I want to feel healthier.
I want to be stronger.
I want to look better in my clothes.
I want to be able to play with my kids without running out of steam.
I want to be able to live a long, healthy life.
I want to be healthy enough to travel when I retire.
I want to feel more in control.
I want to be able to get the most out of life.
I want to be happier.
So what will you do to achieve those goals? What has to change?
We are all guilty of sitting on a throne of wants and wishes; as days, weeks, months, even years go by, and regrettably, we live in a comfort zone of apathy...ironically, uncomfortable as hell; sometimes even miserable.
We blame work, our lack of time, lack of will, lack of education, our partners, our kids, the weather, friends, society, money, the government, sometimes we even blame the dog. Excuses are little lies we tell ourselves to make us feel “ok” about our choices. They pacify us. Soothe us. Free us from guilt (temporarily). But they also hold us back. There...there... you can “try” again tomorrow...
Does that make us bad people...Nope, it is just human nature. But as long as we allow ourselves to continually make excuses, deny, blame others, pass the buck; we will alter nothing.
If you want things to change, you have to do things differently; take 100% ownership, 100% of the time. Make excuses to succeed!
Start by visualizing yourself at your goal every day (maybe even hourly!) What will you be doing? How will you be feeling? What will you be wearing? What will you be thinking? Who will you be connected with? Where will your goal take you? How will things be different for you?
Think it. Really feel it.
Allow yourself to create energy around your goal. Allow yourself to feel a true connection to the future you. That energy is the catalyst for change.
When faced with choices, connect to that energy and ask yourself “What would future me choose in this situation?” “How would I handle this?” Visualize (imagine) yourself solving the situation, choosing wisely, and coasting through with confidence and ease.
That is YOU doing it! YOU making the best choices! YOU making it happen instead of waiting for it to happen. Become that future you...now.
Live your life TODAY like you have already succeeded, that you have already surpassed your goal. Think like that person. Act like that person. Feel like that person.
That energy has momentum! It is powerful! Tap in.
Wonder why you are obsessed with food? Why you think about it constantly? Don’t worry, you are not the only one. Think about our ancient ancestors and what they had to do in order to survive? Their entire existence was about shelter and food and water. Nothing else mattered. Almost all of their activities were geared around food; as well as their rites of passage. Where they lived (cave, hut, modest homestead) was relevant to where the food was. The men would go out and hunt/fish in groups and the women would study plants and harvest/forage them to balance out their nutrition. It was hard and sometimes dangerous work! You had to be “cognitive” or you could wind up eating the wrong berries, poisoning your tribe or mauled by a ferocious boar. You had to think ahead towards the seasons and what food would be available. You had to know how to conserve, preserve and store your food...like all animals do.
Makes sense that we are both “cultured” to think about nutrition/food and genetically inclined ~because our very survival depended on it!
Now fast forward to modern day times. We are probably no more than 40 feet away from food at any given moment. Through evolution we have made it simpler, easier, and “safer” (one could argue against that) to provide food for our families. We no longer have to plan weeks in advance for a hunt, follow the herd, know when the salmon will spawn, wait for harvest season... we just have to get in our car and drive 3 blocks to the grocery store where we can find ANYTHING we need. There is no more feast or famine...it is just feast, feast, feast.
So herein lies the challenge we face. We are still programmed to think about food ALL THE TIME...but since we no longer have to go to the extremes of hunting and gathering...we have lost that necessary balance. Most of us aren’t tucked away in our furs when the sun goes down, exhausted from a day of HARD labour; and up at the crack of dawn ready for another marathon. We don’t have to chase after our food or walk 3 days looking for herbs, plants, and berries. We don’t utilize every calorie we consume.
In addition to our genetics, food is actually manufactured to be “addictive” with the refined sugar (addictive) and refined flour (addictive) and don’t forget the high-fructose corn syrup (super addictive); so that now not only do we think about food all the time (normal) but we now physically crave those highly processed food like products. Oh, and just in case you forget how addicted you are...television advertisements will remind you at 10:00pm...just as you are ready to nod off...that you haven’t fed your addiction for 2 or 3 hours! No wonder we are all out of whack!
You bet...we are obsessed with food.
So stop beating yourself up about it. The obsession will never go away (although we can learn to manage the addiction). Embrace that preoccupation and channel that energy in a positive way and think about food differently. If you are going to think about it constantly anyway, be cognitive about where your food comes from; READ LABELS; what ARE those ingredients anyway; how does your body respond to different foods; what do you need to eat in order to thrive; how can you start to prepare your food in a healthier, tastier way? LEARN, QUESTION, DISCOVER...and then TEACH your children to do the same. Think of it as modern day foraging.
Don’t stop thinking about food...it goes against your nature and it is an impossible task...but rather adjust your focus. It is called "mindful eating". (Sounds nicer than obsession, doesn't it?)
I appreciate that life is busy; maybe you don’t have time for all that...but you don’t have time for illness either. If you are already suffering from ailments, it is an even better reason to be mindful.
We must eat; nutrition is essential to life.
...you get to decide the quality of that life.
“Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” ~Buddha
At Anchor Wellness we focus on the individual as a “whole” person; body, mind and spirit. We understand that it takes a combination of healthy eating, activity, and a focus on positive self talk and refocusing our minds on a vision of healing from head to toe, inside and out; in order to be as healthy and vital as we are meant to be. Activity and healthy eating is not reserved for “dieters” or “health nuts”...it is for everyone
! Adopting a lifestyle of clean eating and daily activity will offer you confidence, courage, and true contentment; and your body will flourish. This is how you are meant to be!
