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Milk is not your friend.

I know this will be a hot topic. Kenya and many other African countries have a milk drinking culture. Adults until today still drink a glass of milk before bedtime. To be honest, I’ve never liked milk but I used to force myself as a teenager to consume milk with cookies because it looked trendy. This only lasted a few days and then I stopped. Mum never used the line "drink your milk so that you can grow taller" because I was already too tall for my age. ( inserts a smile here)

And then the cereal and oatmeal craze happened during my adult years. Milk tasted way better in cereals and oatmeal so this was part of my breakfast for a long time. I immediately stopped consuming milk after I got colon cancer 7 years ago. And this is the serious reason for me to discourage you from making dairy products as a staple part of your diet – CANCER

There is now consistent and substantial evidence that the highest the milk consumption of a country the greater their breast, colorectal and prostate cancer risk. The highest risk of cancer death is found in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden, countries with the biggest consumer of Milk. This is a major concern considering Kenya has a strong milk drinking culture in Africa. This could explain the high increase in cancer cases in Kenya across all age groups.

“According to the National Cancer Institute, 19 out of 23 studies have shown a positive association between dairy intake and prostate cancer. “This is one of the most consistent dietary predictors for prostate cancer – in these studies men with the highest dairy intake had approximately double the risk of total prostate cancer, and up to a fourfold increase in risk of metastatic or fatal prostate cancer related to low dairy consumers”

Sorry for being scientific here but milk contains 38 different hormones and growth promoters. After all, that its job, to make cells grow. Milk contains an insulin growth factor, or IGF-1. It’s a naturally occurring hormone, found both in cow’s milk, breast milk, and your blood. The more milk you drink the higher your level. Milk not only contains the IGF-1, a small part of which is absorbed into you body but it also stimulates the body to produce more of its own. It also stops over growing cells from committing suicide, a process called apoptosis. When over growing cells are cancer cells, this is not good. IGF-1 has also been found to stimulate the growth of cancer cells, with high levels linked to an increased risk of breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer. “Having a high IGF-1 level as a pre-menopausal woman just about doubles your risk of cancer overall.”

A high dairy intake is also linked to increased ovarian cancer risk; this link however is thought to be more due to the way that the milk sugar, lactose, breaks down in the body. Lactose breaks down into another sugar called galactose, which appears to be able to damage the ovary. “A review in 2006 found that for every 10g of lactose consumer (the amount in one glass of milk) ovarian cancer increased by 13 percent”

As shocking as it may seem, milk depletes the calcium from your bones. Contrary to popular belief milk is not essential to support good overall health and bone health in particular. It's easy to understand that the confusion about milk’s imaginary benefits stems from the fact that it contains calcium – around 300 mg per cup.

But many scientific studies have shown an assortment of detrimental health effects directly linked to milk consumption. And the most surprising link is that not only do we barely absorb the calcium in cow’s milk (especially if pasteurized), but also to make matters worse, it actually increases calcium loss from the bones.

Here’s how it happens. Like all animal protein, milk acidifies the body PH that in turn triggers a biological correction. You see, calcium is an excellent acid neutralizer and the biggest storage of calcium in the body is – you guessed it… in the bones. So the very same calcium that our bones need to stay strong is utilized to neutralize the acidifying effect of milk. Once calcium is pulled out of the bones, it leaves the body via the urine, so that the surprising net result after this is an actual calcium deficit.

So Now what?

I remember during one of my talks with Breast Cancer Patients and Victoresses when I informed them the dangers of drinking milk and most of them were shocked and didn't imagine themselves not having their tea with milk.

Not to scare you unnecessarily, unless it might save your life, and I don’t mean to put you off ever touching the white stuff. Actually, I take that back, I'd rather you don't drink milk at all but it's all about balance and I therefore recommend two things:

Firstly, give yourself a dairy free week. You may find relief from some nuggling symptoms you have suffered from the past such as indigestion or bloating, headaches, low energy, sniffs and snuffles. Secondly add up all the milk you have in teas, coffees, cereals, plus servings of yoghurt and cheese, and if it is half a pint a day, cut back. Try rice milk or almond milk instead. Milk is a food designed for baby cows but not for you.

Organic yoghurt, kefir and sour cream are okay because they are acid neutral. Kefir in particular is chock full of beneficial qualities as long as it doesn’t have sugar. Kefir and organic yoghurt do not have the rBGH, Bovine Growth hormone.

Patrick Holford, Say No To Cancer, Great Britain, 2014, 100 - 102

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