Monday, February 02, 2009

February is Dairy Conversion Month

This year, instead of having a huge, long list of New Year Resolutions, I decided to break it down into one resolution per month.

Last month, well, I don't think I ever posted about that. Last month was Yoga month, where I began an early-morning Yoga habit. I love yoga. The best way I can describe the incredible impact it made is this:

Think of your spine as a stack of those cute, wooden alphabet blocks. I had some for Atticus when he was a baby and Ernie ate Beagles aren't the brightest bulb in the canine kingdome.

Anyways, instead of having a nice, straight tower of blocks, my spine felt like a slowly curving, forward leaning hunch of a spine. My part-time seasonal desk job wasn't helping matters, either.

Yoga takes those blocks, stretches them out (making them taller) and restacks them, one directly above the other, in a nice, uniform line. You leave feeling about 2 inches taller and with a ballet dancer spine.


Anyway, more on the yoga later.

This month is Dairy Conversion Month. We eliminating all dairy products.

(warning: I feel a bit passionately about this subject, so soapbox ahead!)

Why? Simply put, we are not meant to drink milk. Milk is meant to grow a baby calf into a 300 pound adult in 6 months. Nothing more.

Would you want to pour breast milk in your cereal? Of course not! You may even be gagging at the thought!

Would you drink orangutan's milk? After all, they are closer to us as a species. But would you? No way, no day.

So why do we like to pretend we are baby cows? Baby cows have:
-4 stomachs (pop quiz: how many do we have?)
-9 feet of intestine (we have 27 ft)
-the biological need to double their weight in 47 days (no wonder we pack on so many pounds do to this "food group")

Should we eat a health, balanced diet of a variety of natural foods/grains, we would consume more than enough calcium.

The whole "we need milk in order to have strong bones" thing is a crock of BS that the government, in connection with the high-dollar dairy lobbyists concocted. Do the research. The whole dairy food/convenience food is a symbiotic, double-edged sword. Fill our bodies up with enough red meat, bleached foods and soda and we virtually eliminate any chance of absorbing any calcium you may have (but probably not) ingested via food. So enter milk and voila! You can get the calcium. But at what cost?

How about heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, kidney stones, allergies, nasal congestion? How about those bovine growth hormones? Yummy.

And if all that "logical" stuff isn't enough to convince someone to say adios to milk, then go for the gross-out factor. Ask if the dairy farmworkers clean all that cow pie off those udders every.single.time.they.milk.


So milk is gone from our home. We switched over to a combination of soy milk, rice milk and almond milk. The kids like it all. I have a hard time with soy milk in my oatmeal, but find almond milk to be very delicious in it.

And I have to add that I am SO proud of my Mister for being 100% on board with this whole plan. That's a huge step for him (and one more thing to cross off on my evil scheme's plan to turn the Mister into a Vegan!)

But I don't expect it all to be easy. I am a bit worried about the cheese conversion. Okay, really worried. We're Cheeseheads, for goodness sake! But, I'll report our progress and give you my honest impression of alternate choices for cheese.

I'm hoping that we experience many of the promising benefits that countless others have received since becoming dairy-free: less allergies, no more nasal congestions, losing the 'puff' in our faces. I have no intention of putting Keenan and Miles on milk when they come home, so now seems like a very good time to switch the rest of us over before our little guys are home.

And did I mention that it's February?

And despite the fact that Punxsutawney Phil had many people groaning this morning about the rest of this month, I am feeling pretty darn good about February.

New month, renewed hope, renewed faith.


Aves @ Call of the Phoebe said...

I understand what you are saying, I have gone the whole route of vegetarian myself so I have read all info, attended conferences, rallys etc., but I will defend the fact that YES, we did wipe the udders down compltely of all that manure. I know this, because it was one of my many jobs on the farm. We ran a Grade A farm. The requirements are much more strigent than Grade B farms. Grade A milk was sold for milk, and Grade B milk was sold for cheese. So I guess I felt the need to share a little info.

Good luck on the conversion, I love my dairy products so it would be difficult at best for me to do this.

I like YOGA as well, it does the spine GOOD!!!!

Only six weeks left of winter YAHOO!!


Sarah & Crew said...

I've no doubt that there are some very good, very clean dairy farms out there. When I do buy meat for our family, we buy at a graff-fed dairy/meat farm outside Chilton, WI. That farm is immaculate too. But on the other hand, we have friends who worked at 2 different, larger dairy farms within 30 miles of our home, and their stories of the way the animals are treated and the cleanliness of those workers are both sad and stomach-turning.
and I'm With you on the YAHOO that winter is nearly over! About time!

Jenn said...

I don't drink milk. Not because of a little poop on the udde but because it is revolting. I actually think the manure may make it more palatable.

My kids drink milk, eat yogurt and cheese and have yet to become nasally congested, overwieght mutants. They are weird though, so this may be food for thought...

I have cut out red meat and this month anything derived from a pig is out too. Its my slow way of becoming a vegetarian. Or a vegetarian that eats fish, if that's possible?

Sarah & Crew said...

Good for you in eliminating meat, Jen. I think a slow but steady course is a good thing. I gradually eliminated chicken and turkey. By the time we had Xmas Day, I couldn't physically choke down a piece of turkey without gagging on the taste.

I think I've seen the term pescatarian, in regard to vegetarians who eat seafood.

None of my kids are overweight, but they are all congested and have eczema. My doc is a big anti-dairy proponent, and said we should see a change in the eczema with the no-dairy. So I'm hoping we'll see some good results.

Anonymous said...

First, thank you to my wife for feeding me a healthy varied diet. I come from a heavy on the meat, heavy on the fat, heavy on the rice diet. I now realize too much of any one thing is bad and that a plethora of food is good. I can vouch for the cow poop on the udder thing- I don't believe it happens at all farms or even at most of the smaller family run farms- but I do think its out there because my buddy worked at a dairy farm that didn't. That's ok, though. Gross, but okay. Read Fastfood Nation or anything of the like and its acceptable to have certain amounts of "stuff" in our food.

Anyways, I just wanted to say that for anyone drinking dairy, eating red meat, or otherwise doing anything our family doesn't do, we respect your right to choose and don't mean to alienate you. Heck, if I was still single, I guarantee that I'd still be eating SPAM, which rocks, even if it isn't right. So, who am I to judge. Just eat. For anyone starving themselves, that's truly hard for me to understand and that's where I hit the soapbox (my wife can vouch for this- she eats normal and it freaks me out- eat more!!!).

-Mr. Nuetral

Alisa (@ said...

There is a big connection between eczema and dairy, so hopefully that will help your little ones. I was born with a milk allergy and suffered with some pretty bad eczema from it when I was little.

I think the biggest concern / question mark that lingers over my head about dairy is the hormones. I am not even going so far as to address the added synthetic hormones, but just the hormones that naturally occur in abundance in cow's milk ... the hormones are needed for growth (of young calves of course). Very strong and undeniable links between milk and hormonal cancers have been discovered, and I can't help but think (as a non-physician here) that perhaps ingesting growth hormones in these quantities as fully grown adults ... well, what are they going to grow?