What does it take to move things in the right direction? Action
. It is one thing to plan and desire and hope that things improve...but without action, this can easily turn into chronic apathy and a whole lot of negative self talk. So we offer you this challenge: 30/30/30
- 30 Days
- 30 Minutes of Daily Activity (minimum)
- 30 Healthy Meals
From February 18th to March 19th we invite you to join us in this challenge to improve your life one day at a time
. So how does it work? The challenge is for 30 days
...don’t let this intimidate you...think of it as a fun challenge that any one can participate in! You can include your whole family (imagine how much fun you can have as a family if you let everyone pick an activity or plan a meal?)...or you can just focus on challenging yourself. 30 minutes of daily activity
...and it can be anything that makes you move! Go for a walk, cross-country skiing, shoot some hoops, or have a snowball fight! Don’t be afraid of exercise...make it playful and fun. Find walking dull...so take a camera with you and take pics along the way! Haven’t skied in years...it is ok; dust them off, wax them up, and get out on the trail! Remind yourself how good it feels to breathe fresh air.
Don’t want to be outside? Ok! Get involved with some classes at your favorite gym
or try DrumFit
! Head on over to the rec centre for a family swim! Look for something fun, playful and unique
! It doesn’t matter how you choose to spend your 30 minutes, as long as you are moving! This challenge is not about hard core exercise (unless you WANT it to be)...it is about creating new healthy habits...and once you start moving everyday, you will see how good your body feels...and you may never want to stop! So pull out your calendar and start writing down your activity plan! Do not allow yourself to be bored...keep changing it up and the challenge will be easy!
30 Healthy Meals... It is simpler than it sounds! Assuming you eat 3 meals a day, there are 90 meals in 30 days...the challenge is to make 1/3 of those meals as healthy as can be! (Now if you want to bump that up to 40 or 50 healthy meals or more...that is totally your call!) The challenge is 30. Now this will take a little planning...but it can be fun! Pull those old cook books out from the back of the cupboard and...wait, this is 2013...we don’t need cook books! We have the internet! Literally thousands and thousands of healthy recipes on line and all you have to do is GOOGLE! Take an hour or two over the next few weeks and do a little research...plan those 30 meals...and make sure to include lots of raw, crunchy veggies! Print off or save those recipes to your hard drive; do an inventory of ingredients in the cupboards and fridge; write up a grocery list of items you are going to need, and then stock up!
It is easy once you have a plan. Using your calendar, write down “what’s for dinner” on each day, print off the recipes and tuck them behind the calendar so they are handy! Preparation is KEY! If you are not prepared it is all too easy to be complacent. If you are serious about meeting this challenge, make sure you have a workable plan! If you are going to be out for dinner, then plan to make breakfast or lunch the healthy meal of the day. Get your family involved and let them plan a few meals too. If everyone is invested in the challenge, they will be much more committed to succeeding (and it will be more fun!)
See file at the bottom of this blog-it is a menu planner to get you started!
So why do the challenge? What is in it for you? Making a few small changes to your daily routine will change your focus. It will allow you to develop habits that will promote more vitality. It will bring you closer to your loved ones and more importantly, closer to yourself. Too often there is a “disconnect” between the mind, body and spirit...we get so caught up in work and taking care of our responsibilities that we forget about our relationship to ourselves and how vital it is for our health. This leads to depression, negative self talk, and ultimately it could lead to illness. At the end of the day we are “spent” because we have invested our energy in everything and everyone else...it is time to start paying attention and investing in you, your healing and your happiness. If you “look for the time”, you will never find it...you have to MAKE the time...make it happen. Use the 30/30/30 challenge as a stepping stone to a healthier, happier you.
We are going to play along with you! Visit www.facebook.com/AnchorWellness
and “like” our page! We will post our favorite healthy recipes throughout the challenge...and we invite you to do the same! Take pictures of your daily activities and share them! Encourage others and be encouraged. Inspire others...and be inspired. From February 18th until March 19th our Facebook page is going to be dedicated to the 30/30/30
challenge! Tell your family, friends and co-workers about the challenge! Be a part of it!
Let us know on our Facebook page, or comment below, that you are participating or send us a private message! We want to be able to encourage you (and congratulate you) personally!
We also invite fitness centers, instructors, or sports groups to get in on the challenge too! Encourage your clients to participate in the 30/30/30
challenge. Then, on our Anchor Wellness Facebook page, post your tips, tricks, and suggestions for daily activities! Maybe you can plan different activities geared towards the 30 minute challenge and invite people to come play!
JenP.S. After the challenge, we invite you to share your success stories with us...tell us what you learned, how you changed, what you experienced....and of course what your next goal will be!
P.S. And body...I promise to love you too!
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Cool Yule...May the New Year bring you peace, joy, and abundance mixed with gratitude and good health.
Welcome Readers, Clients and Friends!
First and most importantly, I want to thank you for all of your supportive words and kindness over the past year! Hard to believe it is December already! If you enjoy visiting my blog, please follow me on over to Facebook, and join the Anchor Wellness community
! This is where we share inspirational messages as well as wellness tips and cool information on a regular basis! Join us!
