January 11 – National Milk Day

Posted on January 11, 2019

On this date in 1878, cow's milk began to be delivered to homes in the United States in sterilized glass bottles.

It's pretty hard to believe that, when I was growing up, there was a milkman who came to my house many days of the week. Do kids even know what "milkman" means, nowadays? Perhaps they think that was someone who milked cows?

Anyway, milk really can "do a body good." It is full of nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and magnesium, all of which are proven to help build and maintain strong bones; like riboflavin, vitamins B12 and A, zinc, thiamine, and selenium; like protein; like linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Why are so many people super skeptical of milk's health benefits? Why are internet memes like the one below so popular?

  • Some people don't like milk.
  • Some people don't easily tolerate dairy products, being lactose intolerant.
  • Some people point out that many common practices in the dairy industry are cruel.
  • Some people pride themselves on being vegan - which means not eating any of the food products from animals: including no meat, no eggs, and no dairy products.
  • Some people love to busy themselves with judging other people's food choices. I'm not sure why.

As many others have pointed out, "humans are the only species that..." is a silly argument. After all, humans are ALSO the only species that drinks a hot beverage made from steeping leaves in boiling water...and we're the only ones who make and eat fruit salad...and we're the only ones who travel by bicycle...and we're the only ones who make internet memes sneering at those who drink milk!

Or, as one Twitter user put it, "We're also the only species that drinks peach mango pineapple spirulina kale smoothies, Karen!"

Of course, there are some good reasons for some people to avoid dairy, including milk, but "Gross!" and "It's unnatural for humans to drink another species' milk" and "Humans are the only species that drinks milk after infancy" aren't good reasons. And finishing off any of those sillinesses with the false claim that "dairy is bad for you" is just wrong.

By the way, many people around the world drink milk - but certainly not all drink cow's milk. Here are some of the more common mammals whose milk people drink, other than cows:

Water buffalo







Children's literature includes tales of the Swiss
girl Heidi, shown here having goat's milk shot
right to her mouth!

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