MILK…It Does A Body Good. Or Does It?

When I was little, I remember my grandparents always telling me to “drink your milk”. And my friends’ parents always said the same thing. Mine were pretty lax about it; I really didn’t like milk unless I filled it with Hershey’s syrup (I remember when it came in a can before they invented the squeeze bottle). I guess they were ahead of their time.

So, back to the milk. Is cow’s milk good for you? These are the questions I encourage you to ask yourself:
1) Who/what kind of animal is cow’s milk designed for? (a cow)
2) Are YOU a cow? (I hope not)
3) Do cows continue to drink milk after they are mature/weaned? (no)
4) Are YOU grown? (notice I didn’t say “mature”…I hope you still like acting like a kid sometimes :))
5) Do cows, or ANY animal you can think of, drink milk from another animal, and continue to do so post-weaning? (no, no, NO!))

Each species of mammal creates milk specially designed for that species’ growth needs, at birth and until weaning. Cow’s milk is designed to DOUBLE a calf’s weight in fifty days. I doubt you would enjoy the same effect! It also contains almost three times as much protein as human breast milk. The differences are many more than I will list here.

Besides the differences in the chemistry between human milk and that of cow’s, or any other species, a significant argument for excluding or minimizing cow’s milk in your family’s diet is the fact that it is heat processed (pasteurized). Heat denatures proteins & enzymes; in other words, you are not going to get the “good stuff” from the milk because it’s been “killed”. Also, the typical dairy farm compromises the cow’s lifestyle. They may be fed stale grains, grown in nutritionally depleted soil. Unless they are free to roam, they get no exercise. They often are pumped with hormones to get them to produce more milk, and given antibiotics since they are unhealthy, due to their lifestyle. These chemicals come out in the milk.

Many people are “lactose intolerant”. This is actually a NORMAL condition, because our bodies do not produce the enzyme lactase which is needed to break down lactose after early childhood (because it’s not expected that we would still be breastfeeding) !

“What about calcium?” you ask. While it’s true that milk has lots, it is also so high in protein that your body cannot absorb the calcium it gets at the same time. Not only can’t you get calcium, but the high protein content actually causes your body to REMOVE calcium from your bones to act as a buffer in your blood. That’s right, drinking milk actually causes you to LOSE calcium from your bones. The best place to get calcium is from dark green leafy vegetables. If you are concerned you are not getting enough of those, I highly recommend JuicePlus+ to help you get what you need. Almonds are also a good source of calcium; this fresh almond milk is what we use most of the time instead of cow’s milk.

As far as osteoporosis, there is NO evidence that increased dairy consumption decreases the occurrence of osteoporosis. In fact, the countries with the highest milk intake also have the highest rates of osteoporosis. This probably is because of what’s stated above: your body REMOVES calcium from your bones to deal with the milk you put in. The dairy council has done a number on us! Not that I blame them.

What to drink instead of milk? Well, water is what should be drunk on a regular basis. But as far as milk alternatives, many options exist.

See my post on Making Fresh Almond Milk for milk alternatives.

This made me laugh so much that I had to include it!

Here is a very good article about osteoporosis: http://www.betterbones.com/osteoporosis/top10myths.aspx

And this is a fantastic site with detailed articles on many physical conditions and how they relate to milk consumption: http://www.notmilk.com/

My Story

I graduated from the University of Florida with a BS in 1995, and from Life University School of Chiropractic with a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree in 1999. After practicing a few years in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl, I met my husband-to-be, and six months later was married and living in Jerusalem, Israel. Fast forward seven years, and here I am. I have four rambunctious boys, ages 6,5,3,and 1. And baby GIRL #5 is due to join us soon, in August, 2009. Though I’m not actively practicing Chiropractic, I not only adjust my family and friends, but I still teach others the benefits of a natural and healthy lifestyle. Through this blog, I hope to be able to share the benefits of my knowledge and experience, as well as the challenges and adventures of day to day life with lots of “littles” around.

Couscous Tabouli Salad

Living in Israel offers many differences to living in the US. Being here this long, I have begun to really appreciate the flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine.

