Thursday, September 11, 2008

The first of six things

I was recently informed that I have been neglecting you, my dear readers. The oversight is entirely my fault. You see, I didn’t know you existed. I extend my deepest apologies.
In order to make up for my unintended lapse of attention, I thought it would be beneficial to reveal all that I have learned in my four years of seeking nutritional truth.
I will try to post a blog every few days. Each one will focus on an aspect of healthy eating. I hope all three of you enjoy it.

Kim’s six tips for healthy eating

1.Go raw. As in milk
2.Treat soy like Elijah did Jezebel
3.Grind your own grains
4.Add fermented foods into your diet
5.Use mainly organic produce and meats
6.Stay away from processed foods- even if you buy it at a health store


Today’s blog will focus on the benefits of raw dairy products and how pasteurized milk is of the devil.
Okay, maybe that was a little extreme. But you can see the connections, right?
Hmmm. Maybe, I’ll have to explain.
I’ve had my own battles with dairy. Over the years (about 27 of them) I have had a love/hate relationship with that yummy, creamy white goodness.
It started when I was introduced to milk. Suffice it to say, it did not agree with me. For the next 24 years I was forced to drink skim milk, eat low fat ice cream and spread margarine on my toast. A few times my mother even tried tricking me into drinking powdered milk! To this day, I have flashbacks of that inconspicuous white box and I have to close my eyes when I pass it in the baking aisle at Kroger. With the mistaken idea that I couldn’t digest whole milk products, I was forced to endure these travesties.
After I had Ellie I went through an enlightening, albeit stressful, period of seeking. I was seeking the perfect diet. One that would free me from chronic fatigue, various aches and pains that shouldn’t plague a woman in her twenties and hopefully, one that would free me of about ten pounds. I had been vegetarian for fourteen years, but had backslidden into eating an occasional chicken breast or tilapia loin. I went back to vegetarianism and when I discovered Ellie was allergic to milk, we became vegan. That lasted two years. Deciding veganism wasn’t extreme enough I dabbled in raw foodism. For those of you who don’t obsess over nutrition like I do, that is a diet where a person eats nothing cooked. Ever. At all. No bread, no meat, no steamed broccoli. Not even a glass of chamomile tea.
Obviously, milk was out. I hadn’t had milk in a few years, though. That wasn’t much of an issue for me.
The starvation, however, was. Also, the fact that I was nursing and could see an immediate decrease in my supply didn’t bode well for my raw food foray.
I started eating rice, cereal and lasagna (made with soy cheese, of course) again.
A friend of mine introduced me to a book called Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. I read it and immediately told her she was insane (My friend and Sally Fallon).
But I couldn’t ignore what the book said and I began my own search into the dangers of soy. I won’t get into that here. That will be in installment # 2. Because we didn’t eat dairy or meat, mine and Ellie’s diet had been heavy on the soy. Soymilk, soy meat, soy cheese, soy yogurt. Because of the research I conducted, I began to make connections between my own health problems and soy.
I threw out all the soy. I than called a local farm and bought a cow. We named her Bessie.
Now, I didn’t buy a whole cow. Just part of one. Or rather, a share of one.
In Ohio, it is illegal (ridiculous that the government can legislate what I can eat) to buy raw milk. Consumers are forced to “buy” into a cow share program. I won’t go into the logistics of this. It is boring and annoying…but, at least it keeps me from becoming a criminal (labeled as such by the USDA).
Raw milk is delicious, fresh and as an added bonus, doesn’t wreak havoc on my digestive system. Raw milk is obviously whole milk, yet I have never had a problem with it.
Also, even thought pasteurized milk and their products cause a histamine effect in Ellie (and to a lesser extent, Grainne), raw milk has never caused this in her. In fact, when I introduced raw milk into her diet, the eczema that had plagued her since she was very young stopped spreading and the hives that covered her mouth and chin every time she ate cheese went away. She didn’t develop a runny nose, a clogged throat or a cough with raw milk.

The Weston A. Price organization says this.

"Not only does pasteurization kill the friendly bacteria, it also greatly diminishes the nutrient content of the milk. Pasteurized milk has up to a 66 percent loss of vitamins A, D and E. Vitamin C loss usually exceeds 50 percent. Heat affects water soluble vitamins and can make them 38 percent to 80 percent less effective. Vitamins B6 and B12 are completely destroyed during pasteurization. Pasteurization also destroys beneficial enzymes, antibodies and hormones. Pasteurization destroys lipase (an enzyme that breaks down fat), which impairs fat metabolism and the ability to properly absorb fat soluble vitamins A and D. (The dairy industry is aware of the diminished vitamin D content in commercial milk, so they fortify it with a form of this vitamin.)
We have all been led to believe that milk is a wonderful source of calcium, when in fact; pasteurization makes calcium and other minerals less available. Complete destruction of phosphatase is one method of testing to see if milk has been adequately pasteurized. Phosphatase is essential for the absorption of calcium."

When we began consuming raw milk many people had the type of reaction you would expect had I started giving my kids substances that are created in a laboratory and shown to cause cancer (installment #6). Eyebrows were raised, concerns were voiced. One very close relative to me even told me it was illegal and I could go to jail. Um, yeah. If the federal government is going to throw me in jail over drinking a glass of milk, than they need to turn on the news (fox news, of course. The rest of the stations are biased) and deal with real problems.
In fact, raw milk is safer than pasteurized milk. The farm I get my milk from allows their cow’s free range of pastured land. The grass is not sprayed with harmful chemicals, which in turn go into the milk. The cows are not given hormones and steroids that force them to produce milk at volumes four, sometimes five times their normal rate. The cows are not given antibiotics because they do not chronically suffer from the mastitis caused by the hormones that increase their production.
As a side note. I had mastitis. Once. When I was nursing Grainne. It was more painful than delivery. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone or anything and the very idea of drinking or eating something that came from an animal battling such intense pain makes me squirm.
The cows that provide my family with milk are happy, healthy and live the sort of bucolic life that dairy commercials want you to think commercial dairy cows live. I’m not going to tell you the horror story that is the commercial dairy. It is cruel, unnecessary and profit driven. I will tell you, though, that because of that nasty reality, most all of the dairy products sitting on the shelf of your local supermarket do little to benefit your body and do much to cause harm.
As a recovering vegetarian I am acutely aware of the lives the animals that provide me with food live. Even though I now eat meat, I still do not want these animals to suffer unnecessarily. I do everything in my power to seek out humanely produced food.
I can write a ten page blog and still not cover all the benefits of raw dairy. I won’t do that to you. Shane reminds me (often) that most people aren’t as interested in the minutia of healthy eating as I am. If you are interested you can check out the link below for more information.
I encourage you to check out in order to determine the laws governing raw milk consumption (again, ridiculous) in your state and locating a raw milk share program. You won’t regret it. In fact, I can just about guarantee, after one sip of that creamy, sweet beverage you will be hooked.
Maybe I haven't convinced you of the spiritual implications of consuming pasteurized milk, but hopefully you have a better understanding of the benfits of drinking something in its most natural, God created state.
Raw milk does a body good.

I want to note that it is becoming increasingly easy to locate raw cheeses. Whole foods and Trader Joe's carry a nice selection of everything from Cheddar to Romano to Gruyere. Yummy!

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