I’ve heard it all- all the reasons dairy is apparently horrible for you:
Not only is it labelled “pus” (thank you, Skinny Bitch book), but it is filled with hormones, spikes insulin, casein is addictive, everyone is lactose intolerant, its a neolithic food, we are adults and don’t need milk, and even the most mainstream and fat-phobic reason: it is loaded with saturated FAT!
Lots of groups like to give their reasons why milk and dairy are health wreckers, but I am here to argue in Milk’s defense.
Note: If you can’t already tell, science is not my main information currency. If you want people who actually research science and try to explain it to you, I recommend also reading more of Matt Stone and Danny Roddy. But I deal in experience and feelings. I let other people’s research inform my feelings and decisions, but my main goal is to bust food phobias. Science helps me do that, but I am not interested in explaining the intricacies, however I will try to link to the evidence that may enlighten your scientific minds better than I can.
Many people are lactose intolerant, or “lactose intolerant”. I was diagnosed as lactose intolerant at 2 years old and grew up drinking rice milk and soy cheese. (blerggg) But I would sneak real cheese at school. In fact, my schtick in the cafeteria was that I would go to the salad bar and just fill up a whole bowl of shredded cheese and eat it with my hands. My friends found it highly strange and amusing. I found it highly delicious and amusing.
I found I could tolerate cheese, no problem, and also that it was my favorite food (still is). But milk, which I rarely tried, and never really liked anyway, gave me bloating. Many extreme diets I went on argued heavily against dairy, and because of my “lactose intolerance”, I believed their word even more. I would go through phases of no-dairy, only to add my beloved cheese back in.
Its Not the Milk’s Fault
I read recently that lactose intolerance is not the milk’s fault, it is our fault. They argue that the difficulty digesting it is due to impaired gut function and low thyroid function. And that in many cases, slowly adding it back in can help our bodies adjust to digesting it.
Not only did Ray Peat and Danny Roddy convince me to give milk another go, but also the Weston A. Price Foundation’s support of (Raw) Dairy consumption. Not only that, but the restrictive GAPS diet I tried (and failed) even supports dairy consumption.
While WAPF and other Real Food enthusiasts insist that milk should be raw, Ray Peat seems to think that even pasteurized milk can be beneficial.
So I began drinking some. First a glass of pasteurized milk -which did leave me bloated. But, I was at my parents home in PA at the time, where Raw Milk is easier to obtain, the next day I had some raw milk and felt fine! I kept on drinking raw milk for a few days. When I ran out, I decided to have another glass of pasteurized milk. And I felt fine. I felt fine! I cured a life long case of lactose intolerance.
Then I started in on the ice cream.
While I would say that raw milk is probably best (and without a doubt tastier than pasteurized milk), I think it is amazing that it alone cured my inability to drink pasteurized milk. I am now back living in NY, where raw milk is far more difficult to obtain, so I drink pasteurized grass-fed milk from time to time. And eat ice cream a lot.
So… Is Milk a Beneficial and/or Essential Part of the Diet?
I don’t know. I don’t know and I don’t even think I care.
I am in the business of busting food myths and food phobias now, so why stop before figuring out a way to drink milk?
I wanted to show myself that I could. And give myself the option to drink milk and eat ice cream if that should be what I crave. I already tolerated cream in my coffee and allthecheese. I wanted the freedom and the option to go even further. Plus I had a feeling that it could be beneficial.
I will say that I have found I don’t really crave pasteurized milk, though I like it in my granola and coffee sometimes. However, I did start to crave the raw milk in PA, and I would like to find a way to get some easily here in NYC. (There are ways, I know, but I tend to be lazy when it comes to jumping through hoops, and I have no doorman for the local farms that deliver).
So I am trying to tell you, dear reader, that if you are scared of milk: no need. And if you are lactose intolerant or even allergic to milk, it is not the milk that is to be blamed. It may just be your body’s state, and if it is worth it to you to acclimate to drinking milk, you probably can.
How are we supposed to eat what we crave when we are afraid of food that might, in fact, be good for us?!
Milk’s Benefits in Simple Terms
Milk is loaded with protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin K2, and B2 and B12 vitamins. As well as grassfed milk having conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)- an amazing-for-you-fat. These are all vitamins that are not quite abundant in other foods, and definitely not abundant in plant foods.
Milk is easy to consume- and the nutrients are easy to absorb.
I think the best thing about milk and cheese and ice cream though, is that it is one of the highest foods in saturated fat, which is a good thing. It supports healthy cell, hormone and brain function, as well as being anti-inflammatory.
Here are some snippets from Ray Peat’s article on Milk
“Besides being an ecologically favorable source of calcium, protein, sugar, and fat, the composition of milk causes it to be digested efficiently, supporting the growth of bacteria that are relatively safe for the intestine and liver, and reducing the absorption of endotoxin.”
Comparing insulin/blood sugar/cortisol of animal meat consumption to milk consumption:
“Some amino acids directly stimulate insulin secretion, decreasing blood sugar and leading to the secretion of cortisol in reaction to the depression of blood glucose. The presence of lactose in milk, and of fat, to slow absorption of the amino acids, helps to minimize the secretion of cortisol. The main protein of milk, casein, seems to have some direct antistress effects.”
“Combining milk and cheese with fruits adds to the antistress effect. The additional sugar and potassium and other minerals allow the milk protein to be used more efficiently, by moderating the secretion of cortisol.”
Other beneficial properties:
“Calcium, and vitamins D and K, can sometimes produce quick antistress effects, alleviating insomnia, hypertension, edema, inflammations and allergies”
“The regular use of milk and cheese can prevent many chronic stress-related diseases.”
Talk to me and comment below! How does milk make you feel? What are your thoughts on milk and dairy?
Remember, my goal is to take away unnecessary food phobias to allow our cravings to be King. Don’t listen to those ladies who wrote Skinny Bitch. Just because they have a book doesn’t make them right. And just because I have a blog doesn’t make me right.
Listen to Yourself.
and Fuck It!