Cereal's best friend may be one of your worst enemies, according to Robert Cohen, a scientist and author who will lecture at the Hoboken Farmboy on Second and Washington streets at 7 p.m. Wednesday night in front of a newly-formed group of area vegetarians. Cohen, who says his book Milk: The Deadly Poison
has helped inspire thousands to give up dairy products, claims that the beverage is not a bevy of much-needed nutrients. Cohen says it is nothing more than "pus with hormones and glue" that actually causes most people's internal organs to clog up with unneeded mucus. Cohen also argues that milk consumption is linked to a host of deadly diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes to heart failure. While the scientist and father of three can point to a slew of scientific data to back up his assertions, he says it should be common sense to think of cow's milk as an unhealthy beverage. "Nobody would drink dog's milk, or pig milk, or any other sort of milk that comes from one of the other 43,000 mammals," Cohen said in a phone interview Wednesday, "but 40 percent of what we eat is cow's milk. It is the number one influence on the body. And it is filled with hormones that don't do the body any good. Every sip is filled with pus, viruses, bacteria, allergenic proteins, antibiotics, fat, pesticides, and cholesterol." Cohen said that we have overcome what would have been a natural distaste toward the dairy product thanks to a history of drinking cow's milk and an aggressive marketing campaign on the part of the dairy industry that features super-models and icons of pop culture with milk mustaches affixed to their upper lips. But Cohen argues that we have paid a price. He said milk is fatty, and that the idea that milk is a good source of calcium is nothing more than an old wives' tale. "You need magnesium to get calcium in your body, and milk doesn't have any," he said. "If you want the calcium, you should eat green vegetables like cows do. They have plenty of calcium in their bodies and they don't drink milk." But not everybody has been swept away by Cohen's discoveries. "I'm like Salmon Rushdie in the state of Wisconsin," said Cohen, only half joking. "I'm a marked man. I have nothing against the dairy farmers. They are some of the hardest working people in America. They just don't realize that they are drug pushers." Cohen is not the only speaker the new group - which is known as Vegetarian Vision - has scheduled to speak at the Farmboy. Next week, Stephen Wise, a professor at Harvard Law School, will speak about animal rights. Vegetarian Visions also plans to host cooking demonstrations and restaurant outings for members. The group, which was organized by Hoboken resident Mary Soccolich, holds regular meetings on the second Wednesday of every month in the Farmboy. Everyone is welcome, "even if you are the type that sometimes enjoys a burger," said Soccolich. Although the group has only met once so far, area vegetarians seem to like having a group where they can discuss ideas and swap recipes. Jane Bruner, a charter member, said, "I'm so glad Hoboken finally has an alternative to bars, steakhouses and fast food joints." Call 792-5300 for more information.