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Dairy-Free Living – It’s Healthy And It’s Easy

Dairy-Free Living – It’s Healthy And It’s Easy

The footage of New Zealand’s dairy industry on Sunday, TV One, showed newborn calves mistreated and suffering all the way from the farm to slaughter at the tender age of 4-7 days old.

Worse, the production of milk requires cows to give birth every season, leaving two million calves in New Zealand every year “surplus to requirements”. Even those calves destined to be herd replacements are torn from their mothers and raised separately.

Cows are complex, intelligent and social beings that suffer immensely from losing their babies so humans can drink their milk. The inherent nature of the dairy industry means that despite the best efforts of the best farmers, the emotional trauma suffered by mother and baby at being separated cannot be prevented.

Humans are the only species that drink milk after they are weaned. It is not necessary nor, many would say, normal behaviour. It is entirely possible to have a nutritionally adequate dairy-free diet at all stages of life, from infancy to old age.3

Milk is commonly touted as good for your bones and most New Zealanders believe you can’t have healthy bones without cow’s milk. Yet there have been many studies that show not only does dairy not improve bone health, it may also contribute to diseases such as breast and prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, which followed more than 72,000 women for 18 years, showed no protective effect of increased milk consumption on fracture risk.1

A 2005 review published in Pediatrics showed that milk consumption does not improve bone integrity in children.2

If you would like to be part of the solution and stop contributing to this suffering, by either stopping or reducing your dairy consumption, the NZ Vegetarian Society can help.

We can give you advice and support, along with plenty of dairy-free recipes. We even have lots of dairy free options to replace cheese, sour cream, yoghurt and more.

Recipes and information can be found on our website www.vegetarian.org.nz or feel free to give us a call on 09 523 4686 or email info@vegetarian.org.nz

1. Feskanich D, Willett WC, Colditz GA. Calcium, vitamin D, milk consumption, and hip fractures: a prospective study among postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;77:504–511.
2. Lanou AJ, Berkow SE, Barnard ND. Calcium, dairy products, and bone health in children and young adults: a reevaluation of the evidence. Pediatrics. 2005;115:736–743.
3. *1 It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.


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