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BREAST MILK: SHOULD ADULTS DRINK IT?

“Would you drink breast milk?” is a question I’ve asked many times. Most people seem to cringe at the thought of sipping on some liquid human dairy. I’ve often wondered why. We have no problem drinking milk from a cow, and yet we find our own kind disturbing. We’re happy serving it to our babies, but we wouldn’t dare swallow it ourselves.

What is it about breast milk that repulses humans –other than the fact that it comes from a woman’s breasts? Is it deemed unhealthy? Or could it be that people have remained quiet about their consumption due to public opinion?

Restaurants around the world have attempted –but failed– to create a breast-milk trend. The London-based “Icecreamists” parlour located in Covent Garden offered a £14 ice cream called Baby Gaga, which blended breast milk with Madagascan vanilla pods and lemon zest. The café –which medically tested mothers who were paid for their donations– was soon shut down by the British government due to “health and safety issues”.

Following the excess supply of his wife’s milk stored in his freezer, NY chef Daniel Angerer decided to make cheese from it, which “taste[d] like cow’s-milk cheese, kind of sweet”, he described. He came up with a Maple Caramelized Pumpkin encrusted Cheese recipe made of 4 cups of breast milk, yogurt, rennet and sea salt. He also, for a little while, served breast-milk cheese canapés with figs and Hungarian pepper to customers who asked to try it at his now-closed Klee Brasserie, but did not charge them for it as it “weirds [him] out” to make anyone pay for his wife’s produce.

Hans Locher –another controversial restaurateur– felt like elevating the menu of his Storchen restaurant in the exclusive Winterthur resort in 2008. Locher decided to serve local Swiss specialties  –like soups or meat stews– that contained at least 75 per cent of mother’s milk, as he believed that since “we have all been raised on it, why should we not include it into our diet?” Locher soon had to drop his plan though as Swiss authorities threatened lawsuits against him and any potential donors. While authorities aren’t entirely sure as to why this should be illegal, restaurants have clearly been prevented from serving human milk.

If some chefs have felt the need to cook with it, could it mean that there’s a niche in the market for private consumers?

In a fairly recent article featured on NY Magazine, Chavie Lieber interviews men who buy breast milk on websites, such as OnlyTheBreast.com, which connect lactating women who want to either sell or donate their milk to buyers –who tend to be others moms, but clearly not always. These men choose to drink human milk instead of steroids or other energy supplements for health and nutrition reasons. They believe that it gives them a boost of energy while keeping them healthy.

Some studies have actually suggested that the compound in breast milk could possibly help fight cancer cells –but this hasn’t yet been fully proven and remains a theory. Certain individuals going through chemotherapy have started drinking the milk as it’s easy to digest and gives them plenty of nutrients in harsh times of weight loss.

But what happens if the person donating her milk is ill herself? According to the New York Times,“64 per cent of the samples from milk-sharing sites were contaminated with staph, 36 per cent with strep, and almost three-quarters with other bacterial species. Seventy-four per cent of the samples would have failed milk bank criteria.” Some men, of course, remain very prudent and demand to see a seller’s medical record before purchasing her milk.

The sale of bodily fluids –including breast milk­– is banned on mainstream websites such as eBay and Craigslist, but if you’d like to buy it online, there are plenty of other websites that do sell it for about $2.50 an ounce; although we do encourage you to remain vigilant, and ask a close and healthy friend instead.

Here are some interesting Breast Milk recipes to try at home.

 



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