And we survived…

I have received three litres of products that substitute milk.

A Norwegian company wants to know if I’m interested in investing in the production of this new type of food, because, according to the opinion of an expert, David Rietz, ‘ALL (the capital letters are his) cow’s milk has 59 active hormones and substantial amount of fat, cholesterol, dioxins, bacteria and viruses.’
I think of calcium, which ever since I was a child, I heard my mother say was good for the bones, but the expert anticipated my thought: ‘Calcium? How are the cows able to acquire sufficient calcium for their voluminous bone structure? From the plants!’

Of course, the new product is made from plants, and milk is condemned based on innumerable studies done at the most diverse institutes spread throughout the world.

And its proteins? David Rietz is implacable: ‘I know that people call milk the liquid meat (I never heard that expression, but he must know what he is talking about) due to its high amount of protein.

But it is the protein that makes calcium not able to be absorbed by the organism. Countries with a rich diet in proteins also show a high index of osteoporosis (lack of calcium in our bones).’

On that same afternoon, I receive a text my wife found on the Internet: ‘Those who are between 40 and 60 years old today drove cars with children sat lose on the back seat, having fun and jumping around.

I, for example, am part of a generation that built the legendary soapbox cars (I don’t know how to explain this to today’s generation – let’s say the ‘roller-skate wheels’ were metal balls fixed between two iron rings) and we would descend the steep streets of Botafogo, using our shoes as brakes, falling, hurting, but proud of the high-speed adventure.

Children were never right, they were always grounded, and that didn’t mean they had psychological problems of rejection or lack of love. In school there were good and bad students: the first went on to the next stage, the latter failed.

Psychotherapists weren’t sought out to study these cases – those who failed would just repeat the year.

And even so we survived despite some scratched knees and a few traumas. We not only survived, but we remember the time when milk wasn’t poison, when children would solve their problems without help, fight when necessary, and spend great part of the day without electronic games, inventing children’s plays with their friends.

But let’s go back to the initial issue of this column: I decided to try the new product that substitutes the killer milk. I couldn’t drink the second sip. I asked my wife and our housemaid to taste it without saying what it was, and both of them said they had never tasted anything so bad in their lives.

I’m concerned about the children of tomorrow, with their electronic games, parents with cell phones, psychotherapists helping out at every defeat, and – over all – having to drink this ‘magic potion’ that will keep them without cholesterol, osteoporosis, 59 active hormones, and toxins.

They’ll live with great health, considerable balance, and when they grow up they will discover milk (at this point, possibly an illegal beverage). Who knows a scientist of 2050 will take upon himself to rescue something that had been consumed since the beginning of times?

Or will milk only be obtained through drug dealers?


  1. liesha bear says:

    Ooowh no… I hope they won’t do that. I love milk so much. And I wouldn’t understand why people what to live a long life if they not even happy for that longest time? Lot’s of people I know does that…

  2. Wanderlaini A. Rodrigues says:

    Acredito que podemos viver muito bem sem o leite e carne, eu prefiro leite de soja. Ní£o adianta dizerem que era tudo como no passado, tudo mudou e com ele a qualidade dos alimentos. Até onde isso vai?
    Beijos, meu querido Paulo Coelho.

  3. Excellent post Sir Paulo Coelho! In fact Professor Jonathan Brostoff, who is a leading authority on allergies and food intolerance, from King’s College, London, believes that humans do not need to drink cow’s milk once we have left childhood. In his words: “We are not programmed for cows’ milk. We are the only species that continue to drink milk after we have stopped breastfeeding and we are the only species that drinks another species’ milk!’

    But where will I get my calcium? Dairy is certainly not the place! Dairy actually leaches calcium from your body. Check this out: The countries with the highest consumption of dairy also have soaring rates of osteoporosis. Are you connecting the dots? Milk is also one of the most common causes of food allergies and congestion (mucus) and high cholesterol. Got milk? No thanks. I get my abundant amounts of calcium from kale, cabbage, collards, mustard greens, seaweeds, sesame seeds (the best source), chickpeas, broccoli, watercress, raw nuts and lots of other plant friends. No stress on the body, mind, colon or environment. Perfect!

