As Max's first birthday is approaching I have been researching what is next on the milk front. Of course we all have heard that as soon as your baby turns 1 year old you are to give them whole cow's milk. But why do we do that? Well I've always heard for fat and calcium. I sought out to figure out if it's really necessary. Of course I am going to talk to my pediatrician first, but I wanted to share with you some interesting research that I found.
Whole Food Mommies has a GREAT post on the International Dairy Food Association (IDFA). Did you know that milk and dairy products (in particular butter and cheese) are the major source of saturated fat consumed by Americans…and saturated fat has the most powerful causative relationship with heart disease and cancer? (Disease Proof Your Child, Dr. Joel Fuhrman).
Milk is convenient-Milk provides a convenient source of fat, protein, calcium, and vitamin D for growing bodies. But, in today’s average food lifestyle, these building blocks can be more than adequately supplied in other areas of a balanced diet. (source)
Myth: Babies Need Calcium That is Found in Milk- Let's explore calcium in whole milk. Please read their other post here about where to find other sources of calcium. When you eat healthy whole food plant based foods (fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds) it is IMPOSSIBLE not to obtain sufficient calcium. Everything that grows from the ground has calcium in it- in particular our green vegetables.
Our body absorbs the calcium differently from different foods and absorbs calcium most efficiently from VEGETABLES. Only about 32% of the calcium in milk is absorbed (most of the calcium is lost in the urine- see below for more details), while 53% of the calcium in broccoli is absorbed.
CALCIUM found in common foods
Raw Almonds (1/2 cup) 180 mg
Broccoli (1 cup) 180 mg
Orange (2) 120 mg
Sesame seeds (1/4 cup) 350 mg
Spinach (1 cup) 244 mg
Milk (Whole) 1/2 cup 145 mg (but only 32% is absorbed)
(Disease Proof your Child, Dr. Joel Fuhrman)
Epidemiologic studies have linked osteoporosis not to low calcium intake but to various nutritional factors that cause excessive calcium loss in the urine. I have stated this before, but it is worth repeating:
Osteoporosis tends to occur in countries where calcium intake is highest and most of it comes from protein-rich dairy products.
What About the Fat Babies Can Get from Whole Milk-
From WFM: Our brains are mostly made from DHA fat. For our brain to work at it's best...we need to have the right ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. When our children consume the right mix of these EFA's they maximize their brain development. (Check out her last blog here for details about omega-6 and omega-3 fats).
The following WHOLE foods provide our bodies with the needed FATS to produce DHA:
FLAXSEEDS, WALNUTS, SOYBEANS & LEAFY GREENS. Other great sources are avocados, nut butters (like tahini, which is raw sesame seed butter), and hummus.
She has great recipes which I'll do a separate post on to get these seeds and other leafy greens into your childrens food on a daily basis.
What Am I Going to Do With This Information-
At this point I am going to be giving Max Almond Milk with meals or in smoothies (he already is having these). I will be trying my own homemade almond milk. I will also try to incorporate those good fats and greens needed for Max (and us). I will be looking into a vitamin D supplement, too.
Other discussions on milk and linking to cancer can be found here. Information on a Vitamin D supplement found here.
What are your thoughts on this? I am really interested to hear from you, especially if you are already implementing some of these with your kids.
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