When I was pregnant with our firstborn. It was my chance, my opportunity to create the world for our child, the perfect world, with love, peace, and kindness. My first step was to nourish my body, offering the best of nutrients for fetal development.
I read the right books, chatted with other mothers who have gone on the path before. I sought their seasoned wisdom and the best most recent information. The “pregnancy bible” at that time was a book called What To Expect When Expecting. I would crawl into bed from as early as 6 weeks pregnant and read the related chapters, “Pregnancy: Week 12” etc., anticipating what was coming in the next weeks, learning as much as I could to facilitate the best possible outcome from this gift of love.
I remember clearly the chapter on nutrition and the related recommendations for calcium and dairy. The recommendation was to supplement with calcium and/or to drink three, full-fat glasses of milk every day. I took this to heart, ordered full-fat glasses of milk in restaurants, and drained cartons of milk at home.
This heavy dairy consumption went on for my first pregnancy, then I gave birth to a beautiful son and within a year was pregnant with my second son. For me, having a second baby was not so glamorous. It was more a drudgery of tired energy and of collapsing into bed at 7pm nightly. Then awaking early enough with the other baby in your arms and eating a frozen waffle or two for quick nourishment. I still made sure to have my three, full-fat glasses of milk every day though. I was a wonderful mother.
Before my second son was born I noticed a lump in my breast while nursing my first born…small but it was there. I was 36 years old, not young for motherhood but I felt young enough to not be concerned about any serious health issues such as breast cancer. I remembered a chapter in What To Expect When Expecting, not sure the topic, but it went like this “a baby will refuse to nurse from a breast with cancer.” He seemed to nurse okay and so I left the lump alone and chalked it up to being blocked milk ducts. I even had a family physician briefly examine around it and agreed.
After my second baby was born, he never nursed well. He choked and sputtered and kicked and seemed to drown a little bit. I also chalked that up to blocked milk ducts and the fact that some babies nurse well and others don’t. It wasn’t a big deal. We gave him a bottle.
When he was 18 months old, the lump became something beyond explanation. It was now the size of an egg and happened seemingly overnight. Could it have been from all that milk I drank? But cow’s milk was recommended in that “pregnancy bible.”
Perhaps, I would have gotten cancer eventually but I knew the dairy fueled the growth. When I watched the documentary, Forks Over Knives my head began to nod. It supported knowledge I already knew.
When I took the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate, data was presented on the connection between “casein” (found in milk) and cancer, specifically the propagation of cancer. This scientific evidence validated my knowledge. I now know that dairy has no place in our human nutrition message, our medical books, our health education, or our physicians’ education.
High dairy consumption robbed me of my chance to just love my babies and filled my life with worry and fear when I just wanted to be a wonderful mother. The discovery of the whole food, plant-based diet has helped me to live vibrantly healthy.
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