Milk Update

It’s now been a month since we tried our milk fast, so I thought I’d report.

I try to keep it real on this blog.  I feel like blogging can allow you to be a false persona in order to impress people or make it seem like life is wonderful.  In honor of keeping things honest, here’s an update on how the milk cutback has gone in the last month.  It was hard.

We are not huge milk drinkers.  Especially since we started trying to eat mostly whole foods, we consume less milk because of less cereal.  So the real challenge was what to give the boys for drinks.  I gave them almond milk this month.  They didn’t really notice a difference as far as I could tell.  They were pretty happy.  Cooking with almond milk didn’t seem to change the taste of most things, except for homemade macaroni and cheese, which was pretty nasty.  Anyway, we basically just used less milk and drank less milk.  But again, I felt weird just giving my kids water.  Creature of habit!

I never felt fully comfortable with the almond milk, I think because I read the ingredients.  It’s filled with a bunch of junk and at least high quality milk just has one or two ingredients.  Sigh.  Here’s the recurring theme of me being torn with what the right thing to do is.

So this week…I bought a gallon of milk.  We surprisingly have barely touched it.  But it is nice to know it’s there.  So, my experimental milk fast had mixed results.  Bottom line for now is that I am slowly cutting back until we don’t drink it and we don’t miss it.  I haven’t had a glass of milk in a while, but I DID eat some yummy granola with milk the other morning and it really hit the spot.

There you have it folks.  Here’s another milk article from the Times last week.  An interesting closing paragraph reads:  “Osteoporosis? You don’t need milk, or large amounts of calcium, for bone integrity. In fact, the rate of fractures is highest in milk-drinking countries, and it turns out that the keys to bone strength are lifelong exercise and vitamin D, which you can get from sunshine. Most humans never tasted fresh milk from any source other than their mother for almost all of human history, and fresh  cow’s milk could not be routinely available to urbanites without industrial production. The federal government not only supports the milk industry by spending more money on dairy than any other item in the school lunch program, but by contributing free propaganda as well as subsidies amounting to well over $4 billion in the last 10 years.”

More reports to come soon, but in the meantime I am not going to be too strict on this one for now.

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?

 

Milk: The Controversy

Oh my heavens…where to turn to for correct information these days?  Present a nutrition issue, and you can find legitimate research that supports BOTH sides.  It’s difficult, especially as a mom, who is solely responsible for what my children put in their mouths.  I don’t want to do them any harm, and I want to give them what is best for their growing bodies.

Enter milk.  Did you know someone has written a book called “Milk: The Deadly Poison”? I haven’t read it and am not sure I will, but I think his main point it that milk from the grocery stores is filled with growth hormones and antibiotics and cancer-causing agents (already knew that).  I’ve heard/read/seen a bajillion things about milk, but I am not totally ready to cut it out.  Every other year or so The Mr. goes on this milk fast phase, where he buys almond or rice milk.  He normally has a runny nose, and has to clear his throat often.  One day off that cow’s milk and his runny nose is GONE.  I KNOW it causes mucus buildup, but I need to learn more.  We have seriously cut back on how much milk we have these days, mostly because we don’t really have cereal anymore, and to be honest, we don’t miss it much.  It’s just hard to get over things I have always heard – like milk is high in calcium or good for your bones, and that your small children should be getting 3 servings a day.  I know there are many other food sources much higher in calcium, and I’ve read several articles supporting both sides.  Sigh.  It is frustrating to say the least.  There’s been a big controversy in the Autism field also because some mothers swear by cutting out wheat and dairy (because of the protein casein) in their children’s diets, and see significant improvements.  I still have so much to learn, and I know I am constantly saying that.  But here is what I think:

After making The Mr. watch Food, Inc. with me last week we kind of just sat in silence for a few minutes.  When you see those cows and chickens and the way they are “grown” and “harvested” it makes you think twice about what you are picking up in the grocery store.  It for sure made me re-commit to buying only grass-fed meat to skip all the hormones and antibiotics injected into it, but it also made me think about milk again.

Remember how I made a rule to only make drastic changes every 2 months so as not to overwhelm our family/my OCD self?  The change for this month is making the switch to Organic Milk.  I bought some this week and took a sip and almost fell over at the difference in taste.  It was like whipping cream.  Insane.

Possible Future Steps I need to learn more about: 

+ Drinking “raw” milk, as in unpasteurized (this is a HUGE trend right now).  My neighbor once bought a gallon of raw milk and she had to sign a waiver saying she wouldn’t sue if she got sick.  Makes you a little nervous to do it, right?  But people swear by it.  Our farmer friend grew up drinking it too, as many farmers probably do, and he seems pretty healthy.  I mean, he’s alive…

+ After drinking organic for a while, finding local organic milk.  I’ve been looking, but it’s tough to find things out in a new area.  There are lots of farms, but not so many organic farms, and the organic farms I have found don’t have cattle.  Gotta keep looking.

+ Cutting milk out completely, and then dairy (no!!! the ice cream! The cheese!).  This makes me nervous at this point, again, because of what I have always been taught.  Yet lots of holistic health people are moving in this direction so it makes me think there is value in it.

I have a great deal of respect for this lady, and I spend a lot of time on her website.  She has been doing this for 20 years, and I am just getting started, so she knows a lot more than me.  Here are two articles about milk.  Take the time to read them if you are interested.  It makes you think… #1,  #2

Have a great weekend~