- I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
What About Dairy?
I have been asked many times in my career if I thought milk or dairy products were healthy for us. This is such a loaded question...but I do have my opinion of course!
First of all lets establish one true fact. Every "body" tolerates dairy differently, just like every "body" tolerates most things differently. Some people can drink a lot of alcohol and have little effect the next day, and some of us end up with a bad hangover, taking several days to get back to feeling well.
Some people can eat rich buttery, fattening foods and feel fine, while others feel bloated and awful. Some of us can take a medication like Vicodin for pain and feel better, while others feel nauseated and worse for it. We all tolerate things differently, and dairy is no exception.
It is said that most people have an allergy to dairy, but for many of us it is not severe enough to bother us. Our bodies lack the lactase enzyme to help with the digestion of dairy. That is why you may feel bloated, cramping, or congested after eating a lot of dairy. However there are people who just can not eat any dairy without suffering with horrible digestive problems. This kind of allergy will keep a person from eating dairy, for it causes them severe pain.
I personally do not drink milk, and have not for decades. I do however have yogurt and cottage cheese almost everyday. I do not have any problems with digesting those two dairy products. If I eat ice cream or drink milk, I notice more of a problem with bloating and digestion.
The dairy industry markets milk as a product that will "Build Strong Bones". My best friend drank six to eight glasses a day for most of her life. She was very active and did a lot of weight bearing exercise as well. At the age of fifty she went for her bone density test and found out that she had pre-osteoporosis. Her bones were in danger of being brittle and she was prime to get full blown osteoporosis. Her doctors advised her to stop drinking milk, as it had so much protein in it that it was actually leaching the calcium from her bones instead of making them stronger.
I read a book years ago called "Diet For a New America" by the heir to Baskin and Robbins, Jon Robbins, who wrote extensively about dairy products in this book. He walked away from his inheritance because he felt that his family business was contributing to the ill health of our population. He tells the story of how his uncle who was in the family business, died of heart disease due to his diet full of dairy. If you read this book you may never want to eat much of anything again except vegetables....it is a very disturbing look into our food industry.
Dairy is also fattening, so eating a lot of it is not recommended if you are wanting to lose some body fat. Cheese can be very fattening. If it wasn't I would eat it on everything! I love cheese, but I eat it sparingly to keep my body fat down. Pizza is a once in a while thing on my menu, maybe a couple of times a year at best.
So if you are wondering about eating dairy or drinking milk, you need to pay attention to how you feel after you have it. If you feel bloated, lethargic, or congested, you probably shouldn't eat a lot of it. If you feel terrible digestive problems, I would consult a doctor (one that preferably knows about nutrition...good luck!) to get tested for dairy intolerance.
Remember too that dairy products usually will add more weight to your body. Eat them in moderation if you are trying to lose weight and get fit. Your body will always tell you what you should and shouldn't eat...most of us just don't pay attention to it when it is telling us. Start paying attention, you will be healthier for it.