Sunday, May 24, 2009

Local and Delicious

Since the weather has improved and now I'm eating more food I've really been focusing on buying local as much as possible. I'm giving myself another personal challenge; to eat local foods as much as I can. I have to admit right here that there are some things I don't want to give up, like fresh fruit in the winter (apples) and specialty foods like capers and curry powder made from freshly ground Indian spices. So I'm not going to even attempt to go there. But I do feel like it will be an exciting journey to eat veggies when they're in season, not just when I'm in the mood. I am embarrassed to say that I don't really know what is in season and when (which comes from a long history of supermarket shopping). I'm excited to see what sort of bounty there is to be had in this region.

So I joined a local organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). That right there will show me exactly what is in season. And it will force me to get more variety, as most farmers growing on a local and smaller scale will put more diversity in their crops. And many are reviving certain foods that were not able to keep up with the supermarket demand for durability above all else.

I am located in the mid-west, Chicago to be more specific, so I will be writing about only what is going on here of course. In New Jersey, where I used to live, the season seems to be about 2 weeks ahead of this area. I can't speak specifically for other areas but most of the food I'm getting here should be available in many regions of the U.S. at some point.

So I went to the large and lovely Green City Market yesterday and I saw a ton of asparagus, some mushrooms, some lettuce and spinach (grown in a hoophouse), some maple syrup, and lots of cheese, meat and eggs. Cheese, meat and eggs are easy to do local all year-round so that is already a large amount of food that we have no excuse for not buying local. As for the fruit and vegetables, I plan to eat a large portion of them fresh and, by hook or by crook, to preserve the rest of them to be eaten in the colder months.

The asparagus we have eaten lightly steamed with hollandaise sauce and roasted with mushrooms, olive oil, butter, garlic, salt and pepper. And I'm going to make soup next week. After next week I will buy a tidy amount and freeze it to be made into soup in the winter. Apparently asparagus is not the best (taste-wise) after being frozen and is then better suited to be eaten in soups.

Mushrooms can be eaten in an infinite number of ways so I don't think I have to go into that. As to how long they will be available locally, we shall have to see. I roasted some with my asparagus today and I will saute them with the spinach tomorrow. As the mushroom season draws to a close I will pickle them. My great-grandmother from southern Italy used to pickle them and that was probably one of the most divine condiments I ate as a child. I'll have to get the recipe.

I also bought some beef bratwurst at our local farm (biodynamic). The wife is from Germany so I figured she should know what she was doing. And she does! It was absolutely delicious! I cooked them in some filtered water in a covered frying pan for a bit and then took the top off and browned them. I also cooked some finely chopped shallots in white wine (2 tbsp) and beer (1/2 cup) until it was a syrupy consistency, I let it cool and then added it to some creamed butter (1 stick) with mustard powder (2 tsp), freshly crushed brown mustard seeds (1 tsp), prepared mustard (2 tbsp), and sea salt. We ate this mustard-butter with the bratwurst and it was wonderful.

I had to take a moment to remind myself and my family how fortunate we are to be able to eat such fantastic food. And we don't have to feel guilty about eating butter and beef because we know it is some of the healthiest food you can eat. It's funny how the food we really want to eat can actually be healthy if done right (ie: meat and dairy from pastured animals).

Friday, May 22, 2009

For the Love of Enzymes

Today was one of those days when I just really wanted to make a soup out of what was in the house. So I sauted onions, garlic, and ramps in a huge dollop of home-made butter and some olive oil, then added carrots and celery and cooked a bit more. I then added the various bits of stock I had in my fridge (beef and chicken) and some fresh thyme and oregano and salt and cooked till the veggies were softened. Then I pureed it up in the pot and added some arrowroot powder dissolved in warm stock and a large cup of fresh raw cream. I heated it a little more and served. It was very tasty and nourishing.

I've been reading a lot about enzymes lately and have been reminded of their importance to our health. Since reading Nourishing Tradtions I've made it a habit to start each meal with an enzyme-rich food. For breakfast it's yogurt, for lunch it's home-made raw sauerkraut or pickles or a mayonnaise, ketchup or mustard condiment. For dinner I always have salad with raw vinegar, beet kvass and olive oil and often I add avocado.

All of those foods/condiments are rich in enzymes when prepared properly (raw yogurt, cold-pressed olive oil and avocado are full of enzymes naturally, the other foods I ferment with whey so they are enzyme super-foods).

