Tuesday, 10 September 2013

all things milk

Well, we made it through the last days of the summer holidays, sorry for not posting for a while but I was in need of a couple of days of therapeutic 'watching paint dry' or 'wall staring'. Hidden within my darling child is an 'on-switch'.  I have no idea what triggers this. In the on position many things are randomly thrown around and out the house, things are bitten, broken and pulled down. One of the main casualties was our kitchen clock which now has broken glass, the TVs also came in for a pounding luckily my husband caught him trying to pull the kitchen telly off the wall. Night time changed to, from going to bed happily (admittedly bouncing for a while) to general screaming and coming down stairs, screaming and trying to destroy whatever was in front of him. Richard said to me, 'We really need to find out whats going on' - no kidding! Let me translate for you, 'Find out whats going on and sort it.'
Well, I think that basically he was bored, other than hoovering and pushing him in the hammock swing, there is little else he does with me. Once I told him he was going back to school, he actually stopped mid-tantrum and looked happy. This isn't from my choice but his, so on my to do list I now have search out things to do with autistic children, will post once I have some info.

In the meantime, lets get down to whats wrong and right with milk. If you have a child with autism and you are trying to address it, chances are that nutrition will be top of your list. Top of that list, chance are are cut out dairy (casein) and gluten, other wise known as the CGF diet (casein, gluten free). I did toy with the idea but as I have said in earlier post, I really wanted to know what had happened to these past staples of life, we have all heard the sayings bread is the staff of life and the land of milk and honey. Our ancestors had no problem with them so what had we done that had changed this. Well, grab hold of your seat Dorothy because Kansas is going bye bye. What I found rather shocked me, I instantly changed my buying and eating habits and hope that you will do the same.

All milk isn't created equal. They (scientist) think that about 20,000 years ago cows underwent a genetic mutation. This lead to two types of milk, you may have already heard of A1 and A2 milk. The genetic mutation, or whatever it was gave rise to A1 milk. I always bought organic milk, but now I specifically by milk from Guernsey cows or failing that Jersey cows. These cows produce A2 milk as opposed to the black and white Holstein cow which produces A1 milk. I am guessing that most farms use Holstein cows because they are economically more viable, but more isn't always better. A1 type milk or to be precise Beta Casein A1 milk has the peptide BCM7 which has been linked to heart disease, type I diabetes, and recently mental health conditions including autism. As a note of interest, Human, Goat, Sheep and buffalo milk are all A2.

Professor Robert Cade and Dr Zhongie Sun from the University of Florida, Paul Shattock from the Autism Research Unit at University of Sunderland and Dr Kalle Reichelt from the Pediatrics Research Institute at the University of Oslo, Norway, have all published papers suggesting that many of our symptoms of poor mental health are related to the way we metabolise our food. Specifically, that many of the symptoms of autism and schizophrenia show similarities to the know symptoms caused by opioids which can be formed by the digestion of certain foods particularly gluten and casein. Many autistic children have been found to have high levels of BCM7 in blood and urine tests. However, its only recently that it has been found to happen only from A1 Beta Casein (Holstein) and not A2 Beta Casein (Guernsey, Jersey).

The Guernsey cow doesn't digest and break down Beta carotene, this is what gives the milk its lovely creamy yellow colour, it also has a better Omega 3 balance, being 1 part Omega 3 to 2 parts Omega 6. All other milk is 1 part Omega 3 to 6 parts Omega 6. Yes, this lovely milk has that essential fatty acid Omega 3 which is found in oily fish, and Flax seed oils etc. Guernsey milk has been tested for Beta Casein A2 at between 80-90%, Jersey milk 40% and Holstein milk 15%.

Lets move on to the modern scourge of homogenised milk, something which they generally don't do to Guernsey milk. Milk is homogenised basically for longer shelf life. Homogenised milk is where the fat particles are broken down so that they are evenly placed through the milk. If you didn't like the cream on top of your milk and like homogenised milk because of this, listen up. Natural cows milk has fat particles so big that they can't go through the intestinal mucosa, and are therefore naturally eliminated by the body. The fat particles of homogenised milk are so small that they can travel through your intestinal mucosa and from there pass directly into your blood stream. This is an added stress to your body which stores these undigested fat particles in your arteries, joints and heart. According to Dr Oster and Dr Donald Ross of Fairfield University Delaware,
"Homogenising allows the enzyme xanthine oxide to pass intact into the bloodstream. There is attacks the plasmologen tissue of the artery walls and parts of the heart muscle. This makes the body, trying to heal itself, put down a protective layer of cholesterol. The end result is scar tissue and calcified plaques with a build of of cholesterol and other fatty deposits." According to these experts, homogenised milk is the main culprit for heart attacks - not natural milk (or cream for you cream lovers!)