    To health! xo

  4. freckle says:

    I often wonder if OUR parents before us feared for all the changes WE were going through that they didn’t experience. I too feel a little nostalgic when I think back to my much safer childhood where the street light was my clock. We played soccer and baseball, hide and go seek and some sort of tackle game on the street or the large grassy area across the street with all the neighbourhood kids. I rode my bike to school and all over town and around town with my friends. It really was great! But I wonder if my parents thought their childhood was even better? I DO know my 18 year old daughter is quite happy with the way she has grown up (cell phone in hand, lap top, bike, soccer.. not much responsibility :( )

    Anyway.. my point is.. I think we just evolve. But perhaps each generation mourns what they have left behind. As for things like, new “evolved” evidence on milks (cow) negative effects on humans. I urge you to do your own research on the topic. Cows milk is designed to feed baby cows. It is designed to grow those baby cows into 1000lb heffers! It is loaded with cholesterol and casein <<< research that word. It is chiefly the reason (that and all the processed crap) our kids are so fat today! We really need to cut back on all the animal products laden with fat and cholesterol that we consume as humans today. I think perhaps today we just know better! :)

  5. Blanche says:

    We cannot live with fear and we shouldn’ t make our kids afraid of everything. But caution is not that bad if it isn’t talen to extremes, as no extreme is good. Other than that, I agree with you many times. best wishes

  6. Blanche says:

    Dear Sir…
    And yet, the fact that it has always been Like that, doesn’t mean it is Right. I remember when I was a little girl and most adults not only smoked around me but on me ( this was Very normal). It may be a just an unlucky coincidence but after the years, some relatives my age raised under the same or worse conditions, developed cancer. Providing that we eat what a few wish, basically in order to make them filthy rich, there is not much point in trying to be David agains Goliath. Furthermore, this whole thing of what is good or bad seems somewhat seasonal and common sense should, thus, prevail. Not because ” it has always been Like that ” but because información is useful if it is not used as a weapon to make markets sink or as far as it doesn’t become AN obssesion

  7. Izabel says:

    It’s not about the milk, it is about what it represents. A mother feeds her child from her milk and has done so for millinia. Milk is our first drop of sustinance; it provides us with nourishment, strength and most importantly, a sense of connection, love and security. What is it in this topsy turvey world that can do the same – that which has yet to be bastardised by those “who know best”…those without a profit in mind? We can’t go back in time, but we can go forward by looking back, simplifying and teaching our young that it is ok to fall, fail, be hurt. It is through adersity that we gain our strength – perhaps milk is that adversity??:)

  8. lina says:

    I share your fears about the direction in where the world and our youth are heading. It’s not about the mil. It’s about children being subjected to living in fear about the most minute things we once trusted. I wish we could go back to a simpler time…

  9. Gennarose says:

    Read the “China Study.” Surely, there are far worse toxins in the world, but the American diet is already so toxic, and so many dietary falsehoods are here touted as healthy, cow’s milk can actually be harmful. It is in fact a American Dairy Association lie that cow’s milk provides calcium, because it actually provides a lack of it. Truth.

  10. Karen says:

    Well…milk is bad for you, dont need a substitute, just dont drink the stuff! But a thumbs up to growing kids without resiliency, totally agree

  11. Gordon Jones says:

    Yes, it is good for kids to play outside and experience a bit of real life, but that doesn’t mean that milk is good for you. Several generations of slave owners thought it was good enough for their parents and grand parents etc. Yes, sometimes good things from the past are lost and should be reclaimed. However others are not, and Should be left there. Drinking milk and eating animals is not good for a person’s health. The production of meat is destroying our planet and the world’s water and food supply. Many people are afraid to open their minds or hearts to these ideas. Do the research yourself… Read “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell Phd, “Diet for a New America”by John Robbins, “The Kind Diet” by Alicia Silverstone, “The World Peace Diet” by Dr. Will Tuttle, watch a video called “Earthlings” on YouTube , check out numerous books and articles by Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Neal Barnard, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr to name a few. Watch a BBC documentary called “The Future of Food” . Big food and Drug companies definitely do not want you or anyone else to read these books or watch these films. They would prefer it, if people remained ignorant, over weight, unhealthy and mentally, physically and spiritually weak. They prefer people escaping reality by watching television or playing video games and eating the food company’s food and taking the drug company’s medication. Why? Because they still have lots of money to make! You Sir have been served with a challenge ! Let us see if you are a “Warrior of Light” : )

    1. Gordon,
      I would just like to say that not so many years ago, when kids drank milk, obesity was also not a problem… What you write about is true but should not be directed against milk. Maybe “Big Food” corporations are the ones trying to make you drink milk replacements…. I was raised in France, with milk, lots of dairy products such as cheese from RAW, UNpasteurized milk, butter and such. I was not overweight, neither were any of my friends and school mates. We played outdoors all day long, came home to hot cocoa and buttery snacks… I am today 45 and still very healthy, full of energy and enthusiasm for life.
      The problem of today does not reside with drinking cow’s milk, believe me.

