I am from the ‘Dairy Country’ of Minnesota. I grew up milking cows at my cousins’ farms. We drank raw milk (oh, it was good) – so, I am a dairy lover (and, born a Wisconsin ‘Cheesehead’).
But, those were the days before rBGH (Bovine Growth Hormone), overuse of pesticides, GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), and highly prevalent use of antibiotics.
Nowadays, you never know what is in your dairy products – you hope for the best. But, unless it is labeled organic (and, preferably grass-fed) – you can’t be sure. And, should I get ‘lactose free’? Skim? 1%, 2%?
Full-fat dairy can be a healthy part of your eating (unless you are sensitive to the lactose or allergic to casein). It is a source of healthy fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins and protein.
For those of you who are intolerant of dairy – I suggest using coconut milk (and, I love it) as an alternative. Also, you can use nut milks. More on this in a later post.
But, did you see what I wrote –
Non-fat and lower fat products have a higher carbohydrate content. And, although 1% and 2% milk-fat sounds great – whole milk is actually about 3.5% fat – so, it really isn’t a reduction (other than taste).
So, let’s look at the major type of dairy product that is readily available…
You know those gleaming refrigeration units in the back of the store? They are predominately ‘conventional’ dairy. Sure, you will find some organic brands and some labeled that they contain no hormones – but, most of the dairy that you can readily buy is from cows that were raised on rBGH and fed a diet of corn (likely from a GMO source).
Thank you Monsanto!
- Now, what is rBGH and what does it do? rBGH (r means recombinant) is a protein made by bacteria, purified and injected into dairy cattle to stimulate the cow’s metabolism and increase milk production.
- So? Do you remember the old phrase – you are what you eat?
o rBGH also increases a hormone (insulin-like growth factor) that has been linked to breast cancer (as well as prostate, colon, and other cancers). Since the introduction of rBGH – human milk-duct tissue cancer (a very aggressive breast cancer) has increased up to 60%.
- So, what about GMO’s? GMO’s are modified so that they can withstand the use of pesticides during production of crops (soy, corn etc.). Yet, in order to make these handy little seeds – they have to make modifications to their DNA. And, these modifications can include the introduction of antibiotics which can make the crop resistant to disease.
Sounds great! More crop yield and the farmer benefits.
Not so fast, the cow passes these antibiotics onto you – where they can trigger allergies, cause infertility and birth defects.
So, how does that glass of skim milk sound right now?
- And what’s wrong with lower fat versions? Well, the primary reason to drink milk (other than it does taste good) is for the fatty acids. And, these are saturated fatty acids.
o Per the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: ‘there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of ‘coronary heart disease’, or ‘cardiovascular disease’…
So, look for:
- Full fat dairy products.
- Fermented full fat dairy products (such as full-fat cheese), yogurt and kefir.
o Just don’t use the sugar-laden yogurt.
o As a note – sometimes I can’t find full-fat yogurt because we are conditioned not to want to purchase it. Tell the grocery store management – or, use sour cream or crème fraiche. Alternatively, make your own – it isn’t hard!
- And use butter and ghee – vs. solvent extracted vegetable oils or butter substitutes!