Here’s Part 1 for review, where I critiqued what I believe are the chief arguments in favor of avoiding milk from a Paleo, evolutionary perspective. I neglected to address the A1 vs. A2 genetic lineage of dairy producing cows, and so I added that as an update to the post this morning.
So I find the reasons to avoid good quality ruminant milk—cow, goat, sheep, etc.— unconvincing. If you have a personal issue you can’t overcome, like a serious allergy or intolerance (there is Googlable information on how to adapt, especially to lactose intolerance), then that’s you. Doesn’t apply to everyone else. But just because the arguments to avoid it don’t stand up in my view, it’s still good to make a case for why consume it, because it comes at the cost of a tradeoff with other good foods.
Whole food-wise, it’s potentially the biggest counter to unbridled deconstructionism in a general health and nutrition context I can imagine. Scientific deconstructionism is a double-edged sword. Really, we couldn’t do anything without deconstruction. Take things apart (mentally if not physically), understand all the constituants, understand how they work in integrated unison, and put it back together. In principle, there’s little other way for us primitives to understand the physical, biological, or even psychological realities happening all around us. Then we develop and produce beyond that, however imperfectly.
But the human body is not a clock. Or a radio. A computer. It’s not even a nuclear reactor. It’s infinitely more complex in the integrated workings of its constituent elements than the combined complexity of everything we’ve ever crafted as the thinking, deconstructing, creating species. And so in terms of drug intervention, it’s really a deconstruction game and there’s no sure way to tell what all could be affected. (Read the side effects of just about any drug; that is the cost of deconstruction, of having no complete, flawless idea of how everything works together entirely.)
It’s really simple in terms of milk. Milk is the absolutely exclusive food and beverage for all newborn mammals, as well as the exclusive nourishment for a substantial time, causing them to grow—and not just bone, flesh & blood, but neurons as well. Milk grows bodies and brains.
By definition, milk has everything required to perform this function, which means it’s complete nutrition in the right nutrient proportions—one with all the others—in a complex matrix. When you think about it, it offers a stark contrast to much of the deconstruction that passes for nutrition, dietary and even health advice quite suspect, i.e., go get your acai berry and green superfood smoothie! For reference and comparison, just scan the substantial nutrient data for cow and goat milk to see how bankrupt is much of what passes for “healthy and nutritious.”
The Woo Factor
It’s always the part I hate the most in something like this. It’s a conglomeration of well intentioned folks who, generally (one or all in some or all measure may apply):
- Eschew anything and everything science and evidence based
- God made it = Good; Man made it (like antibiotics and the vaccines for smallpox, polio, etc.) = Bad
- Natural = Good; Synthetic = Bad
- Obscurity = Repressed for its goodness; Mainstream = Promoted for its profit and prestige potential
- “Healing properties” is their most often used description
You get the idea. Thing is, there’s at least some ground to consider some things in some measure with at least a smattering of the “ethical milieu” represented above. So, can’t live with the woo, can’t live completely without it, I guess. So again, we’re left with what makes sense: both as food to begin with and how it works for every individual.
I’ve not read all of all of these yet but will do so over the course of time, woo factors notwithstanding. Thanks to commenters for posting so much of it (and much much more) in comments to my last few posts on this topic.
- The Milk Diet: How to Use the Milk Diet Scientifically at Home by Bernarr Macfadden, 1923
- The Milk Diet as a Remedy for Chronic Disease by Charles Sanford Porter, MD, 1905 (PDF) (1911 3rd Edition PDF)
- The Milk Cure: Real Milk Cures Many Diseases by J.R. Crew, MD, 1929
It’s the third of those I’m going to get specific with, because it’s a very short article you can read in a few minutes to get the gist of things, then go onto those more lengthy works if you like. Here’s the introduction.
The following is an edited version of an article by Dr. J. R. Crewe, of the Mayo Foundation, forerunner of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, published in Certified Milk Magazine, January 1929. We are grateful to Dr. Ron Schmid, ND of Middlebury, CT for unearthing this fascinating piece. The “Milk Cure” was the subject of at least two books by other authors, written subsequently to Dr. Crewe’s work. … Note that Crewe quotes William Osler, author of a standard medical textbook of the day. Thus, this protocol was an orthodox, accepted therapy in the early 1900s. Today the Mayo Clinic provides surgery and drug treatments, but nothing as efficacious and elegant as the Milk Cure.
For fifteen years the writer has employed the certified milk treatment in various diseases and during the past ten he had a small sanitarium devoted principally to this treatment. The results obtained in various types of disease have been so uniformly excellent that one’s conception of disease and its alleviation is necessarily changed. The method itself is so simple that it does not greatly interest most doctors and the main stimulus for its use is from the patients themselves.
