“What the Heck Should I Eat” by Mark Hyman
Dairy. It’s a bit of an issue at my house. Do we love it or hate it? The simple answer; yes. Here is a bit about my house and our relationship with dairy….
I grew up hanging out on my grandparent’s dairy farm. I drank raw milk often and fought for the heavy fat/cream that collected on the top of the glass milk container in my Memere’s fridge. It was a natural whipped cream essentially and it was divine. Fast forward to today… my son and husband have severe dairy intolerances. My son’s issue has been since birth. He can’t digest the casein protein in it at all and it’s caused him serious health issues. It has changed and conflicted the role of dairy in our home. I love it, but they can’t eat or drink it at all. What’s a girl to do?
Dairy has been a staple for thousands and thousands of years.
Has dairy changed? Or have we?
It’s dairy. It has changed. A whole lot.
Especially in the last 100 years, and truthfully, not for the better.
So, being a Vermont dairy farm kid has given me the perspective that milk is awesome, necessary, and good for you; but as a wife and mom with many in my household who are intolerant I’ve had to cut it out of my cooking completely! What a huge shift. I grew up on it. It was a critical staple. Creams, sauces, ice creams, creamers; it was put on noodles, covering fresh veggies as butter or cheese, and baked in casseroles.
As we step into Dr. Hyman’s book we discover there are several pitfalls currently plaguing milk that were not there even 2 generations ago. They affect the milk in drastic ways that are just now being studied. Cow’s milk now “contains dozens of reproductive hormones, allergenic proteins, antibiotics, and growth factors, some of which are known to promote cancer, such as IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor).” (p. 77)
Other issues plaguing milk are man-made, like concerns about saturated fats causing heart disease. While we now know this isn’t true, many have already permanently switched to low fat. Sugary low fat chocolate milk is candy in a cup, not a health food. The fat was one of the beneficial factors of the milk and it was removed.
~ womp ~
Milk has been genetically impacted in such a way that there are proteins in it now our bodies don’t even recognize. Franken-proteins! The cows of today are not the cows of the previous 6 thousand years….These adjustments align strikingly with the rise in childhood dairy allergies. Coincidence?
“Scientists have identified several different milk allergies, most notably the casein proteins, which can induce inflammation that leads to eczema, ear infections, congestion, and sinus problems.”Page 79 Mark hyman
Here are the eight points he drives home on pages 80 through 88.
- Big Dairy is behind the guidelines.
- You don’t need milk for strong bones.
- Sources of calcium without the added junk.
- Milk increases your risk for cancer.
- Dairy fat is not the problem.
- Yes, butter is back.
- Grass-fed dairy is the kind you should eat.
- Goats’ milk is different from cows’ milk.
Here are the points that stood out to me as a dairy lover in a non-dairy loving household….
Milk is scientifically not the best form of calcium to help strengthen bones. In fact there is a “phenomenon called the calcium paradox” where milk calcium intake increase actually causes a rise in fractures. (p.81) Go figure, right?! Dr. Hyman lists sources other than milk for calcium such as canned sardines, sesame seeds, almonds and spinach. Also, your calcium retention issue isn’t as much about what you take in, but if you retain it. Did you know you can lose it? You lose it through smoking, eating sugar, chemicals in soda’s, and caffeine; just to list a few. (p 82) Removing these factors helps you retain more successfully what you already ingested. That’s more beneficial to healthy bones then drinking more milk.
The unhealthy things we eat are just as the impactful as the healthy things we eat!Mel Phipps
Milk, full of hormones, also increases our cell growth. This includes cancer cells. Many cows are even pregnant while being milked, increasing these hormones even more. The studies listed in Dr. Hyman’s book were not definitive, but very thought provoking.
Here is some good dairy news…when handed something like a pancake or slice of bread with butter on it, choose the butter, and leave the bread item behind. Dr. Hyman mentions the exception of butter on veggies, since the fats in butters help us properly digest and use the veggies nutrients. Butter’s bad rap is mostly from the incorrect perspective that fats are bad. We already know that to be incorrect.
“Butter has all of the natural fats found in dairy, with little or none of the problematic proteins and sugars such as casein and lactose.”Dr. Mark Hyman
Dairy good news!!!! Wahoo. I’ll take it.
Grass-fed dairy, as with the beef, has the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio that is best, at 1:1. The minute you change the food intake of the animal to an unnatural source (all GMO grain, for example) it is shown to increase the inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. This tips the ratio from equal, to inflammatory omega-6 heaviness. If the cow is eating grasses this increases the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids as well as the “levels of carotene, vitamin A, and CLA, which has beneficial effects on metabolism” p 87 [For details on CLA see here.] Grass fed animals means healthier meats as well as a less inflammatory dairy product!
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”Corinthians 10:31
Eating healthy and clean is really hard to do and it can make you feel very frustrated and discouraged. Your budget may not allow, as we would like, to buy clean, organic, and grass fed. We may be eating at midnight because our work shift didn’t end until 11 pm and going to bed hungry keeps us from sleeping…. Whatever the situation, changing eating habits can be difficult, but IT IS WORTH IT! When you feel discouraged, give it to the Lord. Give him glory and let go of the stress and condemnation you may feel. The healthiest meal ever, if eaten under great stress, can be extremely unhealthy for you.
Best advice? Breathe!
Give it over to God, whatever it is you are eating, give him glory, and enjoy it! I pray peace over your journey and victory over your healthy habit building. It takes time. Show yourself grace. Happy eating!