Are Dairy Products Really Good for Us? Part 4


Continued from Part 3


As for getting enough calcium, the truth is that is found in almost every food that we eat. Little sesame seeds have a level of calcium, cup for cup, that is almost ten times as much as milk, but the Dairy Board does not like to advertise this fact.

The other thing to remember is that you need vitamin D in your diet in order to absorb calcium. Vitamin D does not come in a bottle-it comes from about 15 minutes of sunshine a day, with sunscreen on, of course. You see, fresh air and sunshine really do work to keep you healthy, and cost nothing.

Dairy is not a bad thing; the process of how it is made, however, is horrible for our bodies and cruelly exploitative to factory farmed animals.

So if you love milk but hate the chemicals and cruelty, try milk from small, traditional farms (look for them on the store shelves), or sheep or goat’s milk to see what nature intended this healthy drink to taste like.

Try other types of dairy, like natural cheeses. They have amazing textures and are extremely rich in flavor. Keep an open mind, a delicate pallet and go try different kinds of dairy.  Studies have shown that it can help build teeth and bones and be a valuable source of protein, and can be healthy for you so long as it is not loaded with chemicals, coloring and flavorings.

Instead of giving the kids chocolate milk in order to ‘bribe’ them into drinking their milk, why not give them a great fruit smoothie. Chances are they will gulp it down and ask for more (see Mara Michaels’ smoothie guides for great ideas for drinks the whole family will love).

Research calcium and make sure you get it in your diet from a variety of sources, and be sure your family is getting a balanced diet that includes all the major food groups each day, including dairy.


Are Dairy Products Really Good for Us? Part 3

Continued from Part 2


With all the chemicals, antibiotics and hormones in milk, it is important to ask if milk is really as good for us as the dairy industry would have us believe.

The truth is that it can be if you are willling to pay more for milk and other dairy products which are produced along more natural and less commercial lines.

Milk is a healthy food choice when it comes from cows that are grass-fed, like Jerseys and Guernsey, not modern Holsteins which are forced to over-produce. The good bacteria and healthy diet in the grass-fed cattle reduce the risk of milk-producing infections.

This milk is usually not pasteurized, killing off all of the benefits of the milk, since the cows are better kept. using modern day hygienic practices to help ensure clean and safe production.

Because this milk is not homogenized either, the calcium remains intact and allows our bodies to absorb more of the nutrients we need. Of course, the milk tastes different than we are used to because all of the nutrients were processed out of it. It will have more flavor and a stronger taste. It will also be full fat, not skim (you can get around this by just adding filtered water to consume fewer calories per glass).


Continued in Part 4


Are Dairy Products Really Good for Us? Part 2

Continued from Part 1

Now that the dairy industry has become so high-tech, it is time to take a look at what we are really drinking and eating when we consume dairy products in the US.

Problems with Milk

Most dairy found in grocery stores is terrible for your health, because it comes from cows that are fed high-protein grains and are pumped full of hormones and antibiotics to increase productivity. Everything they are putting into the cow gets transferred into your milk, for you to consume. The dairy industry stresses the importance of calcium, but are hormones and antibiotics good for us too?

Are we really getting any nutritional naturally from the milk we drink? The answer is no. They are all being added afterwards, using man-made supplements.

Many dairy producers use pasteurized and homogenized milk to produce their dairy products. These processes remove the proteins from milk, and many of the nutrients too, making them un-useful for your body, and in some cases making them even border on being harmful.

Because these enzymes are broken down at high temperatures, they destroy phosphatase, which is an enzyme that helps your body absorb the calcium found in milk. It also destroys the vitamins B12, B6 and C, while killing off all of the good bacteria in the milk.

Homogenization of milk alters the fatty contents and good cholesterol found in milk, making it easier to form free radicals, which can cause cancer (see Carolyn Stone”s guide on Antioxidants and Free Radicals for more information).

Producers homogenize the milk to give it a more universal texture and to keep globules of fat from floating to the surface (think about the layer of film produced on the top of buttermilk). It is all for cosmetic purposes, and really has nothing to do with how good the milk is for you.

Cows are often bred to have an overactive milk supply, so that farmers can get the most out of the cow as possible, exploiting them under harmful conditions. Constantly milking them can lead to health problems and infection in the cows, including mastitis as well as milk duct infections. To solve this problem, cows are just fed more antibiotics and hormones in order to keep producing. But in the meantime, all the infection, antibiotics and hormones are all going into the milk we drink. Does this sound like milk is good for you?

Continued in Part 3


Is Your Fussy Eater Getting All the Nutrition They Need? Part 3


(Continued from Part 2)

While most cases of vitamin and nutrient deficiency are pretty easy to spot, realize that certain ones such as calcium may not be as obvious. It might also be hard to spot poor nutrition in an older child because their rate of growth will not be tracked on a chart any longer to make sure that they are within normal range.

If you have concerns about whether your child is getting everything they need from their fussy choices, talk with your child’s pediatrician first. They may be able to suggest a multi-vitamin or other option to help you see that your child gets the things their diet is lacking.

Keep in mind that if your child suddenly experiences a lack of interest in foods they once enjoyed, it could be something more serious. It is not uncommon for a child’s eating habits to change when there is a sudden alteration in their lives, such as a new school, new home,  parents have strife, an illness or another significant event.

Also remember that we are now living in a culture that places a great deal of emphasis on personal appearance. There may be nothing wrong with the way your teen looks, but they may develop an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia in order to achieve ‘perfection’ and be starving themselves and damaging their health in the process.

Still other children might be obese, but still not be getting adequate nutrition because they are not eating a balanced diet and are making bad choices.

If you are concerned about your child’s eating patterns or whether they are getting all the vitamins and minerals their body needs, do not hesitate to get help. Your pediatrician can help put you on the right path with tips and suggestions for getting your child the foods they need.

They can also determine if supplements or multi-vitamins are necessary to get your child where they need to be in terms of health, nutrition, and a healthy weight and lifestyle.


Is Your Fussy Eater Getting All the Nutrition They Need? Part 2

(Continued from Part 1)


Here are some signs your child may be lacking in one or more areas of nutrition, and things to do if he or she is.

-Poor or Slow Growth

One of the reasons children have so many appointments when they are young is to monitor their growth rate. If your doctor notices your child is not growing at a normal rate or suddenly starts slipping away from their prior rate of growth for their current age, they may very well ask you about the child’s dietary habits. From there, they will make a decision as to how to proceed to make certain your child is getting all the nutrients their growing body and mind needs.


Developmental Problems

Some children who are not receiving adequate nutrition will start to show slowing or no progress in certain developmental areas to do with their physical and mental abilities. It might be a sign of another underlying illness, or it could just be poor nutrition.


Energy Levels below Normal

Deficiencies in iron, found in red meats, spinach, beans and more, can usually be a cause of low or decreased energy levels. If your child seems to be less spry or more sleepy than usual, think about how their diet may have changed. Most problems with lack of iron can be corrected by adding iron rich foods to the diet.  You might have to smuggle the spinach into their diet, through a shake or smoothie, for example (see Mara Michaels’ great smoothie books for more information) but it will be worth it.


Others may require a supplement in order to maintain proper levels of iron in the body. Talk with your pediatrician if your child refuses to eat foods with iron, in them or shows signs of listlessness, which could be an iron deficiency.



Continued in Part 3