Because the Western diet is pretty much all cooked-foods, it is basically devoid of enzymes. Our body produces enzymes but apparently we have a limited potential for the amount that can be produced. But everytime we eat these completely cooked meals we are relying on our body's enzymes to digest the food. This puts an undue burden on our pancreas (where enzymes are assembled). However, if we eat foods rich in enzymes then digestion can be initiated even before we put the food in our mouth. And after the food enters our bellies it sits there for awhile before it is passed to the lower part of our stomach. During this time the food could be getting broken down by food enzymes or it could just be sitting there, putrefying (ew). It has been said that life span is inversely proportionate to the amount of enzymes the body needs to produce. So, use those food enzymes, make them do the work and let your body rest a bit.

By the way, this I think was one of the wonderfully beneficial aspects of the raw milk diet. Raw milk is chock-full of enzymes so it is digested wonderfully efficiently by the body, allowing healing to occur.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yay for Hollandaise

I went to the farmers market today. Wow, it's wonderful to be back in the world of food! There wasn't much compared to high summer but it was still wonderful to see all the local goods and to see what is in season here in the midwest.

I ended up buying a bunch of asparagus and some raw milk cheese. The asparagus was everywhere so it was hard to choose which farmer to buy from. In the end I bought from a friendly farmer who got into great detail about her planting methods. That's a good way for a farmer to establish differentiation. So I took that fresh asparagus home and I did like my sister did all last month (she lives in southern Germany). I steamed them very lightly and while they were still hot I poured some delicious Hollandaise sauce over them and tossed it together in the bowl. Out of this world fabulous!

To make the Hollandaise: I mixed 1 raw egg yolk (from pastured Illinois chickens) with about 4 tablespoons of melted homemade raw butter, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice in my food processor (blender would be fine). Eat warm. It is so quick and really so tasty.

My children ate 3-4 pieces of asparagus each. This is a lot for them, lately they have been so picky about vegetables.

Monday, May 18, 2009

More Than Food

Food is heavy. I've still been consuming mainly milk and yogurt but I feel a difference just by eating relatively small bits of food. And guess what? I now weigh 125 pounds! And I do feel really good. But I also feel a little weighted down by the food. In my case, I suppose this isn't such a bad thing. For the most part I've been eating eggs, vegetables, fish, fruit, nuts and beet kvass. I almost feel like I could live like this.

I do feel my desire to cook and bake has come back though (I'm sure my family is happy about that). This weekend I baked banana bread, rolls and almond cookies, I made sauerkraut, kvass, and crunchy nuts and I spent more time on dinner each night. It feels good to be in the kitchen again. I've also felt more inclined to do yoga again. My body was starting to feel a little tight.

Yoga is so amazing. I do believe food can cure but I think it needs a little outside help too. Exercise is great for our health. I know it sounds cliche, but for me yoga has made a huge difference in how I feel. I do want to add that over-doing it is not healthy and can be counter-productive. As a wise man once said, "I take an Ayurvedic approach to exercise; don't overdo it". I think I could take an Ayurvedic approach to everything in life.

Anyway, back to yoga, I think it is key to good health. I'm not down-talking other forms of exercise. Yoga can complement them but without it I think there will be something missing. Yoga is one of the few exercises that gets your blood going, improves flexibility and strength, massages your inner organs, and relaxes you all at the same time. It is unique in that it actually works out every part of your body (if done right). I feel a rush after my yoga unlike any other endorphin rush I get because it is coupled with such a deep sense of relaxation.

Here is my dream tropical vacation day:
1. Get up and eat a wonderful breakfast of eggs, fresh tropical fruit and yogurt
2. Relax and read a book for awhile
3. Do yoga outside in the beauty of nature
4. Go into a hot spring bath
5. Have sex (I hope this doesn't offend anyone, I think this is as natural as eating)
6. Eat a wonderful gourmet lunch (fresh-caught fish and salad perhaps?)
7. Relax and read a book for awhile
8. Go for a swim in the ocean
9. Get a long wonderful massage with essential oils
10. Have sex (sorry again)
11. Eat a luscious local dinner

Doesn't that sound nice? Sorry to go off on the tangent but I feel so fluffy from my yoga and my milk.

Maybe if I did that once a month or so my immune system would function properly?

Maybe it's more than food?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Go Michael Pollan

Today I ate a few good things; leftover bay scallops for lunch, salad and guacamole for dinner. I realized that 95% of my food intake is still milk and yogurt (ran out of kefir today). It's odd that just a little bit of food makes a big difference in how I feel.

