Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Healthy Steps for Stubborn People Who Like Junk Food: MILK

To hear the full back story, click here!

The spark notes version of what I'm about to share is that Mark and I have changed our eating habits SLOWLY, but surely over the past two years!  We started with two road blocks:

1) Mark is stubborn and likes his food to taste good.  There was NO sneaking chalky-granola-tree-hugger food into our cupboards without him noticing and never TOUCHING it.

2) I am stubborn and have a very hard time breaking nasty habits.  I am the most undisciplined person I know.  SO, I knew any healthy changes we made would need to be slow, steady, noninvasive and relatively pain free.

We started to worry more about the things we ate more.  To learn about our bread choices, click here!

Today I want to talk to you about our milk choices.  Since we drink A LOT of milk, I figured it'd be a good thing to begin to chip away at.

We started out by drinking the cheapest version of skim milk the grocery store offered.

I don't want to scare you, but studies are showing the regular ole grocery store milk is not such a good thing. My biggest hang-ups with cow's milk included the amount of antibiotics that transfer from the cow to the milk, the artificial hormones and genetically modified substances - which can translate into several not-so-fun health issues including hormone imbalances (which I struggled with), cancers, allergies, etc.  To make matters worse, in the regular pasteurization process, milk loses many of its natural beneficial nutrients and bacteria that help our bodies.  To learn more, click here!  (Or Google the topic!)

I also learned that humans are like, the ONLY, mammal that continue to drink milk regularly after infancy.  Something didn't make sense.  Maybe we weren't meant to drink milk in our adult years.  Another kicker is that my sister has struggled with migraines all her life, but when she gave up milk, her headaches took a dramatic turn for the better.  Hmm.  Though we loved our cheap-o HyVee cow's milk, we knew we wanted to make a change.

Our FIRST baby step: We started with ORGANIC cow's milk.  It has less hormones and antibiotics to worry about.  And, it tastes the same as regular milk.  Score.

Our SECOND baby step: We knew other forms of milk (besides cow's) offered more health benefits, so we tried a few different ones.  Almond milk, rice milk, etc.  Eventually, we chose coconut milk for some of its superior health benefits - mainly good fats and great nutrients.  Click here for more of its goodness.  I decided to be nice and buy the "Vanilla" flavored coconut milk at first...just to get Mark to drink it.  I knew his (our) taste buds just weren't ready to try the less-sweetened version yet without gagging.  We stayed with the vanilla version for several months and adapted.

Mark loved it.  I think he even told me he thought it tasted like an ice cream shake.

Our THIRD baby step: Though the vanilla coconut milk offers a lot of good things, they are outweighed a bit by the amounts of sugar used to make it taste more vanilla-y and sweet.  Without telling Mark, I sneaked the "Original"-flavored coconut milk in our fridge.  I don't think he even noticed.

We are STILL drinking Original-Flavored Coconut milk and loving it.  The BEST option would probably be to by the UNSWEETENED version, but we are content in where we're at for now.

I should also mention that I no longer struggle with hormone imbalances or migraines, so I am trusting that God used some of our milk choices (among other things) to bring about some healing.

Though others may disagree with me, I would recommend taking baby steps.  Like I said in my last post on healthy breads, over TIME, our taste buds learned to develop more of an appreciation for healthy food.  We were able to stay consistent in our healthy choices because we ENJOYED them, versus going cold turkey extreme right away and hating cardboard-tasting foods.  Experiment a bit and see what works for you!  ANY step forward is a step in the right direction!

PS - I live in a small town, and our nearby Super Wal-Mart carries all of these milks - yes, even the coconut milks.  If you live in a bigger city, Hy-Vee's health refrigerated section also has them.

PPS - YES, healthy food is more expensive.  Mark and I choose to invest in our health in a proactive way, rather than a reactive way in more doctor visits and sick days.  Again, we choose to invest MORE in the things we eat MORE.  We continue to buy some things very cheaply but other, more important things, we are willing to shuck out more cash on.  Figure out what YOU value and what works for you!

Good luck, folks.

Added 1/9/12 - Given some responses I've received about this issue I would like to clarify just a few things...  1. I LOVE dairy farmers and trust that there are FANTASTIC ones out there.  This is not meant to be an attack on this industry.  2.  My hope in posting some Google/Internet links in this post was to give you a quick "Spark Notes" idea of what I'm trying to convey.  Mark and I have not made our decisions based on the Internet.  Please talk to your doctor, read professional articles and research this in depth before you decide what works for you!  3. My intent on my blog is to share my personal experiences. I WELCOME everyone to research and seek these issues out for themselves!  Again, good luck in your journey!


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