Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness

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The Dangers Of Dairy

BY DR. AMY MYERS      APRIL 10, 2013 
All those “Got Milk?” ads from the last decade or so would have us believe that dairy is a cornerstone of a healthy diet, providing essential nutrients, fortifying our bones, and knocking out osteoporosis left and right. But… is this true? Is consuming dairy necessary or even healthy for most people?

The truth is, dairy can lead to countless health issues and, for many, can cause more harm than good, here’s why. 
It’s highly inflammatory. 
Dairy is one of the most inflammatory foods in our modern diet, second only to gluten. It causes inflammation in a large percentage of the population, resulting in digestive issues such as bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea, as well as other symptoms including acne, and a stronger presentation of autistic behaviors. 
What is it about dairy that causes an inflammatory response? Is everyone with a dairy sensitivity lactose intolerant? There are two components of dairy that tend to cause issues for people: (1) the sugar and (2) the proteins. 
People who are lactose intolerant don’t produce the lactase enzyme, which is required to break down lactose, a sugar found in milk, causing digestive issues whenever they consume dairy products. People who do produce the lactase enzyme but still react poorly to milk are responding to the two proteins found in milk, casein and whey. Casein is a protein with a very similar molecular structure to gluten and 50% of people who are gluten intolerant are casein intolerant as well.
It’s acid-forming. 
Our bodies like to maintain a neutral pH balance: not too much acidity, not too much alkalinity. Milk, like most animal products, is an acid forming food, meaning whenever you consume dairy, your body must compensate for the increased acidity in order to restore a neutral pH balance.
It does this by pulling from the alkaline “reserves” it keeps on hand in the form of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, that are stored in your bones. Pulling from these reserves weakens your bones, leaving them more susceptible to fractures and breaks, meaning milk might not be such a great preventative tool against osteoporosis as we’re told. In fact, research has shown that countries with the highest rate of dairy consumption also have the highest rate of osteoporosis.

It’s often full of hormones and antibiotics
Many times when people drink milk they’re consuming far more than just milk. American dairy farmers have long been injecting cows with a genetically engineered bovine growth hormone called rBGH to increase milk production. This forced increase in milk production often leads to an udder infection in cows called mastitis, which is then treated with courses of antibiotics, which can make their way into your dairy products.
All of these concerns about the health benefits and safety of dairy can lead to even more questions. Is all dairy bad, are alternative sources of dairy any better? Where will I get my calcium if not from dairy? Let’s take a look at these: 
What about goat’s milk and sheep’s milk?
Some people who choose to eliminate cow’s milk from their diet still enjoy goat’s or sheep’s milk, as they find it much easier to tolerate. Although these have a similar lactose content to cow’s milk (meaning if you are lactose intolerant, they will not be any easier to digest) they do have a different type of casein protein, which makes them easier for casein-sensitive people to handle.
Casein exists in two variants, A1 beta-casein and A2 beta-casein, which are differentiated only by a single amino acid in their protein chains. A2 is considered the original beta-casein because A1 only appeared a few thousand years ago after a mutation occurred in European cow herds, and people react poorly to the A1 beta-casein. Goat’s milk and sheep’s milk lack the A1 beta-casein, which is what makes them more tolerable, but because the A1 and A2 proteins are so similar, these milks can still cause problems for some.
What about organic or raw milk?
If you aren’t casein sensitive, and still want to consume cow’s milk, a healthier and less-chemical laden route to go can be organic or raw milk. These kinds of milk typically come from cows that have not been injected with rGBH and have not been treated with antibiotics, which eliminates the concern that these chemicals will find their way into your milk.
Raw milk, although contentiously debated, does have many health benefits that pasteurized milk lacks. The pasteurizing process, which is intended to kill harmful bacteria, kills many of the helpful enzymes that occur naturally in milk as well. In fact, one of the enzymes present in raw milk that is missing in pasteurized milk is the lactase enzyme, meaning people who are lactose intolerant are actually able to drink raw milk because it contains the enzyme needed to break down lactose their body is unable to produce.
What should you do if you think you’re sensitive to dairy? 
Ultimately the decision of whether or not to consume dairy rests with you. Try eliminating 100% of dairy from your diet for 30 days and pay attention to how your body reacts. Then try reintroducing dairy in its different forms and sources and notice how you respond.
If you do decide to eliminate dairy, fear not, there are plenty of other natural sources of calcium you can incorporate into your diet!
10 Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium
  1. Almonds
  2. Kale
  3. Oranges
  4. Collard Greens
  5. Broccoli
  6. Figs
  7. Spinach
  8. Enriched rice, almond, hemp and coconut milks
  9. Sesame seeds
  10. Tofu

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Hold the Cream: 5 Vegan Substitutes That Are Just as Good

May 14, 2013   By Leta Shy, POPSUGAR

Heavy cream can elevate many dishes, but its high saturated fat and calorie content doesn’t exactly make it the healthiest option. And if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, your meals may be lacking that distinct texture from the dairy product. Stop pining and get the creaminess back with these five vegan substitutes!

