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The great milk debate

December 7, 2009

Going off dairy was the very first change I made to my diet. And boy oh boy was that a difficult decision to make! No dairy? Ohmigod what am I going to eat?

I remember it well. But I was suffering from tremendous sinus infections and something had to be done. I heard that dairy could contribute to that sort of thing – plus, I had a sneaking suspicion that it was milk that caused my stomachaches.

It took a little getting used to but going off dairy made me feel so much better, I didn’t care. My digestion started functioning properly and the sinus infections lessened, then went away. Of course, I also started cleaning sugar and other garbage from my diet so that helped. But dairy…that was my first bold move.

Cut to some years later and you might be surprised to see a half gallon of (always organic!) milk in my refrigerator. It’s funny, after my stomach healed I could tolerate milk again. And in moderation as part of a clean diet, I’m not getting those sinus infections. (Fingers crossed!)

So what gives? Is dairy good or not? Should you go off it?

Well, that depends. Milk, especially raw milk from grass fed cows, is very nutritious. But when it’s pasteurized, heated to crazy high temperatures in the name of killing bacteria, many of the nutritious qualities are lost. Most proponents of milk are specifically talking about raw milk. If that’s something you are interested in, check out for more information.

Milk is a build-up food. It’s meant to grow big, strong cows, or goats, or humans. Need to lose weight? Probably want to cut back on dairy. Too skinny? Maybe quality milk is just what you need.

Milk is advertised as a great source of calcium. But it doesn’t quite add up – in a country that consumes great quantities of milk we have high rates of osteoporosis. In China, traditionally milk is not part of the diet at all. Yet rates of osteoporosis are low. What gives?

If you’re worried about calcium, look to whole foods like dark leafy greens, almonds and anchovies for calcium. And avoid caffeine, which leeches calcium from your bones.

When I drink milk – and I do, now – I always buy whole, organic milk. That’s a whole food. Skim milk is a partial food. I believe in feeding my body food in its most natural state possible. Plus, whole milk tastes amazing. I mean, if you’re gonna do it, do it right! That said, I usually limit my intake to a splash in my tea in the morning, something like that.

Milk replacements? Eh. I drank soymilk and felt virtuous for awhile. But then I read the label and realized it’s full of sugar! I switched to unsweetened. But then I learned about phytoestrogens and all the reasons to lay off consuming so much darn soy. Hmmm. Now what?

Almond milk, oat milk, rice milk? Maybe. It’s all processed, to a degree, if it’s being sold in the supermarket. I mean, you can make almond milk yourself. But you know what’s even easier? Banana milk. That’s what the video above is about because it’s something I use several times a week. It’s fast and about as natural as it gets when it comes to a white, milky substance for your morning cereal. If you’re like me, morning cereal means Uncle Sam’s or another unsweetened brand, or a whole grain porridge or something like that. Banana milk lends a litttle creaminess and a little sweetness. What’s not to love?

Oh, and the blender in the video is the Magic Bullet. It rocks. Makes a great gift!