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How Big Food & Education Made Us Believe ‘Milk Does The Body Good’ When It Really Doesn’t

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Oh, good old dairy! I’m sure you remember being a kid and having your mother tell you, Drink your milk! You need it to grow and be strong! Or perhaps your mom was ahead of the curve and saw through the mass marketing campaign designed to convince us that we require milk to live a healthy life.

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Aside from the obvious reasons why we don’t need cow’s milk — no other animal drinks the milk from another species; we no longer need milk once weaned from our  own mother’s; and cow’s milk is, well, meant for baby cows to grow into giant cows — we most certainly do not need dairy.

Got Milk?

This whole dairy façade began upon the premise that we need calcium, which we do, and that we can only get it through dairy products, which is false. There are a number of vegetables that contain even more calcium than milk, including broccoli, kale, cabbage, and watercress, along with a variety of nuts and seeds. But we never see ads on television telling us to eat our broccoli, even though it has many more health benefits than milk. Simply put, there is no lobbying behind broccoli.got-milk-superman

Milk is heavily pushed into the mainstream media; of course we all remember those infamous Got Milk? advertisements which used celebrities to endorse milk and which portrayed drinking milk as being both cool and health conscious. And now they have gone even further with the new ad campaign funded by Canadian dairy farmers, Milk Every Momentwith a slogan that pulls on your heart strings: “Not everything made sense when you were a kid, but drinking milk did.” They certainly know their business.

The following video created by Vox outlines the absurdity of milk quite nicely. Have a look!

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Milk Simply Isn’t Good For Us

I should be clear about this statement: conventional pasteurized milk is not good for us. The cattle used to create this milk are pumped full of hormones and antibiotics, all of which end up in the milk we are consuming — along with blood, puss, and fecal matter. The pasteurization process, moreover, destroys any beneficial enzymes within the milk. Not to mention that these dairy cows are virtually kept pregnant until retirement, without even having an opportunity for their calves to drink the milk that was made for them in the first place.

It’s a horrific, backwards system. And while many people believe that raw, organic milk does offer many health benefits, it is actually illegal to sell this milk in Canada (go figure). Either way, I still don’t think milk is a necessary staple; cow’s milk is made for baby cows.

A large study coming from researchers at the Uppsala University in Sweden found that drinking milk led to an increased mortality rate and actually made bones more prone to fracturing, not less. Recently published in the peer reviewed British Medical Journalit was specifically conducted to examine whether high milk consumption is associated with mortality and fractures in both men and women.

The study took place across three different counties in Sweden, and used data from two large Swedish cohorts, one with 61,433 women aged approximately 39-74 years old and one with 45,339 men aged approximately 45-79 years old. They were all administered food frequency questionnaires. The study used “multivariable survival models” that were “applied to determine the association between milk consumption and time to mortality and fracture.

The results were as follows:

During a mean follow-up of 20.1 years, 15 541 women died and 17 252 had a fracture, of whom 4259 had a hip fracture. In the male cohort with a mean follow-up of 11.2 years, 10 112 men died and 5066 had a fracture, with 1166 hip fracture cases. In women the adjusted mortality hazard ratio for three or more glasses of milk a day compared with less than one glass a day was 1.93 (95% confidence interval 1.80 to 2.06). For every glass of milk, the adjusted hazard ratio of all cause mortality was 1.15 (1.13 to 1.17) in women and 1.03 (1.01 to 1.04) in men. For every glass of milk in women no reduction was observed in fracture risk with higher milk consumption for any fracture (1.02, 1.00 to 1.04) or for hip fracture (1.09, 1.05 to 1.13). The corresponding adjusted hazard ratios in men were 1.01 (0.99 to 1.03) and 1.03 (0.99 to 1.07). In subsamples of two additional cohorts, one in males and one in females, a positive association was seen between milk intake and both urine 8-iso-PGF2α (a biomarker of oxidative stress) and serum interleukin 6 (a main inflammatory biomarker).