Most tabouli is made with bulgar wheat; I prefer the taste of the couscous. I had just been introduced to these types of foods before moving here; they are healthful, and neither expensive nor difficult to prepare. I’ll add recipies for the accompaniments as I can.

Couscous Tabouli Salad

Serves 6
Adapted from: Chez Christine

2 cups whole wheat couscous
1 garlic clove, minced

2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, & finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped 1 bunch fresh mint leaves 1bunch fresh parsley approx 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons’ worth)
Salt & pepper

1. In small saucepan with tightly fitted lid, mix DRY couscous with 2 tsps extra virgin olive oil.
2. Add 2 cups boiling water to couscous. Immediately cover and let stand 5 minutes.
3. After 5 minutes, fluff with fork, and leave uncovered to cool.
4. In the meantime, in large bowl, combine chopped tomato, cucumber, and garlic.
5. Finely chop mint (separate from stem) and parsley leaves. Note: I have tried to use the food processor for this to save time, but was not satisfied with the uniformity and size of the results. If your food processor is better than mine, go for it. Otherwise, I find it worth the effort to chop by hand. Add to bowl.
6. Add couscous, and gently mix to combine
7. Add olive oil.
8. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Cover and chill.
9. Add crumbled feta just before serving.

I serve this together with homemade hummus, roasted sliced eggplant, and labana cheese (similar to yogurt) along with olive oil for dipping and some nice bread or pita. Yum!

You’re Giving Birth WHERE?!?

Which sounds better to you: Bright lights, strangers walking in and out checking machines that make beeps, being strapped to a table, unable to choose whatever position is most comfortable, being cut open because you’re taking to long…..

OR

Your own comfortable home with a few select friends or family, your favorite relaxing music, the lights low, able to do whatever feels best?

I love homebirth. I completely trust my body to know what to do; it was created to do it. Birth is not an illness, and it has no place among the sick in an atmosphere of fear.I have had all four of my children in a home birth setting with a certified nurse midwife attending. I can’t imagine doing it any other way, and I hope that I never need to.

Below are 2 short related videos.

Watch this trailer to what looks like an amazing documentary: http://www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com/trailer.php

And here are some good websites/communities about natural birth:

http://www.mybestbirth.com/
http://www.givingbirthnaturally.com/

Number FIVE is due to arrive!

Five children. I will soon have five children. I can’t believe it; I am so excited! (and nervous, and Oh My Goodness how am I going to manage….FIVE.) Our other four are boys. In this house of lots of testosterone (well, it’ll be more when they get a little older), we are soooo ready for a cute little GIRL. And she’s coming in August.

This was the first time I found out the gender of the baby ahead of time. We were of the school of thought, “there are so few genuine surprises in life, let’s really experience this one.” So we did. Again, and again. And they always came out with that darned little dangling thing! So, this time, I didn’t want a surprise. At least not another boy kind of surprise. So, we found out that’s it’s all sugar and spice and everything nice this time. I can’t wait to dress her up in all that frilly stuff!

Some think we’re a little crazy to have so many. Are we? I am an only child, and was always lonely. I always pictured a full dining table with lots of noisy little people, all being part of my family. We’re getting there. We also believe that children are a blessing, and I certainly have been blessed to be so fertile…so many people long to have children, and all I have to do is blink (well, not really) to get pregnant. I love that my kids always have someone to play with and learn with, and that we all get to have so many relationships.

CAN A ONE YEAR OLD LEARN TO NOT TOUCH?

We’ve all seen it: the harried mom (or dad) in the store, with the toddler riding in the shopping cart. Maybe there are one or two other children walking along, looking at all the interesting and exciting things on the shelves…things they don’t have at home. They don’t even have to be toys; they could be cleaning supplies and they’re still fascinating. One reaches out to inspect an item more closely. Another does the same, but he’s reaching for the display where they’re all piled, balanced ever-so-carefully…..Uh oh.

So you tell them, “no touching.” “Look with your eyes, not with your hands.” And anything else you can say to escape the store without being required to pay for an entire spilled or broken bunch of whachamakalits. And they obey.

Now the one year old, he wants to touch too. But you tell him, “no.” And what does he do? He touches anyway. So you take it away from him. And what does he do? He scrunches up his face, takes a deep breath, and….. you guessed it!

