Are you full yet? Or did I just make you hungry? Either way, let’s talk about a dairy product that gets all kinds of critical acclaim day in and day out. It can actually be worn; sometimes accidentally and other times by design. When it is found on the front of a shirt for instance, it is usually the result of a spill or pissed off girlfriend. When it is found on a sleeve, it is usually the result of gluttony or piggishness. But, when it is found slathered across the top lip of many well-known athletes in the form of a mustache, it is brilliant marketing. Oh, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about milk.
Ah yes, the age old dispute goes on day in and day out. Is milk really good for you or not? I once had a co-worker back in PA who seemed to think it was the devil. For the benefit of those with blue tooth capabilities, we will call her Margaret. One of her favorite pastimes was addressing this whitish, semi-gelatinous substance as “cow puss.” Mmm, that sounds appetizing! This was coming from the very same mouth that openly accepted such things as Taco Bell burritos, soda, and chips of all varieties. That’s a rather strange list of priorities if you asked me, but to each her own vice. This sounds similar to the renegade marathoner’s diet.
I have done some lengthy research with this modern day liquid, and honestly, with the exception of breast feeding, there really is never a need for milk again. I know that might hurt, but I’m just stating obvious facts.
The main reason you drink milk anyway is for the calcium, riboflavin, protein, and vitamin D right? Or you were just forced to drink it with your cookies in kindergarten like me. Well that’s great. You can get all of these nutrients from other sources you know—arguably, more absorbable sources. Try to eat leafy greens, spinach, broccoli, kale, collards, and my personal favorite, sesame seeds. They are loaded with calcium, fiber, and protein. But if you absolutely must have your milk and drink it too, there are a ton of alternatives.
Before I even get to them though, please allow me to make a little suggestion; never go conventional. Unless of course you are OK with contamination, chemicals, hormones, and genetically modified organisms floating around your system just waiting to come together and create a pile of unfavorable disastrous consequences that might be irreversible. I’m sure you’ve heard that from me already right? I’m going to say it a thousand times until you have it memorized and etched into your skull.
OK, so let’s finally get to your options. Ah yes, I love options. Let’s start off with good old organic milk. This is a step in the right direction, but it is still milk. You still may not be digesting it completely and it still might cause mucous, lethargy, upset stomachs, allergies, belly aches, and skin irritations. Hey don’t look at me like that. What do you want me to do? If you want to go organic, that is great. I pride myself in saying “Go organic or go home.” Just because it is organic, it doesn’t mean you are free of the possible consequences. But don’t fret Francis; there is a diamond hiding in this little lump of coal. It is called Raw Milk.
In my travels to Sri Lanka, I found this cool little invention one frosty morning while training hard for the national thumb wrestling championships. It has been said that this stuff is the most absorbable, nutrient packed form of cow’s milk that you can possibly find.
If you were to inspect my refrigerator when I lived in PA, you would always see a bottle of raw milk sitting comfortably on my top shelf. Yes, I said “bottle.” It didn’t come in a measly carton. It came in one of those old fashioned 32 oz. glass bottles that the milkmen used to deliver to your doorstep if you happened to be alive in the 50s. I personally was not. I just happened to watch a lot of Leave it to Beaver as I child and paid close attention to the “When I was your age…” stories told to me from my grandpa. That’s how I know.
The purpose of the glass bottles is to keep the material fresh and all the enzymes active. It has been said that organic raw milk has all the enzymes that are lacking in regular milk. Additionally, it is higher in calcium and protein, and is more absorbable. It is also WHOLE milk, which is whole fat, but that doesn’t matter. That means you are getting all the enzymes, protein, calcium etc. that is often lost in low fat and nonfat varieties because of processing. It could also never hurt to spend a little more time on foot instead of in the car. That is actually my biggest solution to higher fat products. Higher fat just means higher amounts of exercise, so get moving.
Here’s where the story gets even more interesting. I am an experimentalist. I love to test the physical self in every way I possibly can. This is with eating, drinking, and fitness all included. Well I absolutely have to give you a firsthand testimonial on an experiment I ran on milk about 10 years ago. This is why I have come to the conclusions I have reached and why I feel the way I do.
At this time, I would drink milk in the morning with my oatmeal, in the evening with my dinner, and often times in meal replacement shakes as well. I always drank skim, which due to brilliant marketing has since morphed into “fat free.” But it really didn’t matter if it was fat free, low fat, skim, swanked, skanked, or skunked. Every time I worked out, especially during cardio, the same exact fate would be dealt to me. I’d develop these violent attacks of phlegm and mucous build-up in my throat, which always resulted in piles of hacked up gunk and mucosa. It was never a pretty sight, or sound for that matter.
I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a sickness; it was more of a nuisance that I found doggone annoying. So I decided to consult with my good friend Nancy who happened to be very much into organic and alternative foods. While visiting her one moderately warm evening in August, I asked her why her prejudicial lines had been drawn towards soy milk when she offered me a glass. Instead of answering me, she decided to play jeopardy and answer my question with a series of questions of her own. She asked if I felt sluggish at times after drinking milk. I said, “Yes.” She asked if I had gastrointestinal discomfort from time to time after drinking milk. I said “Yes.” She asked if I had breakouts from time to time. I said “Yes mam.” Then the final remnant hit the floor. “Do you have a lot of mucous build up when you are exercising?” Bingo! That’s all I needed to hear. At that point, milk found its way to the bottom of my list of food and beverage priorities.
Since soymilk was her beverage of choice, I transitioned to it as well. This also marked the start of my crusade to switch completely over to organic products; or at least as close as I could get.
You would not believe what a difference it made AND how fast it happened. I started drinking soymilk and my mucous cleared up, my back cleared up, (I had breakouts from time to time), and I felt like I had a lot more energy. And it happened inside of one week.
Fast forward to today and you will find a number of milk alternatives spinning around in rotation in my refrigerator. I’m mostly into coconut milk, but will go through phases where almond, hemp, oat, sunflower and soy will appear. If you go the soy route, make sure it is always organic and specifically says “GMO-free!” You don’t want genetically modified particles swimming around in your body.
The take message is, milk is cool, but don’t walk through life believing it’s vital for your existence. Anyone who tells you that is a liar. I still use it from time to time in recipes and such, but I don’t guzzle it by the gallon. I’d rather go with the alternative, which better fits my lifestyle and persona anyway.
OK, it’s time for me to head down the street. Until next time, my name is K/Rail and I’m Head of Special Ops for The Lean Berets. If you have a question about a food or beverage, lay it on me. I’ll do my best to give the straight-up truth. Start by reading a free sample of the book I wrote to answer all your questions about what to eat.