What Are the Best Dairy Foods?
(One of the installments of the 'A-List' Carbohydrates)
I NEVER thought I'd be writing this, let alone recommending it to you-
Unless you are a competitive athlete, really hitting the gym hard or are super active-
Stop Drinking Milk.
February 2010 was the last time I ever drank milk.
I haven't looked back and it was one of the best things I've ever done.
Years before, the idea of not drinking milk was completely asinine to me. I used to drink OVER ONE GALLON A DAY. I used to laugh at people that didn't drink milk and submit their names to a communist watch list.
After all, milk is a fairly high-quality and inexpensive source of protein.
It tastes good.
And The vast majority of the muscle on my body was built and maintained by milk.
For that reason- if you are trying to gain weight or build muscle, I don't necessarily suggest ditching milk.
If, however, you are more focused on staying lean and keeping fat off your body- you will probably do yourself a favor by cutting milk out of your diet.
The good news is- it's easier than ever, there's several substitutes (unsweetened almond/coconut milk with Stevia) that taste just as good and are actually better for you.
I used to work out 4 or 5 days a week, 90 minutes at a time.
Now, if I'm lucky, I work out 2 or 3 times a week, for about 30 minutes at a time.
Believe it or not, I'm actually leaner these days than I was when I was more serious about my fitness goals. I exercise WAY LESS (unfortunately) and hold less body fat.
Dropping milk (and carbohydrates) has significantly changed my body composition.
By avoiding milk, my blood sugar level stays under control and fat simply does not stick to me unless I really overeat. I also have no stomach issues ever. I was never lactose intolerant but I virtually never have a stomach ache or need to fart.
What a lot of people don't know is- although milk is a nice source of protein, it's also quite high in sugar.
Although it's "natural sugar" (maltodextrin) it's still sugar and IT WILL raise your blood sugar and insulin levels. Especially if you drink any more than 1 cup.
Also, the nutrition facts above is a profile for 1 cup of 1% milk.
It's VERY RARE that a male uses just 1 cup of milk with his meals.
In a protein shake it's usually closer to 2 cups.
A bowl of cereal (that already has 20-30 grams of sugar) usually is floating in about 1.5-2 cups of milk.
Even most inactive people mindlessly add Milk (18-36 grams of sugar) to each of their meals that already contain a ton of carbohydrates.
(We wonder why Americans are so fat and can barely walk?)
To be honest, I used to drink milk in unlimited amounts, like it was water. I must have consumed 120 grams of sugar a day from milk alone. If I wasn't busting my ass in the gym, I would have looked like a complete mess.
Again, if you are an athlete or if you are training with heavy weights several times a week, you are probably better off with milk in your diet. In fact, straight up chocolate milk is great AFTER a solid workout with heavy weight. A lot of Division-I college football teams do chocolate milk and no protein supplements.
If you drink a cup or two a day, depending on your goals, that's probably fine too.
(A lot of books suggest otherwise however, non-organic pasteurized milk can be full of hormones that will affect people in different ways)
The vast majority of people aren't athletes or bodybuilders and certainly can't exercise self-control with their milk/sugar/carbohydrate consumption.
The average person, in my opinion, is way better off ditching the regular, commercially sold milk available at grocery stores.
Keeping unwanted weight off will never be easier, especially if milk was one of your breakfast foods and you began each day by raising your insulin levels.
There's a lot of political reasons that the majority of Americans are "in the dark" about how and why milk isn't exactly great for them.
For one, our economy depends on it.
Real butter from grass-fed, organically raised cows can help control weight!?
Yes, butter contains saturated fat but it also contains CLA, conjugated linolenic acid, a super healthful, anticancer fatty acid that prevents weight gain. As well as lauric acid, which is antimicrobial and helps disable pathogenic viruses. It also contains anticancer, antiviral- butyric acid.
Ghee is even better than butter (again, as long as it's from organically raised, grass-fed cows) because it is butter without the milk solids. So it has all of the benefits of butter and can be cooked at higher temperatures but doesn't go rancid- so it doesn't have to be refrigerated.
You can make your own ghee by simmering unsalted, real butter at low-medium heat for 15 to 20 min or until a see-through crust appears on the top. Take off the crust and strain the liquid. Toss out the white sediment that is left over.
If you are trying to lose weight eat butter with carb-free foods like cooking chicken in it, since it is high in fat. If you eat butter with carbs, especially simple carbs like white bread, the fat is more likely to stick to you.
(Anticancer, Buy Organic)
Cheese is very healthy, IF it's from healthy, grass-fed, unpasteurized animals.
The benefits discussed below don't apply to "Kraft" or mass produced commercial cheese.You can safely assume they have no benefits whatsoever.
French cheeses tend to be from healthy, pasture-fed animals, therefore- healthy and full of good fats themselves.
Cheeses from grass-fed animals are significantly higher in CLA, conjugated linoleic acid, (the fat-reducing, anticancer fat) and other nutrients than cheeses from factory-farmed animals. Goat and sheep cheeses are usually safe bets because they aren't usually factory-farmed.
Different cheeses vary in nutrients. Unpasteurized Camembert cheese contains the probiotic- lactobacilli. This is a super healthy bacteria that is also found in yogurt and fermented foods. Alpine cheese (from grass-fed cows) is a rich source of super healthy omega 3 fatty acids, which are great for heart and brain health.
*Stay away from mass produced "cheese food" or "cheese products"-imitation, fake cheese that shouldn't be put into human bodies. If it doesn't look like cheese- it's not.
