Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blogger Fight! Cow's Milk

I got into my first, and hopefully last, blogger fight tonight with a long time and very popular Weight Watchers blogger. The fight centered around putting cow's milk into a green smoothie, the concept of "everything in moderation" and my radical approach to food. Let's just say she didn't agree with too much of what I was saying . . . to witness the fight in all of it's non-glory, go here and scroll down to the comments section.

I needed some help from my friends on this one, so I kinda started asking around on Facebook for some thoughts on the subject. I received a few very interesting ideas and I'd like to share them here with you. Starting with how to have a discussion with someone convinced that drinking cow's milk is perfectly okay for humans, to which a very kind Nutritionist named Marty Davey answered:

"First, I want to see the video of the guy who convinced the other guy to pull a cow's teet and get the first milk.

Next, ask them why they drink another species breast milk which is supposed to turn a 60 pound calf into a 600 pound cow in si...x months. We don't let babies drink it due to the protein differences btn human and cow milk. The cow milk will kill them.

Then, ask them why they would want to ingest something that has been linked to breast, prostate and ovarian cancer?

Remind them that you are sure they did their homework and know that tofu is #1 in absorbable calcium in the US. Cow milk is #7, after collards, bok choy and kale.

Then, I would say I understand why you can't give up something that acts as an opiate in the body. Junkies can always justify.

Lastly, I would ask them to read the China Study and show you where you are out to lunch on this 'dairy thing.'"
How do you think Roni would respond to that?
Next, kind words from Habib Wicks, the co-owner of, who answered me in my time of need:

"this might get me flamed, but I have done some hard time in some "rich" areas of the country, while married. NYC, Palm Beach County and now Boulder. What I observe is that women control the social agenda/narrative, while the men are working... and totally removed from this narrative. Now, we all know that women relate to other women differently than how men deal with men. My observation is that if the WRONG women control things, bad things happen. If women like Wendy speak up and dont back down, good things will happen. It is almost a binary thing. I'm not even a vegan- what I am fighting for is a modicum of nutritional intelligence. I know that Dr F is more frustrated than you are Wendy. My own view is that the narrative is everything. And in that context, the person with the most courage wins."

And then this book was pointed out to me: Whitewash, the Disturbing Truth About Cow's Milk and your Health. A nice summary of the book came from one of the reviewers on"Isn't milk supposed to be good for us and doesn't it make our bones healthy? Even into the third chapter I was still thinking this can't be right...milk is good for us. I have been throughly brainwashed or "whitewashed" to think this by all the "Got Milk" ads and the multi-billion dollar milk industry. The author, Joseph Keon sites a multitude of articles and peer-reviewed medical journals and certain points of the book it is daunting to see the risks of milk. The sheer amount of research and overwhelming documentation against the benefits of milk and the risks and complications with drinking milk is disturbing. It's a milk fallacy that we have all grown up believing that we need to drink milk to be healthy. We are the only animals that drink milk after infancy. Even though we drink more milk than most countries we have a higher incidence of hip fractures. Milk increases the risks of obesity, diabetes and many other conditions. This book has not only changed my health but the health of my family. This book is a must read for everyone who drinks milk."
So what do you all think? Do I have the courage to fight this fight? Should I?

P.S. Found some great links this morning you might want to check out:

Brenda Davis RD talks about vegan junk food and the healthy way to be vegan.

Sara Novak talks about how do do healthy vegan on a budget.


Linda said...

Hi Wendy,

I'm new to your site but I've been coming back day after day because of the wonderful information, recipe ideas, and links you provide. I'm only 4 weeks strong on my "Eat to Live" journey and I appreciate all the help I can get to become better educated on the topic of food and health, and to find what works for me.

In cyberspace, communication is instantaneous. It has incredible benefits--and hazards. With the light of day, do you really view your exchange with the other blogger over milk products as a "fight?" That is a powerful word that has strong connotations attached to it. I would rather categorize it as a spirited exchange of ideas and a debate about personal lifestyles. Clearly, both of you are strong women with strong viewpoints, and that can make for great conversation as long as neither one of you lets it get personal.

That being said, my thoughts while reading your exchange with the other blogger were, "Wendy, take a deep breath and focus." Passion is a wonderful thing, and I admire that trait in you, but yeah, you kind of went into attack mode at the end and that has the risk of diluting your message.

I think the other blogger did agree with a lot of what you were saying--she just isn't where you are in the journey, and that's okay. Do I think you should pursue this with her? If you're asking for an opinion, I would advise that you let this one go on HER site. Continue to visit her blog, continue to be visible with your comments so others can find you, but respect your role as a guest there and use your own site to spread your message. Perhaps you can continue the dialogue with her off-site through e-mail. A phone call might even be better so that the nuances of conversation don't get misconstrued as something they're not.

