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Got Greens? ... No Milk For This Family

Despite the savvy and popular "Got Milk?" campaign of a few years ago, there are other ways to get calcium. This is how my family does it.

We are almost a milk free household. Yes, I still put a little in my morning coffee and yes, I keep it around for company, but, we do not consume it in large quantities, like the large majority of Americans do. I know it may seem a little crazy, because drinking milk is almost like a religion (we can thank the powerful dairy industry lobby for that) in this country, but humans are the only species that drinks milk after weaning and drinks the milk of another species. (That actually sounds kind of gross to me when I ponder that!)

We get our calcium from the following sources:

  1. BEANS, especially pinto and chickpeas (A delicious chili can be made with a few different types of beans. Sometimes vegetarian and sometimes with meat)
  2. TAHINI (who doesn't love hummus?)
  3. BROCCOLI (sauteed with garlic and olive oil — we have this a few times per week)
  4. ALMONDS, (toast in oven for 8-9 minutes at 350 degrees and you have a delicious snack)
  5. GREENS, kale, dandelions, turnip greens. (We make green drinks almost daily.)

Milk is implicated in the majority of childhood ear infections and allergies to milk are common. Frequent allergic reactions tax the immune system and generally make people miserable. I believe one of the reasons why we have never had ear infections, frequent colds or missed days of school is because we've avoided the copious amount of milk that the average school age child drinks. My children have grown up marvelously tall, strong and ridiculously healthy without relying on milk. If you, however, decide to forego milk as we did, you must make excellent substitutions as outlined above.

Having said that, we are not at complete avoidance of milk (we eat ice cream on occasion), but it is GREATLY minimized in our daily food intake.  So, instead of a bowl of cold breakfast cereal (which is typically a high sugar, refined flour, unhealthy breakfast), we will have whole grain toast with organic unsalted butter or oatmeal with a few chopped almonds or walnuts, a sprinkle of cinnamon and just enough pure maple syrup to sweeten.

Another interesting fact, straight from the World Health Organization, is that the countries with the highest rates of dairy consumption also have the highest rates of osteoporosis! So, why is it that we are told to drink milk for calcium when we can get it from other sources (green vegetables) that are absorbed better and have other trace minerals and vitamins that are good for us. Milk has too much phosphorous and too little magnesium, making it a poor choice for bone building. Again, it is the well funded, powerful dairy lobby, not with our best interests in mind.

Although milk is touted by many health professionals, and it is so common here in America, I am going to pass right over the savvy "Got Milk?" advertisements and go for the greens instead.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Linda Sadlouskos (Editor) July 24, 2012 at 04:10 PM
I wonder how many people (even kids) really drink that recommended 4 glasses of milk per day. Although many of us do enjoy some amounts of cheese, yogurt and ice cream, I don't remember the last time I just drank a glass of milk. I guess no matter what, it's never bad advice to eat your greens! Now, it's time for a confession...about that milkshake I drank last Thurs. when I took my kid to ride the Cyclone at Coney Island...even better than broccoli!
maria claps July 24, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Oh Linda that is too funny. We are not purists of any sort in our home. We enjoy sweets and treats, just in moderation, not as an every day sort of thing. I'm glad you enjoyed your milkshake!!
xue ding July 25, 2012 at 12:21 PM
instead of maple syrup, you can try (organic) honey for sweetening. really enjoy your article about food.
maria claps July 25, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Thanks xue..I do use honey too. But carefully, though, because it is sweeter than sugar. I do not have much of a sweet tooth, but use any sweeteners very sparingly. Thanks for reading, glad you are enjoying.
TJ July 27, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Thanks for the article. A couple of things -- 1. i think we should be careful about equating 'strong, tall kids' with milk. i got your point but for people to understand that we need strong bones and core. if we don't treat our bodies correctly then one may feel big and strong, but you could be a candidate for osteoporosis as you get older. and the prevention for that starts at a younger age than most realize. Second thing -- my kids don't drink milk. They don't like the taste. Thanks for putting those suggestions up top. Does your green drink taste like fruit (if you add something to it) or does it taste like a vege shake? I'd love suggestions if anyone has a shake/smoothie (that does *not* include milk or yogurt).
maria claps July 27, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Hi TJ--yes, thank you for pointing that out. I will admit it may have been offensive to those that are short and healthy and strong, and that one does not have to be tall to be considered healthy. Mea culpa. My green drinks taste green, for sure, but not overly so. I do add fruit, but not that much. Much to my chagrin, my kids still like very sweet drinks, like Gatorade, so the green drinks I make for them need to bridge the gap between what their taste buds will accept and what they will reject. I will be doing a blog post soon, on my blog www.juicygreengirl.com, about green drinks and will post recipes and proportions. Many of my friends and people who know that I make green drinks have expressed an interest, so a detailed blog post is forthcoming.
Linda Sadlouskos (Editor) July 27, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Maria, what do you think of soy milk? I drink it for various reasons -- not always -- in coffee or in other instances when I might use milk. The flavored varieties are really tasty — but sometimes I wonder if they taste TOO good. LS

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