Size Happy & Healthy Blog

Milking it – The Deal With Dairy

Over the past decade, dairy milk has sparked heated debates amongst health fanatics, experts and bloggers everywhere. We are often asked about milk and how healthy it really is, so we wanted to put our thoughts into a blog…

milk

You may have seen particular posts and videos recently about cow’s milk and why it’s bad for our health. Things like; it contains blood and pus, it causes osteoporosis, it should only be for baby cows not humans, it can cause illness and allergies and it is not good for the environment, or the cows.

Sounds like pretty convincing stuff, especially when everyone seems to be going vegan in a bid to be as healthy as possible. So, it is really true?

Well, not entirely, but there is some truth in it…Most of the above depends on things like; what type of milk it is, where it was produced, how the animals were treated, what they were fed on and of course the individual drinking it.

organic cow

For instance, if your milk comes from animals that have been raised in commercial buildings with virtually no sunlight and fed on low quality grain rather than grass (as well as possibly given antibiotics and growth hormones), the milk (and meat) from those animals won’t be as nutritious as it could be and possibly bereft of Vitamin K2. This vitamin is usually only produced when the livestock are able to graze outside on grass, pastures and shrubs as nature intended and can be found in foods like; beef, pork, poultry, egg yolk, dairy, natto (fermented soy beans), sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) organ meats and fish eggs. Some of vitamin K2’s roles include; helping to deliver calcium deposits from our arteries safely to our bones where it can be stored, as well as helping vitamins A and D do their jobs properly.

In other words, very important for bone and heart health! This is why vegans have to take extra care for teeth and bones because they could easily lack this important vitamin.

You will find the best quality dairy milks from organically raised, grass and pasture fed cows that have led a stress free life. This milk would be higher in omega 3’s and naturally contain vitamin K2.

milking

As for the blood and pus horror stories, sometimes the animals in a commercial/factory type environment are also milked for too long by the machines so it could pull in plasma cells that wouldn’t be there otherwise. This is unlikely to be a common occurrence on small family farms though. Of course we can also buy branded varieties of milk that has filtered out some of these cells and bacteria.

“I’ve read milk gives us osteoporosis because the countries with the highest rates of the disease also have high consumption of dairy.”

Let’s keep in mind that the studies aren’t stating that all these people in these countries got osteoporosis from consuming milk. It doesn’t consider how this number of people came to have osteoporosis. However the results may signify something. If these countries were all consuming lots of dairy, which is advertised as being good for bone health, surely something is not right? To me, it highlights the fact that if people keep consuming calcium (from any source) without adequate K2 to help clear the arteries of the deposits, we will keep seeing increased numbers of osteoporosis and heart disease.

Many people rely on dairy for their calcium requirements, but as we have learnt, if they are consuming low quality dairy, they may well be deficient in vitamin K2 and not able to metabolize any of the calcium they do intake, which of course can lead to osteoporosis and other health problems. People may be surprised to eat dairy their whole life then suffer with osteoporosis later on because the government forgot to inform us what actually happens when they commercially raise animals for cheap milk and meat. It’s not always the milk that’s the problem it’s the way it is being produced. Local farms have my support and respect, commercial factory farms are quite barbaric in my opinion.

milk and donuts“What about milk being an acidic food, I’ve heard that causes osteoporosis and even cancer?”

When we eat acid-forming food, our bodies work hard to release any excess through the kidneys, skin and lungs, but if we consume too much acidic food regularly and more importantly, not enough alkaline foods, it can put strain on the kidneys and pressure on other cells as they try to rectify the situation. If this happens repeatedly it could easily lead to a host of serious health problems. So yes, too much off anything is not good. The need for balance shows up everywhere.

“Unless you are a baby cow, you shouldn’t drink cow’s milk”

I hear this one a lot! Cow’s milk is genetically made for cows it’s true. However, many of us humans, somewhere along the line, evolved to be able to tolerate cow’s milk. In some parts of the world, cow and goats milk is a vital part of people’s diet and it’s all they know. Of course it can’t be all bad for us if millions of mothers have been relying on it to give to new-born babies via formula milk for so many years. Most infants have the necessary enzymes to break down the sugar and protein in cow’s milk (some don’t) but a huge number of adults don’t because, in nature we don’t need milk as adults. Evolution is pretty cool though right!?