Avocado. The creamy high-fat content of avocados make them a perfect substitute for milk and cream. Use avocado in baking or as a base for creamy sauces; one of our favorite ways is this vegan creamy avocado pasta from Oh She Glows.

Beans. Pureed beans can offer the consistency you’re missing in those comforting creamy soups. Use canned cannellini beans; not only are the white beans the right hue when substituting for heavy cream, but their mild taste also won’t overpower other flavors in your dish.

Bananas. Who needs ice cream when you’ve got frozen bananas? Keep a few ripe ones in your freezer (peel them and put in a container before you do for easier handling once they’re frozen). Before creamy cravings strike, toss one or two in a food processor or blender with a little peanut butter and freeze for two hours. You’ll have a 150-calorie vegan ice cream treat to enjoy after dinner.

Coconut milk. It’s a convenient and obvious option for many dishes, but watch out for the fat content — like regular cream, coconut milk is high in saturated fat and calories as well. But if you just have to have that creamy taste, this vegan options works as an occasional indulgence. We love to use chilled and whipped coconut cream (from a can of full-fat coconut milk) in desserts like this strawberry coconut cream parfait.

Root vegetables. Like beans, adding pureed root veggies like sweet potatoes or celeriac to sauces and savory dishes adds a thick consistency that is similar to cream. You can try cooked and pureed root veggies in dishes like this delicious-looking vegan mac and cheese, which uses cannellini beans, sweet potato, and nutritional yeast to make a creamy thick sauce that rivals the Kraft version.

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Kids and Milk

Lactose intolerance, raw milk and kids’ nutrition

When we were kids, a glass of milk was a symbol of health. In recent years, however, it’s become clear that researchers and clinicians don’t unilaterally agree cow’s milk is actually good for us. Last year, for example, an L.A. Times article weighed in on the debate, pointing out that while there are plenty of facts and findings about milk and its effect on human health has been studied extensively, there are no definitive conclusions as to how much of it we should be drinking. It seems the frothy mustache-maker we grew up with has become a source of dietary confusion and debate.

Conflicting evidence

For kids over the age of one, doctors recommend multiple servings of dairy every day (a serving being a cup of milk or yogurt, or a handful of cubes of cheese) for nutrients like calcium, potassium, and vitamins D and B. Kids could theoretically get all these nutrients from other foods, but a glass of milk covers a lot of bases in one cup.
And little kids also need fat in their diets for proper brain development. But some nutritionists and doctors worry that dairy’s saturated fat may be too much of a good thing. A glass of whole milk contains roughly eight grams of fat and 30 mg of cholesterol. Given the increasing number of overweight kids, the worry is that too much high-fat milk could increase the likelihood of obesity and heart disease later in life. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that children at risk for being overweight or having high cholesterol drink two percent milk starting at age one (as opposed the former recommendation of whole milk until age two), then switch to one percent a year later. Milk has a lot of calories, and, theoretically, milk-loving kid could also fill up on the drink and forgo other nutrient-rich foods.
Are humans built to drink milk?
Beyond the weight concern, others argue that we aren’t built to drink cow’s milk in the first place. Throughout most of history, human beings were unable to digest the lactose protein in milk beyond early childhood because the enzyme needed to do so naturally stopped working at a certain age. At some point in the last 5,000 years, scientists think a genetic mutation caused some adults to persist in tolerating milk, and that population maintained the trait. Today in the U.S. and parts of Europe, the majority of adults have the necessary enzyme to digest milk, but the world-over, about seventy five percent of people get sick when they drink it.
Given that lactose intolerance is so common and that the main purpose of milk from any animal is to feed infants, it’s probably not intended to be a big part of our diet beyond early childhood. Human breast milk changes in nutritional composition as a child grows – adjusting the amount of fat, for example, depending on the stage of development. Cow’s milk doesn’t do that. It’s a perfect fit for a baby calf, but not necessarily for a growing human being.
It’s confusing, to say the least, since there’s also plenty of evidence that many people are vitamin-D deficient – potentially a major public health problem, leading to higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions. The sun is the best supplier of vitamin D (the rays we avoid to lessen our chance of skin cancer), but fortified milk, along with orange juice and wild-caught oily fish, is our top dietary source.

The milk middle road

The bottom line most doctors see is that milk is a good idea for a toddler if he’s no longer drinking breast milk, and that multiple dairy servings deliver important nutrients for the first years of life. Although we haven’t seen the updated guidelines for kids yet, the new dietary paradigm from the USDA – the healthful “plate” instead of the long-standing food pyramid – gives us some clues about how we might view milk for older children. In the MyPlate diagram, the dairy is in a small glass, with vegetables and fruit making up half the plate, and meat and carbohydrates composing the other half. Dairy has its place, but it’s by no means the center of a meal. Maybe a head of broccoli or a bushel of Swiss chard has replaced milk as being our symbol of health.
source: babble.com