Milk products, as they’re commonly sold, are nowhere near as good for you as the dairy associations make them out to be
Reason is, pasteurization and homogenization take what should be a living, nutrient-dense whole food, and turns it into a processed and imbalanced “dead” food. To add insult to injury, the process of cooking milk at high temperature sterilizes it, which contributes to lactose intolerance.
Pasteurization basically takes one of Nature’s complete foods and heats it to the point of killing the beneficial microbes and enzymes that break down milk’s nutrients into forms the body can actually use. Yes, believe it or not, Nature had the foresight to create milk with digestion and immune-supporting components built right in. Then man’s science and industry proceeds to rob milk of much of its nutritional benefit by using processes and programs set up to benefit big commercial interests.
Point is, most health experts outside the dairy industry agree: Pasteurized and homogenized dairy definitely does more harm than good. Whereas raw, unprocessed milk (from healthy, grass-fed cows) is more debate-able. Most food-based healers say raw milk is packed with nourishing and healing powers that are hard to get from other sources. While a minority say all milk is mucous-forming and not fit for human consumption.
Whatever the case may be, most adults today have some degree of lactose intolerance. Yet we’re surrounded by dairy products (among our most tempting foods) that can sometimes be challenging to identify and avoid, because it seems like dairy is everywhere. So here are a few tips to manage the lactose intolerance that most adults learn to live with as they age:
Combat lactose intolerance from multiple directions
First, reduce consumption. Start from the knowledge that pasteurized and homogenized dairy is not doing your body any favors. It’s bad for. There’s no question about it. So look for ways in your lifestyle to consume less of it. I’ll freely admit going dairy-free is a big commitment and sacrifice. So if you’re not ready to take on that challenge full-time, consider starting with baby steps. Look for ways to reduce your intake, before you commit to going cold turkey.
Something about digesting lactose you may not have noticed: Sensitivity to lactose is not necessarily an all-or-nothing thing. Rather, people with mild-to-moderate lactose intolerance have a small-to-medium reservoir of ability to digest lactose that runs out as you consume more of it during a day. Whatever tolerance you have then replenishes as you abstain from dairy for a day or two.
I’m not a big fan of milk substitutes. Most milk substitutes, for example, have at least a few questionable ingredients that basically trade some disagreeable ingredients for other, slightly-less disagreeable ingredients. Do your homework on the ingredients in man-made, processed products, and more often than not, you’ll find food companies have sold you a bill of goods using exaggerated marketing claims and taste.
Increase your tolerance. Everybody’s heard about taking digestive enzymes to enhance the body’s ability to digest lactose. This is one way to help your body break down lactose and increase tolerance (which I don’t feel strongly about either way). But did you know beneficial bacteria can actually restore some ability to digest milk sugar?
I’ve discovered, quite by accident, a probiotic supplement called Inner Garden from Go Beyond Organic (and its cousin Turbo-Charged Turmeric) increases my ability to digest lactose by about 45%. By increasing diversity of the microbiome — particularly soil-based bacteria — your tummy may be able to handle more lactose the way Nature designed it to be: with friendly bacteria.
The two probiotic supplement formulas from Go Beyond Organic are among the best I’ve found because they’re soil-based, broad-spectrum ferments. Meaning, they’re cultured from many more (soil-based, not cow-gut based) strains than just the fifteen listed on the bottle. And that puts less pressure on the microbiome to narrow its diversity.
My belief is, you can’t heal a Corrupted Gut from a bottle. But soil-based, broad-spectrum probiotic supplements are a great tool when used purposefully and intermittently, not casually and continuously. For more information about Inner Garden click here.
Reduce provocation. I’d been casually looking for years to find a milk, or milk substitute, that doesn’t give me unwanted “side effects”, and which isn’t detrimental to my health.
So after tolerating Meyenberg goat milk in small doses for years, I was delighted to find I can tolerate maybe 2 or 3 times the amount of Organic Valley Whole Grassmilk as regular milk… much better than goat milk. In fact, I haven’t defined an upper limit yet, because the usual bowel intolerance is absent, while large doses do give me an uneasy feeling.
Organic Valley grassmilk doesn’t taste like the raw, whole grassmilk I’ve tasted before from a local farm. Instead, it tastes like regular whole milk — only a little more pure and natural. I expect it’s healthier too boot. It’s still pasteurized and homogenized, but at least the cows are eating their natural diet. So going forward, I’ve found a solution to my milk/cereal/cooking situation that I can live with, until I join the raw milk club.
Organic Valley products are now in most grocery stores in my neck of the woods, and Organic Valley Whole Grassmilk can be found in select stores. And by the way, I don’t recommend reduced-fat milks, because they’re more denatured than they need to be. Whole milk is better for you.