Working in a hospital has made me so thankful I don’t have any lactose issues. This sounds nerdy, but every time I enjoy some yogurt or a smoothie made with cow’s milk, I feel grateful. I meet people every day who have to be really careful.
In this week’s New York Times Sunday Review section, there was an opinion piece by Mark Bittman on the fact that, although milk is touted as an important, healthy food, millions of people are unable to digest it properly.
Bittman details some of the conditions that may be aggravated by consumption of dairy and shares his own experience giving up up milk products to see if his chronic heartburn went away. Surprise, surprise—it worked.
As with most of his work, I found this piece to be engaging and thought-provoking. However, I did cringe a little when Bittman declared, “Osteoporosis? You don’t need milk, or large amounts of calcium, for bone integrity. ” I’m not saying I disagree per se—it’s true, there is a good amount of research supporting the notion that other factors like vitamin D and exercise habits have a big impact on bone health. There are even some established links between high intake of dairy products and certain cancers and other ailments. All the same, I just felt, like, “Dude, that’s a big statement to make when you don’t have any health credentials.”
That said, somehing I like about Mark Bittman is the lengths to which he goes to support his views, and I think he did that in this article. It just seemed a bold statement to make. Granted, it was an opinion piece, and I do think it’s an opinion that needs to be thrown out there against the “Got Milk” powers that be. Drinking milk or eating dairy products doesn’t work for everyone, and though the government has expanded its nutrition guidelines to provide some example of ways in which those who can’t or don’t consume dairy can meet their needs, more resources are definitely needed.
I’ll also say that I agree with Bittman on another point: water is totally nature’s perfect beverage.
Haha how about an “eat your kale” campaign? It’s one of many plant-based sources of calcium (I wrote a piece about this a couple years ago), among other good-for-you nutrients.
What do you think about milk? Do you drink it? Why or why not? How would you try to get folks to eat more kale?