Cow’s milk has been labeled as the superhero's drink for far too long. According to a study by the University College London, people began drinking cows milk 7,500 years ago. However, the reasons vary on why this started. Today, there are mixed views about whether or not people should drink milk. There are countless articles, documentaries, and online debates on the subject.

For me, I grew up with my parents telling me, "If you want to grow big a strong you have to drink milk." So I did what most kids did—I gulped it down with almost every meal I ate as a child. Not to mention the "Got Milk?" campaign was huge when I was growing up, and seeing my favorite stars drinking milk heavily influenced me to get milk in my body. 

cereal, milk, pouring milk, bowl of cereal, Cheerios, breakfast
Jocelyn Hsu

Over the last two years I've changed my diet to vegetarian. And over the past year, I've educated myself on milk and the affects it has on our body. Because of this, I reduced my intake of milk  and educated my parents, which caused them to completely stop drinking milk. Then I began asking myself if I really needed milk.

Health is the main reason people are ditching the classic drink. A Swedish medical study showed that women who drank higher amounts of dairy every day were more likely to have fractures compared to those who drank no or little milk.

Additionally, we are the only species to drink another species milk, and we are the only one that can digest it after childhood. But here's the kicker: 65% of adults cannot digest milk. If that doesn't scare you, here's another fact.

water, tea, milk
Alex Frank

In an article called "The Dangers of Drinking Cow's Milk" by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM, he explained that cow's bodies treat the milking process as a way to let the toxins out. So that means that the good and the bad is released into cow's milk. For example, pus, hormones, blood cells, and other such items are floating around in many cups and bowls.

The article even states that close to 322 million cell-counts of pus is in every glass of milk. With all of the information out there, many people can't help but ask why the United States Department of Agriculture is recommending that older children, teenagers, and adults drink three cups of milk per day.

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The treatment of animals is another reason to leave cow's milk at the store. An article called "10 Dairy Facts the Industry Doesn't Want You to Know" by Asheley Capps, opened my eyes to the sad truth.

It begins with the female cow when she is artificially inseminated for the sole purpose of producing milk. After birth, 97% of newborn calves are taken from their mother in the first 24 hours so it doesn't drink too much of her milk. Instead, the calves are given milk replacers.

Along with the stress, the cow is suppose to make six gallons of milk every day. This happens for 9 to 10 months while the cow is still lactating. The cycle continues for at least four to five years, at which point the cow's over-worked body produces less and less milk. At this point, the cow will make its journey to the slaughterhouse. 

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Our environment is yet another reason to quit drinking milk. Livestock produce more greenhouse gasses than cars. Not to mention the amount of fresh water they require (their intake varies on their size and if they are lactating). The amount of water required ranges from 3 to 30 gallons a day.

Additionally, manure coming from dairy farms pollute lakes and rivers. The article called "How Growth in Dairy Is Affecting the Environment" by Beth Gardinher of the New York Times gives great insight on how people's love of dairy is hurting the environment and those around the dairy farms.

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There are many tasty alternatives for cow's milk, like soy, coconut, almond, and rice milk. The transition is simple and painless. Additionally, the larger benefit to quitting cow's milk is knowing the good you are doing for the cows, our environment, and your health.