I would like to refer everyone to this:

Michael Pollan, author of "In Defense of Food", has an interview where he touches upon the evils of industrial agriculture and factory farms, makes a plug for buying real food on a local level, and talks about the effect of industrial food production on our health care system and our environment. And more. Check it out and pass it on.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Joy of Eating

I miss my milky clouds of milk. Say what you will about this crazy milk diet idea but I was enjoying the temporary ethereal quality of my life. There was a lightness and a surreal haze to my perceptions of the world around me. It almost felt like I was in a bubble. It's sort of hard to explain. But the sharpness has returned and those I share the road with may be happy about it. Although the dust bunnies I chased around my house today may not be so happy.

Of course I'm still drinking a lot of yogurt, milk and kefir but food is also on the table. I really, really like food. I always got excited about eating good food before this diet but now it is positively thrilling. I had some delicate bay scallops today. I soaked them in milk for a few hours (he, he) and then I just cooked them for about 5 minutes in butter, heavy cream and sherry. Oh, the joy. And salad, oh, salad, it is so wonderful. It engages all of the senses. The varied textures, the smell of the fresh tomatoes, the crunch of the lettuce, the vibrant colors and of course the glorious taste of fresh avocado, olive oil and tarragon vinegar. There is really nothing like it.

Yes, I miss my milky state of mind but there are dishes to be cooked and goodies to be baked.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Day 11: Eating Food

Today I find it difficult to write. I woke up with vertigo again this morning so I have decided to phase off of the milk diet. This is sad news for me. I so wanted to see where it would take me health-wise.

I know most people think I'm being unwise to do this diet and some friends will be relieved to hear I'm ending it. But I still believe it is an amazing way to improve health, given the right circumstances. It is unfortunate for me that I was unable to do this thing properly. I've made some mistakes, but it also may have not been the best time for me to do it. Whatever the reasons, I have to start eating more food. The milk diet may or may not have caused the increase in incidences of vertigo but I can't take the risk of not knowing. If I continue to have vertigo after stopping then I will know it wasn't the milk and then I'll probably be even more annoyed with myself for stopping. But I often have to remind myself to take a more lighthearted approach to life so it will be good practice.

I weighed in at 123 pounds today. I'm still drinking lots of milk, yogurt and kefir but today I supplemented with beef stock at breakfast and sardines with home-made mayo at lunch. Tonight I will have some beet kvass and some collard greens. I've been advised to take it slowly but I did have some food over the weekend so it probably won't be such a shock to my system. Ho-hum.

I also wanted to note how I make my yogurt, as per some requests. It is not thick like Greek yogurt but it's super easy and quick to make:

I put my full-fat milk in a container with a top (that can go in the oven), add yogurt from the previous batch and then I put it in the warmed oven and leave undisturbed overnight (for about 18 hours is good actually). I heat the oven a little, then turn it off and then put in the milk. Ideally you want the yogurt to be in an environment that's about 85-95 degrees for the duration (over 100 degrees and the enzymes will start to die). That doesn't really happen in my oven but it still works somehow. It always comes out a little runny but sweet and delicious. The ratio is 1/2 cup of yogurt to 1 quart of milk.

Raw milk yogurt has all of the benefits of raw milk (obviously) plus an increased amount of good bacteria. Instead of buying probiotic supplements you can have your own homemade probiotics that taste delicious and cost less.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day 10: Still Hanging In There

I have a headache. Well, I've had it since last night to be honest. I'm also frustrated because after getting through last week and feeling great on the full-fat milk I just want to keep going. I don't even crave steak or burgers anymore. So it's annoying that again I don't feel well.

I had another cup of beef stock today too. I'm going to run out and since I don't have any more knuckle or marrow bones I'm going to buy a yellow-fin red snapper tomorrow and make some fish stock. The stock feels like rocket fuel when I drink it. It's pretty amazing. I've been reading Nina Planck's book "Real Food" and she talks about the health benefits of stock. The fat gives a huge boost to your immune system, the gelatin helps your body utilize the protein and the whole thing is rich in easily digestible calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. And it tastes good too.