In several instances, Osler (Principles and Practices of Medicine, by William Osler, MD eighth edition) speaks of milk as being nothing more than white blood. Milk resembles blood closely and is a useful agent for improving and making new and better blood. Blood is the chief agent of metabolism. Milk is recognized in medical literature almost exclusively as a useful food and is admitted to be a complete food.
The therapy is simple. The patients are put at rest in bed and are given at half hour intervals small quantities of milk, totalling from five to ten quarts of milk a day. Most patients are started on three or four quarts of milk a day and this is usually increased by a pint a day…
The treatment is used in many chronic conditions but chiefly in tuberculosis, diseases of the nervous system, cardiovascular and renal conditions, hypertension, and in patients who are underweight, run-down, etc. Striking results are seen in diseases of the heart and kidneys and high blood pressure. In cases in which there is marked edema, the results obtained are surprisingly marked. This is especially striking because so-called dropsy has never been treated with large quantities of fluid. With all medication withdrawn, one case lost twenty-six pounds in six days, huge edema disappearing from the abdomen and legs, with great relief to the patient. No cathartics or diuretics were given. This property of milk in edema has been noted in both cardiac and renal cases.
Patients with cardiac disease respond splendidly without medication. In patients who have been taking digitalis and other stimulants, the drugs are withdrawn. High blood pressure patients respond splendidly and the results in most instances are quite lasting. The treatment has been used successfully in obesity without other alimentation. One patient reduced from 325 pounds to 284 in two weeks, on four quarts of milk a day, while her blood pressure was reduced from 220 to 170. Some extremely satisfying results have been obtained in a few cases of diabetics.
When sick people are limited to a diet containing an excess of vitamins and all the elements necessary to growth and maintenance, which are available in milk, they recover rapidly without the use of drugs and without bringing to bear all the complicated weapons of modern medicine.
OK, that should do it. It’s not very long at all so go see all the other things to which this treatment and intervention responded well.
There is a certain elegance to it, to me. I look at it as akin to a reset button, basically all the way back to the stage of infancy when milk was all you got. On the other hand, those quantities of milk fed in the article seem enormous to me. I’ve been doing about the equivalent of a half-gallon combined, of whole cow milk and goat milk kefir (goat milk kefir is the bomb, by the way) without much in the way of hunger.
Those Dirty Rotten Scoundrels In Medicine
Here’s the other part I hate, and it goes hand-in-hand with the woo. First lets make some distinctions. Modern medicine is comprised of a bunch of different disciplines (not all inclusive, I’m sure).
- Emergency medicine/surgery
- Routine surgery
- Extreme/experimental surgery
- Treatment with antibiotics and vaccines
- Routine short term drug therapies
- Prolonged drug therapies for chronic conditions
So in terms of procedures, you have everything from saving someone dying on the spot from a bullet or knife wound to hip & knee replacements, spinal surgery, brain surgery, heart transplants and all sorts of amazing stuff. Other than some measure of criticism over unnecessary surgeries, this is a pretty wholesome field in my view. People now walk out of the hospital same day for procedures that used to require a 2-week stay post-op, and weeks of recovery at home—and their chances of good outcomes were far less than today.
And when it comes to drugs, you have a whole class designed to treat emergencies, such as raising BP, lowering it, or getting one little part of a body to do exactly what you want it to when you want it, else you have a dead patient (this is purposeful deconstruction that’s valuable in the context of emergency treatment). And how about anesthesia for those surgeries? And then there’s the stuff you take one prescription for and then you’re done.
It’s really that last category—prolonged drug therapy for chronic conditions—that has the most potential for abuse. At the same time, the drug business is a drug…business. So in one respect, it’s really kind of non-sequitur to lament that the drug companies aren’t out promoting the milk diet—or anything for that matter that’s not a drug they can sell to the public. Ford Motor Company doesn’t manufacture and promote bicycles as an alternative treatment for transportation. Not their business.
The milk intervention, as I call it, isn’t going to fix your broken leg, prevent or treat sepsis, shrink a brain tumor or do much of anything for what a great deal of modern medicine is designed to treat, and generally does well at. Remember, infants and small children get sick and even die, too. It’s not a cure all.
It’s that last category of the medical profession: the prolonged, lifelong use of drugs for so many chronic conditions, that has me interested in this as a viable therapy for someone to try for a few weeks. The drug companies aren’t going to push it and the medical doctors who do will probably forever be on the fringe.
So there you have it. All the reasons I can think of in Part 1 why it’s silly to eschew—because it’s not pure Paleo or whatever—and all the reasons in this part for why it just might be worth a try for you individually.
…And now I’ll start drafting my Newsletter update on how, specifically, this has worked for me for two weeks now…in terms of fat loss, well being, energy, digestion, sleep and so on. You can subscribe at this link and after confirming your subscription, you’ll get a welcome email with links to the past issue(s) so you can catch up with what’s going on.