About a week ago I closed a blog with a line about milk and promised more to come. So here’s more!
Interestingly enough, while many health professionals still believe cow’s milk builds strong bones and muscles and the food pyramid still recommends several glasses a day, (as one way to fill the dairy requirements) there is a rapidly growing army of individuals, including many physicians, that believe dairy may not be fit for human consumption. “We’re not calves and we’re not evolved to drink cow’s milk,” says Dr. Alexa Fleckenstein, a board-certified internist in Boston. “That’s why milk is suck a highly inflammatory food for humans: It’s unnatural.”
While serious dairy allergies are actually very rare among healthy adults, an estimated 60% of the world population is lactose intolerant. Unable to digest the primary sugar found in milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, etc., intolerant individuals experience symptoms such as gas, nausea and stomach cramps. 60% is a ridiculously high number. If you don’t take Lactaid (or something else for lactose intolerance) before eating a meal with dairy, then you probably know someone who does. Could this be connected to the fact that:
OF ALL THE ANIMALS ON THE PLANET EARTH, HUMANS ARE THE ONLY ONES THAT DRINK THE MILK OF OTHER ANIMALS.
Think about that. Turns out there is much bigger concern for milk drinkers than just a little gas. One study from the Department of Human Nutrition in Denmark, showed drinking lactose leads to a high insulin response which can make us sluggish, bloated and at greater risk for diabetes. Other studies from here in the states as well as abroad link milk to autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. One nutrition expert, Pedro Bastos, suggests it may be the ingesting of foreign hormones that triggers the inflammation in humans. He also points out that calcium is more readily absorbed from vegetables in the Brassica family (new word for me!) – broccoli and cabbage, to name a couple. An easy rule of thumb in picking vegetables high in calcium is “the darker green, the better.” Spinach, broccoli rabe, kale, swiss chard, collard greens–all high in READILY ABSORBABLE calcium.
With all this said, IF you are an athlete, IF you have NO problems digesting milk and you don’t drink enough of it to be concerned with calcium leakage, or digesting the sugar, etc., it DOES make for a good post-workout drink as it is high in protein and very affordable (compared with protein drinks). From a health standpoint, I don’t love bringing this up-but from a fitness standpoint, I feel it’s only fair I do. When Kyle lived home and did P90x, a glass of milk after his workout was a perfect protein boost for him. As an FYI, soymilk provides about the same amount of protein as cow’s milk.
I stand firm that we don’t need (or shouldn’t even have) much of the protein we have been duped into thinking we need to build stong muscles and bones. Next month will mark 6 months since switched to an ALL plant-based diet and I haven’t seen any loss of muscle. I will be planning on getting some blood work done before the year is over, just to make sure all my numbers are in order. One thing I know for sure, without any blood work or doctor visits is that physically, mentally and spiritually, I finally feel completely connected.
Tonight’s VFT dinner theme is “Back to School.” That just means I will be making a hearty meal, Pete’s favorite–Sheppard’s Pie-a recipe I got out a book called Quantum Wellness. I will share that recipes, tomorrow. Though it’s not my favorite, it’s easy to prepare in advance –makes a great dish for a holiday table or a cold night or anytime comfort food seems in order. It is one of the dishes I make for special celebrations. I am really proud of the Thursday night “kids” for their ability to juggle work, school, their music business, social lives, and so much more. They deserve to celebrate…and be celebrated.
Thanks again to the people at Men’s Journal for a great read on cow’s milk. Thanks also to my students who shower me with fresh fruit from their yards!!! As I mentioned yesterday, I am pretty sure love means bringing your vegan instructor the fruits of your labor! From mangos to avocados and gorgeous limes, my fruit bowl runneth over. Thinking a mango black bean salad with fresh lime juice and cilantro is going on the table tonight. YUM.
Have a great day. Make wise choices. Celebrate you.