Back to Basics: The Organic Milk Deception
Organic milk (from a grocery store) may not be what you think it is. It really makes me sad to see people at grocery stores spending double the price of regular, pasteurized milk, because they think they are doing good for themselves by buying “organic” milk. See, the problem is that organic milk brands such as Horizon and Organic Valley ultra-pasteurize their organic milk, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. (NOTE: Organic Valley DOES sell organic milk that is traditionally pasteurized, & not ultra-pasteurized, but I’ve noticed most stores only stock the ultra-pasteurized variety. Look out for that and if it’s ultra-pasteurized, don’t buy it. At least I wouldn’t…what a waste of money.)
“Organic” milk can easily win a consumer over by the USDA Organic stamp alone. But those won over simply by the idea of organic, ultra-pasteurized milk probably don’t completely understand the process of ultra-pasteurization, what it does, and how. Here’s the breakdown:
The cows are hormone, anti-biotic, and steroid free. (This is, obviously, a good thing, and is better than the antibiotic and hormone laced milk we get from conventional store bought milk). However, ultra-pasteurized organic milk is pasteurized even more than the regular, non-organic milk (which doesn’t make any sense to me!). — The milk is heated beyond what it needs to be heated to in order to sell regular, pasteurized milk (hence the name, ULTRA-pasteurized). The organic milk is heated to a temperature of 280 degrees (F), in comparison to regular pasteurization temperature of about 161 degrees (F). The high temp pasteurization kills so much of the natural nutrients & enzymes in the milk itself that the milk you end up drinking is completely dead and nutrition-less. The milk is so dead that the ultra-pasteurized milk sold by these brands does not even need to be refrigerated. They have an extended shelf life, and can remain unrefrigerated for up to 6 months — ever see those little individual cartons of Horizon or Organic Valley milk that are sold on the shelves/in the aisles of grocery stores rather than in the refrigerated section? Yep, that’s why. And the 1/2 gallons and gallons of ultra-pasteurized organic milk that is sold in the refrigerated section is only to appease the minds of consumers, and to have the product be sold where the other milk products are sold — not everyone feels comfortable buying milk that hasn’t been refrigerated…and rightfully so.
Additionally, milk proteins are very fragile, and high heat such as the heat ultra-pasteurized milk is subjected to, damages milk proteins so badly that our bodies can no longer properly digest or recognize that protein. Because our bodies enzymes can only properly digest undamaged milk proteins, the milk proteins end up undigested and often leak into the bloodstream. (Since practically all of us who have had been eating a modern day diet have some form of what is called “leaky gut”. - find out more about how this works in the answer segment here). When the proteins enter the bloodstream, your body creates an immune response since it cannot recognize those proteins. The immune response your body creates turns out as the many symptoms of auto immune disorders, including: allergies, asthma, fatigue, eczema, infections, headaches, etc. The immune response your body creates can possibly, overtime, create dairy allergies and intolerances.
But of course, regular pasteurized, hormone and antibiotic filled, store bought milk from confined cows isn’t healthy either. So what’s the best option?
Raw Milk fresh from a farm! Raw milk is the most nutritious milk you can get (talk about getting your money’s worth…), and It’s really not much more ($) than the ultra-pasteurized organic milk you may have been buying already…really! It may even be around the same price depending on where you live. There are most likely farm co-ops that deliver to your area, or even to your door, so seek one out (no excuses)! If farm fresh raw milk is absolutely not an option (maybe your not as lucky as I am to have local farm co-op’s deliver when the nearest farm is way too far), shop for low pasteurized, organic milk! It DOES exist, but you’ll have to go out of your way to find it. It most likely also has to come directly from a local farm, but check your local Whole Foods. Whole Foods stocks local products, so that may be your best bet if you can’t find it at a farmers market. If I run out of raw milk, I either go without, or buy Natural By Nature organic, grass-fed (grass-fed is also an important factor of any dairy product!…more on this another time), low-pasteurized milk . And it’s local too!
BACK TO BASICS: HOW TO PROPERLY PREPARE GRAINS
Whole grains can be very beneficial to our health since they are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. However, improperly prepared grains can do more harm than good. In all whole grains there are enzyme inhibitors (anti-nutrients) that inhibit the ability to properly absorb and digest all of the vitamins and minerals that they would otherwise provide. Therefore, if your grains are not properly prepared before you cook with them and/or eat them, they will interfere with digestion AND block the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the digestive tract.
Over the years, our society has become lazy and completely disregarded the traditional way grains used to be prepared —and now skips that preparation step all together. Nowadays, mostly because most of us are uneducated on this issue, grains (more often than not) are not prepared properly for maximum digestibility. Traditional societies soak, or ferment their grains to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors in grains, which essentially pre-digests the grains so that all of the nutrients within the grain are fully available and capable of being absorbed. This is what we should be doing to prepare grains in our homes as well.
Overtime, consuming too many grains that have not been properly prepared can lead to more serious digestive issues.
As a warning: Modern store-bought breads/commercial breads are most likely not properly prepared, unless you know what to look for/what kind of bread to buy, and are reading the ingredients list. (more on this in the video posted above)
To learn how easy it is to properly prepare the grains you eat ate home (and maybe on a daily basis), watch this short video of Sarah, from thehealthyhomeeconomist.com, as she explains how to properly soak rice (prior to cooking), oatmeal, pancake batter, beans, and what to look for when buying store-bought breads.