Category Archives: Diet

Be Wary of Dairy

Ah, dairy. This subject is hairy.

And you’ll probably want to be a bit chary.

Okay, no more rhyming. But it was fun. 😉

So basically, there’s been a lot of debate over whether or not we need dairy. It’s a great question. Here’s what the argument for it looks like:

1. “I love cheese!”

2. “I love ice cream!”

3. “I can tolerate it just fine.”

Okay, fair enough. Not terribly scientific, but I agree on points 1, 2, and 3!

Now let’s take a look at what the argument AGAINST dairy looks like:

1. A whole lot of people can’t tolerate it just fine

Whole populations around the world and quite a large number of people in this country are lactose intolerant. What does it say that so many of us are unable to eat dairy? Maybe it means we don’t need it.

2. Milk is a baby’s food

We don’t even drink our own milk past childhood. Milk contains carbohydrates, fat, and protein all in one so that babies get the three essential macronutrients from their one food source. Milk makes babies grow. But we’re all grown up. So again, maybe we don’t need it.

3. We are the only species that drinks the milk of another animal

A lot of anti-dairy people say, “We don’t drink our own milk, so why are we drinking the milk that’s meant for baby cows?”

Kinda makes you stop and think, right?

3. Milk isn’t a calcium solution

Wait, what?! Yeah. We have a higher consumption of dairy in this country than in most countries around the world. And we also have the highest rate of osteoporosis. That doesn’t add up. Isn’t dairy supposed to protect us from osteoporosis because it gives us calcium to build strong and healthy bones? Seems people in other countries where dairy consumption is very low, are not only finding enough calcium from other sources, they’re not experiencing bone loss the way we are.

I believe the way we’re eating in this country is stripping our bones of calcium…among other things…but we’re not going into that right now. The main point here is that dairy isn’t making up for it. Yet again, I say, “Do we really need it?”

Some great non-dairy sources of calcium?
Broccoli, kale, bok choy, collard greens, rhubarb, chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut milk, blackstrap mollasses, tahini, pistachios, almonds/almond butter, and sardines. I’m sure you can find at least ONE thing on that list that sounds good (what? not the last one?!). 🙂

4. Milk consumption can contribute to disease

This is where dairy gets really scary (sorry! that’s the last rhyme!). Milk contains a lot of hormones that aren’t so good for us. You’ve heard of rBST or rBGH, right? It’s the genetically engineered growth hormone (made by Monsanto – need I say more?) they give to cows to stimulate milk production. This is in conventional dairy and has been linked to various types of cancer.

But even organic rBST-free/ rBGH-free dairy has hormones because cows are milked all the time, which means they are milked when pregnant, and some hormones are sky-high during pregnancy. Then all of the milk from all of the cows is pooled together and we consume a whole mix of crazy stuff…stuff coming from a lot of hormonal females…think about it…

All of these hormones look to be contributing to certain types cancer. Prostate cancer is related to higher consumption of dairy products, as is ovarian cancer, although the link is less clear than with prostate. Endometrial cancer is a hormone-related cancer, so there’s concern for dairy hormones there, too.

5. Low-fat and fat-free dairy is linked to acne

Who wants bad skin? ‘Nuff said.

So do I need to take supplements?

Actually, high calcium supplementation has been shown to be related to a higher risk of heart attacks and kidney stones, as well as a higher risk of hip fractures. Basically, the calcium from supplements is different from calcium you consume in foods – it’s a big hit of the mineral at once, instead of a gradual dose throughout the day with various meals and snacks. Calcium also needs to be taken in tandem with magnesium and vitamin D, so just taking a calcium supplement without these will not facilitate absorption. And calcium that doesn’t get absorbed floats around and ends up where it shouldn’t be, causing heart disease, among other health problems. Not good.

My recommendation is to really try to get most of your calcium from your food and proceed with caution with supplements. Take small amounts at a time, if you need to, and always take it with magnesium and vitamin D.

I’ve found the evidence against dairy pretty compelling. But of course, the Dairy Industry makes sure our government recommends it as an essential part of a healthy diet. Food remains the best way to get calcium, but it doesn’t have to be dairy. If you want to eliminate it completely, or almost completely, that’s great. If not, limit your intake to 1-2 servings per day. Moderation is the key here.

2 Comments

Filed under Dairy, Diet, Health, Organic

Red, White and Blue

Happy 4th of July!

Let’s get patriotic with our food! Yup, we’re talking about red, white, and blue foods today.

