Because We ALL Deserve Peace

There are so many things I thought about blogging about on this Vegan (Feast) Thursday.  I started writing about how this site really should be called peasandfitness but my sentences started to run on…and on…but it really should be called that.  I started to write about how insanely great I feel physically and spiritually and how much of that is related to what I eat.  But that started  getting tricky and some of my sentences could come across as offensive and I NEVER want to be offensive.

Then I found this.  And a picture is always worth at least a thousand words.  Especially in this day and age of instagram….and this picture tells a lot of stories.

12 Frightening Facts About Milk

These findings made big news last week.  While 3 glasses a day seems like a lot for an adult, if it can do this to adults, why would it be any different for children?  Additionally, as women approach menopause and signs of osteopenia begin showing, many resort to adding more milk back into their diet.  All of my research has led me to believe that what happens when we drink cows milk is that the incoming calcium signals our bones to actually leak out some.  This would be OK, except the calcium from cows milk is NOT readily absorbed by our bodies, so we leak out more than we take in, all the while thinking that “milk does a body good.”  Funny, but when I just Googled “best sources of calcium,” the top article was about NON dairy sources.   Beans, nuts, seeds, dark leafy veggies, fortified cereals and juices–they all provide calcium that won’t cause the stored calcium to leak the way milk does.

The one thing the article doesn’t address is the importance of strength training.  I can’t think of a single food on this planet that has the same bone building effects of proper exercise.  Every time you work a muscle, the muscle tugs on the nearby bones causing not just the muscles to get stronger, but the bones to get thicker.  If you just look at the hands of a farmer, you will see some big bones.  You may even notice yourself that your dominant hand has thicker bones and knuckles.  This is enough proof to me.

Here are some of the highlights (and they are disturbing) from an article by Dr. Thomas Campbell, but feel free to do your own homework.  One thing I notice in my research is that even the proponents in favor of milk say it builds strong MUSCLES (not bones).  Of course milk is a very high protein food and protein does feed our muscles, but as someone who exercises hours a day and thrives on a plant-based diet, my muscles never feel deprived.

12 Frightening Facts About Milk


A large observational cohort study[1] in Sweden found that women consuming more than 3 glasses of milk a day had almost twice the mortality over 20 years compared to those women consuming less than one glass a day. In addition, the high milk-drinkers did not have improved bone health. In fact, they had more fractures, particularly hip fractures.

I am surprised that this study garnered so much mass media attention upon its release, as it highlights the deleterious side of milk, but I also think it is important to keep the findings in context. And when it comes to the health effects of dairy, the context is not so pretty:

  1. In observational studies both across countries and within single populations, higher dairy intake has been linked to increased risk of prostate cancer (cited in [2]).

  2. Observational cohort studies have shown higher diary intake is linked to higher ovarian cancer risk (cited in [2]).

  3. Cow’s milk protein may play a role in triggering type 1 diabetes through a process called molecular mimicry[3].

  4. Across countries, populations that consume more dairy have higher rates of multiple sclerosis[4].

  5. In interventional animal experiments and human studies, dairy protein has been shown to increase IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1) levels. Increased levels of IGF-1 has now been implicated in several cancers[5].

  6. In interventional animal experiments[6] and human experiments[7], dairy protein has been shown to promote increased cholesterol levels (in the human studies and animal studies) and atherosclerosis (in the animal studies).

  7. The primary milk protein (casein) promotes cancer initiated by a carcinogen in experimental animal studies[8].

  8. D-galactose has been found to be pro-inflammatory and actually is given to create animal models of aging[1].

  9. Higher milk intake is linked to acne[9].

  10. Milk intake has been implicated in constipation[10] and ear infections (cited in [2]).

  11. Milk is perhaps the most common self-reported food allergen in the world[11].

  12. Much of the world’s population cannot adequately digest milk due to lactose intolerance.

So despite being very pleased that the public is glimpsing some of the evidence against milk in this recent study (though they also could be hearing about the benefits of cheese and yogurt from this same study), I think there is a far more powerful story; a story that takes into account the largely hidden context of diet and dairy research. There is a wealth of indirect evidence of very serious possible harms of consuming dairy foods, and, on the flip side, the evidence that milk prevents fractures is scant.

