I used to think that I was lactose intolerant, or rather, I was somewhat lactose intolerant as a kid. Asian families aren't very big on dairy products as far as I know, and I didn't grow up drinking milk (or eating cereal) or eating cheese. I guess most of my dairy consumption came from eating ice cream.
Today I was just thinking about how I used to abhor milk (in 9th grade I did a presentation in my health class about how milk was unhealthy and the only person that agreed with me was my teacher; the rest of the class thought I was seriously insane) yet today am more accepting of it. I don't think milk is really great, but I don't think it's the worst thing in the world either. It's a bit hypocritical of me to accept dairy after telling all my friends to never drink milk, but I don't actually drink milk per se, rather I eat ice cream every now and then or eat something else that has milk in it (and I'd rather eat butter than most other fats).
U.S. Food Policy reminded me about the suckness of the milk industry, which I hate for the most part (actually, I hate a lot of big food related industries...maybe it's comparable to a music lover hating big music companies). I'm sick of hearing that you have to drink milk in order to have strong bones/not have your arms fall off/not get osteoporosis. I'm no expert but maybe it would make more sense to tell people to stop drinking so much soda instead of drinking more milk. Of course, you can't tell people to decrease their consumption of something, especially soda, as it's one of the biggest moneymakers in the world. Loverly.
I learned that most of the world is lactose intolerant from my own quest to uncover the satanic origins of milk and from the nutrition class I took last year. However, I've been wondering how serious it really is as I don't know anyone who's lactose intolerant. Not so much that they can't eat dairy, at least. Figuring i know quite a lot of people (most of them Asian), you'd think one of them would be lactose intolerant. I decided I wasn't lactose intolerant after eating ice cream and not having any kind of intestinal explosion (however, I felt weird after eating Smoochies' lactose-free ice cream; I wouldn't recommend it, even though it initially tasted good). Or maybe I AM lactose intolerant but don't consume enough lactose to feel the effects. Or. I DUNNO!
Even if they're not all lactose intolerant, a great deal of the world's population has managed to survive without milk, contrary to what the dairy association has led the American population to believe about milk being necessary to building bones that won't turn into dust. When I was little I thought those "got milk?" ads were cute, but now they make me want to puke, besides making me wonder how much the celebrities got paid to wear their milk mustaches.
One of the main points I would use when telling people why they shouldn't drink milk was that milk is designed for calves, not humans. For the most part, humans are the only animals on Earth that consume milk into adulthood (I know that humans are the only animals on Earth who do a LOT of things, but this one is pretty basic). It's not really necessary, eh? I find it funny how people would cringe at the idea of drinking human milk but don't mind drinking cow's milk even though human milk is meant for human consumption. Of course, it's social conditioning--we're accustomed to drinking cow's milk. Can you imagine lugging a gallon of human milk home from the supermarket?
Oh, and I just remembered a random problem: people who replace cow's milk with soymilk. Even though I'm not big on milk, I find soy milk even worse. Why? Processing. At least milk is just made from the cow, while soymilk is mashed soybean juice. Ish. Soymilk obviously hasn't been around as long as plain ol' animal milk. When I was little I would drink soymilk on the infrequent occasion of going out for a traditional Chinese breakfast at which there would be a bowl of warm soymilk accompanied by those freaky puffed up fried bread sticks (mmmmm, oily). We never drank it at home though, nor did we drink milk.
Another thing that annoys me is how so many people buy low fat milk. First off, I had no idea people consumed so much milk (and soda) until I worked as a bagger in a grocery story. Holy. Crap. People buy shitloads of milk (although they buy even more soda; bagging those 1-liter bottles was such a pain in the ass). I think most of the milk people bought was low-fat. To me, this is almost as silly as buying low carb bread (which is just...really stupid), but it's widely accepted and some people just like the taste of low-fat milk more than whole. Alright. I don't drink much besides water (definite no-nos: coffee, alcohol, soda) so I can't imagine wanting to drink plain milk. A milk shake? Now THAT's a different story. ;)
...wow, did I write this much about milk? I don't even have a point to this post. Overall, I don't think drinking milk is the worst thing in the world, but saying that one needs to have it as part of a healthy diet is misleading. Because you probably don't. If you're going to drink milk, at least get the good whole kind that hopefully isn't full of hormones and antibiotics (think about all those cows with diseased udders, mm yum!).
Oh, I just remembered something pretty random. Asians probably aren't huge on eating dairy products but I remember when I lived in Taiwan that there were craploads of ice cream shops, mainly in department stores (of which there are CRAPLOADS). Even though I didn't eat LOADS of ice cream in Taiwan, I'm sure I ate more there than I have in NYC. It's disgustingly hot and humid in Taiwan so I guess that works out and would explain why they have that ice slush dessert, which I NEVER ATE in Taiwan to my knowledge. I think they put red bean, fruit, and condensed milk on top...or something. Anyhoo, my mum would always get taro ice cream, which for some reason I didn't like back then but would love to have now. I tried the taro ice cream from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory but it disappointed me since it wasn't very taro-filled. The coconut and ginger are golden though.
And I swear this post is over now.