The study concluded  that high milk intake was associated with higher mortality in one cohort of women and in another cohort of men, and with higher fracture incidence in women, though it concluded that,  “Given the observational study designs with the inherent possibility of residual confounding and reverse causation phenomena, a cautious interpretation of the results is recommended.”

This is just one example; there have been countless other studies that reveal this same risk.

Okay I’ll Give Up Milk, Now What?

You are not alone! The truth about milk is starting to come to light and many are opting for alternatives.

“U.S. milk consumption has been steadily declining by 25 percent per capita since the mid-1970s. Americans, on average, drink 37 percent less milk today than they did in 1970, according to data from the USDA,” said Nil Zacharias, Co-Founder of One Green Planet, “On the other side, non-dairy milk sales are up 30 percent since 2011, representing a $2 billion category, and growth is expected to continue outpacing dairy milk sales at least through 2018. Consumers don’t want milk anymore, and better alternatives are growing every day.”

Almond, cashew, rice, hemp, soy, and pea-protein milks are all available to you at most grocery stores. The demand for these alternatives is increasing so more options are becoming available all the time. You can even, quite easily, make your own nut milks. Check out this recipe for a homemade almond milk, or this one for a homemade cashew and almond milk blend.

Let’s just leave the cow’s milk to go where it was intended: the baby cows!

Much Love

Despite how unnatural milk consumption beyond infancy is in the natural world — every other species weans their young off milk after a certain age and then never drinks it again — humans continue to be bombarded with the idea that cow’s milk not only ‘does the body good,’ but is also the best source of calcium available to us. We are told that we cannot achieve strong and healthy bones if we do not consume this type of calcium, and thanks to remarkable marketing efforts on the part of the dairy industry, we believe it.

The idea that milk is needed for strong bones is a widespread belief, but research is now showing there may be significant flaws to this supposition. Many people are unaware that humans never possessed the enzyme necessary to break down the sugar in milk (lactose) in the first place, and many still don’t. At some point in human evolution, some of us experienced a mutation in the LTC, or lactase, gene, which allowed a small portion of us to process lactose as adults. Approximately 65-75 percent of the population, however, remains incapable of properly processing lactose, which begs the question, is consuming the milk that’s meant for young cows really natural and healthy for human beings?

Calcium can be found in abundance in many plant-based sources, but all we hear about, unfortunately, is milk and calcium supplements — a reality which clearly serves both the dairy and the pharmaceutical industry.

Calcium Supplements

Millions of people in the United States take calcium supplements, but does anyone ever ask why? Sayer Ji from Greenmedinfo.com explains the situation:

The seemingly universal popularity of taking elemental calcium supplements results from the promotional efforts of conventional health “experts” and organizations like the National Osteoporosis Foundation (whose corporate sponsors include the calcium manufacturers Oscal and Citrical). Also, the World Health Organization created a radically new definition of “normal” bone density in 1994 when it took the 25-year old young adult standard (which is peak bone mass in a women’s life cycle), also known as the “T-score,” and applied it to all women, irrespective of their age. (source)

There is no shortage of concerning research on calcium supplementation. One notable example, published in the journal Heart, found a 24-27 percent increased risk of heart attack in those who took 500mg of elemental calcium a day. These findings were also confirmed by another study that was recently published in the British Medical Journal. (source)(source)

This particular study involved 24,000 people between the ages of 35 and 63, finding that those who took regular doses of calcium supplement increased their risk of having a heart attack by an alarming 86 percent, compared to those who took no calcium supplements at all. The University of California Berkeley reiterates:

However, studies published in the past few years have probably made many people wonder if they should stop taking the pills. First, some studies have linked calcium pills to increased risk of heart disease. And in 2012, the influential U.S. Preventive Services Task Force dropped a bombshell when its draft recommendations concluded that standard doses of supplemental calcium and vitamin D don’t prevent fractures in postmenopausal women.  (source)

These studies do not come without criticism. For the particular study cited above, Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a cardiologist at Harvard Brigham and Women’s hospital stated,

The study did not provide iron-clad evidence of a connection between calcium supplements and heart attack. Although it’s not the first report suggesting this connection, no study has definitely  proven that excessive calcium intake contributes to plaque formation and heart disease (source)

Harvard says calcium supplements are still safe to take, and it’s important to keep in mind that many other studies have not found a link between calcium pills and coronary risk, but some have.