As we look beyond the headlines, it is hard to think that we should continue to consume the lactation fluid that exists in nature to nourish and rapidly grow calves.


  1. Michaelsson K, Wolk A, Langenskiold S, et al. Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. Bmj 2014;349:g6015.

  2. Lanou AJ. Should dairy be recommended as part of a healthy vegetarian diet? Counterpoint. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2009;89:1638S-42S.

  3. Dahl-Jorgensen K, Joner G, Hanssen KF. Relationship between cows’ milk consumption and incidence of IDDM in childhood. Diabetes Care 1991;14:1081-3.

  4. Malosse D, Perron H, Sasco A, Seigneurin JM. Correlation between milk and dairy product consumption and multiple sclerosis prevalence: a worldwide study. Neuroepidemiology 1992;11:304-12.

  5. Key TJ. Diet, insulin-like growth factor-1 and cancer risk. Proc Nutr Soc 2011:1-4.

  6. Kritchevsky D. Dietary protein, cholesterol and atherosclerosis: a review of the early history. The Journal of nutrition 1995;125:589S-93S.

  7. Gardner CD, Messina M, Kiazand A, Morris JL, Franke AA. Effect of two types of soy milk and dairy milk on plasma lipids in hypercholesterolemic adults: a randomized trial. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2007;26:669-77.

  8. Youngman LD, Campbell TC. Inhibition of aflatoxin B1-induced gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase positive (GGT+) hepatic preneoplastic foci and tumors by low protein diets: evidence that altered GGT+ foci indicate neoplastic potential. Carcinogenesis 1992;13:1607-13.

  9. Spencer EH, Ferdowsian HR, Barnard ND. Diet and acne: a review of the evidence. Int J Dermatol 2009;48:339-47.

  10. Caffarelli C, Baldi F, Bendandi B, Calzone L, Marani M, Pasquinelli P. Cow’s milk protein allergy in children: a practical guide. Italian journal of pediatrics 2010;36:5.

  11. Rona RJ, Keil T, Summers C, et al. The prevalence of food allergy: a meta-analysis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007;120:638-46.

Wishing you a happy and peaceful Vegan (Feast) Thursday.  I miss my Thursday night crowd like crazy but I am forever thankful for all the dinners we had together and for all they taught me, by example, about living life vegan style.  As I turn 57 next month, I feel incredibly strong, healthy and peaceful in my soul!

The Great Pumpkin

As a kid, one of the few foods I didn’t like, was pumpkin pie…and other than carving one, I didn’t know there was much else to do with this gourd.  Boy did I have a lot to learn!

Once we had the boys, I loved roasting the seeds and they loved eating them.  But there is so much more purpose for that great pumpkin.  Canned pumpkin is a fabulous substitute for the fats and liquids (butter and milk) in baking cakes, pancakes, brownies and so much more.  This makes it a perfect substitute for those on a plant-based diet as well as those that are looking to reduce calories.  You can use it in place of bananas to turn a banana bread into a pumpkin bread.  Rachel Ray suggests you add some roasted salted pumpkin seeds to give it more texture and taste.  You can also use it to thicken up smoothies and of course you can roast it just like any other gourd.  With only 30 calories in a whole cup,  and no fat, it provides 197% of your daily vitamin A requirement and helps balance our sacral chakras (which, for the record, is associated with, amongst other things, creativity and…!)

So whether you carve it, cook it, bake it, just pumpkin.  Two of my favorite pumpkins found their perfect one and sent me a great pic last night which inspired this post but…I can’t seem to reduce the size and get it on here.  Must be the ghost of Halloween messing with me……………….Maybe it will appear….and maybe it won’t….kind of like trick or treat………