Lets move on to pasteurised milk as opposed to raw milk. This is such a big topic with such a wealth of information that its hard to know where to start. We have all been brought up to believe that milk straight from the cow is hazardous and full of harmful bacteria, and that pasteurising it makes it safe for us. We first started pasteurising milk after the industrial revolution when cows came in from the field to the city and were fed on the by-products of beer and other such things as opposed to grass and hay. This caused the cows, very much like our factory farmed cows fed corn and soy, to have upset tummies. This in turn led to un-healthy milk, which killed some and made many more ill. Since then, milk has generally been pasteurised. The idea is that pateurisation kills off any harmful bacteria in the milk, but it also kills of all the pro biotic ( good bacteria). It also destroys all the helpful enzymes in milk including the enzyme Lactase which breaks down the lactose in milk. (On a side note, if you are intolerant of milk ie lactose intolerant, you are actually pasteurised milk intolerant, try some raw milk). Pasteurising also destroys the Vit C, Vit B12, Vit A, Vit D, Lactobacilli, enzymes, and minerals, which is why even if you drink lots of pasteurised milk, you can still suffer from Osteoporosis. After pasteurisation, any bad bacteria which gets in the milk is free to flourish as opposed to the compounds in raw milk which actually destroy pathogens. Tests have been done where both pasturised and raw milk was left out, the pasturised milk went bad and was rampant with pathogens, the raw milk was still OK. Raw milk is also milk raised on grass and hay, which makes an enormous difference to the cows digestion. Near where my Mum and Dad live is a lovely little farm producing raw milk. This holiday, we had a walk round the farm, even in the yard where the cows come in for milking, the air smelt of nothing but meadows and hay. It was a far cry from the stink of a 'traditonal farm' feeding corn and soy. The life span of a cow fed on grass is about 12 years as opposed to 3.5 in a feed lot. So lets talk bad bacteria. In 2003, the Journal of Dairy Science noted that 80% of dairy cows carry the bacteria 0157. They conducted a small experiment which showed that when they switched the cows to grass from grain for only 5 days, 0157 declined 1,000 fold. In 2006 in the New York times, Michael Pollans wrote in response to an outbreak of food poisoning,
"The lethal strain of E.Coli know as 0157:H7  responsible for this latest outbreak of food poisoning was unknown before 1982. It is believed to have evolved in the guts of feedlot cattle. These animals stand around all day in their manure, eating a diet of grain that happens to turn a cows rumen into an ideal habitat for E.Coli 0157:H7. The bug can't survive long in cattle living on grass."

When I first research raw milk I was delighted to find a wonderful farm about 30 minutes from my Mum and Dad. They milk their cows 3 times a week as opposed to our corn raised, hormone injected, anti-biotic up to the eyeball factory cows of twice a day. The first time I drank it, I must admit that I did so with a little trepidation, but that first taste put paid to all of that. It is so delicious, it doesn't taste at all like the milk I had had before. I knocked back a pint in no time, and I hate drinking milk! I remember giving the first glass to my 90 year old Dad who was raised on raw milk.
"Does it taste how you remember it Dad?"
"Oh! Whats different?"
"The milk I had as a child was warm, straight out of the cow!"

People take note, even if you don't take the step of going raw, swap your breed of milk, and buy one that isn't homogenise, and in doing so, you'll find that you are supporting small farmers, doing what they have been doing for hundreds of years, as opposed to putting more money in big agriculture, and their spin off by-products and industries. As a post-script, if you filter this down and change your type of butter too, and find it difficult to source Guernsey butter, most New Zealand cows are grass fed and a mix of Guernsey/Jersey cows, ie Anchore butter.
Hope this was interesting x

1 comment:

  1. Hi Liz,
    Thanks so much for this. I don't drink milk; have never liked it - even when I was young in Jamaica where everyone (used to) drink milk the way your dad remembered! I hardly ever eat beef, but reading this made me feel sick. I knew about the antibiotics and hormones, but never thought about the feed: why on earth would anyone think that corn would be good for cows? (I remember back home that chickens were fed corn - and that's another thing!!). I had started using Anchor butter but then stopped: but I will definitely go back to it. I try to eat as healthily as possible, and after reading your articles, I am determined to 'step up' my game! I stopped using fluoride toothpaste about 7 years ago, but foolishly allowed myself to be convinced by a dentist to 'give it another try'. After just a couple of brushes, I suffered such terrible pain that, needless to say, I will not be doing that again!!
    Very interesting article. Blessings to you and family.