Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Beauty queen Carolyn Wagner and her blog about being vegan and the truth about milk!
Thoughts: My great friend Carolyn Wagner challenged me to being a vegan for a week and I'm trying it on! So here goes...I'm also learning about what being a vegan is. My first thoughts on being a vegan are skinny, white, pale, weak, eating no meat, eating no animal anythings, boring diet, plain...hehe wow I realize how many judgements I have! I'm sure a lot of this will change during my vegan week! So here's Carolyn...
Vegan? What’s that? Most people don’t know. Part because sometimes the lines are blurred not only between vegan and vegetarian but even vegetarian to meat eater when there are those who are “vegetarian but still eat chicken.”. In a nutshell “A vegan is someone who, for various reasons, choses to avoid using or consuming animal products. While vegetarians chose not to use flesh foods, vegans also avoid dairy and eggs as well as fur, leather, wool, down and cosmetics or chemical products tested on animals.”- Vegan Action (http://www.vegan.org) In a society that we are brought up to believe that it is essential for our health and lifestyle to eat meat, eggs and milk products many people don’t take the time to fully understand. Most people “Get the meat thing but cows need to be milked.” Well I am about to reveal to you the not so enticing reasons behind these products. - Carolyn Wagner, Innovators Award and Green Achievers Award - Miss Earth Australia 2007.
I will start with milk as that is my most common reaction from people. Cows need to be milked. Yes I can see how most people see that but why are cows producing milk? Well when does a human produce milk? To feed their baby right. Well to keep up with the constant demand for the consumption of these products the farmers force breed the dairy cows so that they are pregnant every year. Then upon the birth of that calf, now that the milk is under production the calf is no longer needed. So every year after enduring the long preganancy and the agonizing labour they have their babies taken away. They bellow for their babies and the babies cry out to be with their mothers. But after only a short time together they will never see each other again. Male calfs are useless to the dairy industry they can’t produce milk. So they are sold off to become veal. The female calfs are only kept if it is time to “retire” one of the milk producing cows. By retire I mean time for slaughter. There is no big green happy paddock where all the dried up cows go to retire they are sold off as meat when they become not productive enough for the industry. They are often kept in overcrowded spaces or stalls where they can hardly turn. Some might say that the life of a dairy cow is harder than that of a beef cow. The beef cows have a short life and are slaughtered at the end. Dairy cows are crammed into small spaces, tortured, force bred, many babies taken away which breaks their heart each time and then after years of this treatment suffer the same fate as the beef cow anyway. So that bout covers the ethical side of why vegans chose not to have milk.
It’s also un-natural, humans are the only species that continue to suckle after being weaned. You wouldn’t drink your own mothers milk if she started producing it again would you? Yuk. So why drink the milk that is being created for an innocent calf. Also in the first year of your life your mothers breast milk contributed to the biggest growth spurt of your life and can be accounted for a 300% weight gain. Similarly a cows milk is designed to help a calf double it’s birth weight in 47 days and leave their four stomachs feeling full. Do you have four stomachs? I don’t. We are not designed to drink it. It is unhealthy and full of fat.
Dairy is also one of the top ten foods that cause allergic reactions in people. Mother nature didn’t design for adults to be sucking something out of a tit and therefore many people will react to it.
As for the health issue “Where will you get your calcium?” Sesame seeds, green leafy veggies, broccoli, nuts, tofu, figs, baked beans are all great sources of calcium. Animal proteins also acidify the body. Calcium then leeches from the bones to try and combat this and then causes bone loss. Also studies have found that countries with the highest intake of dairy have the highest rate of osteoporosis and many other diseases.
Also in dairy you might find traces of blood and puss from the teats of the cow that happens when a machine is attached to them for many hours of the day not only sucking out milk but rubbing and causing bleeding and sometime infections. There is also the antibiotics and hormones that the cows are pumped full of and you might even find some pesticides.
And in a time where water restrictions apply it seems silly to be using so much water for milk. The Dairy industry is the highest user of water. The crops need to be watered, to give the cows, the cows need to drink water as well, the lucky ones have water used to wash them and their stalls. When we could just as easily water the crop and eat them and cut out all the extra water usage. It takes 4000 glasses of water to produce 1 glass of milk. It only takes one glass of water to make one glass of water. Drink more water. It’s good for you.
And finally there is the environmental side. Cattle are the biggest producers of methane. If you would like to reduce your carbon footprint just cut back on products from cattle.
But I couldn’t live without chocolate/ice cream/ cheese/ milk/ yoghurt/ cheesecake… insert your own favourite dairy product here.” I also had this concern but ever year there are more and more alternative products on the moment and every time something new comes out it is better than the last. We don’t miss out or go without all our old favourites there are plenty of dairy alternative products out there. Just look and you will find.
So that’s why I personally don’t drink milk. I know there are many reasons that vegans chose the life they have. - Carolyn Wagner
Challenges: Not having any of my favourite chicken with honey and rosemary for a week.
Triumphs:I have never liked milk so not including milk in my diet is easy.
What I Ate Today:
Lunch: Organic green grapes! Macadamias.
Dinner: Salad with lettuce leafs and spinach and avocado and lemon.
Dessert: Rockmelon. Nectarine.
Snacks: No dessert.
Exercise: Run on the beach.
272 Days To Go!!!