Thursday, January 1, 2009

Healthy Eating (Part 1)

Being a new year, I figure a lot of people are making resolutions to eat better. Around my house, we try to eat very healthy. Of course I still love M&M's, but for the most part, we eat healthy by both choice and necessity. As I had written in an earlier post, we eat as naturally as possibly to help combat diabetes and it's complications.

I could not even begin to break the surface when it comes to sharing the information that I have learned over the past two years as far as healthy living and eating go. Saying this, I will let you all in on a few sources of information that I have found and use almost every day. But that will come later (in bits and pieces- I have to have something to write about every once and awhile).

The main thing that people need to realize is that our American diet and the diet of many developed countries all over the world tend to consist of foods that are full of artificial additives in the form of preservatives, flavor enhancers, and dyes/colors. These additives allow companies to keep food "fresh" (so to speak) , delicious, and eye appealing. Time is essential for food distributors. They need to get the food out and "help" that food stay fresh as long as possible before it is consumed by consumers. The "help" I am speaking of, often comes in the form of preservatives (ie: BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT(butylated hydrozyttoluene), Sodium Benzoate, etc) and the flavor enhancer that rattles my bones; MSG (Monosodium Glutamate). Those long names sure do make food sound tasty, huh? Look it up. Some are listed as carcinogens in the state of California. That means they can cause cancer, people! Did you know that most boxed cereals on the supermarket shelf contain both or at least one of BHT and BHA in it's ingredients list? So, what are kids eating for breakfast before they go to school and getting in trouble for being hyperactive? Something to think about......

Welcome to part 1 of our adventure!

How did I become aware of the fact that our food has a lot of artificial chemicals you may ask? First off, I have had a few lactose intolerant children under my belt. There are many years I spent trying to find some sort of dairy product that my children could consume without having adverse effects (diarrhea, hives, cramps, etc). This made me wonder something. I got to thinking about my grand parents and great grand parents. None of them were known for having trouble consuming dairy products. Why is it happening now to my kids? In the back of my mind, I wondered if milk, fresh from the cow, made a difference in the area of defeating lactose intolerance. At that point, I couldn't do anything about it as I didn't know anyone that had a cow to test my theory, so I was helpless. As I said, I used a variety of products: rice milk, pasteurized goats milk, and finally the Lactaid brand of milk at the supermarket. Once Lactaid milk became a staple at my house, my youngest little one increasingly became unable to tolerate milk in any form or fashion. What was a mother to do then? Then one day, I ran across a post in my favorite message board that mentioned Hummmm, there are people selling raw milk? I had to check this out. I took my trip to and guess what I found out. There was a farmer selling raw milk not 10 minutes from my doorstep, at that time. I made the call and was immediately educated in the wonderful health benefits of raw milk. I was skeptical as society teaches us that unpasteurized milk can kill you. I guess that it could if it wasn't handled properly, but, the state was monitoring this farmers milk business. I took a leap of faith- especially with my child's health.

To make a long story short, the farmer told me of how one woman was put in remission from cancer by drinking the colostrum of one of his cows, how a man was cured of fibromialgia because of his cows, and how droves of people came everyday to purchase this miracle "white gold". We bought that first jug and were scared of it. After all, you had to shake it up before you used it or thick globs of cream fell out into your cup. (Later, I figured out that this glorious glob could be turned into homemade butter- but that is another story). Time went by and guess what, we learned not to be scared of raw milk- especially since we could watch it come out of the freshly cleaned cow's utters, and most importantly, my little child could now tolerate milk. It was a miracle in my eyes. Why, you say, was my child able to consume raw milk without any problems? Well, I still don't know the technical answer to that question but I can say that raw milk is rich in naturally occurring microbes (or bacteria) that break down the lactose in the milk. Pasteurized milk products have killed the naturally occurring microbes that do this. Human bodies have to do it themselves without the bacteria's help. Some people's bodies can't break down milk sugar. So what does that tell us? Raw milk has goodies in it that help break down the raw milk- pasteurized milk does not. In my opinion, this could be the reason for increased lactose sensitivity now a days. ................something to think about huh?..............

Take a visit to Real and read up. Go to the Weston Price Foundation site. Read the cookbook by Sally Fallon called Nourishing Traditions. These are all sources that are very eye opening. Raw milk is illegal to buy in some states in America but hopefully things will change. I am fortunate enough to live in a state where I can buy it. Yes, it does cost more than traditional supermarket milk but it is worth it to me. As a side benefit of raw milk, we have found that raw milk helps in weight loss and also is good for helping keep blood sugar in check. It is a win, win situation for us as a family.

Now that we drink raw milk, I look at supermarket milk differently. It kinda isn't "milk" to me. It has been cooked and had a whole bunch of "stuff" added to it. No, I don't think people that drink supermarket milk are weird. I just know that raw milk works for my family. Read up on it. You just might be surprised at what you find out.

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