Is this you? Or do you leave all the kids at home so you won’t have to deal with this situation? I understand. Believe me.

But, believe this too: it is completely possible to train even a one year old to obey a command to not touch.

Are you in the habit of poking yourself in the eye? Why not? How old were you before you learned to not do that?

Training a child is as simple as learning to not poke yourself in the eye. A baby can learn to not do something if the outcome is undesirable (it doesn’t feel good).

How? Say “No.” and flick his little hand. He’ll look at you, surprised, and then try again. Repeat. Again. Again. Eventually, he’ll start crying. Is he crying because it hurts so badly? No. He’s crying because he finally realizes that he is not being allowed to do what he wants; you are breaking his will. When he makes the choice NOT to touch, and instead does something else, praise him. You have won.

If you are consistent with this, and find or arrange opportunities to practice it, you will train your little guy to respect your word. Eventually, the word alone will be enough to stop him.

Does this work? Sure. My 15 month old LOVES to play with the silverware that’s in the dishwasher. Nothing wrong with this. Except when it’s dirty, or has sharper-than-I’d-like-him-to-play-with things. He also thinks it’s great fun to splash around with the dog’s water bowl. I suppose I could never load the dishwasher until he was occupied elsewhere, or make Fido wait until baby’s asleep to let him quench his thirst. But that doesn’t work for me. (Or the dog.)

We’re all much happier when we know who’s in charge.

Now, where did that crawling guy go? I’d better go see what he’s up to….

Quick and Easy Granola

Did you know that between 4am and 12 noon, your body is on its “elimination” cycle? That means it’s the time that your body “takes out the garbage”. Ever notice you seem to need to use the bathroom in the morning? This is why.

The complicating thing is that anything you eat will slow down this elimination cycle. You definitely don’t want to do that if you want to lose weight, or just keep your body from developing toxin-related diseases. Anything will slow down elimination, that is, except for fruit. That is why the best thing you can eat in the morning is fruit. We get our fruit in the form of a smoothie. We have them for breakfast almost every day. Another time, I’ll give details on how to make your own delicious, nutritious, filling and easy fruit smoothies.

One day a week we have cereal for breakfast as a treat. The boxed cereals are so expensive, especially if you want to buy some with good wholesome ingredients (no processed sugar!), that I looked for an alternative, and I found one. This granola is easy to make, inexpensive, and tasty. We use it with rice milk for cereal, and it is also delicious with fruit and a little yogurt. I hope you enjoy it!

QUICK AND EASY GRANOLA

1 stick butter
½ c honey
4 c rolled oats
Optional: raisins, about ½ cup
Vanilla, a splash
Dried coconut
Nuts
About ½ tsp cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a baking sheet.
2) Melt butter and honey. Add vanilla and ½ tsp cinnamon if desired.
3) Add oats, stirring well to coat
4) Spread on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes
5) Stir, adding raisins if desired
6) Bake an additional 5 minutes
7) Allow to cool, stirring every so often so it doesn’t harden all together.
8) Store in airtight container and enjoy!

Apple Crisp


Most evenings we don’t have dessert after dinner. But once a week, we have a special treat. This is one of our favorites, and although cooking the apples takes away most of their nutritional value, at least it’s not loaded with sugar or other processed ingredients.

APPLE CRISP
Adapted from The Occasional Vegetarian by Karen Lee

8-10 apples
¼ c honey (preferably raw)
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp whole wheat flour (preferably freshly ground)
Optional: heavy whipping cream for garnish

CRUMB TOPPING

1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup brown sugar or sucanat
½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
Zest of 1 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
2. Peel, core, and slice the apples into eighths. Toss the apple slices with the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and flour.
3. Put the apple mixture into a 9-inch round baking dish with high sides.
4. Using your fingers, in a different bowl, make the topping by crumbling together the flour, sugar, and butter. Add the lemon zest.
5. Distribute the crumb topping over the apples. Bake until the topping is brown and crusty, about 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Optional: beat heavy whipping cream with electric egg beater until desired texture. If desired, add 2 tbsp sugar and ½ tsp vanilla before beating. Place a dollup on each plate before serving.