Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

“Special” dairy education kit targeting African Americans January 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Amie "Breeze" Harper @ 8:22 pm

Wow, this is quite upsetting to me. Vegan or not, if my body were to constantly become “sick” because I’m eating cow dairy products, this is an indication that it should NOT be in my body, period. However, look at this wording in this “special” campaign targeted towards African Americans:

Minorities who have experienced gastrointestinal problems consuming milk are learning new strategies to enjoy milk and other dairy foods. This means that minorities (and non-minorities) with lactose intolerance may no longer need to miss out on essential nutrients provided by dairy foods. The health consequences of avoiding dairy foods, the major source of dietary calcium, potassium, and vitamin D as well as providing other essential nutrients, may be especially serious for African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native American Indians. Many minorities are at high risk of hypertension, stroke, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, and colon cancer – diseases in which a low intake of dairy and dairy nutrients (e.g., calcium, vitamin D, potassium) can be a contributing factor.

I am severely lactose intolerance. Ever sense I removed cow dairy from my body, 4.5 years ago, my intestinal health, skin health, sinus allergies, eczema, fibroid tumors, etc have virtually disappeared. This is my own personal experience with abandoning cow dairy products as an African American female who is severely lactose intolerant. I find this new ad very dangerous and irresponsible, as I can’t imagine how my health would have progressed (or not progressed), had I attempted to keep these products in my system and listened to the National Dairy Council. But to suggest that a severely lactose intolerant person will be at risk for hypertension, colon cancer, etc for not having these products in their system is very misleading and creates unnecessary fear.

Just imagine if those who are gluten-sensitive were told to be “scared” of getting certain diseases from not eating wheat. Instead, it’s accepted and they are given alternatives, like rice flour, buckwheat, lentil flour, teff flour, etc., and eating multiple grains like these are “just as healthy” as gluten products.
The complete information can be found at:
and the quote I cited is from:



15 Responses to ““Special” dairy education kit targeting African Americans”

  1. To say nothing of the claim that dairy = vitamin D, either. The vitamin D in dairy is ADDED. It’s not naturally occurring in cow’s milk. One can get vitamin D just as easily by drinking other fortified beverages, like soy milk or orange juice.

    • I just got off the phone with my 82 year old grandma. She has osteoporosis so badly that she is bedridden probably for the rest of her life.

      After she asked me if I knew anything she could take to not let her condition worsen, I explained to her sunlight and whole foods help; dark leafy greens with Calcium. Sher responded that she gets her Calcium in 4 glasses of milk per day. She also has intestinal ailments, constipation issues, recent hemorroid(sp?) surgery, etc. I seriously question this. She does not consider my advice at all, and doesn’t understand that she would not be so constipated if she ate dark leafy greens every day, and drank WATER in place of those 4 glasses of milk.

      But, I’m assuming this is the advice her “doctors” tell her. I’m sorry, but aren’t there plenty of research reports that question if osteoporosis is connected to overconsumption of cow milk? I wonder if her years of cow dairy, and she being African American and having sensitivity to it only exacerbated her bone health problems… and her addiction to eating KFC every day. So, when I see the National Dairy Council targeting people like my grandma, convincing them that they are at risks for disease if they don’t get cow dairy, really upsets me to no end.

  2. Alicia Says:

    This enrages me! Hypertension, stroke, osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, and colon cancer are all most likely to be caused by dairy products and meat consumption. My omnivore Nutrition professor (who is the dietitian for the Olympic gymnast and long distance runners) spent an entire week discussing the fact that a plant based diet is the most effective way to fight disease, especially cancer. He rolled out study after study after study – highly reputable peer reviewed studies as opposed to the dairy councils studies which are usually not peer reviewed and are 99.9% of the time doctored up to meet their financial needs. This just sickens me! I’m printing the article out and taking it to my Health & Culture class tomorrow this should spur an interesting first day of class discussion.

  3. Wow, I hadn’t seen this “edumacation” yet from the Dairy Council, amazing. It reminds me of the promo they did in trying to get parents to give milk products “in moderation” to their lactose intolerant children. Considering that lactase production typically decreases with age, I almost thought it was cruel to test little ones on milk this way, considering they would probably become more and more intolerant, and there are so many healthy alternativese out there! Thanks for pointing this out, I will take a read.

  4. adam Says:

    Even more egregious is the marketing of infant formula to women of color as a substitute for breastfeeding. Possibly hundreds of thousands of black and brown babies have died from the manipulative marketing of these dairy-based products in the name of nutrition. If you care to be more outraged, you can read a recent blog of mine that gives more examples of nutritional racism.

    • I speak from experience that I nearly died from being on diary based formula. The doctors could not figure out why I was so damn sick as a baby and could not assimilate anything and was always sh*tting my brains out. My mother suggested to them that it could be the milk, but they basically laughed at her. What would a black woman with a high school diploma in 1976 “know” in comparison to the baby doctor (white males at the time)? Why would she have a better intuition about her baby’s health than the doctors…? (Yes , I am being sarcastic) Just really upsets me, as being sick until the age of 6 when it was finally “accepted” I was lactose intolerant, really really upsets me. I’m convinced that 6 years of killing my digestive system with milk products is the reason why I have such a weak digestive system. It never got a chance to fully develop because of arrogant doctors who simply could not fathom that “nature’s perfect food” is not so perfect.