  12. Gulshen says:

    We survived only to spend our adult lives trying to undo the damage done. Your books are a great seller because they help us to see our inner strengths and beauty that were robbed of us through this style of upbringing. We should be changing the way we raise our children as surviving is not enough,they should be Thriving!

  13. cristina cabral says:

    Querido Paulo, quanto tempo………… já ia entrar no seu blog, cadíª vc!
    Eu bebo leite, com café e com chocolate, mas minha filha e sobrinha bebem leite de soja.
    Espero que eles ní£o envenenem o leite. por que gosto.

  14. Debs Peploe says:

    There are so many examples of this nonsense in the world. Surely a lot of it is based on valid scientific research, and our lives are the richer for it. However, I have no doubt whatsoever that milk is very good for you. I grew up addicted to glugging a cold glass of milk. I had one with every meal, and often one or two in between. Even when I was in my late teens and early twenties, my parents would buy in extra milk when I came back in the holidays. As they poured Merlot into their glasses they would joke that I was ‘ on the white wine again’
    I am now 34 years old, have never had a cavity or a filling in my teeth, never broken a bone and on all medical check-ups have had low cholestorol. It could be an anomaly, but doubtful….many of these scares are invented in order to make money from the remedy

  15. Nessa says:

    I will have to disagree with this as well. Many people are actually naturally allergic to lactose, which is what is in cow’s milk. The fact that cows are fed and injected so many chemicals in order to overproduce milk is what makes it harmful. A more natural diet is what we need to get back into -less packaged items, if at all possible, the very least. Technology is a double-edged sword, a potion that once it enters the system cannot be taken away so lightly without major repercussions.

    So, I suppose we need to worry about US adults on how we share the technology and knowledge with the next generation, to show that they will be have to become far more responsible than we in order for technology to not run awry. There must be a balance between the luddite and the matrix.

  16. Maris says:

    This is a very interesting post and I totally agree with you Paulo. I am a mom to a beautiful 2 1/2 year old son. I had many issues with food and before my son started to eat I wanted to know what is the real meaning of healthy food and this word has so many meanings to so many people.
    Which ever way we want to see it – we should remember that food need to be a source of nourishment to our bodies.
    I am a big fan of raw milk from grass-fed cows – just the way that it used to be for many years.
    For people having milk from vegetable sources (soy, rice, etc) I will encourage them to find out what is it that you are really drinking.
    Traditional diets based on nourishing the body is what in my humble opinion we should focus on. I found great information on
    I hope this information may be useful.
    Lots of love to all x

  17. Morag says:

    We have survived with our instinct in place. Lol, our taste buds and built in BS detectors stop us falling into the hype trap. A lot of what is sold now as being healthy is an unhealthy addictive mix of junk. We get fat and keep some pharmaceutical companies making mega bucks

    It is a shame that the safety police restrict youngsters so much now a days.

  18. Sole says:

    Milk is the primary food for the same animal. It is not true that milk had been consumed since the beginning of the time! The human needs only human milk!

  19. Slavica says:

    It is very interesting reading,i feel much about what you wrote here;and i know you think the same,that times change and basically,you agree with the spirit of new era.Being just a mix of all cosmic magic,positive and negative physical particles,invented and now known yet,i am aware that there are many things we still don’t know,but also,there are lots of stuff that we think wrong of or it might be cause of these ‘playful’ particles from divine sphere to play around,and bring with them a devil’s influence,to change us and all around.
    So,i shall surrender to the changes and new sights,and if needed ,i might hold cow and milk in the pictures or find them in the stories i write or someone else.Thank you!

  20. I am, by far, no expert in this field and not sure if this is at all relevant, but, I remember reading somewhere about how in some parts of the world, cows are being fed and given some sort of steroids so as to speed up the process of their growth. Apparently, it started with the Mc Donald’s fast food chains. The normal and natural process wasn’t fast enough to provide the amount of meat they needed. So, by doing so artificially, the cows became sick and had to be given antibiotics. Now,. when we eat their meat, we are eating what WE, humans have fed them ( sick cow). Again, I am really no expert, but, it seems that we are labeling some foods as poisonous from our own actions. What if we would just go back to the way nature meant for it to be?

