6.05.2011

Got Milk?

Can someone so closely related to me really have this reaction to a strawberry?

There is a health trend sweeping the nation. People are becoming more aware of where their food comes from and how it gets to their plate. They are concerned about fat and calories, pesticides and hormones, and whether or not the piece of meat they are eating was treated humanely before it died. This awareness has apparently made food everybody’s business.

For example, before I went grocery shopping one evening last week, Jed and I stopped at McDonalds for something to eat, because as we all know, grocery shopping on an empty stomach is a fiasco. I justified that spending $6 dollars on a fast food meal was going to be much better than spending $50 at the store.

Well, as I got Jed situated in his high chair and sat down to eat, a stranger boorishly accused, “You're starting him a little young on McDonald’s, aren’t you?”

“Did that man really just say that?” I thought. “Since when is it his business what I feed my child?” I chose to ignore him and brazenly stuck a fry in each of Jed’s hands. Then I made sure Jed took a nice long sip of my strawberry milkshake just for good measure.

And that man wasn’t the first to give me the stink eye.

“Hypocrites!” I wanted to exclaim. “You’re eating here too! ”

When did it become everyone else’s business to judge what I eat and what I feed my children? I can probably count the number of times I eat out at a fast food restaurant during an entire year on my fingers. There is nothing wrong with some yummy greasiness from time to time. Anyhow, my BMI is teetering on the far left side of the chart and so is Jed’s. I’m conscious of the food we eat and how much I exercise. We are healthy and we look it. A few extra gross calories now and then is just a good treat.

So get over it, folks. Don’t pass judgment so quickly. I think I’ll still fit into my jeans next week and Jed will still grow up to be strong and healthy.

Which brings me to my next point: I think that this new healthful awareness is a wonderful movement as a whole. But the tough part is, there is a lot of information out there and many times it's confusing and many times it's misleading or just plain wrong.

There has been some concern about hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and other residues in the milk we consume. Right now there's a big debate brewing in some states about whether or not raw (unpasteurized) milk should be sold to the general public.

As a wife to a dairy nutritionist and a daughter of a family that runs a dairy farm, I want to do my duty and set the record straight; I want to give you some facts about milk. (Click HERE to read the article I’m summarizing. And HERE and HERE for other articles about meat and eggs.) Scroll down to the last paragraph if you want this summed up in, like, two sentences.

HARMFUL RESIDUES IN MILK:

• Bovine somatotropin (bST) is a protein, and like other proteins, it is digested in the human stomach. It’s denaturized by those toxic stomach acids that can literally burn a hole in the floor, but by some miracle don’t eat us alive from the inside-out. Our bodies are amazing.

• A study comparing 334 samples of whole milk from rbST-free organic dairies, milk labeled “rbST-free”, and conventional milk sold at the retail level in the lower 48 states found that there was minimal difference of rbST, insulin-like growth factor-1, progesterone, and estradiol between all three kinds of milk.

• Another concern consumers have voiced is about antibiotics in their milk. By law, all bulk milk tankers must sample and analyze their milk for any animal drug residues before the milk is processed—that’s before it’s pasteurized, turned into cheese, etc. If any residues are detected, the entire tank must be dumped. In 2009, 861 (.026%) tanks across the country tested positive—all were dumped.

• Multiple studies in multiple nations have compared levels of organochlorine, PCB residues, lead, cadmium, iron, copper, zinc, (any other bad stuffs?) in milk from both conventional and organic dairy farms and found insignificant differences. Mercury levels were highest from the organic farms. None of the levels were in violation of any standards.

• Ultra-high heat treatment (UHT) is more effective than pasteurization; it kills all organisms in the milk, therefore it does not need to be refrigerated. Many organic farms use this type of pasteurization, especially in Europe, but it alters the milk’s taste. It’s said to have a nutty flavor.

NUTRITIONAL QUALITY: Conventional vs. Organic

• A study showed that urea content and somatic cell counts (both undesirable things) were lower in organic milk, but so was selenium, an important nutrient found in milk. Organic milk generally had slightly higher protein levels though. Conventional milk had a slightly lower bacterial count.

• Milk Fats: In one study, organic milk was found to have slightly higher levels of PUFAs—fats that aid in the prevention of cancer—than conventional milk. A study by Cornell found the opposite to be true. However, the differences were considered minor. If you want those PUFAs, drink whole milk!

CONCLUSION:

From a nutritional standpoint, it doesn’t matter whether milk is organic or conventional, rbST-free or not, all levels of harmful residues are in check and the nutrient content is comparable. So drink what you think tastes best! Support the industry and support a healthy body!

Ahh, see?  Strawberries aren't so bad after all! 

3 comments:

  1. Amen. I appreciate this. :)

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  2. Amen sista! I like when you go off on tangents :) You should've told that man at McDonalds to stick it where the sun don't shine.

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  3. Love your passion Jessie! Can't believe the hypocricy of those other McDonald's patrons! Lately I've gotten a lot judgemental comments for letting my kids play at the play place at McDonalds! Lots of "I can't believe that you let your kids play on something that almost never gets washed!". Drives me crazy! You can't win. I have always felt that fast food was a special treat for my family, since we don't go very often. When I treat myself, I get what I want. Fast food is only a problem for people that go there all the time!

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