United Nations Photo/Flickr

United Nations Photo/Flickr

Dairy is certainly not needed for optimal health and some say by cutting out all dairy they have never felt better. It does all come down to the individual, what they enjoy and eat already, how much milk they consume and what kind of milk, plus whether they have any health problems and allergies. Cow’s milk is definitely not for everyone.

It shouldn’t be looked at as a poison though, we could survive longer on cow’s milk than any plant milk if that’s all we had to live on because, as we know, it’s a source of calcium, vitamin D and protein, as well as containing other essential nutrients including; magnesium, riboflavin, Vitamin A & B12, Potassium, iodine and zinc (plus K2 if the animal was raised properly) . There are lactose free varieties of cow’s milk available too for those that want dairy but are lactose intolerant.

Whole milk, or full fat is the most nutritionally dense, semi skimmed is less so and skimmed has even less nutritional qualities. Low fat or skimmed dairy products are also often loaded with sugar to make it taste better.

dairy milk If you care about your quality of milk and you don’t want or need to give up dairy, go for pasture and grass fed (it should say on the label) as it will be better for you, as well as being slightly better for the animals and a better quality product nutritionally. You might even like to visit a local farm, maybe with the kids one day, so you can see for yourself where it comes from.

There is also the option of raw, organic cow or goats milk. Raw milk means it hasn’t gone through the process of being pasteurized, so should hold more nutritional benefits. The quality of raw milk depends on all factors above though and comes with some controversy of its own so we will do a post on that separately.

I like to use a variety of milks for different things, coconut or almond milk over cereal and in milkshakes, rice milk in coffee and dairy in hot chocolate. For me sometimes only dairy milk will do, like a dash in scrambled eggs, or when making a cheese sauce. I know this doesn’t stop me from being healthy, so I can enjoy life and concentrate on more important things…

latte

Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings for dairy milk in the comments below!

Can Natalie muscle her way out of this one?

Happy New Year Everyone, what an awesome Christmas! I have to confess I had a second helping of turkey and drank far more prosecco than I planned, but it sure was a merry time! To be honest, being away in Thailand this Christmas lead to me over indulging in a little more of everything and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

At this point I bet you’ll be expecting me to say how I’ve also gained weight and my cloths are tighter, but they’re not! So how does that work? How did I go away on a 3 week holiday, eat all the delicious Thai food I want, indulge in Christmas goodies and come out lighter on the other side? No I wasn’t ill and not once did I have “deli belly”!

Let me share a secret with you….

Well it’s not a secret is it? You already know your weight is made up of more than just fat. The weight of a fully grown adult is a mix of muscle, water and fat… All three we need, though unless you use highly specialised scales or body fat callipers, it’s quite hard to determine if the results on your scales are actually benefitting you which is why I recommend you give your scales this treatment.

 

Click here to watch Natalie’s 5 second video!
Natalie Guyan muscleThe truth is, I lost muscle mass… I really need the use of a tearful emoji here as I’m not pleased about that! Muscle helps to increase my metabolic rate, meaning I can eat more, look more defined and it makes me stronger. This year I want to pull more than last years 120kg deadlift, so strength and muscle are high priorities!

Anyway, that crash diet you may be thinking about (or embarking on), you know the one that says it will help you speed up your “weight loss”, is very likely to steal your muscle too! Sure it could help with a reduction in excess water and a little fat but it will attack your muscles first… Less muscle = slower metabolism and less requirement for food. This is also the result of yo-yo dieting!

By simply focusing on the foods I need to give me health, strength and energy, rather than thinking about what I shouldn’t eat  makes it much easier to get back on track and stay there. I still enjoy treats but I give my body what it needs first and foremost. After that, I find I don’t even crave the treats very much and I feel fuller for longer.
Consistency is key, if you leave a tap running the bath will overflow. Pull the plug and you’ll drain the water away. Small changes that become habits will help to sustain the right balance (my changes didn’t happen over night if you’ve read the book you’ll know the hard lessons I’ve learned).