The holidays are a wonderful time of year to celebrate life, love, family and friendships. We embrace the warmth, the sharing and the beauty of the season…but for some of us, actually most of us, it is also a time of additional stress. We worry about money, getting the shopping done, putting the decorations up, cleaning the house, planning a menu, baking the treats, wrapping the gifts…the list seems to go on and on…and this is in addition to earning a living and raising a family. Is it any wonder why our health and wellness goals get put on the back burner this time of year? Food is in abundance, time is short, parties go long…and those damn sugar plum fairies are dancing in our heads.
For many of us, this time of year can be sensory overload. We get overwhelmed with the abundance of food and drink and it just seems easier to give in to all the temptation and just “start fresh in the new year”
. That mantra seems to be as much a part of the culture of Christmas as Santa Claus. The holiday binge…the 10 pound “gift” you give yourself, along with all that negative self-talk, self-pity and of course the bow on top…guilt.
The truth is, most of us are not even aware of what all that excess sugar, fat and alcohol does to our body. Those ten pounds are just the icing on the proverbial cake…it is just the damage you get to see. It is our body speaking to us and sending a very clear message that it is NOT IMPRESSED with us. In order for our body to gain 10 pounds over the course of one month, we need to consume approximately 30 000 additional calories (that is over and above the nutrition our body uses just to breathe, beat our hearts, walk to the fridge etc.) So what we are asking our bodies to do is to ensure that it still does all the important things…like keep us alive and maintain a strong immune system while it has to sift through the "garbage" we are feeding it just to find nutrients it can actually use.
Our digestive system and immune system take a huge spanking from us this time of year, thanks to our over indulgence. Our healthy digestive flora (the good bacteria our body needs to keep us healthy…) gets nearly swallowed up whole by the naughty bacteria that feeds and thrives on sugar and fat…and in turn, our livers have to work extra hard to keep our immune system functioning…Imagine what can slip through the cracks when our liver, that amazing life saving filter, is over worked and under paid? It can literally take MONTHS for our bodies to recover and that is assuming that we go back to a clean, healthy way of living.
So considering all of this…why don’t we take a moment to consider the alternative…a healthy holiday
. Does Christmas have to be a total junkfest? Do we have to indulge so excessively? Will taking an hour out of our day to move our bodies and be physically active REALLY interfere with the celebrations? Please, go to your calendar right now and count the days over the holiday season that you know you will be celebrating, especially the days that you will have no control over the menu. Now count the days that you will be at least 15 km away from your favourite gym. Probably not as many days as you thought, right? Now that you have your calendar handy, schedule in your work out times. Yes, go ahead and write it down.
Planning ahead and being prepared is the first and most important step to ensuring that we meet our wellness goals, especially during unstructured times, like Christmas. You can also plan your menu for the next few weeks. Take a blank menu planner and start filling in those “free” dates with healthy recipes! Print those recipes and tuck them in behind your planner…and while you are at it, start to make a grocery list of the ingredients that you will need in order to cook those healthy meals. Keep all of this handy! Take the guess work out of “What’s for Dinner?” You'll be amazed at how easy it is to stay focused when you are well prepared!
I know you are busy, but your wellness goals are important; and there are no short cuts or easy way outs. Ignoring your goals means you stop moving forward; or worse, step backward. Taking just a little time each day for yourself and making choices that honour your goals will keep your spirits elevated, your confidence strong, and your body healthy. This is the best gift you could possibly receive this Christmas.
I challenge you to create a new culture around the Holidays. Make it about living well. There is enough temptation outside your home…there will be no shortage of tasty treats just about ANYWHERE. Make your home a cookie/chip- free zone. If you have guests coming for dinner, then make a “healthy” dessert that is sure to offer no leftovers. Make sure you have a bowl of colourful fruit on your table and keep it replenishing it! Nothing is prettier as a centrepiece than a bowlful of healthy goodness!
I promise you that Christmas will still be special and you won’t have to stand in line in January trying to return those unwanted pounds, and you won’t need to wear those ugly sweaters ~ Guilt and Shame.
My wish for you this season is a home filled with joy, laughter and love…especially self-love.
P.S. I have attached a free menu planner (below) to help you get started!
P.S.S. Visit the Eating Well
website for healthy recipe ideas!
Thanksgiving kicks off the "holiday season". First comes TURKEY day, followed by Halloween...and then before we know it it is Christmas! You have three choices...hop on a plane and escape the madness for the next 3 month (which is probably not practical); fall into the pattern of chronic apathy and eat your way through the next three month...promising yourself to join a gym in January (not worth the negative self talk--trust me on this); OR my personal favorite, take things one day at a time and remember that you have the aptitude, capability, strength, courage, and knowledge to easily carry you through with the kindness, grace and self care that you DESERVE. You can do this!
I have posted this before...but we all need gentle reminders sometimes. If all else fails...I am just an email away and am happy to remind you of how important your goals are and how amazing you are.
Happy Thanksgiving. I am grateful and thankful to all my readers, clients and friends!
Consider the calories in some of the common holiday foods eaten during this season.
