Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Homogenized life

About a month ago I visited a holistic nutritionist. We talked about a lot of things but something that was surprising to me was what she told me about milk. First, on my own, I've found that Horizon Organic is a national brand owned by a national chain of 'traditional' milk. They push the limits of what is organic, don't allow the cows to roam free (kept in cages like veal) and bring in cattle from traditional farms (hybrid cows bred to produce large quantities of low grade milk. Basically, they are looking at the bottom line and not really caring about the product quality or the health of their consumers.

Horizon being the least of my concerns... I guess it is better than the other options available at the local Stop & Shop. So, our conversation continued and I learned about pasturization and homoginization. Do you know what they are for? I didn't really know... I mean, it had to do with killing harmful bacteria, right? Well, kind of. Pasturization is basically flash cooking the milk in order to kill harmful bacteria. The process kills most of the bacteria bad AND good. So, think of yogurt and saurkraut and other foods that are beneficial to your intestins - the organ in your body that is there to help digest all of the processed foods that we eat in this modern world. Here we are, step 1... removing the bacteria that should be in our intestins from one of our most available and basic foods. Hmm, I'll have to ask my French friend how often people die in France from bad cheese bacteria. So, people have weakened digestive systems and this is believed to be the cause of many ailments including food allergies. The solution? We (I) buy expensive probiotic supplements that are basically the same thing as what was just cooked out of my milk.

Next, the homogenization process was created in the 30s to extend the shelf-life of milk. Not only does this keep the fat from settling on top this is also what causes milk to go rancid instead of sour. Interesting (to me at least)! The reason I even bring this up is because there is a direct link between homoginization and increased heart disease regardless of the type of milk (cream to skim).

I am continuously fascinated by the simplicity in foods and the fact that the FDA can approve drugs for 'Restless Leg Syndom' (when the real cure is actually just regular exercise & stretching) or mild depression (pop a pill or get on a treadmill four times a week for the same effect), but they won't allow for milk to sold 'raw'. It is really a messed up world we live in and it makes me want to go lease a cow.


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