Updated: Aug 27, 2021
Let’s be clear at last: should we drink milk or not?
Foamy cocoa, whipped cream, cheese, cottage cheese… how much delicacy! And it all contains milk. No wonder, then, that milk-sensitive people have a hard time surviving when they have to say goodbye to these wonderful foods. But do they really have to give up on them?
Unfortunately, most clients who turn to me are food-sensitive, and milk tolerance is at the top of the list. When they come to see me, despite the problem already identified, many do not know what to do with the situation and have been struggling for years without a proper solution. When allergies are in the background, it is clear that certain foods need to be given up, but in case of an intolerance, a little bloating or diarrhea does not deter many from consuming dairy products. Fortunately, with the help of a nutritionist, the world unfolds for those in difficulty, and they find that arranging the gut flora can often solve this problem, eliminate daily inconveniences, and often not even give up milk.
It’s a fantastic feeling for me to be able to help and manage to resolve a case like this. However, milk can not only cause sensitivity but is also behind many other diseases as an important factor, so it is definitely worth clarifying the underlying causes. So the question arises as to whether or not an average person can consume a dairy product.
The very first type of milk, and the first food we encounter for the first time in our lives, is breast milk . It has a wonderful effect, contains important nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, it is a real immune-boosting “medicine” for babies. That is why breastfeeding also underpins the mother's immune system and health. Of outstanding importance is the pre-milk, the so-called colostrum, which, immediately after the birth of the baby, serves as the very first food for the healthy development of the tiny, its positive effect is even medically proven. Colostrum can play a significant role in the future as well because its concomitant use with probiotics and prebiotics can regulate the condition of the intestinal system. In my experience, the cure-like and professional use of this triple combination (probiotics, prebiotics, colostrum) help a lot in resolving any food intolerance.
The cow's milk has is totally different light when viewed through the eyes of a nutrition specialist. As a child, it was raised in us through advertisements that we need to drink a lot of milk because it is full of calcium and we will be strong from it. However, comparing milk to other foods that contain calcium (e.g., poppy seeds), we can easily see that we have been misled a bit. Although milk does contain calcium, there are many other natural sources of calcium. So let's live with these natural foods, we don't just want to supplement the body's mineral needs with milk! This is because a balanced, varied diet is one of the best medicines for the body.
Let’s take a little more time with cow’s milk and let me tell you how I see the story of this dairy. When I was in elementary school, I wrote a small study about it for the competition entitled “Agriculture through the eyes of students”. Cows were kept in my village at the time, and I went twice a week for fresh milk. That milk, the milk of animals grazing on fresh green grass, was truly nutritious and easily turned into healthy, good-tasting sleeping milk. The cow’s milk was always boiled and then cooled and this solution was really good. Even then, in the ’90s, I knew, saw, and felt there was going to be trouble around the white drink house. Tasting the store version, I clearly felt it had nothing to do with the milk I knew from the village. At the same time, there were fewer and fewer people back home who kept cows. That is exactly what I wrote about- rural farming is not appreciated and we are not moving in the right direction. Why is all this important? Because today’s kids don’t get quality milk. In-store cow’s milk is unfortunately very far from what healthy milk can or could be. It is also worth keeping in mind that homogenized milk can certainly contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. In fact, homogenization is one of the main problems with milk! Consuming small amounts of milk is usually good for children, but it should not be overstated. If you often experience diarrhea, skin disease, or infections, you may want to rule out milk sensitivity as a possible cause first. I've had several cases before.
Then here’s the lactose-free milk so popular today. It should be noted that lactose, i.e. milk sugar, is not extracted from it, but a lactase enzyme is added to make it easier for lactose-sensitive people to digest milk. Thus, by adding the sugar-degrading enzyme, lactose is “pre-digested” (into glucose and galactose), which the body may not be able to do, or only partially - to prevent symptoms of lactose sensitivity. That’s why I tend to talk to my healthy guests about consuming lactose-free milk, as it’s completely unnecessary for them. (However, it is difficult to say whether the consumption of these products is harmful in this case, as they have not been on the market long enough to decide this.) Even in the case of those who turn to me, it often turns out that they are not lactose sensitive. In this case, we check with a laboratory test that whether milk protein or milk sugar (lactose) causes the problem, and for the most part, milk protein is the background, not lactose. In this case, of course, it is pointless to consume lactose-free milk, as even that contains milk protein. So, it is very important to accurately diagnose the problem before changing our diet. A smart solution, in this case, is to look for natural plant-based alternatives, and it is useful to know that you can make good-tasting, plant-based milk drinks from them even at home.
