Dairy…It’s Been a Long Time Comin’

So Forks Over Knives and The China Study had a huge impact on both me and The Mr.  We do eat pretty healthy overall as a family, but there are still so many more changes we can make.  This has been a long time coming, and something I’ve heard about and read about for the last several years.  The time has come for us to cut back on dairy…until it is completely out.  What?  I know.  It seems crazy.  The truth is that milk is a perfect food…for calves.  Not really for humans.  What put me over the edge was seeing statistical research about how it is actually worse for your bones than if you don’t drink it.  Watch this excerpt from Forks Over Knives for a brief overview.  This clip really could change your life.

This is in direct opposition to everything we’ve always heard and learned.  All of my college classes talked about the benefits of drinking milk and how vital it is to our health.  But in the 6 years since I have graduated, I’ve read enough to convince me otherwise.  The opposite is true.  The dairy industry are the ones making the recommendations for us to have 3 servings of milk daily, and they are the ones who fund the research to “prove” that this is beneficial.

A year ago I would have not been ready for this change, but the timing is right, and we’re going to do it.

This is my new 2 month change.  First I will cut out milk as soon as we finish up the gallon in our fridge.  After we have adjusted, we’ll move on to cheese, yogurt, ice cream (WAH WAH WAH!  This one might take me a looooong time, since it really is my first love), etc..  Stay tuned for reports of withdrawal symptoms.  I’m sure there will be plenty.  I’m excited to see if it will make a difference in how we all feel.

Frustrated

Blogs are a weird thing because you can kind of be an “alter-ego.”  You can post about the very best things and parts of life, and readers go on getting depressed that they don’t have the picture-perfect marriage, the most attractive and obedient children, the cutest house, the most exciting lifestyle, the best recipes, and the hardest body.  It’s like keeping up with the Joneses but worse and way more in your face.  I like to keep it real because I think it helps other people relate, and it makes everyone feel better.  So I have a confession:

I fed my kids Hot Pockets for dinner on Friday.  Say WHAAAAAAAT?  Yup.  We had a free coupon a while back so they were just sitting in the freezer “for emergencies.”  I guess I thought I’d never break them open.  Friday was a pretty good day, but by 5:00 I was completely out of steam and when I got a call from The Mr. saying he wouldn’t be home for a while, I just couldn’t muster up the energy to make a dinner from scratch (plus we literally had zero food in the house).  The little angel and devil popped up on my shoulders.  “How about Hot Pockets?”  “NOOOOOOO!  I can’t feed that to my babies!”  But guess what, sometimes we have to give ourselves a break.  Do I usually give my kids lots of nutritious yummy foods?  Yes.  Are they happy and healthy?  Yes.  Is one tiny hot pocket over the course of their childhood going to give them colon cancer?   No.  So I did it.  It was done in 60 seconds and devoured in the same amount of time.  And I smiled and I felt fine.   So there you have it.  Granola Mom isn’t perfect.  Give yourselves a break and just do the best you can!

So on to the next topic.  I am extremely frustrated and completely stressed out.  I heard somewhere that if you read 10 books on one subject you are considered an expert.  So what happens if you read twice as many nutrition books and you are more confused than before you read any thing at all?  I am so sick of not knowing who/what is right and feeling guilty despite my best efforts to provide good nutrition for my family.  In the past month alone I have read/watched/skimmed/listened to the following arguments, from very passionate researchers, who all provided convincing arguments:

1.  Animal protein is extremely bad for you and will cause cancer.

2.  High-quality animal protein is beneficial to optimal health.

3.  All dairy needs to be cut out of diet.  This will cure many diseases.  Don’t ever feed your baby or children cow’s milk.

4.  “My father-in-law is a Pediatric Neurologist and he says all children should drink whole milk until the age of 12.”

5.  Whole grains are the best kind to eat, but not “modern and processed” whole grains.

6.  A book called “Wheat Belly” just came out that claims ALL grains are bad for you, and they are what is keeping Americans fat.

7.  Pasteurized milk is healthy.

8.  Pasteurizing milk kills important bacteria and enzymes that are needed for nutrients to be properly absorbed.  Drink raw milk instead.