Roasted Turkey - 6 oz mixed meat, untrimmed:
1 cup stuffing:
3/4 cup turkey gravy
1 cup mashed potatoes:
3/4 cup candied sweet potatoes:
1 cup green bean casserole:
1/2 cup cranberry sauce:
1 roll with butter:
2 glasses wine, punch or cider:
1 slice pumpkin pie with whipped cream:
1 slice pecan pie:
1 serving (3.5 oz) peanut brittle:
Lindt chocolate truffle ball:
2 shots (3 fl oz) liqueur:
2 small shortbread cookies (1.2 oz):
2 small pieces fudge (1.2 oz):
A meal including turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, a roll with butter, pumpkin pie and wine can easily add up to nearly 3,000 calories! That's not including any of the appetizers or after dinner sweets that are commonly served at this time of year.
Trimming the Calories of Holiday Foods...
Reduce the portion of all the holiday foods that you eat – try to have a small taste of everything rather than filling up on all foods. This will reduce the amount of calories you eat and it will prevent you from feeling uncomfortable around the waistline at the end of the meal, too!
Limit yourself to one helping. Planning what you will eat before you sit down to a meal can help you resist the temptation to have a second helping.
Trim the skin and excess fat from your serving of turkey.
Try to avoid the foods that you don't really care for – this way you can avoid consuming these calories and reduce your total intake. For example, if you don't really like to have cranberry sauce with your turkey, don't even put it on your plate.
Avoid going to a holiday party hungry - this will help prevent you from making poor choices at the hors d'oeuvres or dinner table.
Know your triggers. If you know that you cannot have just one piece of Lindt chocolate, avoid eating them as much as you can. If you decide to have one, make a deal with yourself that you will have one at a particular time of day (end of the day may be best for you if it is at the office, because then you are out of the office shortly afterward). Once you decide that you will have a candy, make it a deliberate event where your complete attention is on eating. This will allow you to savor the chocolate and prevent you from eating food while being distracted (while you work or watch TV), which often leads to eating more than you want or need.
(In other words...eat with PURPOSE! Take the time to savour and enjoy. You will feel more satisfied and ultimately, you will need and want less!)
Above all else, always visualize yourself at your ultimate goal, plan ahead, and do not lose sight of what is most important; your well-being. This is a wonderful time to celebrate family and gratitude! Be grateful for your HEALTH and WELLNESS!
Yes, my knee jerk reaction is to point out all the “flaws”…those wrinkles around the eyes, the roundness of my face, the waddle neck, the upper arms that have no real definition, the soft belly, and oh god look at those legs…but I stop myself and smile instead…
How many beautiful sunsets have those eyes witnessed, and how much laughter there has been, to form those gentle lines around them? How many loving embraces have my arms shared in, or offered comfort to others? Those arms carried my children until they could learn to walk on their own. And that face and neck …ghosts of kisses past still lingering there. My belly once so round and full, as it grew and nurtured three beautiful, amazing human beings. Those curvy legs have supported me through 44 years of adventures…carried me up and down mountains, have walked thousands of miles...
and danced at my wedding.
This body has always loved me…without judgment or scorn, and I can’t say I have always done the same. It has taken me over 40 years to finally appreciate the care my body has shown me every single day since I took my first breath; the work that goes on behind the scenes; and how it has made the very best with what I have given it. This has not always been an equal partnership. In the past I have been very selfish, often judgmental, nutritionally and physically abusive and quite critical…and yet my patient body still loves me…and beats my heart…
I have come a long way in my personal growth in the past few years and I finally get it.
I am GRATEFUL.
So yes, as hard as it is to break the habit, I DO stop myself from pointing out those “flaws”, and I take a moment to appreciate how far I have come, how privileged I truly am, and the miracles that await me.
Are you seeing enough beauty around you? Are you providing your eyes with visions of loviness, art, literature, flowers, trees, sunshine?
Are you hearing the sounds that fill your ears with sweet echos of laughter, music, or nature?
Are you breathing in the fresh aromas of the world? Scents that fill your spirit with joy and pleasant memories?
Are your hands touching nature…or giving pleasure to another, through a warm hug or a sensual embrace? Is your skin being touched by warm spring breezes?
Are you getting enough sensual nourishment?
Or are you feeding these needs with food?
Taste is not our only sense.
Maybe your hunger is not about food.
Feed your soul.
So often we make empty promises to ourselves or we have good intentions that typically do not pan out. What happens as a result? Each time we do this we lose credibility to ourselves. This almost always leads to negative self talk and "beating ourselves up". How does this help us accomplish any of our goals? It doesn't. It makes us question our own abilities and slows down our process. One of the first things I tell my clients is "Never make promises to yourself that you have no intention of keeping".
I think all to often we allow our limiting beliefs to hold us back or slow us down. We second guess ourselves and ultimately talk ourselves out of reaching our goals because we are convinced that we aren't good enough or we don't have what it takes to succeed.
But what if we do have "IT" ?!
Want to find out?
For one week do your VERY best at everything! Not ok, or pretty good...BUT YOUR VERY BEST. Challenge yourself; raise your bar as high as it can go and DO IT! Keep a running dialogue with yourself...ask yourself "Is this my best in this very moment?" If the answer is no, or I don't know, the next question is "What is my best then, right this second, on this task?" The answer is in you...if you just quiet down the negative self talk...and listen to your cheerleader, you will hear it.
Then go on and do it.
Every moment that you do your best your energy level will raise; and so will your confidence. You may end up surprising yourself at just how amazing and powerful you really are...but more importantly you will connect your mind, body and spirit. That is where you are meant to live...in that joy.
