Milk, and they lived happily ever after
For years we have been told that you need milk to get strong bones. The use of animal products has been stimulated for years by the advertising world, by the government, hearsay and so on.
At home we love Disney but unfortunately, even in Disney movies Minnie Mouse bakes a cake with milk from a cow. How do you explain to your child that this is not necessary and why not?
When I started giving Jane vegetable milk (from about 1.5 years old) I explained why we no longer use milk from the cow: Milk from the cow and milk from all other animals is for their own babies and not for us. Because if we take milk from the cow, her baby has no drink and we think that is sad. In Jip and Janneke language this is clear because Jane now says herself: “milk from the mama cow is for the baby cow”. Later, when she was about 3 years old, I told her the full story about the dairy industry and I cycled with her past a farm where she saw the calves standing alone in their white boxes. The bulls were gone a few days later… sold to the leather industry to make soft gloves for example. Hoe jonger het kalfje, hoe zachter het leer.
"I am not protecting my child by hiding the truth from her. By telling my child the truth, she will make her right choices in life. This will allow her to protect the earth and the animals and ultimately herself ". After all, there is no planet B.
Animal versus vegetable milk
Making animal products takes a lot more energy than making vegetable products. I'll explain why:
An animal needs vegetable food and water to grow. Livestock farming also releases various gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect and climate change. To breed the animals and to grow animal feed (soy) millions of trees are burned or cut down on a large scale every day. Native animals lose their living space and we lose our most precious possession: oxygen!
Plant-based milk is a climate-friendly alternative. Its production costs less energy. Water and land use is also many times lower and the production of vegetable milk compared to animal milk does not cause acidification and eutrophication of the soil.
Isn't organic actually very logical?
Milk causes at least as much environmental impact as meat. Sometimes even more!
Because you often see cows in the pasture, many people think that those cows must have a good life and do not suffer from the production of milk. I always bought organic milk myself and I really thought I was doing a good deed with this! Unfortunately, organic cows are also artificially inseminated, the calves are taken away from their mothers and the bulls are also taken to slaughter. If the cow no longer gives milk, she may also (usually at the age of 5) go to slaughter. While cows can often live to be 25 years old!
Milk, the white engine !?
Most dairy contains lactose. We digest lactose poorly because it lacks an enzyme (lactase) that has to digest the lactose in many people. Dairy also contains the female hormone estrogen in abundance (milk is of course just breastfeeding from a cow). Estrogen can promote the growth of (breast and prostate) cancer and can worsen the functioning of the thyroid gland.
Animal milk can also promote ear infections in children and cause asthma problems.
In animal milk, the calcium is found as calcium carbonate. This is a very poorly absorbed form of calcium for humans.
Milk also contains the minerals calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, in proportions not suitable for humans. Logical, because it is made for calves, who can take it well.
Calcium is a complex mineral. Its absorption is strongly influenced by the rest of your diet, the phase of your life and, for example, how much sunlight you get. The saying "milk, the white engine" is not correct anyway!
Super plant sources for calcium are:
- vegetable milk with added calcium
- nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts)
- seeds (sesame seeds and sunflower seeds)
Drink milk from a coconut with your buttocks bare!
We drink and use vegetable milk. I showed Jane pictures of different plants and together we occasionally make almond milk or cashew milk in the blender. Jane also thinks it is great (together with me) to open a coconut with a hammer and a nail “very professionally” and then drink milk directly from the coconut “with the buttocks exposed” (remember children for children). This way you show your child where food comes from and that we do not need animals for that.
5 tips to get your child to plant based milk:
- Try making vegetable milk with your kids in a blender with, for example, almonds. (by mixing water in a blender with almonds and dates. Let soak overnight for extra creamy milk).
- Buy a coconut together and make your kids enthusiastic about opening it. What do you think is in there?
- Go to your supermarket and buy different kinds of plantbased milk. Do a tasting contest in little (play) tea cups
- Make a breakfast smoothie together. With, for example, vegetable milk or yoghurt. Look together at what colors the smoothie will get as you add more fruits and vegetables!This is a step further: talk to your kids about the meat and dairy industry.
How about candy and icecream?
Jane has learned from birth that most sweets contain animals (gelatin = finely ground bones and stuff from animals). She did eat chocolate instead (smarties, cow bars etc). How do you explain to a child that it is no longer possible and do you do that? Answer is yes we will explain it indeed and then let her make her own choice outside the door, although I must say that Jane always makes the right choices for the animals because she does not want to contribute to animal suffering. She loves animals! There are plenty of alternatives that she loves, such as Oreo cookies, marzipan and stroopwafel cookies from Punsel’s, for example, popsicles or ask the ice cream farmer about lactose intolerant ice cream (ice cream without milk that is usually made on a water basis).
In retrospect, I should have fed Jane vegetable milk much sooner. After I started this, the red spots and bumps from her face that she sometimes had after eating or drinking cow's milk disappeared. Her sometimes sudden diarrhea also disappeared.