on 5 March 2011
Anyone who drinks milk should read this book, and vegans should read it to arm themselves with the knowledge and references required to answer the ridiculous questions asked of us by non-vegans! I challenge anyone to be comfortable drinking milk after reading this book. Hopefully, this book will play a part in saving the lives of millions of cows.
The good parts of this book include that it points out that commercial milk can cause problems for lots of people's health, that dairy products can have an opiate-like effect and that having lots of calcium in the diet isn't enough to ensure healthy bones.
Unfortunately this book also reinforced lots of equally harmful myths (salt is bad for you and low salt diet are best, soy is a health food, saturated fat causes heart disease and low fat and cholesterol diets are best and 15% fat in the diet may not be low enough, vegan diets are best, and so on.) The book also heavily promotes the flawed China Study and its author Dr T Campbell. Pointing out all the problems with eating dairy but then promoting eating lots of soy - a very heavily processed and unnatural food which causes allergies for a similar amount of people as does milk, just makes no sense to me. This book offers far more bad advice than good, sadly.
From my own reading I am in the 'commercial dairy foods aren't healthy for anyone (or for the mistreated and misfed cows!)' camp, but also the 'good quality raw dairy foods (from pastured cows) made into kefir and yogurt are probably healthy additions to the diet in small amounts for those that can tolerate them' camp.
I do better by far with no dairy or grains at all, but each to their own. (I don't agree that raw milk with all its enzymes removes the problems of poor milk tolerance, as some claim, as this has not been my experience.)
This book does a disservice to readers by assuming that all dairy products are commercially made using milk from unhealthy grain fed cows, and not pointing out that many of their comments just don't apply to good quality raw dairy products. Commercial milk is so far removed from normal old fashioned milk, and it is a highly processed product. Of course such a food isn't healthy! But these issues should be separated form the issues with good quality raw milk itself, surely.
To get some more reliable and better researched information on what to eat, what not to eat and the reasons for and against eating raw milk products or no milk at all I would instead recommend The Untold Story of Milk, Revised and Updated: The History, Politics and Science of Nature's Perfect Food: Raw Milk from Pasture-Fed Cows and even better Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life. This latter book provides a real guide to healthy eating and why it is important to eat the foods we evolved to eat if we want to be healthy. It is superior to this unconvincing and skewed book in every way.
Jodi Bassett, HFME