Undoubtedly, cereal and seed/ nut milk are very healthy. Examples are brown rice, quinoa, millet, oats, rice, coconut, and almonds. My personal favorite, based on my own recipe, is milk and cottage cheese made from macadamia nuts, which I make homemade. It is more expensive, but it fits occasionally, and a lot depends on the dilution. The point is that you should eat as varied as possible and feel free to explore the world of plant-based milk as well. We can find new flavors and recipes with these attempts, and so milk sensitivity is no longer a tragedy in the family, but an opportunity for everyone to try new things. However, for plant-based milk purchased at the store, make sure they do not contain sugar. The good news is that most vegan milk is easy to make at home, and even special machines are already available to make vegan yogurt. In the case of cheeses, be sure to find out about the ingredients, but you can also choose vegan cheese, except for the soy version. You can also make cheese at home, such as zucchini or cottage cheese from millet and various seeds. By the way, it is also worth considering our blood type, because in the case of blood group 0, for example, milk consumption is often a problem. So for the sake of safety, we should first check with a specialist for possible intolerance and take into account all the factors to decide whether to consume milk and how much and how much.
Soy milk is also a popular alternative, but the truth is that it is also an allergen. Unfortunately, good-quality soybeans are very rare, and certainly ethical vegans may not even think about how harmful large-scale soybean production is to the environment. (By the way, tofu and the lesser-known tempeh are also made from soy.) Occasionally, of course, soy can also be consumed by all those who have no intolerance, but its quality is definitely controlled, and I don’t even recommend consuming it for children. If the individual's current state of health so requires, the physician's decision may clearly override this opinion. Fortunately, there are many alternatives in Europe instead, so we don’t have to put so much soy into our diet.
Returning to the dairy of animal milk we don’t have to give up on them either. After all, milk is a fundamentally healing food, so it can be especially beneficial for an anorexic person with a weak body if it is occasionally served with good quality cow's milk, preferably goat's or sheep's milk. Unfortunately, during large-scale animal husbandry, antibiotics and other substances are also included in cow’s milk, so of course, a thorough examination should always precede the proposed dietary change. Incidentally, Chinese medicine also prefers to use animal milk in special cases. However, most people, unfortunately, consume too much animal milk and dairy products, which has a debilitating effect on the digestive system and can underlie many problems (e.g., skin diseases). Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the signals of our body, and only dairy products should be included in our diet to the right extent and quality. Consider milk as a healing food and consume it accordingly. Artisanal dairy products are also great meals for those who can consume cheese, so they get at least good quality, clean food while also supporting local businesses.
Conscious nutrition also means this. Creating harmony in ourselves, in our eating habits, and in our choices as well. Because with all our decisions, we also contribute to which businesses will be successful, whether quality wins over quantity. How important it would be to make ourselves aware that by taking care of our health, we are doing it not just for ourselves but for others. In a word, it is not a luxury at all, and it is not even useless to be informed and to do it every day in order to live better and healthier. I am confident that with the right knowledge and knowledge, we will make more confident decisions and dare to take active steps for our health today, tomorrow, and always.
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About the author:
I am Bernadett Köteles-Degrendele, founder of Begonia Wellness Club, a nutritionist and wellbeing coach known as Bernadett Begonia. In my work, I represent natural solutions and see food, as one of the foundations of maintaining health and key to healing. For the past 15 years, I have attended various training on wellness, nutrition, and coaching. In my work, I also build on Eastern and Western methods, including traditional Chinese medicine and the detection and treatment of food intolerances and allergies.
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