As most of you know, I am currently a vegan. I am a vegan for mainly ethical and environmental reasons but also appreciate the tremendous health benefits of a plant-based diet.
It has been a long journey to reach full veganism and I am still not perfect at it. At around age 16, I realized that what was on the dinner table used to be a cute little animal and I no longer wanted to eat meats. I gave up veal first, then all beef, then fish, and finally chicken. It was not a straight path and there were many regressions to various levels of meat-eating over the years.
I kept dairy and eggs in my diet because I loved them, and at first I did not think they presented an ethical problem – the animals did not die to give us eggs and dairy, right?
But then gradually I learned the truth. The truth that the dairy and egg industries are the MOST cruel and horrible and that by continuing to eat eggs and dairy I was participating in the absolute worst of animal agriculture.
Still, it took me a loooooong time to get to a place where I could give them up. I mean, CHEESE! I adored cheese and could not imagine a life without it.
But as I had done before with becoming vegetarian, I took things slowly. I did a few days dairy and egg-free at a time. I learned how to bake without eggs and how to make scrambled tofu and tofu egg salad that totally satisfy and how to make nut cheese and cheesy sauces without the dairy. One day I was able to look back and not even remember the last time I had eaten either eggs or dairy. Yay me!
My family however… not on board.
Over the years, I have stopped cooking meats, chicken and fish for my family. My husband cooks those for them once a week. The rest of the time I cook vegetarian food. But it became increasingly uncomfortable for me to buy and prepare dairy for them knowing what I know about the dairy industry.
And then I watched Forks Over Knives and heard the scientific evidence that even a small amount of dairy each day activates cancer cells and causes tumor growth and I wanted me to get my loved ones off dairy immediately!
But when I would mention not buying milk anymore as a first step, children and spouse would stamp feet in protest. ”Mommy, now you are going too far!”
That looks creepy and weird, right? But it’s what we are doing when we drink their milk. They make that milk for their own calves, but we take their babies away at one-day old and steal their milk. Because apparently, we are not weaned.
I saw some photos on Facebook of the Israeli dairy industry that stopped my heart. It had been easy for me to distance myself from the horror that is the cow milking madness, because it was over THERE, in America. Here in Israel, we thought, in order for food to be kosher, the animals have to be treated humanely, so conditions must be better than the States. Right? Right?
I mean, I had seen some cows on our cousin’s moshav and yes, their udders were horribly distended, but still…(denial, denial, denial…)
Then these photos and I could no longer keep my head in the sand. Not only are the cows’ udders insanely and sickly distended, bloody, pus-y, and horrific, there is one photo giving instructions for milking cows who are “smelly with diarrhea”, “have a suspected infection”, are “limping”, “bloody”, and “sick”.
End of Story. Last Straw. Tipping Point.
OK, even if you are the cruelest person on the planet and cannot muster a tiny bit of compassion for these MAMMALS, who in the world wants to drink the breast milk of a limpy, shit-covered, hormone-pumped, genetically-modified, bloody, pus-y, infected, postpartum cow boob??
I showed the photos to the kids and they agreed (sort of) and that was that. It has been a couple of weeks now and everything is going well in my no-cow-milk home. We have been experimenting with all different sorts of plant milks. Soy tastes the best and is the creamiest, but too much processed soy probably isn’t a great idea either, so I am mixing 1/3 each: soy, almond, and rice usually. I throw in a few drops of vanilla and a tablespoon or two of coconut milk and it is thick and delicious and YUM and no one is complaining.
That is just milk and this is just our starting place. No doubt they will still eat ice cream when they go out and we will still order pizza for my little one’s birthday party. Those things may change someday or maybe not, but cow milk itself, we are done with, and I feel awesome about it!
Not to mention my older son’s teenaged skin is looking MUCH better and he said “I used to have a stomach ache everyday at school. Now, not so much.” You have no idea how hard I have held back my told ya so’s!
People often say “Just me, not drinking cow’s milk, won’t make any difference.” In my opinion it DOES make a difference. First, it makes a difference for YOU. You feel better, you feel like you are making a compassionate choice, your skin clears up, your tummy doesn’t bloat, you don’t have all those hormones coming into your body and disrupting your own hormones, your cholesterol level comes down, your blood flows easier, you don’t farty fart fart all the time.
Then MAYBE one day someone will ask you why you don’t drink milk and maybe you will tell them. Maybe you will show them these photos and explain about the dairy industry and maybe, just maybe, you will cause them to think twice too. The ripple effect from just one person’s choices reaches far and wide. I know, because I see it in effect daily.
There are so many delicious alternatives. Just give them a try and see what happens. You don’t have to commit to veganism or anything. You don’t have to commit to ANYTHING. You can choose what to eat and drink at every meal. Just make sure you understand what you are choosing and what the cost of that choice is, for yourself, for the animals and for the planet.
There is no such thing as humane meat, dairy, eggs, fish poultry or pork. Would it be humane if we were treating humans this way? No, of course not. I’m not going to get into the whole thing here – take an hour and watch the amazing Gary Yourofsky video for yourself and learn what is true about animal agriculture. Video can be found HERE.
If you drink dairy or eat cheese or yogurt, you owe it to the cows to look at these photos. And this is Israel where we are mandated by religious law to treat animals humanely! If this is happening here, you can only imagine what it is like in your country.
Photo album is on Facebook HERE.
I know this is hard for many of you to think about. I know there is major cognitive dissonance happening in your brain and heart. I know, because I went through it all too. Just keep your mind as open as you can. Use your common sense. Don’t drink the Dairy Industry Kool-Aid. Try a few days without cow’s milk. Experiment. Allow your thoughts and opinions to change and evolve. Thank you for reading this entire post. Please share it if it means something to you…
This post is participating in Healthy Vegan Fridays HERE.Pin It