ONLY drink organic, raw, unpasteurized, non-homogenized, whole, grass-fed cow's milk (not the mass-produced, hormone and antibiotic injected crap in the grocery stores, it might as well be the cow's urine than it's milk). High-quality, raw milk is packed with nutrients- like the healthful bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and beneficial enzymes. As well the weight-loss-promoting, cancer-fighting fat- CLA. It is also high in Omega-3's (unlike factory-farm milk).
Organic, raw, unpasteurized, non-homogenized, whole, grass-fed goat's milk is another healthy option. Goat's milk has a greater amount of protein and fat that is more easily digestible than cow's milk. It also contains more magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and vitamin A than cow's milk. It is lower in vitamin B12 and folic acid than cow's milk. But, just like cow's milk, the commercial versions are usually so pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized that they lose most of their nutrients.
Unfortunately raw, organic milk is super hard to find, not all states sell it. In some states it's illegal and you can assume that the FDA will start pushing for long jail sentences in the near future as the popularity increases.
Still, there are some great alternatives to commercial versions of milk.
I don't have much experience with raw milk, as I said- I haven't drank milk since 2010. The health benefits are pretty obvious though. Raw Milk doesn't come from cows on massive amounts of steroids and doesn't travel through dirty warehouses and undergo an entire commercialization process.
Still, like I mentioned- we aren't completely down on 'regular' milk.
But- beyond the protein and the always over-exaggerated amount of calcium/vitamin D, 'regular' milk offers next to no benefits.
If you are training hard, you certainly can use that inexpensive protein. It might be worth pulling milk entirely to see how you feel though. I feel a lot better.
*Whey Protein (Anticancer)
(particularly Whey Protein Isolate)
We are going to cover Whey Protein in-depth in near future.
It definitely belongs on the list and has several benefits beyond "it's protein" that you might not know about.
Protein alone is essential for the development of antibodies, hormones and neurotransmitters, and of course bones and muscles. But whey protein provides a host of additional benefits to the human body.
Whey supplies the body with amino acids that one of the most powerful antioxidants is made from- glutathion. It also stimulates the immune system by providing proteins, like immunoglobulins and alpha-lactalbumin, that specifically help fight diseases. Alpha-lactalbumin has also been shown to enhance cognitive function in people vulnerable to stress, along with the L-tryptophan in whey.
Whey protein helps lower high blood pressure. It my aid weight loss as well. Whey stimulates the production of cholecystokinin- the hormone that makes you feel full.
Whey also helps reduce the resistance of cancer cells and raise the the function of natural killer cells, which helps reveal cancerous cells.
Go with high quality whey.
Not to over simplify things but- there two main types of whey- Whey Protein Isolate and Whey Protein Concentrate. Whey isolate is the purest version and the highest quality. Your body can better process it and turn it into muscle. Whey concentrate is higher in lactose and fat than isolate.
Look for labels that say- ion-exchanged, non-denatured or micro-filtered- these will indicate higher quality.
Most protein powders will contain both.
Just make sure "Whey Protein Isolate" is on there, hopefully as the first ingredient.
Although Whey Protein Isolate is more expensive- it's more bio-available and your body can use it better than its counterpart. Arguably, it's a better value.
There's a lot of good options for Whey Protein.
In my early 20's I would by the least expensive protein powder I could find.
Within 2 weeks I was bored of the taste. I don't know how many times I bought a 5 lb. tub of inexpensive protein, only to finish less than half of it.
I'm not alone in this- something like 75% of first-time purchasers that buy the "lesser expensive" protein options never even finish them. It totally defeats the purpose of buying them. These days I only buy protein that I absolutely love to drink.
I'll recommend the one that 101% of people LOVE-
- The Best Tasting Protein on Planet Earth (healthful too!)
(beware- you'll never want to use a cheap protein supplement again)
The options below are more than adequate non-dairy substitutes for milk.
If your grocery store doesn't have at least one of these recommendations- I wouldn't eat anything from that grocery store ever again. These are all pretty mainstream these days. You can usually find one of these on sale.
All of them taste better with Stevia extract added.
As you'll see- "Rice Milk" and "Soy Milk" are NOT listed because they aren't any good for you.
Unsweetened Almond Milk
Unsweetened almond milk is a great substitute for milk.
It is still a good source of vitamin D and calcium (like milk) as well as half of the daily value of vitamin E. It contains healthy monounsaturated fats but the fat content is much lower than eating raw almonds.In my opinion (and my roommates), with Stevia extract it's better than milk.
Just make sure that is is "unsweetened" to avoid a ton of added sugar. Add some Stevia extract to it if it isn't sweet enough to drink alone. It is a great base for protein shakes.
Almonds made it onto the A-List of Carbohydrates-
Unsweetened Coconut Milk
Coconuts are a super food- See Powerhouse Fruits - The 'A List' (Carbohydrates).
Unsweetened coconut milk is diluted but it still contains many of the amazing nutrient profile that coconuts provide.
The saturated fat in coconuts is mainly medium-chain-triglycerides, which are more healthy and much easier to digest than "normal" long-chain saturated fats. These fats are also more easily used for energy, rather than being stored as fat. Half of the fat in coconuts is lauric acid, which is antiviral, antimicrobial and antibacterial.
Unsweetened Flaxseed Milk
Flaxseed milk is high in omega 3's. The main omega 3 in flaxseeds is alpha-linolenic acid, which is an essential fatty acid- meaning your body can't make it on its own. Flax milk also contains as much calcium as cow's milk. It is super low in calories (about 25 per serving).
Flax milk is also great in protein shakes. Lignans in flaxseeds heighten sex-hormone binding globulin, so you may get some of the effect from the milk as well.