By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only


I received this letter from a dairy farmer.

Should any of your friends or relatives have this painful
condition, please feel free to print this for them. Please
also feel free to post this on your internet site. I require
no credit or link to my website. Helping people is my
reward. Making a positive difference in this world is one's
highest pursuit.

Dear Mr. Cohen,

You and I have stood on different sides of the fence for a
number of years, but I've got a story to tell you, and an
apology to offer. Catherine (my wife of 21 years) and I both
grew up on dairy farms. We've been raising Holsteins as long
as we can remember. Cath is just 42 years old, but she is
crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. There is no record of
this disease in her family, but she has been in pain for the
past two years, much of it bedridden.

We've tried traditional and alternative therapies and
medicines, but she only got a little short term relief. We
even tried acupuncture. Try finding an acupuncturist in the
rural midwest! It was expensive, and didn't really work.
Catherine's pain has been unbearable at times.

Despite there being no information on the internet linking
dairy consumption to rheumatoid arthritis, and nothing in
medical journals (I've searched online medline), we made a
resolution together to discontinue drinking our own milk,
and not eat cheese or any other dairy product for six
months, just to see if there would be some improvement.

Damn. I have to tell you this. Catherine feels like she's
been to Lourdes. She's cured. There is some pain, but most
is gone. I've had changes too which I'll discuss some other
time. I thank you, and curse you at the same time. Milking
cows is my livelihood. I've always believed that what I was
doing was the right thing. I'm not going to sell my cows and
sell my farm. I love the business. I just don't feel that
good about it anymore. You were right about the arthritis. I
don't know about the cancer and heart attacks, but you have
given us a miracle that doctors were not able to provide. It
did not take us three to six months to learn the truth. It
took just three weeks. I've ridiculed your work in the past.
Please accept my apology.

Your friend,


Please do not give out my EMAIL address or last name. I live
in farm country and, well, you understand. Thank you.

Dear Tom,

My dear friend, Jane Heimlich (wife of Dr. Henry Heimlich,
the "Heimlich Maneuver" physican), included this in her
book, "What Your Doctor Won't Tell You."

"Of the nearly 7 million Americans who have rheumatoid
arthritis, most are women. Symptoms are stiffness, aching
muscles, fatigue, pain that accompanies motion, and
tenderness. Nutritional therapy, not drugs, is the
cornerstone of alternative treatment. A treatment for
arthritis that relieves symptoms in a large percentage of
patients is based on the theory that most arthritic symptoms
are allergic reactions."

I've found many examples of physicians and scientific
studies linking dairy cosumption to rheumatoid arthritis.
I've included a few of the following citations in my new
book, MILK A-Z.

"Rheumatoid arthritis is more severe than osteoarthritis,is
most common in the hands and feet, and is characterized by
swelling of joints. Since this type of joint pain can be a
symptom of a food allergy, dietary change sometimes has a
profound effect. Dairy products, the most common food
allergen, are one likely candidate as a contributing
causative factor."

Vegetarian and Vegan Nutrition by George Eisman, M.A.,
M.Sc., R.D.

"...43 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, those assigned to
a vegan diet...had improvement in rheumatoid arthritis

British Journal of Rheumatology, 36(1) 1997

"In the case of the eight year old female subject, juvenile
rheumatoid arthritis was a milk allergy. After avoiding
dairy products, all pain was gone in three weeks."

Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1985, 78

"Controlled trial of fasting and a one-year vegetarian diet
eased symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis."

The Lancet, 1991, 338

"In 1964, I learned of the experiences of Dr. William Deamer
of San Francisco. He had pointed out the frequency of milk
protein's casual relationship to musculoskeletal pain in
children and especially the so-called 'growing pains.' Since
that time, I have had several children with what appeared to
be early rheumatoid arthritis relieved and returned to good
health by little more than reassurance and careful dietary

Don't Drink Your Milk, by Frank Oski, M.D.

"In systemic arthritis, like Rheumatoid, the cause is
coursing through the blood, and it got there through the
diet. When all of the joints are involved, the cause is not
physical, but chemical. It's usually casein.(Eighty percent
of milk protein is casein). I once saw a 65 year old man,
Bob, who complained of neck stiffness and headaches. His
hands were so stiff and sore. Bob lived to play golf. I
instructed him to give up all milk and dairy products. Since
giving up dairy products, he no longer experienced pain and
headaches, and his hands were also pain-free. Joy, a 42 year
old woman noticed that her knees were pain-free after
eliminating dairy products. Once, after drinking a glass of
milk, her knees swelled within 20 minutes."

No Milk, by Daniel Twogood, D.C.

"There is a colossal amount of information linking the
consumption of milk to arthritis... and a multitude of other
problems as documented by Hannah Allen, Alec Burton,
Viktoras Kulvinskas, F. M. Pottenger, Herbert M. Shelton,
and N.L. Walker, among others."

Fit for Life, by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond

"Certain foods trigger the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis,
and eliminating these foods sometimes causes even long-
standing symptoms to improve or even remit entirely. It is
important to avoid the problem foods completely, as even a
small amount can cause symptoms. All dairy products should
be avoided: skim or whole cow's milk, goat's milk, cheese,
yogurt, cream, etc."

Neal Barnard, M.D.

Robert Cohen author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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