On the subway this morning, I saw a mother holding a Yoohoo bottle while her daughter sipped from the straw. This little girl was probably 5 or 6 years old.  The woman simultaneously pulled powdered donuts out of a plastic wrapper and fed her powdery bites in between the gulps of Yoohoo.  The girl kept protesting, saying no more, but her mother kept pushing the stuff towards her.  Why? She was trying to feed her daughter “breakfast.”

I get so fired up when I see scenes like this.

I don’t know if it’s because I have bizzarly intense maternal instincts, but I wanted to smack those donuts out of that woman’s hands and yell “Shame on you! Do you know what you’re doing to your daughter?!”  Immature? Probably. But whatever, we can blame it on my age.

On the other hand, this woman probably doesn’t know what she’s doing to her daughter.  As far as she knows, chocoalte milk and donuts are a perfectly acceptable breakfast for a 6 year old.  I mean, isn’t that what countless marketing campaigns and ads tell our country every day?  They tout the benefits of milk;  how it builds strong bones,  how it prevents osteoporosis, etc etc etc.  Fact is, that the two countries that consume the most cow’s milk, US and Canada, have the highest rates of osteoporosis.  Got milk campaign? Don’t get me started.

Yes,  cow’s milk contains calcium.  However, cow’s milk is the number one allergic food.   Milk loses 50% of its available calcium during pasteurization.  Low fat and skim milk make calcium virtually unavailable because fat is necessary for the proper transportation and absorption of calcium.  (From Allergies:  Disease in Disguise, Dr. Carolee Bateson-Koch DC, ND)

coconut milk before it was thrown into my morning smoothie

Chick peas have 150 calcium milligrams (per 100-gram serving), soybeans have 226 milligrams, almonds have 234 milligrams, and sesame seeds have 1,160 milligrams. Milk has 118 milligrams per serving.  118!  Can you believe it?

The California Milk Processors board spent nearly FORTY million dollars on the Got Milk campaign.  Why don’t we spend millions of dollars promoting the calcium benefits in chick peas?  Because chick peas can’t increase sales by billions of dollars the way cow’s milk can, that’s why.

It’s important to think about why we eat the way we do; why “American” cheese is so integral to the “American” barbecue, why only “real men eat meat” and why we think “milk builds strong bones.”  Because, really… does it?

PS. This was one of the first pictures that came up when I Googled “american meals”… YEAH AMERICA!