Holiday Tip #5– Milk, to drink or not to drink?
Speaking of maids a milking, let’s talk about milk. It’s never been one of my favorite beverages. While I enjoy other dairy products like cheese and ice cream, I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth for milk since I can remember. I only use it in cereal (when I eat it) and now that I’m an avid coffee drinker, I tend to add a few tablespoons. Over the past few years, milk has been the center of a few controversial conversations. I’m not that knowledgable about them, but I’ll tell you what I do know.
Number one, milk is a natural necessity for many mammals, but only when they are growing. Humans are the only mammals that consume milk after being weened from their mothers. Soooo, do we really need it throughout our life? That’s the controversial topic. I’ve mentioned the documentary Forks Over Knives before and they have a segment that examines both sides of the argument. There is nutritional research that shows humans don’t need to consume milk past childhood and that it can actually pose some health risks, especially since it’s pumped full of growth hormones now. On the other hand, there’s research from the dairy world that indicates milk is beneficial throughout our lives. Let’s not get into that big can of political worms though (the milk industry has a large set of lobbyist in Washington, hence, the dairy inclusion in our Healthy Plate model). You can do some research on that if you’re interested.
Number two, if you’re going to drink milk, drink skim. If you decide to go with the real deal whole milk, it’s jam packed with sugar and fat. I don’t even think I’ve ever tasted whole milk, which is probably a good thing since I’ve heard it tastes good. If I’m making something that has milk in it, that means it’s probably not the healthiest thing to eat (this usually consist of brownies, cookies, pancakes, or some sort of rich meal). When I make things like that, I try to use skim so I can cut calories and fat in every way possible. I will admit that I’ve been using 2% in my coffee, which means I use it on my cereal too, since it’s what I keep in the fridge. However, I do measure out what I put in my cereal and only use 1/4 cup, which isn’t even a full serving size. I’ve been working on cutting back to 1%, but it does make a difference in how my coffee tastes, so it’s hard.
Number three, nerd alert! I just finished my first test of the week and it just so happened to be microbiology. Guess what we’ve been learning about?? Nasty bugs, parasites, worms, and bacteria that can cause really serious diseases or seriously not fun diarrhea (too much??). Anyway, my point is that organics and unprocessed foods are trending these days. Milk is NOT something you want to drink if it’s not pasteurized, so don’t jump on that band wagon. Unpasteurized milk can contain several scary organisms that are just better left outside your GI tract, that’s why someone invented pasteurization. Thanks for that, Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard!