The milk myth: Milk makes our bones strong and prevents bone fractures and osteoporosis! While calcium DOES help increase and maintain bone density, there are many other factors to consider. These are:
- The quality and source of the milk/dairy product
- Your body’s pH
- Has the product undergone pasteurization?
- Are you doing weight bearing activities along with consuming dairy?
- Are you getting enough vitamin D3?
One of pasteurization’s worst offences is that it makes insoluble the major part of the calcium contained in raw milk. This can lead to rickets, bad teeth and nervous troubles, as sufficient calcium content is vital to children; and with the loss of phosphorus also associated with calcium, bone and brain formation suffer serious setbacks. Spinach and leafy greens however, are an excellent source of calcium that our body and our bones DO absorb.
Pasteurization also destroys 20 percent of the iodine present in raw milk, causes constipation and generally takes from the milk its most vital qualities.
So, if you love dairy and gotta have it, consider contacting a local organic dairy farm, where the cows are pasture fed and treated with love. Raw milk can be highly nutritious and if consumed in moderation is great, for those who can tolerate dairy and lactose. (Keep in mind that there are risks in eating raw foods in general.) Local organic dairy farms are near and dear to my heart, however large scale dairy farms are another story.
Like all animal protein, milk acidifies the body pH which in turn causes our bodies to react. You see, our bones consist of calcium and salts, and calcium is a very good PH neutralizer, so when our body is too acidic, it leaches the much needed calcium from our bones! So the very same calcium that our bones need to stay strong is utilized to neutralize the acidifying effect of milk. Once calcium is pulled out of the bones, it leaves the body via the urine, so that the surprising net result is a calcium deficit.
Statistics show that countries with the lowest consumption of dairy products also have the lowest fracture incidence in their population.
In Chinese medicine, milk is known as a phlegm-producing food. That means it creates mucus in the body, especially the lungs – eat a pint of ice cream and night and then try running or swimming the next day: your breathing will certainly be a lot different.
Also interesting to note, according to Robert Cohen, Executive Director of the Dairy Education Board and NOTMILK.com, milk consumption is to blame for a variety of illnesses such as:
- breast cancer
- diabetes (both diabetes mellitus and juvenile diabetes)
- kidney stones
- heart disease
- multiple sclerosis
- rheumatoid arthritis
There are many alternative options to milk. They take a bit of getting used to after the rich and fatty taste of regular milk, but in a very short time you can begin to really enjoy the light and healthy flavor of beverages such as Hemp Milk, Rice Milk, Almond Milk and my favorite, Coconut Milk! You have to check the packaging on these products as some of them are really highly sweetened! I like the unsweetened versions of all of these products. They are packed with vitamins and minerals and easy to digest!
Stay away from Soy Milk as it is often made with Genetically Modified Soy and that’s a no-no! Not only is GMO soy loaded with carcinogens, but GM has wreaked havoc on organic farmers worldwide. Also, soy mimics estrogen so if you have a family history of hormone related cancers (such as breast cancer) it is a good idea to avoid it. Brands such as West Soy are good and in moderation can be good for people with estrogen deficiencies! Soy can be difficult to digest and can lead to gas and bloating.
Fermented dairy on the other hand is AWESOME! I make my own yogurt using either local raw milk or organic milk like Organic Valley brand. I use whole milk as fat is a welcomed friend and misunderstood foe. Vanilla and maple syrup make excellent flavorings to add to homemade yogurt and kefir for that matter. Kefir is cultured milk that contains probiotics and is 99% LACTOSE FREE! Kefir is a bit sour if plain, but I have grown to love it and add it to oatmeal with nuts and goji berries.
USES for the alternatives and the fermented dairy:
- Protein shakes
- Homemade ice cream popsicles
- Protein packed addition to oats or quinoa