  5. Joselle Says:

    This is really maddening. The research is clear on low-fat, plant-based diets being the best bet for lowering risks for cardiovascular disease and cancer. LOW-FAT dairy in moderation is included in these recommendations because these so-called health organizations cannot fathom a life without meat and dairy. It doesn’t, however, make those products helpful. Just less hurtful than the full-fat stuff. And I thought that whole 3-a-day bunk was recently dismissed as just that?

    The Dairy Council’s use of the word “advertorial” makes me want to punch something. There is no such thing! They are just trying to make their blatant commercial stance sound more neutral. ARGHHHH!

    As you said, Breeze, why can’t we just say that people who are lactose intolerant should not ingest cow’s milk? You’re right. We don’t force people with Celiac Disease to get used to whole-wheat bread. We don’t ask that children with nut allergies ingest a little bit of peanuts. There is a reason so many people are lactose intolerant. We don’t need to drink another animals’ milk!

    Breeze, I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother’s health conditions.

  6. Megan Ellen Says:

    Wow, this is so irresponsible it’s not even funny. Eff the dairy council.

  7. Louche Says:

    Well, Alisa, I don’t know about lactase decreasing with age from my own experience. I remember learning about lactose intolerance and recognizing a slight intolerance in myself at age 15. I started drinking more milk then to see if I could prevent it in the future, and it worked. My lactose intolerance *decreased* when I was consuming a lot of milk. And it increased when I was not. And I met someone else with the same experience. That’s all I know about that. As a vegan, my lactose intolerance is, no doubt, increasing more steadily than ever before. But I’ve only been off cow milk for three months.

    I guess the NDC could just say that one should consume Lactaid. My university stocks huge amounts of that which I never see anyone drinking, bizarrely enough. You’d think people would try soy milk or something else instead.

    Alicia, that will make for an interesting class discussion!

  8. johanna Says:

    I had the polar opposite experience from Louche. I know now I’ve pretty much been lactose intolerant my whole life — I always ate a fair amount of milk & other dairy products & had some stomach issues to deal w/ (how many kids in kindergarten know the word diarrhea & are familiar enough w/it — & wacky, I guess — to describe their bus driver’s hair as ‘diarrhea-colored’? Hahaha… ). Those issues got definitively & unbearably worse as I got older… until shortly after college I gave up dairy (excepting tiny amounts in things like donuts — this was all before I went vegan, of course). It helped immeasurably. My lactose intolerance definitely grew worse w/time & continued/probably-increased dairy consumption.

    Breeze — I wonder if I have a tender tummy still (8+ years after cutting out almost all dairy & 1 1/2 years after going vegan — tho’ it is so so much better than it was!) for the same reasons, years of eating dairy when it was making me sick. Sigh.

  9. Brandi Says:

    Goes to show, “they” don’t give a damn about anything but profit.

  10. ThoughtCriminal Says:

    Yea, this really irritates me too.
    I’ve had many stomach problems since as far back as I can remember. Some were minor and others we’re completely debilitating, but not a day went by that I wasn’t in some kind of discomfort. I was taken to many doctors throughout my life and not a single one suggested that consuming cow’s milk was the problem. I often was told that the only thing I could do about it was take medications (none of which worked).
    I went vegan one day several years ago (not for health reasons) and after about a month i noticed that my horrible stomach cramps, as well as other unpleasant associated issues, were completely gone. This is not to mention that my energy went up, my skin cleared up, and I no longer had a ton of built up mucus in the winter time.
    It really pisses me off that we people who cannot digest cows milk are told that we have a problem or intolerance or are not normal or whatever when the majority of the Earth’s population cannot digest it without getting sick. I mean, humans getting sick off of it makes sense since cow’s milk is meant to be consumed by calves, not growing, or completely grown, humans. Apparently common sense isn’t widely taught in medical schools.

  11. supernovadiva Says:

    and they wonder why pocs don’t trust the medical establishment….
    my experience is that in my town WIC no longer allows soy milk to be bought as an alternative to regular milk because ‘lactose free’ milk is available. i, unfortunately, at one point was on WIC. the ‘lactose free’ formula and milk was making my family sick, let alone my daughter constantly spitting up and haivng breathing problems. fortunately i kept breastfeeding her and gave the milk away (they give you 12 cartons a month) as well as the formula. i still don’t allow my daughter dairy and people are surprised that though she has allerigies, she has never had an ear infection. my asthma is gone as well as the other issues i was having. giving up dairy was against doctors’ orders.
    well you know government and agribusiness are bedfellows.

    you guys remember the dairy calcium is good for weight loss campaign that was shut down? i HIGHLY doubt anyone will fight the new claims because, ya know, its targeting us and we need guidance (eye roll).

  12. adam Says:

    There’s a recent news story about the recent development of a dairy industry in China in the LA Times. Apparently, the good intentions of some in the government thought it was a good idea to increase their herds from 100,000 cows to 14 million in several years to bring prosperity to the northern region. The government then “spread the word that children needed to drink milk to grow as strong and tall as Westerners.” With the grain crisis, dairy farmers are in major debt and some have resorted either slaughtering the cows or feeding them melamine. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese are now sick.

  13. Charles Says:

    Glad to find this site:)

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