All of our lives we've been taught that consuming dairy products is the only way to get the calcium we need for strong bones and teeth. This is not true at all. A dairy free diet won't sentence you to a lifetime of brittle bones and toothless grins. In fact, you don't need a drop of milk to get the calcium you need to stay healthy.

Sources of Calcium That Don't Include Milk

In an effort to increase sales, marketers use flashy ads to convince you of how healthy milk is to drink. If consumers knew the truth about the damage the chemicals, sugar and other additives in milk can do to their health, the dairy industry would go belly-up.

Thankfully, you can get calcium from dairy free sources. The calcium obtained from plant-based sources is healthier and absorbed better by the body than calcium from dairy. If you fill your diet with the following foods, you'll get all the calcium you need for good health.

• broccoli
• turnip greens
• collard greens
• kale
• okra
• bok choy
• mustard greens
• almonds
• oranges
• limes
• sardines with bones
• salmon

Chemical Dangers of Commercial Dairy Products

Over the years, the quality of milk has changed. No longer is it the healthy beverage many relied on for strong bones and teeth. Today's dairy industry is all about mass production and profits. This is why most dairy farmers don't take the time to raise their livestock naturally.

Instead of feeding cows a healthy diet of untreated grass, industrial farmers pack the animals in filthy feedlots and give them chemical-treated grain. Sometimes the grain they eat is littered with the leftover parts of slaughtered animals.

When cows are fed unnatural diets and kept in crowded, unsanitary conditions, they come down with all types of illnesses. In order to fight these illnesses, the cows are pumped with antibiotics. The leisurely use of antibiotics in livestock is the main reason for antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

The more milk a cow can produce, the more moolah farmers rake in. So in addition to deplorable living conditions, antibiotics and an unnatural diet, dairy cows are given hormones to help them produce more milk.

This makes the cows susceptible to mastitis. When a cow gets this bacterial infection, the udders become sore and inflamed. If the cows are forced to keep producing milk, the puss from the udders can end up in the dairy.

When milk is processed, even more chemicals are added to improve the taste and suppress the smell. All of these toxins end up in the milk and dairy products you consume everyday.

Dangers of Pasteurization

During pasteurization, milk is heat-treated to destroy harmful bacteria and to help it stay fresh longer. However, the temperature during pasteurization does not get hot enough to kill all of the dangerous bacteria. Instead, this process kills the healthy enzymes, beneficial bacteria, and intrinsic germicidal properties.

Because of the loss of healthy bacteria and other properties, half of the calcium from pasteurized milk is not digestible. Poor digestion of dairy and calcium leads to lactose intolerance and brittle bone disease.

Before your milk hits the store shelves, it has to be homogenized. During this process, it is passed through a filter to decrease the size of the fat molecules. This can allow milk protein to enter the bloodstream and cause allergies and intolerance.

It's best to avoid dairy products altogether. However, if you can't resist a cold glass of milk, use dairy that's "Certified Organic." Organic dairy products are still pasteurized and homogenized, but this type of milk does not contain hormones, antibiotics and other chemical residue.