So if like the masses you’re about to embark on the latest fad diet, detox or cleanse. Think about what your body really needs, fuel it, give it enough water, eat a variety of colours and plenty of  greens, eat varied and balanced meals, cut back on alcohol and processed snacks. Instead of starving yourself, aim to become healthier by making your meals and snacks more nutritious. Small changes over time, lead to longer lasting results…

Trust me, if I can do it, you can too!

Natalie x

10 Things To Help You Feel And Look Better In minutes!

Soon as we don’t live life in a movie, it’s normal to have days where we feel more frumpy than fabulous. The way we feel about our body can impact our entire day, even our love life and work life, so we want to help you to feel as good as possible, as quickly as possible – because the world is a better place when women are happy!

Here are our top tips to help you feel and look better in surprisingly quick time! look better Size HH

 

  1. Posture – Have you ever adjusted your posture in front of a full length mirror and seen what a difference it makes? If not, try it! Stand up straight, stomach in, shoulders back and chin up. Take a look at the postures of people you look up to and mimic them for an instant confidence boost.
  2. Affirmations/Think positive – If you frequently tell yourself and others you can’t do things, you are not good at something, or you will never be able to do that, try practicing some positive affirmations to say the opposite. Honestly, don’t underestimate the power of doing this. When you have repetitive negative thoughts about yourself or your body, does it leave you feeling low? Yes! So it can work both ways. Positive thoughts, leave you feeling good!
  3. Meditation – This doesn’t have to be a full blown meditation sesh, but if you are feeling a bit yukky, take 5 minutes at least to just breathe and compose yourself. Clear your mind by only focusing on breathing calmly in and out, gaining some inner emotional strength.
  4. Deep breaths – Deep breaths not only make you feel better, you are also giving oxygen to every party of your body, including the skin. If you want to give your face a perk up, take some deep breaths and relax… A tense expression puts years on anyone’s age!
  5. Smiling – They say there is no prettier woman than a happy woman. A smile radiates happiness and makes you feel better too. We can ALL find something to smile about.
  6. Being thankful – Feeling grateful is a tremendously good feeling, so if you want a reason to smile, think of something you are truly thankful for. Is it your family, friends, children, pets, house, anything that makes you feel genuinely thankful will make you smile inside. It’s those kind of emotions that makes your eyes sparkle and smile too!
  7. Visualising – Having visions of yourself feeling great, looking great and being confident is a huge step in making it happen. Imagining the opposite won’t do anything other than make you feel bad…So visualise good! Shove any doubts to one side and only visualise the best version of yourself.
  8. Cosmetics – We are lucky that some intelligent people have put together some fabulous products to enhance our features. Even the right moisturiser can make the world of difference to our appearance and that’s without mentioning any kind of makeup or fake tan! Cosmetics, hair styling and wardrobe can be instant mood boosters so let’s not be afraid to use them to our advantage! No need to doll yourself right up (unless you want to obviously) even the smallest effort can make you feel better instantly.
  9. Stretching – Yes stretching can help you feel and even look better in minutes. If you have been feeling low about the way you look, chances are you could do with a stretch. Stretching doesn’t just stretch your muscles, it pushes your boundaries. It also challenges you a little bit if done properly. It can leave you feeling proud, energised and much more limber and ready for anything. Combine your stretches with deep, gentle breathing.
  10. Challenge – When your mood is good, your whole energy is good and that reflects in your face and body language. What better way to genuinely feel great about yourself than completing a challenge? It could be anything as long as it feels like a challenge to you and something you would be proud of yourself if you completed. Physical challenges could be something like doing 50 squats, completing an obstacle course, or running on the spot for the duration of a song or two. Even completing games on the Wii Fit are brilliant for boosting your mood. Mental challenges could be something like learning 10 new words of a new language then testing yourself, or overcoming a fear of something like public speaking. Do something to surprise yourself and make yourself  proud!

So there we have it! Have any mood boosting tips you would like to share? Drop them in the comments below, we would love to hear them!

Ready to start feeling great about your body? That’s what Size HH is all about, come an find out…