It’s no secret that calcium is needed for many bodily functions, and getting adequate amounts of calcium during childhood is very important for bone health (though it’s important to mention that many studies have shown that calcium is not as important for bone health as we believe).

For example, a study conducted by researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden found that drinking milk actually led to an increased mortality rate and made bones more prone to fracturing — not less. (source)

And a study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that dairy consumption might actually increase the risk of fractures by 50 percent. (source)

In a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, Harvard pediatrician David Ludwig emphasizes that bone fracture rates tend to be lower in countries that do not consume milk compared to those that do, also noting that there are many other sources of calcium. (source)

Sayer Ji had this to say about why we shouldn’t really be surprised by the dangers of calcium supplements:

People really should not be so surprised at the idea that calcium supplementation may be toxic to cardiovascular health. After all, many subject themselves to coronary and cardiac calcium scans in order to ascertain their risk of cardiovascular events and/or cardiac mortality. This is because we know that calcium of the wrong kind in the wrong place can result in serious adverse health effects. There are, in fact, quite a few in the field of nutrition who have long warned against supplementation with elemental calcium; which is to say, calcium from limestone, oyster shell, egg shell and bone meal (hydroxylapatite).  (source)

Why Calcium From Food Is Better

There are a number of foods that can provide one with adequate amounts of calcium. The list is quite long in fact, including things like kale, oranges, beans, green peas, chickpeas, quinoa, seeds, hemp, and more. Apart from the information listed above, why take supplements when you can simply take food, especially if there is research showing these pills are potentially harmful? Moreover, your body is actually “hardwired” to reject low quality calcium sources, because supplements are not usually bound to the amino acids, lipids, and glyconutrients that are commonly found in food and which aid in absorption:

Inorganic or “elemental” calcium, when not bound to the natural co-factors, e.g. amino acids, lipids and glyconutrients, found in “food” (which is to say other living beings, e.g. plants and animals), no longer has the intelligent delivery system that enables your body to utilize it in a biologically appropriate manner. Lacking this “delivery system,” the calcium may end up going to places you do not want (ectopic calcification), or go to places you do want (e.g. the bones), but in excessive amounts, stimulating unnaturally accelerated cell-division (osteoblasts), resulting in higher bone turn over rates later in life. (source)

Other great ways to strengthen your bones include consuming more planet-derived calcium, magnesium, Vitamin K2 (from grass-fed organic animal products), and trace minerals, as well as getting natural sunlight (vitamin D). Although the mainstream medical industry won’t emphasize this, one of the best ways to have healthy bones is to eat a diet rich in raw, fresh whole foods that maximize natural minerals, so your body has the materials it needs to do what nature intended it to do.

Book Recommendation To Learn More

Almost a decade ago now, Robert Thompson, M.D., wrote a book called The Calcium LieApart from doing your own research and going through all of the studies, this book is a a great place to start. The book details how what we’ve been led to believe about calcium and its role in preventing osteoporosis is a myth.

When Dr. Thompson wrote this book, he stated that the overconsumption of calcium creates other mineral deficiencies and imbalances that will increase one’s risk of heart disease, kidney stones, gallstones, osteoarthritis, obesity, hypothyroidism, and Type 2 diabetes. Since his book was published, a number of studies have emerged which lend further credibility to his theories.

It’s a great place to start if you’re looking to further your research.

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Awareness

60% of Kale Samples Contaminated With Cancer Causing Pesticide – Organic Is Key!

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found a high level of Dacthal in non-organic Kale.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do we justify the spraying of poison on our food? How does this make any sense? These substances have been linked to several diseases, how are they approved and marketed as safe in many countries? Why are they banned in so many others?