So whatever your goals are, whether it is to move your body more; or to eat clean, healthy food; or even to be more loving and kinder to yourself...challenge yourself to do your very very best.
GO ALL IN!
BALLS TO THE WALL! (Ok, maybe that is too much enthusiasm...but you get the point).
Prepare ahead of time by making lists of what you want to accomplish; make sure that there is only the BEST food choices in the house; set up times to get active!
It is ONE week...the DO YOUR BEST WEEK!
P.S. What is your week? I want to hear all about it!
Share the challenge with your friends and family! The more the merrier!
This article is controversial, but take the time to read it through and make your own decisions. Empower yourself through knowledge! Read the essay below for an alternative opinion about milk. Does it do a body good? You decide.
Cow's Milk is the Perfect Food for Baby Calves
But Many Doctors Agree:
It is Not Healthy for Humans
by Michael Dye
People who have been taught that cow's milk is the "perfect food" may be shocked to hear many prominent medical doctors are now saying dairy consumption is a contributing factor in nearly two dozen diseases of children and adults.
Doctors say cow's milk can lead to iron deficiency anemia, allergies, diarrhea, heart disease, colic, cramps, gastrointestinal bleeding, sinusitis, skin rashes, acne, increased frequency of colds and flus, arthritis, diabetes, ear infections, osteoporosis, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and more, possibly even lung cancer, multiple sclerosis and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
In American society, one of the most sacred of all sacred cows is the milk of the cow itself. Cow's milk is more American than apple pie, but that's because apple pie doesn't have Congressional lobbyists and a multi-million dollar advertising budget. Most parents wouldn't think of raising their children without the benefit of cow's milk to help their little bones to grow big and strong. Its silky, white texture is the very epitome of our concept of wholesome purity.
Our "nutritional education" in school (funded in part by the dairy industry) taught us that dairy products are one of the four basic food groups we all need for proper nutrition. And with more than 60 of the most powerful Congressional leaders in Washington receiving campaign contributions from the National Dairy Council, we can be assured that dairy products are well-entrenched as a major staple of our government-sponsored school lunch programs.
Cow's milk is promoted as the "perfect food" for humans, and especially for our children. This advertising has put such a strong emphasis on the health of our children that some people view milk commercials as more of a public service announcement than an attempt to sell a product. These ads have told us "Milk is a Natural," "Everybody Needs Milk," "Milk is the Perfect Food," etc. This advertising has served its purpose well because the average American consumes 375 pounds of dairy products a year. One out of every seven dollars spent on groceries in the U.S. goes to buy dairy products.
But to gauge the full impact of this promotion, we must consider more than just the dollar amount spent on dairy products. We must also consider the impact this massive advertising, promotion, lobbying, "nutritional education" and public relations effort has had by creating a widely-held perception of cow's milk as a very wholesome and healthy product. This promotion has been so effective that it is common for even people who give up meat to still feel that they should continue consuming dairy products to ensure they receive sufficient protein or calcium. People buy cow's milk for their families based on the premise that this product provides essential nutrition, helps to build a healthy body, and that indeed, their precious health may be in jeopardy if they do not drink milk.
If this is the premise on which Americans spend an incredible chunk of their grocery bill to provide for the health and nutrition of their loved ones, we need to further examine this premise.
Despite what the dairy industry has led us to believe, many medical doctors and nutritionists are now saying that cow's milk is not healthy for human consumption, and that it can lead to many serious diseases. When you look at the credentials of the doctors making these statements, it would be hard for the dairy industry to accuse these physicians of being on the lunatic fringe of the medical world.
Frank Oski, M.D., author of Don't Drink Your Milk! is the Director of the Department of Pediatrics of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. He is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 19 medical textbooks and has written 290 medical manuscripts.
In the first chapter of his book, Dr. Oski states, "The fact is: the drinking of cow milk has been linked to iron-deficiency anemia in infants and children; it has been named as the cause of cramps and diarrhea in much of the world's population, and the cause of multiple forms of allergy as well; and the possibility has been raised that it may play a central role in the origins of atherosclerosis and heart attacks."
Dr. Oski comments, "Being against cow milk is equated with being un-American," but still he notes, "Among physicians, so much concern has been voiced about the potential hazards of cow milk that the Committee on Nutrition of the prestigious American Academy of Pediatrics, the institutional voice of practicing pediatricians, released a report entitled, "Should Milk Drinking by Children Be Discouraged?' Although the Academy's answer to this question has (as of this writing) been a qualified 'maybe,' the fact that the question was raised at all is testimony to the growing concern about this product, which for so long was viewed as sacred as the proverbial goodness of mother and apple pie."
Another outspoken critic of cow's milk is Dr. William Ellis, a retired osteopathic physician and surgeon in Arlington, Texas, who has researched the effects of dairy products for 42 years. Dr. Ellis is listed in Marquis' Who's Who in the East, Leaders of American Science, the Dictionary of International Biography and Two Thousand Men of Achievement. Dr. Ellis says dairy products are "simply no good for humans... There is overwhelming evidence that milk and milk products are harmful to many people, both adults and infants. Milk is a contributing factor in constipation, chronic fatigue, arthritis, headaches, muscle cramps, obesity, allergies and heart problems."
In Washington D.C. based pediatrician Dr. Russell Bunai was asked what single change in the American diet would produce the greatest health benefit, his answer was, "Eliminating dairy products."
