Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Gluten Free Baby Edition Pt. 3 - No Milk??
I've been having a lot of conversations recently about cow milk alternatives and of course what I have been giving to my daughter to drink and why... For now we're staying away from dairy and she is loving a variety of coconut, sunflower, cashew, hemp, and almond milks. They are all super healthy and while her main beverage of choice is still breast milk she loves these as a snack or with food as well. Store bought milks are fortified with vitamins so in that way are more of an equivalent to cow's milk, but I tend to make my own a lot of the time.
So why not give milk? I'm not even going to start to touch on the issue because there are so many many reasons why people believe this. If you just google "why is milk bad?" you can turn up hundreds of results and check it out yourself. I am not a nutritionist and in no way have I researched all there is to know on the subject, so please do your own. I should note- I am not totally anti-dairy- I don't judge you if you drink it/eat it, etc., I just prefer to stay away from it (and so does my body :)) Here are a few reasons for avoiding it though:
To start- the fact that most of the world is lactose intolerant is definitely something to consider... perhaps our bodies were not meant for cow's milk and that it was just meant for baby cows??
Milk increases the amount of mucus in your body- definitely not good for you when you're sick and contributes to you getting sick.
Some say that since dairy products contain lactic acid it causes bone erosion. This is related to why statistics show that women who consume dairy products are more likely to develop osteoporosis. It has also been linked to numerous other diseases and illnesses - diabetes, stroke, etc...
My main reason- it's just not necessary.
American culture thrives off of unhealthy eating and is what people love to promote. I hear all the time how people get excited about how much junk food they ate and how their kids love it so much- and I hear pride in that. It will take a lot to shift our minds to being excited about things like how we grew great veggies and made our own food out of it instead. Because of unhealthy eating, milk has become a great way for kids to get their nutrients- vitamin D and Calcium in particular. Were kids to eat a well balanced diet, this would really not be necessary.
Vitamin absorption in veggies is actually better than in milk, and you can get all of the nutrients necessary out of diet- no pills, no drinks. Vitamin D might be the only exception if you're not in an area of the world that gets enough sun (and spending enough time outside). To deal with that, I give my daughter a few drops of Vitamin D each day (except during the summer). Fish, liver, and egg yolks do provide a good source of vitamin D as well.
So what are good sources of calcium to replace that milk? Spinach, broccoli, collard greens, molasses, tahini, and more.
Here is a link of the top 10 veggies for calcium.
I really like this Canadian list of food sources as well as intake recommendations for both calcium and vitamin D as well.
So I never like to dismiss something without giving alternatives, so stay tuned for my next post about how to make your own nut and seed milks! (Found HERE!)
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