Do you still think organic is not necessary? A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research examined four families who eat conventional diets. Pesticide levels were measured via urine before switching to an organic diet for 6 days. A dramatic drop in pesticide levels was found. Another study conducted by researchers from RMIT University, published in the journal Environmental Research, found that eating an organic diet for just one week significantly reduced pesticide (commonly used in conventional food production) exposure in adults. This study found a dramatic 90 percent drop in pesticide levels. Both studies used urine samples to measure pesticide accumulation. You can access those studies and read more about them here and here.

A lot of these agents were initially developed as nerve gases for chemical warfare, so we do know that they have toxic effects on the nervous system at high doses. Conventional food production commonly uses organophosphate pesticides, among many others, which are neurotoxins that act on the nervous systems of humans by blocking an important enzyme. Recent studies have raised concerns for health effects of these chemicals even at relatively low levels.

There is no question or doubt about it, organic food not sprayed with pesticides is much better for our health, and eating organic is a great way to prevent multiple diseases, including cancer. Despite all of the publications and research on this subject, it’s confusing how cancer awareness initiatives continue to focus on raising money without ever addressing the root causes of the disease, one of which is clearly exposure to herbicides and pesticides.

This is why the Environmental Working Group (EWG) advocates buying organic products. Since its inception in 1993, EWG has fought for consumers’ rights to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. EWG’s very first report in 1993, “Pesticides in Children’s Foods,” played a pivotal role in Congress passing the Food Quality Protection Act two years later. They are a well known group of scientists and activists doing great work.

Recently, they discovered that approximately 60 percent of kale samples sold in the United States were contaminated with another carcinogenic pesticide, according to the  EWG’s analysis of the 2017 Department of Agriculture’s test data.

The pesticide is called DCPA, often marketed as Dacthal,  and it’s a substance that the EPA classified as a possible carcinogen in 1995. In 2005, its major manufacturer voluntarily terminated its registration for use on several U.S. crops, including artichokes, beans and cucumbers, after studies found that its breakdown products were highly persistent in the environment and could contaminate drinking water sources. This is why in 2009, the European Union prohibited all uses of Dacthal, enforcing a complete ban on it. With all this being said, the fact remains that it is still used in the U.S. on crops including kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, eggplant, turnips, and who knows what else.

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Even as kale’s popularity as a health food rich in vitamins and antioxidants has soared in recent years, the level and type of pesticide residues on kale has expanded significantly. EWG’s new analysis places it third on the 2019 Dirty Dozen™, our annual ranking of the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues. Recent EWG-commissioned tests of kale from grocery stores found that on two of eight samples, Dacthal residues were comparable to the average level reported by the USDA.

The USDA has not tested kale for pesticides since 2009, when it ranked eighth on the Dirty Dozen. Between 2007 and 2012, the acres of kale harvested in the U.S. grew by more than 56 percent, with more than 2.5 times as many commercial farms growing it.

Conventional kale farming relies heavily on the use of several synthetic pesticides, including Dacthal. The EPA’s 1995 classification of it as a possible carcinogen noted increases in liver and thyroid tumors. Dacthal can also cause other kinds of harm to the lungs, liver, kidney and thyroid.

According to U.S. Geological Survey data from 2016, about 500,000 pounds of Dacthal was sprayed in the U.S., mostly in California and Washington state. In California, the only state where all pesticide use must be reported, nearly 200,000 pounds were sprayed in 2016.

In states with high Dacthal use, concerns have grown about the capacity of its breakdown products to contaminate surface and groundwater. Not only can Dacthal contaminate areas near its use, but studies indicate it can also travel long distances in the atmosphere as well. (EWG)

You can read more from EWG on the subject here.

The Takeaway

Again, multiple agents can be found on non-organic produce, but this article just outlines one. At the end of the day, the choice is up to you whether or not you buy your fruits and vegetables organic. If you can afford conventional produce, you can afford organically grown produce as well. One helpful tip is to cut out junk food from your purchases if you have any, and that can make room for organic produce. Another way to look at it is spending the extra few bucks to invest in your health.

It’s unfortunate that organic food is more expensive, especially when organic food in general could be provided to the entire world if we actually utilized our fullest potential. It’s actually cheaper to produces, it’s just that governments subsidize convention farmers, not organic ones. At the end of the day, kale is extremely nutritious. It’s high in vitamins A, K and iron, and consumption of leafy greens is associated with reduced risk of various diseases. It’s best if we keep it that way by only growing organic kale.