Dr. Christiane Northrup, a gynecologist in Yarmouth, Maine, states, "Dairy is a tremendous mucus producer and a burden on the respiratory, digestive and immune systems." Dr. Northrup says when patients "eliminate dairy products for an extended period and eat a balanced diet, they suffer less from colds and sinus infections."
Dr. Oski's book includes a letter written by Dr. J. Dan Baggett, a pediatrician in Alabama who describes his experience after six years of recommending that all his patients eliminate cow's milk from their diets. He writes, "In general, they cooperate much better than I had earlier anticipated except for the pre-teenagers and teenagers." Dr. Baggett's letter, states in part:
"During the years 1963 through 1967, I referred an average of four appendectomy cases per year. During the past five and a half years, I have referred only two patients for appendectomy, the last one being three years ago. Both of these children were professed milk guzzlers.
I do not have a single patient with active asthma. In fact, I have nearly forgotten how to prescribe for them.
Perhaps the most significant thing I have learned is that Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus germ will not, under ordinary circumstances, establish an infection in a child kept on an absolutely no-milk-protein dietary regimen. I have been aware of this for the past two and a half years and, so far, there have been no exceptions. Any time a patient of mine is found to have streptococcal pharyngitis or pyoderma, we can establish by history that he has ingested milk protein within five days prior to onset of symptoms or signs bringing him to the office.
I now admit an average of 12-14 patients per year to the hospital. Their average hospital stay is three days. Between 1963 and 1967, I admitted an average of 100+ patients to the hospital per year. Their average stay was five days."
So how can all these medical statements be explained in light of what we have been taught all of our life about milk? Remember "Milk is the Perfect Food"... "Milk is a Natural"... "Everybody Needs Milk." Are we talking about the same food here?
Perhaps we are not. It would appear that promoters of cow's milk are creating advertising statements that are meant to appeal on a subconscious level to our positive feelings and experiences with human breast milk. All mammals, including humans, are intended to be nourished during infancy by milk from their mother. Part of the very definition of a mammal is that the female of the species has milk-producing glands in her breasts which provide nourishment for her young. Each species of mammal produces its unique type of milk designed specifically to strengthen the immune system and provide nourishment for their babies, which are weaned after their birth weight has approximately tripled.
So, absolutely yes, "milk is a natural"... in the proper context. It is perfectly natural for infant mammals, including humans, to be nourished exclusively by milk from their mother's breasts. So if we are talking about human breast milk for babies, yes, "milk is the perfect food." And yes, during infancy when we have no teeth for eating solid food, and as we need to strengthen our immune system, "everybody needs milk."
I have just quoted three of the most popular advertising slogans of the dairy industry and they are undisputably as true as any words that could be spoken on the subject of nutrition... if they are applied to a baby's need for human breast milk. In fact, not one of the doctors I have quoted in describing the terrible problems caused by cow's milk would disagree that milk is a natural, milk is the perfect food or that everybody needs milk, in this context.
The dairy industry has begun with these three statements that we all know are true about a baby's need for human breast milk, and twisted them out of context to apply them to a completely different product they are selling. And the sad result is that most Americans still think these noble statements about our babies needing to suckle their mother's breast milk are true when applied to the advertising claim that humans of all ages need to buy and drink cow's milk.
So, in an effort to undo the damage caused by this manipulation, let us consider the differences in human breast milk versus cow's milk, and further examine the physical problems caused by humans trying to subsist on the milk of another species well past the age when any mammal should be drinking any milk.
A good place to start in analyzing the distinction between milk of different species is to begin to understand how nature works. As Dr. Oski explains in Don't Drink Your Milk! "The milk of each species appears to have been specifically designed to protect the young of that species. Cross-feeding does not work. Heating, sterilization, or modification of the milk in any way destroys the protection."
So, how much of a difference is there between a human baby drinking the milk of its mother versus drinking the milk of a cow? Dr. Oski cites a "study of over twenty thousand infants conducted in Chicago as far back as the 1930s... The overall death rate for the babies raised on human milk was 1.5 deaths per 1,000 infants while the death rate in the babies fed cow milk was 84.7 per 1,000 during the first nine months of life. The death rate from gastrointestinal infections was forty times higher in the non-breast-fed infants, while the death rate from respiratory infections was 120 times higher. An earlier analysis involving infants in eight American cities showed similar results. Infants fed on cow milk had a twenty times greater chance of dying during the first six months of life."
Dr. Michael Taylor, a Chiropractic Physician, doctoral candidate to become a Doctor of Nutrition and fellow of the American Academy of Orthomolecular Medicine, agrees, stating, "It is a dietary error to cross species to get milk from another animal." He notes there is a tremendous difference between human babies and baby calves, and a corresponding difference between the milk that is intended to nourish human babies and baby calves. In an interview on "Let's Eat," a Seventh-day Adventist television program, Dr. Taylor notes that human infants take about 180 days to double their birth weight, and that human milk is 5 to 7 percent protein. Calves require only 45 days to double their birth weight and cow's milk is 15 percent protein.
In addition to the difference in the amount of protein in these two different types of milk, there are also major differences in the composition of this protein. The primary type of protein in cow's milk is casein. Cow's milk has 20 times as much casein as human milk, which makes the protein from cow's milk difficult or impossible for humans to assimilate, according to Dr. John R. Christopher, N.D., M.H.
