Plant-based Olympic medalist Dotsie Bausch is urging the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to drop dairy from its dietary guidelines.
Bausch, who picked up her silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games in Team Pursuit, gave a speech to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Committee (published in full below).
In it, she described the Food and Drug Administration's dairy recommendations as 'profit-driven' - and said they were 'deeply concerning'.
Dotsie Bausch's speech to the USDA
As a silver medal-winning Olympian, I am deeply concerned about the FDAs profit-driven recommendation that Americans - those who are plagued by thoroughly avoidable diseases that are tied back to our diet - consume dairy foods.
And believe me, for 35 years of my life, I never thought for a moment I would be standing here today. I drank milk; I had ice-cream from time to time; I was even one of those people who would adamantly state, a little too loudly, how 'I could never give up cheese!'.
It all seemed harmless enough to me; even the United States Olympic committee told me I should [mimic] drink milk to stay strong and healthy because the dairy funded studies told them so.
But then I began to dig deep, on a quest to become a better athlete, and learned how noxious it is to drink the mother's milk from another species and I became saddened and enraged that the dairy industry continued to use me and my peers as pawns in their marketing schemes for profit.
'Dairy is destructive'
For athletes and non-athletes alike, the destructiveness of dairy is layered.
Cows' milk proteins, particularly casein which makes up 80 percent of cows' milk, have been shown to increase mucus production in the gut and respiratory tract. Impaired breathing, asthma, and a chronic runny no - can all be exacerbated by drinking cows' milk.
By regularly consuming dairy products as a means of recovery fuel, an athlete's acute inflammation and oxidative stress can become chronic, leading to prolonged recovery, muscle fatigue, cell damage, and even elevate one’s risk of chronic diseases.
65 percent of the global population is lactose intolerant according to the National Institute of Health. This number is even higher among non-white populations such as Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics. Those who cannot effectively digest lactose, experience painful symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, nausea, and diarrhea.
Why on earth does the USDA have a food category on the dietary guidelines for Americans that make over half of us sick, uncomfortable and unable to breathe?
Highly oppressive system
For the USDA to continue to put its stamp of approval on a product that is unnecessary and unhealthy - and rooted in a highly oppressive system designed to keep the weak weaker - is unconscionable. We have an opportunity today to right the wrongs of history, and to prove that the US government cares about its constituents.
Its constituents, by the way, are your mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons who have been afflicted by Type 2 Diabetes and hormonal-based cancers such as prostate, ovarian, and breast, which dairy foods perpetuate.
I stand up here today also as one of your constituents. I represented the United States when I stood on the podium and accepted my Olympic medal. Now, today, I am asking you to represent me - using your own podium - and to remove dairy as a food group from the dietary guidelines.