Wednesday, August 11, 2010

If "Milk Does A Body Good" Then Watercress Does A Body Supercalifragilisticexpi...(Oh, you know the rest)

I just read something Amazing about... Watercress!

We've all heard the now-ubiquitous catchphrase spoken at the end of milk commercials...

"Milk... It Does A Body Good!"

I have long had and continue to have nagging doubts as to the veracity of that claim.

And - for the sake of full-disclosure - You should know that I voluntarily swore off all commercial milk and dairy products at least a decade ago... for humanitarian, environmental and health reasons.
(I've included some of these below the Watercress info.)

Regarding that "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" item in the title...

Looking for a food item that will provide a significant source of calcium and other nutrients?

Then, forget the cow's milk and head to the produce aisle.

You'll find a much better and healthier source of calcium in something that the cows probably wish they could eat... Watercress!

"Not only is watercress extremely nutritious, it's about as close as you can get to a calorie-free food. Calorie for calorie, it provides four times the calcium of 2 percent milk. Ounce for ounce, it offers as much vitamin C as an orange and more iron than spinach. It's packed with vitamin A and has lots of vitamin K, along with multiple antioxidant carotenoids and protective phytochemicals.

The nutrients in watercress protect against cancer and macular degeneration, help build the immune system, and support bone health. The iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to your body's tissues for energy. The phytochemicals in watercress battle cancer in three ways: killing cancer cells, blocking carcinogens, and protecting healthy cells from carcinogens. They've also been shown to help prevent lung and esophageal cancer and can help lower your risk for other cancers."

You can cook it, but watercress is better for you when you eat it raw. Tuck it into a sandwich in place of lettuce. Toss it with your favorite vegetables and eat it in a salad. Watercress is great in pesto. Or, add some to your favorite smoothie.

And here - if you're interested - are some of the reasons why my body and I are perfectly happy, healthy and do just fine (thank you) without cow's milk:

1.) The Bottom Line: In humans, a mother's milk is produced for the sole purpose of providing their infant offspring the best nourishment.

This is also true of cow's milk: it is meant to be consumed only by their offspring - calves.

Other than human beings, no other mammal continues to drink it's mother's milk - let alone another mammal's mother's milk - into adulthood.

2.) Commercial dairy farming practices are, in both my opinion and that of millions of others, cruel and inhumane. They also go completely against the natural biological evolution of the animals.

* Cows are grazing animals and ruminants, having evolved over millions of years to eat virtually nothing but grass. Grass is what their teeth and internal biology are designed to consume, process and digest. But, grass is high-fiber and low nutritional density and - although it would be enough to feed a calf - it does not result in a high enough milk yield to satisfy market demand. So, they are supplied with a low-fiber, high-protein feed of grains such as corn and soy along with animal by-products (leftover parts/wastes). Such grain-based feeds are unsuitable for their digestive systems and is thus difficult for them to digest, causing health problems.

* In order for a dairy farm to produce milk, its cows must be lactating. Lactation only happens as a result of the cow having given birth to a calf. This means that a dairy farm cow spends its entire lifetime in an endless cycle of insemination, pregnancy, parturition, and lactation (and separation). (Source:

What happens to all of those calves?
* Virtually all commercial dairy farms take calves away from their mothers immediately or within a few days of giving birth - undoubtedly a traumatizing experience for both the mother and her brand new offspring. (Dairy farms can't allow the babies to drink the milk which was produced for them by their mothers, because the sole purpose of a commercial dairy farm is to produce, collect and sell the as much of the calves' mother's milk as possible to human consumers.)

* Female calves become dairy cows like their mothers - frequently replacing other members of the herd, as the death rate is high. About half of all calves born will be non milk-producing males. Males are worthless to dairy farmers. So, males are either killed or sold to crated veal farms. These are places where the male calves are chained or tied up - usually in a dark wooden crate or similar tight spot to severely restrict movement - and are fed an iron-deficient liquid diet, so that when they are slaughtered several months later, their meat is pale in color.

* Cows’ natural life expectancy is 20 years or more. But, the average dairy cow lives just 3 to 4 years.

* Beyond the evolutionary and humanitarian/animal cruelty issues, there's the injected synthetic growth hormones ("The United States is the only industrialized nation that permits the use of growth hormone in animals used for food." Source:, mastitis and various other diseases (including mad-cow), widespread over-use of antibiotics (leading to antibiotic-resistant bacteria), elevated levels of IGF-1/Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (both of which are found in the milk) and the amount of phosphorus-dense manure created... but, I'll let you look into these serious issues and other commercial dairy-related potential threats to human health on your own.

So, if not cow's milk, what else?

I've been sticking with organic enriched - contains significant calcium, protein and other vitamins - soy milk.

(And for those who've heard whisperings of too-much-soy related issues, I don't drink a lot of it, I just like it in my coffee.)

Many grocery stores are already offering an ever-increasing variety of non-dairy "milks" on their shelves now. Rice milk, almond milk and hemp milk are just a few of them.

Many product lines include Organic choices and even offer tasty flavors like Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry and Coffee.

You can also choose Low-Fat, if you prefer.

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