Protein composes 15 percent of the human body and when this protein cannot be properly broken down, it weakens the immune system, causing allergies and many other problems. Allergies caused by cow's milk are extremely common. In fact, Dr. Taylor states that when a single food can be isolated as the cause of an allergy, 60 percent of the time, that food is cow's milk. Dr. Ellis notes that symptoms of this allergic reaction to cow's milk in infants can include asthma, nasal congestion, skin rash, chest infections, irritability and fatigue.
Dr. Oski's book cites evidence from Dr. Joyce Gryboski, director of the Pediatric Gastrointestinal Clinic at Yale University School of Medicine, who states "they see at least one child a week who is referred for evaluation of chronic diarrhea and proves to have nothing more than an allergy to cow milk."
Another reason many people suffer various symptoms of disease from drinking milk is that, according to Dr. Oski, the majority of the world's adult population is "lactose intolerant," meaning they cannot digest lactose, the sugar in milk (cow's milk and human milk). An enzyme known as lactase is required to digest lactose, and Dr. Oski states that "between the age of one and a half and four years most individuals gradually lose the lactase activity in their small intestine. This appears to be a normal process that accompanies maturation.... Most people do it. All animals do it. It reflects the fact that nature never intended lactose-containing foods, such as milk, to be consumed after the normal weaning period."
In fact, so many people have bad reactions to drinking cow's milk that in 1974 the Federal Trade Commission felt compelled to take legal action against advertising claims made by the California Milk Producers.
The ads claimed "Everybody Needs Milk." The FTC prosecuted the milk producers for "false, misleading and deceptive" advertising. The FTC complaint cited the high incidence of lactose intolerance, allergies caused by cow's milk and the increased risk of heart disease. The FTC won and the milk producers had to come up with a new slogan for their ads: "Milk Has Something for Everybody."
One medical researcher, Dr. Kevin McGrady, commented, "Milk has something for everybody all right -- higher blood cholesterol, and increased risk of heart disease and stroke."
Three reasons cited by medical researchers that dairy products contribute to heart disease are their high content of cholesterol and fat, along with an enzyme in cow's milk called xanthine oxidase (XO). This enzyme, which creates problems only when milk is homogenized, causes heart disease by damaging arteries. Explaining the significance of XO, Dr. Ellis cites research by Dr. Kurt Oster, Chief of Cardiology at Park City Hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut:
From 1971 to 1974, we studied 75 patients with angina pectoris (chest pain due to heart disease) and arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). All the patients were taken off milk and given folic acid (a B-vitamin) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), both of which combat the action of XO. The results were dramatic. Chest pains decreased, symptoms lessened, and each of those patients is doing great today."
Dr. Oster's article states that Dr. Kurt Esselbacher, Chairman of the Department of the Harvard Medical School, was in full agreement. Dr. Esselbacher writes: "Homogenized milk, because of its XO content, is one of the major causes of heart disease in the U.S."
Dr. Oski warns, "The consumption of cow milk from an early age may have life-long consequences... One pathologist has reviewed the heart vessels of over 1,500 children and adolescents who had died as a result of accidents.... These children and adolescents had not died as a result of disease, yet many of them showed signs of diseased arteries in the heart.... The majority of children with normal blood vessels had been breast-fed; the majority of children with diseased vessels had been fed cow milk or cow milk based formulas. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the differences between human milk and cow milk were responsible for the early changes in the coronary arteries."
But don't we need to drink milk to get calcium? No. The best way to add calcium to your diet is to eat more fresh green vegetables. Cow's milk is high in calcium, but Dr. Ellis explains, the problem is that it is in a form that cannot be assimilated very well by humans. Dr. Ellis states, "Thousands and thousands of blood tests I've conducted show that people who drink 3 or 4 glasses of milk a day invariably had the lowest levels of blood calcium."
Dr. Ellis adds, "Low levels of blood calcium correspond with irritability and headaches. In addition, the low calcium level in milk-drinkers also explains why milk-drinkers are prone to have muscle spasms and cramps. Since calcium is necessary for muscles to relax, a lack of calcium causes muscle cramps, etc."
One of the most serious problems caused by a calcium deficiency is osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the loss of 50 to 75 percent of the person's original bone material. In the U.S., 25 percent of 65-year-old women suffer from osteoporosis. Their bones become brittle and easily broken. They can crack a rib from something as minor as a sneeze.
Our pervasive dairy advertising has led to one of the most commonly held, and solidly disproved, fallacies about bones, which is that the best way to build strong bones is to increase calcium consumption by drinking plenty of milk. Actually, the consensus among leading medical researchers is that the best way for most people to increase their calcium level and strengthen their bones is to reduce their protein intake, and specifically to reduce consumption of animal products. Research has conclusively shown we can do more to increase the calcium level in our bones by reducing protein intake than by increasing calcium intake. The reason is that animal products and other sources of high protein are very acidic, and the blood stream must balance this acidic condition by absorbing alkaline minerals such as calcium from the bone structure. Thus, numerous studies, including those published in the Aug. 22, 1984 Medical Tribune and the March 1983 Journal of Clinical Nutrition, have found that vegetarians have much stronger bones than meat-eaters. Indeed, the Journal of Clinical Nutrition article found that by age 65, meat-eaters had five to six times as much measurable bone loss as vegetarians.