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Awareness

A List of Children’s Foods That Are Contaminated With Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Roundup herbicide that was manufactured by Monsanto, has been found in multiple foods that've been marketed to children. You can view the list below.

  • Reflect On:

    With countless scientific publications and examples of fraud clearly showing that glyphosate is a major health and environmental hazard, how is it still on the market in multiple countries? Why? What is going on here?

It’s very confusing as to why poison is still being sprayed in our environment, and how anybody could ever justify the use of these poisons. Justification has come from mass brainwashing, marketing campaigns, and just downright deception. There are many examples of deception when it comes to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. A great example comes from Europe, where the product was recently re-licensed and approved by European Parliament. However, MEPs found the science given to them was plagiarized, full of industry science written by Monsanto. You can read more about that here.  Another example would be the corruption that plagues our federal health regulatory agencies, which have been completely compromised by big corporations. There are several other great examples that illustrate this point, in fact there are decades of examples. One of the best would be the SPIDER papers. A group called the CDC Scientists Preserving Integrity, Diligence and Ethics in Research, or CDC SPIDER, put a list of complaints in a letter to the CDC Chief of Staff and provided a copy of the letter to the public watchdog organization U.S. Right to Know (USRTK).

We are a group of scientists at CDC that are very concerned about the current state of ethics at our agency.  It appears that our mission is being influenced and shaped by outside parties and rogue interests. It seems that our mission and Congressional intent for our agency is being circumvented by some of our leaders. What concerns us most, is that it is becoming the norm and not the rare exception. Some senior management officials at CDC are clearly aware and even condone these behaviors.

When it comes to glyphosate, there are currently more than 10,000 pending cases with regards to ailments it’s caused people, and we are now starting to see cancer cases go through courts of law. One of the latest examples would be school groundskeeper Dewyane Johnson, who was awarded a victory after a jury found Bayer (Monsanto) to be guilty of causing/contributing to his terminal cancer. You can read more about that story here.

This is why it’s a bit concerning that this substance is ending up in our food, and that includes food that’s being marketed to children.

For example, Moms Across America, a National Coalition of Unstoppable Moms, recently discovered glyphosate in multiple brands of popular orange juice. You can read more about that hereThe full report can be seen here. The testing methodology was “Glyphosate and AMPA Detection by UPLC-MS/MS.”

Furthermore:

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Major food companies like General Mills continue to sell popular children’s breakfast cereals and other foods contaminated with troubling levels of glyphosate, the cancer-causing ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. The weedkiller, produced by Bayer-Monsanto, was detected in all 21 oat-based cereal and snack products sampled in a new round of testing commissioned by the Environmental Working Group. All but four products contained levels of glyphosate higher than what EWG scientists consider protective for children’s health with a sufficient margin of safety.

The new tests confirm and amplify EWG’s findings from tests in July and October of last year, with levels of glyphosate consistently above EWG’s children’s health benchmark. The two highest levels of glyphosate were found in Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch, with 833 parts per billion, or ppb, and Cheerios, with 729 ppb. The EWG children’s health benchmark is 160 ppb. –  Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., senior science advisor, and Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., Toxicologist for the Environmental Working Group (EWG)(source)

The EWG recently purchased a number of products via online retail sites, and then they packed and shipped approximately 300 grams of each of the products they purchased (listed in the chart below) to Anresco Laboratories in San Francisco. Glyphosate levels were analyzed using a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method described here.

The Takeaway

Glyphosate is used mostly as a weedkiller on genetically modified corn and soybean crops. But it is also sprayed on oats just before harvest as a drying agent or desiccant. It kills the crop, drying it out so it can be harvested sooner, which increases the likelihood that glyphosate ends up in the foods children love to eat. It’s present almost everywhere and it’s a great example of how we don’t really live in a democracy, and how big corporations are operating without any concern for human health or the health of our planet. So far, more than 236,000 people have signed a petition directed at these food companies, calling on them to take action to protect consumers’ health.

