Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Truth or Dairy

Got Milk?

Milk has become a hot topic in the world of health and wellness. Some believe dairy to be the healthiest of foods while others believe it to be a major culprit of disease.

According to recent studies, the majority of the adult population of the world cannot biochemically utilize dairy products. People of Northern European descent are unique in retaining the ability to produce the lactose-digesting enzyme, lactase, into adulthood. Meanwhile 95% of Asian Americans, 74% of Native Americans, 70% of African Americans, 53% of Latin Americans, and 15% of Caucasians suffer from lactose intolerance.

Dairy products are a recent addition to the human diet that came along with domesticated animals about 10,000 years ago. While milk has been used widely during this time, it has not always been used wisely. The cruel treatment of animals as well as the chemicals and hormones used in the cows’ feed all contribute to the growing health hazard effects of milk and other dairy products. Due to the poor living conditions and unnatural diet, cows receive antibiotics that prevent illnesses. Even higher amounts of hormones are present in the milk due to the common practice of milking pregnant cows. All of these hormones, antibiotics and chemicals are transferred to us through the milk.

Calcium, especially from milk products, is recommended as the main element to reduce the risk of bone fractures. However, there are far more fractures in regions that consume milk products (US, Great Britain, Canada, Northern Europe) than there are in regions that do not (Traditional Africa and China). While calcium may contribute to bone strength, if we are not eating the foods that build collagen, the bone will have no flexibility and can still easily fracture.

These days more and more health conditions have been linked to dairy such as common digestive disorders, cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, tumors and diabetes.
If you are experiencing symptoms of digestive disorders, intestinal disorders, congestive disorders and mucus, or skin conditions, eliminate dairy from your diet for at least two weeks and see if conditions improve. Gradually introduce various forms of dairy back into the diet and notice any changes.

The main problem with dairy today is its over-consumption as well as its lower (processed) quality.

When butter, yogurt, and ghee are made from pasture fed organic milk they can be some of our most nourishing and healing foods. Dairy MUST be of finest quality!

Lower your intake of dairy. Use dairy as a condiment, not a major ingredient.
The FDA’s recommendation of 3 glasses a day is far more related to its political obligations to the subsidized dairy industry than it does to the concern of your health.

For most, I would recommend avoiding milk and consuming fermented dairy products, such as yogurt and Kefir. Try a variety of milk substitutes such as unsweetened rice milk, almond milk, oat milk or hazelnut milk. Experiment with goat milk products as they are often much easier to digest by the human body and are found to be far less mucus forming than cow’s milk.

Non-dairy foods that are high in Calcium include:
Beans and nuts
Greens, especially broccoli, collards, kale, mustard and turnip tops, parsley, watercress, dandelion.
Canned salmon and sardines with bones
Soups made with the bones of fish, fowl, or beef. One tablespoon of wine vinegar will help draw out the calcium into the broth.

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