I hope you take my comments in the spirit with which they are intended. I would very much like you to succeed in your goal of educating people on healthy eating, but the saying, "You attract more bees with honey than vinegar" might be a better approach. You can't win them all, as much as we'd like to--sometimes you have to be selective about which hill you want to die on. In the end, only you can decide if this hill is the one.

Sindy said...

I love it Wendy. Keep fighting the good fight.

Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) said...

Linda-You are a brilliant woman! Everything you said in your comment has already happened--the discussion got taken off-site and into e-mail, and yes, the term "fight" is me using a bit of poetic license for effect.

And you are also dead on about cyberspace being the WORST place for healthy debate--all of the real emotion is lost and what is left are just words which are so easily misconstrued. In NO WAY was I coming from a place of trying to insult her or anyone! Quite the opposite! I want to educate and inform, not insult.

Anyway, I think my days of commenting on non-vegan blogs are numbered. You are right, this is a program of attraction, not promotion!

Lynze said...

I suggested that she view the movie "Forks over Knives". Everyone should read China Study and Reversing Heart Disease but not everyone will take the time to read either of these. The movie is an upbeat recap of all the studies. We took 5 carnivore friends to the movie and they are all rethinking their diets. Before seeing the movie, no amount of discussion of the books or even purchasing the books for them made any difference.

MSilver said...

You are the best Wendy and you can only change the world one person at a time. I'm with you on this....If you're craving an oreo with milk, resist that urge, and have a banana with a cup of almond milk, heck even drink some chocolate almond milk, if you want to go crazy. COME ON PEOPLE!

It was hard for me to make the switch at first, but now even the thought of drinking a glass of milk tastes so bad. I love almond milk so much! It was that 9 day period, of drinking it.

Keep up the good work!!!

Wendy (Healthy Girl) said...

Thanks for the support guys!

Sherry said...

Hi Wendy: I came upon your post a few weeks ago via a link. I really love your site. Until 6 months ago I was on the "animal products are okay" view as well as everything in moderation. I am transforming on a daily basis, but have based my change on not what others are saying, but by reading and getting the best source of information to make my decision.9Cina study, Joel Furhman, ect) I also have a daughter who has become vegetarian after taking a college course which examined our food culture. She enlighted me to the issues with our food industry and how the whole industry markets everything. My transition was slow, but through being informed, I made the decisions right for me. I am in your corner. No one wants a blog fight, but maybe you have set the wheels in motion for change on the subject of dairy in the case of the ww blogger. I am also a lifetime WW and also worked for the company for about a year. I do not support the program as I learned there are better ways to eat and live, not obsess over points and think about food 24/7. Keep being the rep that you are to good health. I think the only was we can convince people of change is being an example.

Wendy (Healthy Girl) said...

Thank you sooooo much Sherry!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is always a huge topic for debate, and I think it is fair to say that we all have unique bodies that require different fuel to thrive. I believe that our family is very healthy and we do consume local, raw milk. My husband just had blood work done for life insurance, and his tests ranked him in the top 1%. We don't eat refined sugar, processed foods, and we eat a lot of greens and other veggies. However, we are both tall and slender, and have problems with losing weight if we cut out dairy and meat. I guess I just don't think this is a black and white topic, and that we can say that all kinds of milk are bad for all people. I would say that for an infant that is unable to breastfeed, raw goat milk would be a much better option that formula, which is packed full of soy and lots of other crap. And, I want to add that soy is not really our friend either. Small amounts of fermented soy have a place in a healthy diet, but all of the processed soy products wreak havoc on our health, and even soy milk and tofu should be eaten in moderation.

Mary said...

I'm a new subscriber and wow - do I ever love your blog! As a die-hard nutritarian, I subscribe to a lot of whole foods, vegan type blogs and it's your posts that always catch my attention. Keep up the great work...and keep fighting the good fight! :)

The concept of the narrative is so fascinating, and I'm thrilled this topic is finally ripe for discussion. There seems to be a zeitgeist for these issues right now and it's going to be interesting to see where we all are in a few years when it comes to dairy and meat.

Thanks for the compelling milk arguments. I'm going to remember those next time this debate comes up!

Spudsmama said...

I recently subscribed to your blog after reading The China Study, but I'm looking for recipes and info about veganism, not about fighting with other bloggers who don't eat the way you choose. Did I miss where the other blogger claimed to be vegan? Linda put it very politely, but frankly, when I come to a blog, the last thing I want is drama.


Amy said...

I am working towards a vegan diet. I have made major gains with decreasing my intake of animal protein and was a huge red meat eater before. I recently but out all milk products in my children's diet ( ages 3 and 2 year old twins). We stopped the dairy mainly because of ear fluid issues, enlarged tonsils, and diaper rashes. My 3 year old was having issues with snoring and sleep apnea related to his enlarged tonsils and also just breathing issues in general. Milk has been out of their diet for 3 weeks now and there are so many positive changes for all 3 kids, but the most obvious is my older son. All 3 loved milk so removing it was really young, but I am so glad we have and they will not be getting animal milk any more. Now I just need to move more towards a vegan diet myself. One step at a time. I will get there!