RED

Raspberries are one of my favorite foods! They’re one of the lowest sugar fruits (which means they’re low-glycemic), very high in fiber, and also low in calories. Plus, they’re loaded with Vitamin C, antioxidants, and antimicrobial and anticarcinogenic compounds. You get serious bang for your caloric buck here. I recommend buying them organic and frozen because they are cheaper, delicious when they get melty, and don’t get as moldy as quickly as the fresh ones do.

A red food you should really watch out for is the papaya. Most papayas, sadly, are genetically modified (GMO alert!). I love this fruit, which is, like the raspberry, a low-sugar fruit, but now I’m very cautious about eating it. Make sure you know the origins of your papaya before you dive in.

As I’m scaling back on my papaya consumption, I’m turning things up a notch with red beets. This is one red food that I’m just now starting to appreciate. Beets have antioxidant, detoxification, and anti-inflammatory properties. And by increasing your intake of sweet vegetables, like beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes, you decrease your sweet cravings. For some of us, that’s a much-needed trick!

WHITE

White vegetables get overlooked, in my opinion, because everyone is so busy talking about greens. Well, greens are great, don’t get me wrong, but so are whites!

Here’s what the white veggies can do…

  • daikon radishes – detoxification, low in calories, and helps with fat and starch digestion
  • onions – antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, increases bone density, and lowers blood cholesterol
  • mushrooms – antioxidants and immune-boosting
  • cauliflower – good for digestion and detoxification, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory

Make sure to get lots of colorful fruits and veggies into your meals…and colorless ones, too!!

BLUE

Okay, this one is a little tricky. Blue foods are actually kind of purple. Purple mountain majesties? Okay, still patriotic. 😉

I think everyone knows by now that blueberries are packed with antioxidants, so all I’m going to say is that they top the dirty dozen list for produce with the most pesticide residue, and you should make sure to buy them, and all other berries, organic when possible. They can be pricey, so it’s a good option to buy them frozen. They last longer and are still packed with nutrients because they’re frozen right after they’re picked. It’s a win-win.

Anthocyanin, the pigment in blue/purple foods like blueberrieseggplants, figs, blackberries, plums, and grapes, gives us antioxidants, anti-aging properties, and benefits eye and heart health.

So, the bottom line is that the more colors you have on your plate, the better. By getting different types of foods into your diet, you’re getting a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and health benefits. So let’s get healthy and patriotic, people!

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Question of the Day:
What’s the best place you’ve ever watched fireworks?

3 Comments

Filed under Diet, Fruit, GMO, Health, Low-glycemic, Organic, Tips and Tricks, Vegetables

More on Soda

My post “Getting Down to Basics” covered a lot of info in one place. One of my readers asked for me to elaborate on why soda is bad for you. I want to emphasize here that I will absolutely go into more depth on any topic in a separate post. All you have to do is ask!

Soda. Whether diet or regular, soda is a beverage of chemicals. There is no nutritional value to drinking soda.

We know regular soda contains chemicals and sugar. And we know sugar is bad for us (see my post on sugar). But what about diet soda?

Diet sodas contain the following: aspartame, artificial colors and preservatives, and phosphoric acid.

Aspartame is one nasty artificial sweetener, folks. The easy explanation here is that “artificial” just isn’t food. But beyond that, why is it so bad? In short, aspartame is linked to approximately 92 different health problems. I won’t go into it all here, but you might be interested to know that in addition to nearly any problem you can think of – anxiety, depression, insomnia, eye damage…the list goes on – aspartame is linked to weight gain.

Say what?!

That’s right. Diet food is causing weight gain because the body doesn’t know how to process all of the fake ingredients, like aspartame and other artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. As a result, your body stores the unknown ingredients as toxins in fat cells to protect you. Fat, as much as we hate it, is there to protect us. So lose the toxins, lose the weight. Eat real food that your body knows how to digest. Aspartame is also known to cause unstable blood sugar and sweet cravings, which also lead to weight gain. You can read more about aspartame from Dr. Mercola, Dr. Hull, and The Health Ranger.

Phosphoric acid is a chemical that is added to keep your soda bubbly but is linked to lower bone density. When we consume phosphoric acid, calcium is released from your bones and teeth to balance the levels of phosphorus. When the body excretes phosphoric acid, the calcium goes right along with it. This contributes to our risk for osteoporosis.

Did you know that most of the world does not consume dairy products and their rates of osteoporosis are much lower than ours? This means that despite our high consumption of dairy, which is a great source of calcium, we’re still not protected. The Health Ranger has some good info on this one, too.

So, in summary, soda, whether diet or regular, is best avoided as much as possible. Water should be your drink of choice. Look for a post about water coming soon!

Always feel free to send me questions. Health Coach Jillian is here to help!

5 Comments

Filed under Artificial, Artificial Flavors, Dairy, Diet, Sugar, Water