Speaking of minerals, another serious problem caused by consumption of cow's milk is iron-deficiency anemia. Dr. Oski notes that 15 to 20 percent of children under age 2 in the U.S. suffer from iron-deficiency anemia. Cow's milk contributes to this condition in two ways.
First, he notes that cow's milk is extremely low in iron, containing less than 1 milligram of iron per quart. Because of this, he writes that it is estimated that a 1- year-old would need to drink 24 quarts of cow's milk a day to meet his iron requirements, which would be impossible. He states many infants may drink from one to two quarts of cow's milk a day, which satisfies their hunger to the point that they do no have the appetite to consume enough of other foods that do have a high iron content.
The second way that cow's milk leads to iron-deficiency anemia in many infants is a form of gastrointestinal bleeding caused by increased mucus and diarrhea associated with dairy consumption. "It is estimated that half the iron-deficiency in infants in the United States is primarily the result of this form of cow milk induced gastrointestinal bleeding," Dr. Oski writes. "Mucus is frequent and some stools contain obvious traces of bright red blood... The diarrhea impairs the infant's ability to retain nutrients from his feedings. In addition, the changes produced in the gastrointestinal tract by the allergic reaction result in seepage of the child's own blood into the gut. This loss of plasma and red cells leads to a lowering of the infant's blood protein level and to the development of anemia."
The mucus created by dairy products causes other problems as well. It is well-known that dairy products cause excessive mucus in the lungs, sinuses and intestines. Dr. Ellis notes this excess mucus in the breathing passages contributes to many respiratory problems and that mucus hardens to form a coating on the inner wall of the intestines that leads to poor absorption of nutrients, which can cause chronic fatigue. This mucus also causes constipation, which can lead to many other problems.
Two very common problems with infants are colic and ear infections, both of which can be caused by cow's milk. Medical studies have found cow's milk can contribute to these problems either directly, when the infant drinks cow's milk, or indirectly, when the infant breast feeds from a mother who has been consuming dairy products.
Colic, suffered by one out of every five infants in the U.S., is characterized by severe stomach cramps. The July/August 1994 issue of Natural Health reports, "When a mother eats dairy products, milk proteins pass into her breast milk and end up in the baby's blood; some studies have found that cow's milk proteins (from milk drunk by the mother) might trigger colick-like symptoms in infants fed only human milk and no cow's milk."
Concerning ear infections, Dr. Northrup states, "You just don't see this painful condition among infants and children who aren't getting cow's milk into their systems."
The Natural Health article also notes, "Removing dairy from the diet has been shown to shrink enlarged tonsils and adenoids, indicating relief for the immune system. Similarly, doctors experimenting with dairy-free diets often report a marked reduction in colds, flus, sinusitis and ear infections."
Another common problem for children is the bellyache. Dr. Oski states in his book that up to 10 percent of all children in this country suffer from a syndrome known as "recurrent abdominal pain of childhood." He says studies performed in Boston and San Francisco each concluded "that about one-third of such children had their symptoms on the basis of lactose intolerance. The simple solution was to remove all milk and milk-containing foods from the diet and watch for signs of improvement."
The Natural Health article also notes that antigens in cow's milk may contribute to arthritis and osteoarthritis. "When antibody-antigen complexes (resulting from an immune response) are deposited in the joints, pain, swelling, redness and stiffness result; these complexes increase in arthritic people who eat dairy products, and the pain fades rapidly after patients eliminate dairy products from their diets. In a study published in Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, when people with rheumatoid arthritis fasted on water, fruit and vegetable juices, and tea for seven to ten days, their joint pain and stiffness were greatly reduced. When they ate a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet (including only milk and eggs as animal foods), the symptoms became aggravated and they remained ill."
A 1992 report in The New England Journal of Medicine also notes that cow's milk can contribute to juvenile diabetes and autoimmune diseases by impairing the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin.
The Natural Health article also states a 1989 study published in Nutrition and Cancer found a link between consumption of cow's milk and butter with the risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. The article adds, "High levels of the cow's milk protein beta-lactoglobulin have also been found in the blood of lung cancer patients, suggesting a link with this cancer as well."
Dr. Oski's book also cites studies by two scientists from the University of Michigan who have conducted extensive research on factors associated with multiple sclerosis. There is an unusual geographic distribution of MS victims in the U.S. and throughout the world, which has baffled medical researchers for decades. This distribution of MS victims has no correlation to wealth, education or quality of medical care. Dr. Oski notes the Michigan scientists found in this pattern in the U.S. and 21 other countries, "the only significant link was between multiple sclerosis and average milk consumption."
Dr. Oski's book even cites a possible link between excessive consumption of cow's milk and juvenile delinquency, based on a study conducted in Tacoma, Wash. Dr. Oski writes, "When the diets of young criminals were contrasted with those of adolescents from a similar background, it was found that the juvenile delinquents consumed almost ten times the amount of milk that was drunk by the control group. The juvenile offenders ate less fruit, nuts and vegetables."
When a reasonable person considers all this evidence, it would be difficult to still believe cow's milk is healthy for human consumption. So, what do we drink instead? Dr. Oski partly answers this question by writing, "For the newborn infant, there are two obvious alternatives -- the right and left breast of the healthy mother."
After a child is weaned, there is no reason to drink any milk. We shouldn't drink any liquid with our meals because this dilutes our digestive fluids. When we are thirsty, we should drink distilled water. Or, if you want to drink something nutritional between meals, the best choice is freshly-extracted vegetable juice.