Robin and George have been health conscious for a long time, and have looked for ways to eat right as part of this commitment. They have often heard from the alternative health sources that dairy products are bad. Now that they are trying to conceive, they are wondering why dairy is pushed so much as part of a fertility diet. After doing some research they realize that dairy is an excellent source of the most needed vitamins and minerals.
Should Dairy Products Be Part of My Fertility Diet?
- Are dairy products unhealthy?
The reason dairy products have gotten such a bad rap is because of modern practices. The devitalized dairy products of today are accused of contributing to allergies, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. In reality, this reputation is deserved. But one must recognize the difference between these commercial dairy products and raw dairy from grass fed, small scale farms.
- What makes pasteurized, homogenized commercial dairy bad?
Cows are confined in huge feed-lot style dairies, in filthy conditions. They are fed inappropriate foods for their ruminant digestion, and are so unhealthy that they often require antibiotics. They are typically given hormones to cause increased milk production, and their breeding has resulted in higher levels of naturally occurring growth hormones.
The milk is then pasteurized, destroying all of the healthy and protective enzymes naturally present. This loss of enzymes is a major contributing factor to lactose intolerance symptoms. Pasteurization also damages the proteins, fat and the nutrients in the milk.
Powdered skim milk is added to low fat milk products to give “body” to this watery milk. This it is not required to be on the label. The dehydration methods used to make this powdered milk cause oxidized cholesterol, which is harmful to the arteries. Nitrate compounds are also produced, which are potent carcinogens.
- Are any dairy products healthy?
In the 1920’s raw milk was widely available. It was considered nature’s perfect food. Studies done by people such as Dr. Weston A. Price found many healthy cultures that ate lots of raw dairy products. He also found cultures who did not, and they ate other foods that provided the necessary nutrients instead.
Organic pasteurized milk has almost all of the same problems described above.
Healthy, raw, whole dairy products contain many very important vitamins and minerals. Milk contains large amounts of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and potassium and many other trace minerals. The milk fat is an excellent source of the fat soluble vitamins: vitamin A, D, E and K2. The aqueous portion of milk contains B vitamins and vitamin C. Most of these nutrients are destroyed or damaged by pasteurization.
The nutrient content also very much depends on the cow’s diet, which should be grass fed on pastures that have nutrient rich soils.
- Where can I find raw milk?
Raw milk is not available everywhere in the United States. Go to RealMilk.com to see what is available near you, and check at your local food coop or health food store. You can find some raw milk cheeses; usually with the specialty cheeses. Yogurt, kefir, buttermilk and creme fraiche are at least cultured and have some of the enzyme content restored. Always choose whole milk products (never low fat or non fat).
Look for butter from grass fed cows. It will be yellow, not almost white as most commercial butter is.
If you cannot find raw milk, consider using diluted pasteurized cream (never ultra-pasteurized). The fat portion of milk is more stable to the damaging effects of pasteurization. Overall, it is best to stick with only cultured dairy products.
- How do I get this critically important nutrition without dairy products?
You may avoid dairy products because you cannot find the right ones or because you do not tolerate them. You can get these nutrients from other nutrient dense foods. These are foods high in the fat soluble vitamins and the minerals. They include fish, shellfish, fish eggs, organ meats, eggs, and meats – poultry, beef, lamb, pork, etc. Also eat plenty of organic vegetables and some fruit.
All animal products should be raised naturally.
Remember, the goal is to maximize your nutrition so your body is healthy, your hormones are balanced, you get pregnant easily, have a healthy pregnancy, uncomplicated birth, and a happy, healthy baby.
To Your Vibrant Health!
Veronica Tilden, D.O.