Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Results First - Dairy

So what about milk?

I wanted to continue my series on 'results first, beliefs second- nutrition', as there's a ton of misinformation out there. It doesn't stop with fats. Dairy is often on the undeserved ban list of many ideological dieters and eaters in my opinion. Here is my view countering long held beliefs;

The Belief - Humans aren't meant to consume cow milk; Milk is high in fat and therefore bad for arteries; Cheese causes high cholesterol etc....

The Truth - Results say we have consumed it for thousands of years; See my last post on fats; Association of saturated fat and cholesterol is still a hypothesis.

I hate to beat this in, but quality of source rules supreme. Let's take a look at the traditional approach to milk consumption that we've had for thousands of years;

-It has always been consumed in it's raw state, meaning no pasteurization or homogenization. In it's raw form it quickly cultures potentially making it even more digestible.
-Because of this culturing, and due to lack of refrigeration, more commonly used dairy foods such as yogurt, kefir, whey, cheese have increased micro-organisms or beneficial bacteria that actually aide in digestion.

Let's compare that with the current model for milk consumption;
-Pasteurization. Milk in the store is mandated to be pasteurized at a temperature of AT LEAST 135, with little exception. Honestly, if it's from a great source this isn't a problem... (although I prefer not). It's the UHT (ultra high temperature) process that most are using that I have an issue with. If you thought drinking even organic milk was better, it really isn't. They generally heat it up to 400deg. rendering it almost a non-food. Why do you think the expiration date is nearly 2 months? What live food do you know that lasts 2 months? Do you not
think we might start to see problems related to this type of milk? Again, you can't expect great results from a poor quality food. Of course poor quality milk should be pasteurized. Anything from a potentially sick animal being fed food it's not suited for, injected with hormones and antibiotics is going to be at greater risk. My belief is that we should steer clear of it.

-Almost all milk in the store at this point is also homogenized. Homogenization of milk is where they take the fat and through centrifugal, force break it up. That way, if you buy whole milk, the cream doesn't separate. This was done for fairness and consistency. If a rail car or truck shipped milk for delivery before being bottled, all the cream would separate. The cream was highly sought after so they developed the homogenization process. This allowed for equal cream/milk content. The negative side to homogenization is rancid fat production. When the fat gets broken up, it creates the release of bovine xanthine oxidase (BXO), which has been linked to arteriosclerosis. This to me is worse than pasteurization! If you can at least buy non-homogenized milk. Kalona organics is a great brand that is currently available at Natural Grocer stores.
                                 (nothing natural about this process)

Base everything on results only. If you feel bloated, sick, tired, stuffy and congested after consuming dairy, try first switching your source to one of quality. If that doesn't do it, you might be best to limit your consumption. Here is what I have found to work best for me and the clients I have worked with...

Raw Fermented/Cultured Dairy - Local raw Kefir, yogurt, cheese. These have much higher beneficial bacteria resulting in a lower amount of lactose (milk sugar). With a large portion of the population reported to be lactose intolerant this is something to try... (and is what works best for me). If you also have a problem with casein, the protein in milk, the culturing process could be beneficial (although I believe it's an association to quality).

Raw High Fat Dairy - Local Raw cream and butter. Who doesn't love that? Again, much lower in lactose so easier to digest. They are also both very nutrient dense.

Raw Milk - I personally do not do that great on the milk itself, but if you have no problems with tolerating, this an ideal source and state.

So what's the next best thing for someone who doesn't do raw dairy?
Milk -Better is better, so going the Kalona organic route is best. Organic Valley is grass fed and okay.
Yogurt - Kalona, Cultural Revolution and few others have a great non-homogenized product.
Butter - Organic Valley pastured butter or Kerrygold pastured butter. Both from animals fed on grass.
Cheese - Raw cheeses can now be purchased in Texas from stores such as Whole Foods. 

Obviously I am a fan of raw milk products, but please realize that we are all different, physically, biochemically, mentally etc. What is best for me is not best for you. Question the source. Question the norm. Inform and educate yourself. Strive for better.



  1. I have really enjoyed your blog and hearing your thoughts on nutrition. I have opted to stay away from dairy myself over the past year and have certainly seen improvements in various aspects of my general health, but I realize this is not for everyone. In fact I have three children under five who drink organic whole milk every day. I have not looked into the raw milk option for them for the sole reason that it seems like such an inconvenience to order, find, etc., since life is pretty hectic right now. I have chosen to supplement my dairy intake with a combo of almond, coconut and hemp milk and would love to hear your thoughts on those alternatives in an additional post. Thanks again for all of the really useful info you are putting out there.

  2. Thanks Gina Marie!

    Kudos for listening to your body and realizing we are all so very different.

    I would love to do a post on dairy alternatives. There are some options, but most of what I have seen do have some pitfalls.

    Please let me know if you are interested in local dairy. I have a great source that may interest you.