Friday, January 23, 2015

Why have milk at all?

See below an article on why skimmed milk is a total scam. Actually, when it comes to milk, the story is much more complex than that. 

To start with, any food that is "processed" by the 'food factory' is harmful; milk is not the exception. The solution is not just to have "whole" milk, as this article suggests. It is to have "whole" milk from cows (or buffaloes) who are fed grass, and the milk is delivered to you without going through any pasteurization or homogenization.  

The "factory" approach to milk  starts with collecting milk from all across the countryside. These cows are likely to be routinely fed antibiotics in their feed. Antibiotics at low dosages that seep into our food are a big cause for drug resistance in humans, apart from simply not being healthy of course. Also, oxytocin injections are given to the cows to increase contractions in order to yield more milk. The mad cow disease that originated in Britain was the result of cows, who are by nature vegetarian, being fed the intestines of sheep! Anyone who breeds cows with a factory mindset is not going to bother with what the cow is fed, so long as the milk is produced. The cow's body does turn all that it ingests into milk, but let us be sure that what it ingests is going to affect the quality of its milk!

The milk has to be collected from various places and transported to the factory. The milk is then mixed together - there is really no way to ensure at this stage that the milk is only from healthy cows who have been fed a proper diet. During transportation, to prevent it from spoiling, several preservatives are added to it, which do not get eliminated during further processing.

The milk is then pasteurized. This is touted as a great benefit, since it kills all the "germs". Be sure of this - anything that uses a sledgehammer approach to kill all the germs, is not likely to leave the goodness of milk intact - it will kill a lot of good as well. In fact, pasteurization as a process makes the milk not assimilable by the body, and turns it from something good to something that is harmful.

Apart from pasteurization, you have various things added during the processing like glucose, skimmed milk powder (which is milk that has been further processed to turn it into non-milk), and sundry other stuff. 

To add to the mess, milk usually undergoes another process called "homogenization". It is a very innocuous word; it suggests that the milk is "mixed" and "made same" in some way. 

"Homogenization is actually a mechanical process where milk is forced through tiny holes under pressure of up to 2500 psi. As the average pressure recommended for car tires is 35 to 40 psi, you get an idea of how natural this is! This is not done for the benefit of our health; it is done so that there is no unhealthy looking cream at the top of the milk, i.e. it 'looks nicer'.  Unfortunately our body cells cannot recognize these unnatural molecules. The bile salts can't break down these fats properly. Being so small, the fats can pass through the gut wall without being 'digested' or broken down properly. Once these deformed fat molecules move into our body proper, they are not in a form that our body cells recognize, and even elimination of these molecules becomes difficult.

When we destroy the natural state of the fat molecules, or in the case of skim or low fat milks artificially remove most of the fat, we also remove the natural synergies that allow the proper absorption and assimilation of the fat and other nutrients. Many people drink milk for the calcium. However, by drinking processed varieties where the natural milk fats are damaged or missing, we actually compromise our ability to absorb nutrients such as calcium." (the last two paras within quotes are quoted verbatim from the book "Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health" by Mark Bunn)

And that is what we drink, that is what we give to our children!   

When Ayurveda recommended milk, this "processed" milk is not what it meant. There is another school of thought which most naturopaths adhere to, that milk itself is not required for the human body. The reasoning goes like this: All mammals produce milk for their babies, once the babies are grown, the milk is not required. Further, milk that is produced by the cow, is meant for the baby cow, with the constituents and ingredients suitable for a cow's growth. 

Are you a baby cow? You are not, so you should not have milk, according to this school of reasoning.

Putting both these schools together, if you are able to source milk directly from a dairy where you know that the feed is grass and there are no antibiotics, etc. pumped into the cow; milk that has not undergone further processing like pasteurization, homogenization, etc. then go ahead and have the milk. 

If you are not able to source milk as above, you should avoid having milk altogether. Obviously, it goes without saying that milk products are to be avoided too, since the producer is hardly likely to use unprocessed milk. 

Why not drop milk from the diet altogether? The myth of milk being necessary for humans is one that has been perpetuated by the milk lobby; several cultures across the world, most notably Chinese and other South East Asian cultures have never had milk as part of their diets.

(article attached)


(full disclosure: I do enjoy my coffee and  'chai' made the Indian way, with milk. Not only at home, where we use organic unprocessed milk, but outside as well. )


6 reasons why skim milk is a total scam

Enjoying full fat milk guilt-free. Picture: Thinkstock.


Enjoying full fat milk guilt-free. Picture: Thinkstock. Source: Supplied

WHEN was the last time you poured yourself a tall glass of ice-cold whole milk? If you're like most of us, it's probably been since you were a kid.

Nowadays it's all about skim milk, even for kids. Cartons of whole milk in school cafeterias have been swapped out for skim.

Good luck finding full-fat yoghurt. Everywhere you look, dairy products have gone skinny. And you know what? It's a double tragedy.

Not only is skim less delicious than whole milk, it's not even better for you. In fact, switching from whole to skim can be an unhealthy choice.

I've known this for a long time - I just mentioned it in a post on foods we thought are unhealthy but are actually good for us. But it turns out I didn't even know the half of it.

Study after study, it is slowly dawning on doctors and nutritionists that skim milk may not be the best choice for us after all.

Skim milk: the good vs. bad.

Skim milk: the good vs. bad. Source: News Limited

1. You absorb less of the nutrients without the fat. The nutrients in milk, vitamins D, E, and A, are fat-soluble, which means your body absorbs them better when they're delivered via fat. What's more, the vitamin K found naturally in butterfat gets left behind altogether.

2. Skim and low-fat milk contain powdered milk, which is made with oxidised cholesterol, a carcinogen. Oxidised cholesterol can contribute to the build-up of plaque in your arteries. On the other hand, untreated cholesterol in whole milk is an antioxidant.

3. Milk producers have started adding sugary flavouring to skim and low-fat milk to encourage kids to drink more of it. This means more empty calories in milk that releases fewer nutrients into your body. So that doesn't make a whole lotta sense.

4. Skim can leave you feeling unsatisfied, which leads many people to fill up on less-healthy "non-fat" foods. This is because saturated fats like those found in whole milk trigger the release of the hormone cholecystokinin, which makes you feel full.

5. Skim milk has been linked with "transient" weight loss in studies. This means you may lose some weight from cutting out whole milk at first, but then you're likely to gain back that weight.

6. Fats slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream, reducing the amount that can be stored as fat. This is an argument for letting some "healthy" fats into your daily diet overall, and they don't have to come from milk. They can come from olive oil and nuts, for example.

So as counterintuitive as it sounds, it sounds like skim milk is only going to exacerbate the so-called obesity epidemic.

Zymil, Soy Milk, Skim milk and full cream milk. Picture: News Corp Australia.

Zymil, Soy Milk, Skim milk and full cream milk. Picture: News Corp Australia. Source: News Limited

But you know what? I think we need to stop obsessing over obesity and slimming waistlines. If we would shift that focus from low-fat and fat-free to choosing foods with more nutrients I think we'd be a lot healthier. And that should be the goal anyway, getting healthier, not necessarily getting skinnier.

If there's anything we should care about when it comes to milk, besides its fat content, it's making sure it comes from cows not treated with hormones like rbST. And if you can get milk from cows with a diet rich in grass and hay as opposed to corn, you're going to get even more benefits from it.

This post was originally published on The Stir and has been republished here with the author's permission.

Do you drink whole milk or skim/low-fat milk or none at all? Why?

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