the most meat and milk, these cows are fed all sorts of stuff that’s not good for them – or us.
Cow milk contains a lot of artificial hormones, antibiotics, and even pesticide. Unintentional pesticide poisoning kills around 355,000 people a year – something that can usually only happen from the stuff they consume from livestock or vegetables. So with these risks, why do we drink cow milk? It’s good for your bones and health! Right?
Nope. According to the USDA, there is no evidence that cow milk has any positive effect on human bones. In fact, it’s nothing more than a very effective marketing campaign. In fact, countries that drink less milk tend to have stronger bones. The list of negative health effects of milk goes on and on. So why do we drink cow milk? How has an industry based almost entirely on false advertising become such a staple in American life?
Drinking milk from cows became a thing around 4,000 or 5,000 BC in an area around central Europe. It took quite a while for humans to be able to digest it properly – almost 2000 years. Many scientist believe they started drinking milk as a substitute for Vitamin D that they weren’t able to get in parts of Northern Europe. That makes sense.
So, back to my original question – why cow milk, and not human milk? Why is drinking human milk such a taboo? Parts of China have recently started drinking human milk as a new health craze. Wealthy Chinese are paying large amounts to get breast milk from donors. So much so that an actual human breast milk bank opened up just a few months ago in Guangzhou. There aren’t many studies on breast milk – because for some reason no one seems to even think about it – but the studies that do exist prove that breast milk is actually a very, very healthy alternative to cow milk.
Human breast milk is specially formulated to prevent illness, promote healthy growth – and possibly even cure cancer. Many studies have shown that cow milk can actually cause cancer, but human milk may cure it. So why don’t we drink it? Besides the ‘human body fluid factor’, the main concern is disease. Most scientist – and regular people – are nervous of the source of the milk. Is it a healthy woman from a first world country, or a disease riddled woman from some poor area? China is attempting to solve that with their donor program that scans for disease, but it’s probably too far off for America to ever get that far. For now, everyone is simply too grossed out by it.
Besides drinking it, think of the other options. A restaurant in London made ice cream out of it, and the new flavor sold out immediately. Another restaurant in New York City even served various types of cheese – all made with the milk of the chef’s wife. Are those two examples a hint of things to come? Maybe, maybe not.