9.  My pediatrician told me Tornado needs to drink 3 pediasures a day to be on the right weight curve, and if his weight is not where she wants it in a month she is re-testing him for allergies, Cystic Fibrosis (which he does not have), Celiacs, or other digestive disorders.

10. The very next day I took him to a dietician who told me that he was perfectly fine and healthy, especially for a baby who was breastfed and that 2 pounds gained in 2 months was “awesome.”  She sees hundreds of babies with the very same issue where the dr. is freaking out because they are not on “traditional curves” compared to formula fed babies.  It isn’t necessary to give him any pediasure.  Just real food and real fats.

11.  Give fluoride to your children.  It will prevent cavities

12.  Flouride is poison.

13.  The food guide pyramid is what you should eat.

14.  You will never know the truth about nutrition, because the government health programs are so corrupt that it will never be permitted to be printed.

So my friends, what is a mother to do?  Should I just stop listening to all these different sources with conflicting information (and the research to back it up) and just go with my intuition?  I literally stress out any time I think about giving my children anything to eat!  It’s insane.  Who do I listen to?   Do pediatricians really know anything about nutrition?   Real nutrition?  Or are they just taught what the general population is taught (Food Guide Pyramid and all that stuff) which so many activists are against?  Who can I trust?

I suppose that is why I am doing this blog.  Hopefully I can keep learning as I go, and read and study and get more knowledge, but for now, my philosophy is this:

I will feed my family whole foods that I cooked in my own home, as much as I can.  And all those questions…I will let them roll off my back until I gain enough knowledge to feel sure about them.  If I do make changes, I will make them very slowly so as not to get overwhelmed, and that’s as much as I am thinking about it.  The rest of my “worry” time I will spend having fun with the fam and giving myself a break for not being perfect.  Who’s with me?

 

Inspiration

I found these two clips tonight when I caught the tail end of an interview with Morgan Spurlock.  He is the guy who did the documentary Supersize Me.  He’s working on a new project now called “Failure Club” which follows several individuals’ stories as they try to accomplish a dream in the next year.  You can check it out here.  I have heard many stories about failure, and most successful people have had big ones.  It’s an interesting idea and I am excited to watch the show.

Kind of random, but it really inspired me for some reason.  The “safe” choices are easier to make, but they might make you miss out on some awesome opportunities.  I think it applies to health too.  Sometimes we are afraid to try something, or make changes, but it can impact your life and change the course you otherwise would have been on.    Some good food for thought.

An Inspiring Story

This is pretty random, but The Mr. was reading the Costco magazine (nerd!) yesterday and came across this awesome article about a guy named Josh Neimark.  He told his story about being 250 pounds, living a sedentary lifestyle, eating poorly, and growing a mass in his chest.  Long story short, he went through a pretty rigorous series of tests, got diagnosed with some pretty crazy stuff and was sent home with a long list of pills to take.  He said to himself, “Forget that,” and decided to make some changes in his life.  He changed the way he ate (and attributed lots of it to eating Costco’s yummy organic produce, which is why he was featured), started exercising, and is now currently in amazing shape, a vegan, and drumroll…the mass is gone.  GASP!  How many stories have you heard like this?  I am so so so thankful for modern medicine and know some amazing doctors.  I am glad they are there.  But sometimes I think there is too much emphasis on taking a magical pill as a quick fix for things.  WE are mostly the ones to blame – lots of times we WANT a quick fix because we are busy, and it is easier that way.  But in the long run, the power and responsibility lies with us to live the healthiest life that we can.

Disease can literally disappear sometimes if we don’t provide an environment in which it can thrive (ie a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, smoking, drinking, high stress environments, not enough sleep, etc). Many successful studies have been done on Adult Onset Type 2 Diabetes.  See an article here.  “We have seen numerous people reverse their condition,” says Dr. Michelle Magee, director of the MedStar Diabetes Institute in Washington. “But it takes a real dedication for the rest of their lives,” she notes.

Having said that, there are obviously some very real diseases and life threatening situations that can show up even if we are living healthily.  This is why I am so glad we have brilliant and talented doctors.  But if we take control of our health, we are fighting the odds.  Josh’s story is pretty inspiring, and his blog is too.  Check it out at http://www.joshneimark.com/.