You know how your doctors and parents told you to drink two glasses of milk daily? Parents have been told to feed their children whole milk up to two years of age and then move on to fat free milk. Following instructions as I usually do, I kept drinking milk. As an adult, I drink milk at least once or twice a day, most days. The thing with nutrition and the digestive system is that they keep providing researchers and scientists with reasons to keep studying and researching.
This morning, I finally gained the courage to give blood. I have always wanted to help others and giving blood was never one of the ways I’ve imagined to do it. Since I am experimenting this summer, I figured I would give this fear a run for the money. I entered the bus, filled out the paperwork, and everything was good to go. When the nurse tested a drop of my blood, my iron level was at a 10.9 ( it’s supposed to be at least 12.9 in order to donate blood). That is good for me, but not enough to share and it also put me at a risk of fainting during or after the process. I was devastated, I was looking forward to kicking this fear on the rear end.
I decided to ask a question. I eat healthy, I exercise regularly, I keep up with my nutrient intake. What are potential causes of this matter? He replied, “the fact that you just came from working out and you have not eaten much could play a role. You are a healthy person, you are fit, and eat well, so I’m sure you are getting all the protein and nutrients you need”. Then he asked, “are you drinking milk and eating diary products ( cheese, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, etc.) on a regular basis”? of course, my answer was yes. I eat or drink diary a few times a week.
He went on to explain that cow’s milk is made for calves. These animals have the stomachs to fully process the lactose in the milk without it causing them anything. Humans on the other hand only have one stomach and have to use certain essential acids to break it down. Through that process iron does not get to be absorbed much, along with other things that have to do with the calcium (depletion) level in your bones. That shocked me because I’ve been told and learned that milk has calcium, calcium is good for your teeth and bones. I went on some vetted websites to double check on the information he gave me. He was right. The human body is not design to process milk and other diary products very well. When you research and think about it, it makes sense. We can find the same nutrients and amount of protein from milk and other diary products in other foods such as: fruit, vegetables, and meat among others.
So what do I do now? “Drink almond milk, rice milk, or any milk that does not come from cows”, he exclaimed. I drink almond milk for more protein every now and again, so I guess I’ll have to drink it regularly from now on and say goodbye to cow’s milk. Look into the production of milk- it will give you another reason to drop cow’s milk to the curb!
Let’s say you like milk and other diary products and you are not willing to give them up. I know how you feel. My plan is not to drop all diary products out of my diet right this minute, all at once. I like Greek yogurt, milk, and cheese. The main issue is when you eat or drink diary an hour before or after your high protein/iron meals. If you can stay up with counting time before or after meals, you should be ok. Me, I will slowly let go of milk and probably count time before and after with other diary products that I like.
A lot of times we are told to do something, because it sounds good, we do it without asking any questions. Things change over time, scientists discover more and more everyday. It is our job as advocates for our own bodies to keep up with what’s current.
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