  21. I am a doctor.7 years i studied modern medicine, now i study traditional medicine as younanian or Iranian medicine, modern medicine looks at the persons in very details for example as a protein and carbohydrates and etc. But the traditional medicine look at the humanbeing not in details, for example modern medicine tells every one drink 8 glass of water per day even he or she r not thirsty but they shud drink( I realy dont know the ancient people that never drink water unwantedly how could survive?????!!!!!!! i think they all die very soon because of not drinking water!!!!!!!!!) but in traditional medicine beleives that our body is wise and could recognise the thirstiness then we shud not drink water unwantedly coz of this overload of water in our body the kidnies shoud work more and more to void the overload water our stomach doesnt know what to do with this water that body doesnt need it.Then i think modern medicine thinks that all people have lived before dont know about the health and just modern medicine know all the things,then it has been able to eradicate all diseases in the world !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Aksu says:

    Yup. I heard a nice thought, that really made me think. “there must be something wrong with the modern world, when we see, that “fox quides the chicken coop”, corporations quide the nature, politians quide the money chest and humans quide the gates of heaven…” What do you think of this? All is up side down…

  23. toñi says:

    Hoy me ha pasado algo extraño. Me iba a duchar y el agua salí­a helada, se habí­a roto la caldera y parecí­a que iba a explotar con unos ruinos muy raros. Entonces pienso “me tengo que duchar con dos cojones, a la de tres …ya!” después de ducharme y salir morada de frio de la bañera, me dispongo a intentar arreglar la caldera, la apago – la enciendo y…funciona perfectamente! y yo con una pulmoní­a a la vuelta de la esquina, curioso ¿verdad? pero sobreviviremos a todo porque el cuerpo humano es perfecto y lo aguanta todo. A veces una ducha helada va bien para el riego sanguí­neo y para aclarar las ideas, por cierto el frí­o da un dolor de cabeza tremendo.
    Un saludo a todos,

    1. Atreyu says:

      Pásate por el fisio, seguramente si tienes la zona de arriba de las espalda contracturada, con el frí­o se agarrote aun más y esto suele dar dolores de cabeza porque comprime los nervios y los vasos que van hacia la cabeza y pasan por allí­.

      El calor viene bien porque dilata, y al dilatar hace que se reduzca la presión que los músculos ejercen sobre la columna y dejar de estar tan apelmazados, pero estas cosas se corrigen con estiramientos, no hay pastillas para corregir estas cosas, los relajantes musculares alivian pero no solucionan el problema.

      Un saludo, y abrí­gate¡¡¡

  24. quratulain says:

    indeed its amazing to notice that all those products our parents/grand parents used ,now we consider them harmful or not worthy to use ..but well this is how it is :)
    and we will survive too :p

  25. Mamta says:

    Interesting post – thank you. This is what it brought up for me – Ayurveda promotes milk consumption and other cultures/schools of thought do not. Perhaps all are right in that Ayurveda promotes milk as milk was then, hundreds of years ago – unpasteurised. And other schools of thought that say milk is not good for us are more recent and perhaps talk about pasteurised milk – milk without enzymes is apparently not easy for the body to digest or absorb!

  26. Hoda says:

    I am on your side about the milk thing. That’s just crazy! Leave these electronic games and go play around in the playground, and you would burn off any cholesterol from the milk.
    As for how children were treated, yes, your generation survived, but it also didn’t receive much love or understanding. I am not saying ‘spoil the kids, and fill them up with psychiatric meds’. I think one should balance things: ignore the bad/harmful ways/things of the past and present, and only use the good/beneficial things.

  27. Monique says:

    And perhaps you should try sugar free ricemilk, soymilk or wheatmilk. It takes a little getting used tobut I drink it all the time and like it. Also because there is no unpalatable story to do with the cow behind it. Maybe read jonathan saffran foer’s book, Eating animals.

  28. Monique says:

    This is the first time I mostly disagree with you.
    Milk as it is now is nothing like how it has been consumed since the beginning of time because of how the cows are treated and injected with all kinds of things. And lots of children suffered very much because for instance their dyslexia or dyscalculia was not diagnosed and they were not helped and called lazy or stupid, and when they find out when they are much older it is a great relief to know. And a lot of people died just because they did not wear seatbelts.

  29. I have to say dear Paulo, I am a little concerned about this too…. it seems that our food is replaced by more and more synthetic one, made after a lot of researches and they say it is better for us all. But I personally do not like the taste. I prefer the raw milk the one I know to get form the cow. If it is bed for me, I can not do anything about it, I like it. I am not drinking it every day, I try to keep a balance diet I also eat vegetable and fruits but in winter time it is harder of course to do that… so the milk comes in very handy :) I hope that we will agree once and for all what type of food is healthy for us cause it is so tiring to hear so many different stories…..
    Have a nice Sunday, Gabriela