The best way for you to combat something like this is to help share information like this in any way you can and go organic. Multiple studies have shown that pesticide exposure dramatically drops from consuming organic food. Just one week of eating an organic diet can drop pesticide levels in the body up to 90 percent in both children and adults. You can read more about that study here.

There are more concerns here, as it’s not just glyphosate, but also pesticides like organophosphates, which are sprayed on our food and have been linked to multiple diseases. A lot of these agents were originally developed as nerve agents for warfare.

Change starts with you, so you can go organic and spread awareness. Just five years ago not many people would have even known what glyphosate is, so things are definitely changing for the better.

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Awareness

Milk Sales Plummeted By $1.1 Billion In 2018

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Good news: dairy milk sales dropped by $1.1 billion in 2018! This is partly due to a consumer shift towards plant-based alternatives.

  • Reflect On:

    Is it time to walk away from unhealthy foods that harm animals in the process of creation? Does it make sense to keep listening to a dairy lobby using deception to sell products?

Good news! Dairy sales dropped by $1.1 billion in 2018! You may not know why this is good news just yet, but we’ll get there! Dairy Farmers of America during released the new statistics during an annual meeting in 2018. Sales dropped 8% from $14.7 billion in 2017 to $13.6 billion in 2018. This was due to low milk prices and a massive consumer shift toward plant-based alternatives like cashew milk, almond milk and soy milk.

In response to the losses, dairy lobbyists have been pushing to ban marketable terminology like ‘milk,’ ‘cheese’ and ‘dairy free’ from being used by creators of plant-based products. It seems the hope is that this will confuse the marketplace or make it harder to describe new products, ultimately pushing people back to dairy.

The act was officially titled “The Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, Milk, and Cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act.” Michele Simon, the executive director of 130-member lobby group Plant Based Food Association, believes this is misleading and unconstitutional.

Simon stated:

“In an era of increasing innovation in the food industry, this legislation would send a chilling message to small and emerging businesses: The marketplace is rigged against you in favor of large and powerful special interests,”

“This mean-spirited bill would harm innovative plant-based food companies that are growing rapidly, providing new, great-tasting options for consumers. This bill would declare the free market dead with the promotion of protectionist policies pushed by dairy-state politicians and their lobbyists.”

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The dairy lobby is clearly not happy about this, and with the following statistics, you can see why this could be alarming for their business. The United States Department of Agriculture released a report in 2017 that showed milk consumption had declined by 22% between 2000 to 2016. It further revealed that vegan dairy alternatives currently worth $17.3 billion is predicted to nearly double by 2023.

 Dairy Is Scary – It’s Time For Change

Of course, the move away from dairy hasn’t come randomly, research continues to come out every few months illustrating just how bad dairy is for human consumption. From bone issues, increased cancer rates, inflammation, and pesticide and hormonal intake, we see only a small amount of what one might expect from regular dairy consumption.

What is interesting to observe is that instead of making an adjustment away from an unhealthy product, the dairy lobby holds onto its grip in fear of change. They also took up arms in creating and spreading lies to deceive the public on the health of dairy.

But not all dairy farmers are fighting back, some are actually looking at the health concerns and animal abuse and are changing. Elmherst Milked was a dairy producer that has now turned to plant-based alternatives.

Henry Schwartz, whose grandfather started Elmherst Milked stated:

“It was time to reevaluate the past and start creating the food traditions that would carry us into the future.”

It took just two years of transition and the company was on track producing healthier, nutritious, humane and environmentally friendly milk.

The Takeaway

The world is shifting! Holding onto old patterns simply because we are afraid to change or don’t want to see the truth coming to the surface in new research and understandings will only make it more challenging for us to thrive and it will turn us towards egoic tendencies of deception and manipulation in order to survive for just a bit longer.

It’s time to truly question what we do and why… not just that, but the effect it has on others including animals and our environment. Elmherst Milked was able to adjust and do well, so can others. Everyone is going through a challenge in one way or another, comparing who has it worse won’t lead us forward but will only have us spinning our tires.

Change can happen – it is happening.

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