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    Archive for the ‘grass-fed milk’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Dairy Controversies

    What are your thoughts on milk?

    Specifically about the fact that the dairy industry has convinced millions of people, thanks to a very expensive campaign, that milk is the best source of calcium and vitamin D?

    There are other ways to get calcium, including broccoli and other greens, so why does milk always show up as the best source?

    Humans are also the only species to drink milk as adults. Don’t you find that odd? Doesn’t the fact that millions of people are allergic to milk mean that it’s unhealthy?

    Also, I read that there is an addictive component in milk (I think casein?) that keeps people coming back for more, including babies.

    Am I healthy if I don’t drink milk? What if I do?

    — (Name withheld)
    Brooklyn, NY

    Quite a lot of questions. Let’s take them piece by piece.

    My thoughts on a milk? It is a beverage that, depending on the variety, can be a healthy or not-so-healthy choice.

    A glass of skim or low fat milk with your breakfast? Great source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, riboflavin, and protein.

    An extra large latte with half and half? All you’re really getting is a boatload of calories and saturated fat (half and half contains very little protein and calcium.)

    Is the milk lobby a powerful presence in Washington? You betcha. Why else do you think the “dairy” group in the food pyramid is now called the “milk” group.

    That is one change I am very unhappy about, as it takes away attention from other healthy options like yogurt, and cottage cheese.

    That said, dairy products truly are a good source of calcium. Not only is the quantity of said mineral rather high, it is also among the most absorbable.

    As for vitamin D — it is not naturally present in milk, but is rather there as a result of fortification. Cereals, orange juice, and soy drinks are also fortified with just as much Vitamin D, so I do not consider dairy to be the “go to” food for the sunshine vitamin.

    Besides, a glass of milk provides approximately one tenth of the daily Vitamin D requirement, so the best way to get the sunshine vitamin is to soak up about 20 minutes of sunlight a day and, in my opinion, pop a supplement.

    Can you get sufficient calcium without dairy? Absolutely. Nowadays, with calcium-fortified juices and soy products, there is no reason for the word “vegan” to mean “calcium deprived.”

    There are also a variety of non-dairy foods that naturally contain calcium: tofu, tempeh, and soybeans among them.

    Keep in mind that some leafy green vegetables (spinach, beet greens, and rhubarb) contain oxalates, which bind to calcium and greatly reduce its absorption.

    If you’re looking to get some calcium from vegetables, opt for collard greens, bok choy, and kale.

    Seaweed also happens to be a great non-dairy source of calcium.

    As for the argument that humans are the only species to drink milk as adults (and therefore some sort of natural aberration), it’s one of those leaps of logic that makes absolutely no sense to me.

    Other animals don’t have the choice to drink milk as adults.

    After a certain time, their mother’s milk supply is gone, and they certainly don’t have supermarkets to shop at, or other species to cuddle up to and start suckling from.

    The “humans are the only animals to drink milk as adults” argument isn’t even true.

    I can tell you from personal experience that if I pour cow’s milk into a bowl, my cat will happily drink it without any prodding on my part.

    Human allergies with milk have nothing to do with its status as “healthy” or “unhealthy” food. Many people are allergic to peanuts and shrimp, two very healthy foods.

    As for there being an addictive substance in milk, I haven’t seen that mentioned anywhere in the literature. The reason why babies “keep coming back for more” is because their mothers are feeding it to them.

    I firmly stand in the middle of this issue. I believe a perfectly healthy diet can be milk-free just as I believe that milk can be a nutritious beverage.

    Personally, I am partial to organic milk from grass-fed cows.

    For the record, I have no issues with pasteurized milk. I don’t see any reason to start seeking out raw milk (remember, we don’t need digestive enzymes from food, so the fact that these enzymes are killed when milk is pasteurized means nothing.)

    What I find horribly messed up is that the milk from a cow that eats nothing but grass and is not pumped up with any Franken-hormones (the ONLY milk available at one point in time) is now a “luxury” high-cost product. Ugh.


    You Ask, I Answer: Pasteurization

    Is it true that orange juice loses some of its micronutrient value through pasteurization?

    If so, do these nutrients get added back into the juice following pasteurization?

    And lastly, if pasteurization does effect the nutrient content, what does that mean for milk?

    Please help me clear up this confusion.

    — Anonymous
    Via the blog

    Since pasteurization involves heat, some of the Vitamin C in orange juice — roughly fifteen to twenty percent — is lost in that process.

    It’s actually not a big deal, since 8 ounces of pasteurized orange juice still deliver more than a day’s worth of Vitamin C.

    Unlike the Enrichment Act of 1942 (which mandates that nutrients originally found in grain products and lost in the milling process be added back in), there is no such law for fruit juices.  It is up to each manufacturer to determine if they want to enrich or fortify their juice products.

    As you know, though, I am a proponent of opting for a whole fruit over a juice. Not only do you get slightly higher vitamin and mineral values — you also get more fiber!

    As far as milk is concerned, nutrient losses as a result of pasteurization (simply heating it at 161.5 Degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds) are not very significant.

    Since the B vitamins present in milk (riboflavin and niacin) are heat sensitive, there are some small losses.

    Again, though, it’s not cause for concern.  These vitamins are found in a wide variety of foods; it would take a VERY limited diet to be deficient in them.

    I do not think of pasteurization as a process that is majorly depriving us of nutrients.

    Many raw milk enthusiasts will spout off statistics about pasteurized milk offering less absorbable calcium, although I have yet to see any of this information published in any respectable journals.

    The research I have done states that we absorb approximately one third of calcium in milk — raw or pasteurized.

    If high-quality, “junk-free” milk is on your mind, I would be more concerned with getting it from non-hormone-treated, grass-fed cows rather than worry about pasteurization.


    You Ask, I Answer: Cow Or Soy Milk?

    When it comes to milk, is soy milk better for kids than regular cow’s milk?

    — Anonymous
    Via the blog

    I don’t consider either “better” than other. This ultimately depends on personal preference and a few other factors.

    I don’t have a problem with children drinking skim or low-fat milk, provided that they aren’t lactose intolerant, of course.

    What disappoints me is that so many schools offer chocolate milk to children (and label it a “healthy” alternative simply because it contains calcium).

    A single cup contains a tablespoon of added sugar. It’s fine as a treat, but I don’t find it to be the optimal beverage to accompany a meal on a daily basis.

    Unfortunately, the majority of milk in the United States — chocolate or not — in the United States is produced by cows that chow on corn all day long and are injected with antibiotics and growth hormones.

    Milk in and of itself is a nutritious beverage, though, providing high-quality protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, phosphorus, and potassium.

    I would highly recommend opting for organic, grass-fed varieties.

    Soy milk is a perfectly fine alternative.

    Most varieties are fortified with vitamin D and provide a good amount of calcium, protein, and potassium.

    I would be more concerned with what they’re eating along with that cold glass of (dairy or soy) milk.

    *UPDATE* Thank you to reader “gd” for pointing out that vanilla and chocolate flavored soy milks also contain quite a bit of added sugar.

    I erroneously assumed everyone reads minds and would telepathically infer I was only referring to regular soy milk in this post.

    So, if you are opting for soy milk, I suggest going for plain or unsweetened varieties.


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