10 Sep What is the story with cows milk?
I have always been intrigued by the debate about dairy in the diet. The accepted food pyramid of healthy eating suggests three servings a day of dairy products, and it is commonly assumed that milk is nutritious and part of a well balanced diet. So how then, do so many well respected nutritionists, slam it?
When I was studying immunology at university, there were references to the dangers of consuming milk produced by another animal, filled as it is with immunoglobins, specific to another species’ biology, and thereby possibly causing immune reactions in humans.
Today I read that 75 % of the population is actually unable to digest the lactose in cow’s milk, but surely this is crazy. Think of almost any cafe, you care to frequent. A latte? We are filling up on milk, daily, slurping it down, and after doing some investigation into the prospect of eliminating it from my diet, I realised, that it is almost impossible to eat out, without dairy in some form, in any food you can choose off a menu.
The calcium myth and dairy
Milk supplies you with healthy forms of calcium, right? Well no. A naturopath told me recently that it sucks calcium out of your bones, and today I found out just why that is!
Milk is an animal protein, and as such, when it enters your digestive system, it is acidic (like all animal proteins). In order to protect your kidneys and urinary tract from this acid, your body acts to survive, and neutralise the acid, there fore it leeches calcium from the bones, in order to neutralise the acid, and this is why it is a myth that milk supplies you with calcium. It actually reduces calcium content of the bones!
Other studies have shown that increased consumption of milk, does not reduce bone fractures in older people, and in fact, more bone fractures were found in people who consumed milk.
So what is the go?
But milk is in everything!
You would be hard pressed to go into any cafe or restaurant and find a diverse array of options that did not contain dairy. Butter, cream, milk, it is found in almost everything! Which is just another thing to add to the list of the cultural educational requirements of gastronomy in Western countries.
It is almost impossible to avoid!
How can I tell if I am dairy intolerant?
A few different sources say that the best way to identify a reaction to dairy products is to eliminate it completely from your diet for a period of two weeks. After that time, add one favourite source of dairy to your diet, in a good serving at two different times of the day, and then return to dairy free eating for a period of two days.
Repeat this cycle of two days abstinence from dairy while adding the dairy foods you wish to consume, and monitor your symptoms. Common dairy intolerance symptoms are diarrhoea, worsening of irritable bowel syndrome, acne, runny noses and mucus in the chest, and nose.
What are the alternatives?
Most cafes provide soy as the only alternative to cow’s milk, and the problems with soy will be dealt with in another post, suffice to say, that it should probably also be avoided! So what to do?
I have been drinking almond milk, which is a common recommendation, however, the almond milk contains a significant proportion of cane sugar, which can not be great either, so I am considering making my own milk.
Yum! Imagine him 🙂 Milk that you make yourself. Here is a recipe!
125 g mix of almonds, or cashews, or walnuts etc
600 ml purified water
Soak the seeds and nuts in 300 ml of water for twenty four hours. Blend soak water and nuts to blender and blend thoroughly.
Add another 300 ml water, continue to blend.
Filter through a fine gauze cloth or similar. Squeeze every last drop.
Chill for one hour and then stir.
Keeps for one to two days if refrigerated. Stir before each use, due to the fact that the oils and water will separate.
cows milk is for cows
The funniest quote I read today, was ‘take your cow for a walk. It will do you much more good than drinking her milk’. Dairy is not good for you! And I would like to see our gastronomy evolve to recognise this!