Lisa Cardosi said...

Dear Wendy,

I hope you realise how much you are helping people to change their lives for the better. Thankyou and thankyou again. You are on fire at the moment. Go with your strength and your courage and your truth. One moment super bowl (so exciting and I am in New Zealand with no superbowl) and the next standing up to the milk issue. Wow!!

elizabet said...

Bravo! Bravo! I agree and support you!!!

Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day said...

I think as far as fighting the fight, winning people over with good food is the way to go. I have a perspective as a mother of a two kids. One eat meat. One is a lacto ovo vegetarian. I make them green smoothies with yogurt and milk sometimes and my motto is I'd rather have them have a green smoothie. I wish everyone held my views and beliefs when it came to food, but they don't and it's really really hard to change people's minds.
I say don't wast your energy on conversations like that if your intent is to get them to change.
Instead, keep on blogging about your awesome food and how great your feeling and doing what you're doing!

VivaciousVegan said...

Hi Wendy,

I would like to see everyone listen to the reasons why not to consume milk. If everyone in the United States would become a vegan, we could end world hunger. Disease would eventually be reversed and obesity would be an urban myth. I really like how passionate you are about the foods we eat. You remind me of me about 15 years ago. LOL I was always standing on my soap box and preaching the ways of veganism, health and wellness, not to mention recycling, reducing waste and reversing our global footprint. Welcome to hippy movement edition 2.2011! LOL

Danielle said...

Hi Wendy,
I am constantly stunned by how much the general public has misinformation about nutrition, even experts. Plant strong, nutritarians, whatever we call ourselves, have to get used to teaching other people about nutrition and to prepare to feel like outsiders and even get called names like "radical," as the other blogger phrased it. I hate that and it sucks, however, Dr. Fuhrman, Colin Campbell, the Esstelyns, etc. are pioneers. I say offer the information but don't push. When someone says no, they say no. Some people are ok with the risk of putting casein in their diet. We can't change that, but we cannot deny our responsibility to share our knowledge with others.
I always enjoy your blog Wendy!

Leanne said...

My view on this: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

Likewise, you can put healthy eating info in front of people, but some (most?) of them will still choose the Big Mac Heart Attack combo.

Cow milk isn't healthy. The reason people consume it is purely habit and society / cultural pressure. We buy it - when my parents come over to stay, for their coffee. Apart from that, never.

My kids drink soy or rice milk, and I drink water, black tea or juice (occasionally). Oh, and smoothies (yum). My husband is a black coffee drinker, trying to wean himself. But usually we all just drink water.

In the end, people will drink what they want, and no amount of common-sense or facts about whether what they're consuming is safe or not will stop them. Look at smokers - same thing. So give them the info, then back off is my tactic, otherwise I'm just being one of those annoying health nuts. And *everyone* hates them!

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled across this post and felt compelled to respond (something I don't normally do.) But I have to say that I agree with the other blogger, especially after reading your comments about the low success rate of Weight Watchers.
I faithfully followed WW and easily lost 55 pounds by just eating proper proportions ("all things in moderation" with little exercise). It was wonderful until I had a stressful year of college and was working non-stop on campus for 14 hours a day as well as going in on weekends to finish projects. When I'm stressed, I want to eat. When I get stuck on campus till 9PM, it throws off my schedule. I let myself slip and gave into my cravings, and now I've gained back all my weight.
But that is a flaw with ME. Not with WW. It did work when I made myself follow it. I felt so much healthier and emotionally better just from eating a healthy amount of food and weighing less. I am starting on it again now that things in my life have calmed down a bit. I'm already eating more fruits and veggies and less of other foods, because that's what WW suggests.
And around once every few weeks or so, I am, in fact, wanting and able to indulge in drinking usually less than 1/4 cup of cows' milk, because it does have calories and I have to balance it with everything else I'm eating. I have read what others have said about whether cows' milk is healthy or not, but I'm not going to worry about giving up the little amount I will consume this year until there are Surgeon General warnings on the cartons like there are on cigarettes. (I find myself wondering, why do cows even exist if we cannot drink their milk or eat their meat?)
I am unhealthy not because of WHAT I choose to eat, but because of HOW MUCH I CHOOSE to eat.
Both our ways of eating are lifestyle changes. WW is MY lifestyle change. It isn't wrong and it isn't better than yours. It's what works and what is best for me. It makes me a healthier, happier person. It is only my failing willpower that has kept it from working in the past. There is no problem with the program. The problem lies in my personal battle to make good choices.
I hope these comments have been taken in the spirit they were offered. I am not trying to condone anyone's way of life; I am simply trying to show the reasoning behind my support of the "other side" of the issue. But really--does it matter HOW we get healthy as long we are doing SOMETHING to make our lives better?

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