Back to my rich, white, scrumptious milk. It is unfathomable that I still love the taste, smell and texture of the stuff! And the milky milk feeling in my mouth after a nice cold glass. We shall see what tomorrow holds. I hope I feel better.
Oh, I almost forgot, I'm up to 122.5 pounds. Yay!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 9: Fat Is Where It's At

OK, I cannot express enough the importance and beauty of fat. I am going to be the world's expert on how NOT to do the raw milk diet by the time this thing is done. Starting with not being on bed rest. But, more importantly, skimming my milk like a dodohead. "Duh", is really the best word that comes to mind.

Now that I am not skimming my milk it's like night and day. I'm not dizzy or weak. I don't feel hungry either. Phew! This thing is actually fun!

I did have some beef stock this morning because I was feeling a little weak. It felt and tasted great. I am still taking this thing day-by-day, if I feel any bit of weak or tired or dizzy I will have stock. If that doesn't help I will have some eggs or meat. But I feel great right now.

I've learned some lessons:
1. Milk is to be drunk with the fat.
2. Listen to your body.
3. Your body needs fat, lots of it (I knew this intellectually but now I know for real)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Day 7 & 8: Milk Diet or No Milk Diet: Which Is It?

Yesterday morning I had a vertigo spell again. When I woke up in the morning I felt a little dizzy so I had a few cups of yogurt and a cup of beef stock. But after a few hours I began feeling strong vertigo so I crawled back in bed and took a short nap. When I woke up I felt pretty weak and felt the need to eat something. I had 2 scrambled eggs, which gave me a burst of energy and my vertigo began to fade.

I felt disappointed to be fading off the the milk diet but the noticeable difference made by small bits of nutrient-dense foods was undeniable. The rest of the afternoon I drank yogurt and in the evening I finished the rest of my milk. I made some halibut for dinner and had a small piece. It gave me another boost of energy. I drank one more glass of yogurt before bed bringing down my supply to about 2 cups.

Today I finished my yogurt first thing (I had to leave 1 cup for my next batch) and all the milk was gone. I had 2 more eggs and again some halibut for lunch. Then we got the wonderful news that the milk was in. At the pickup spot I sat leaning out of my car, opened a jar over the curb, and filled my glass 3 times to drink (yes, I brought the glass with me). It was so absolutely delectable. I think I'm addicted.

I can't really figure out what I'm going to do next. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I relish having an organized and well-planned life, so this is disconcerting for me. I do have another 10 gallons ready and waiting (which wasn't enough last week, so that's a problem too). But I feel that I've lost the purity of the fast by eating food. I'm also a perfectionist so it's usually all or nothing. OK, I have issues. Let me see.......I guess I'm going to try to go with the flow.

One thing I'm going to do is keep the cream in the milk, at least for a few days. Our cows are Holsteins (which produce milk that is less fatty than Jerseys) so perhaps after skimming the milk there wasn't enough fat to give me sustenance. The other thing I'm going to do is drink stock or eat eggs if I feel dizzy. I really, really don't want any more dizziness or vertigo spells and I need to gain some weight (still at 121). And that's my plan for now. Day by day is my new motto.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Day 6: Farmers Are Cool

Today I happened to be talking to a very nice farmer who is dedicated to producing the highest quality raw milk by feeding his cows only grass and hay. This is quite a rarity for dairy cows in this area. They say the cows won't produce enough milk on hay in the winter. But he is managing to do it. And it so happens that he has also done the "milk diet". For 28 days. He gave me encouragement and said it did wonders for his health. And he did it without bed-rest, working and he has 8 kids!! I'm way out of his league.

Since the beginning of this thing I have been wrestling with the issue of not having enough energy to get through the day without dizziness and weakness. I also have not regained my weight so I remain at 121 pounds (at 5'7"). But I have to acknowledge the fact that I am trying to be a purist with what I consume while I conveniently ignore the maxim to stay on bed-rest. I think it would be too much to ask of my family for me to go on bed rest for a month so it is out of the question for me right now. And so I have come to the conclusion that raw milk, yogurt and kefir alone are not enough to sustain me any longer. But, I was lucky enough to get the good piece of information from the farmer today that drinking stock is a great supplement for the milk diet. I'm sure purists would disagree but they would also have me on bed rest.

So today I had a nice warm 8 ounce glass of beef bone broth and it made a HUGE difference in how I feel. Normally at this time of the day I am faded and listless, not much help to anyone. I get in bed early and read stories to my girls because there is not much more I can do. But today I feel much better and no dizziness! It's amazing what a difference the stock has made. So that will be my strategy from now on. Thanks to the milk farmer!

I do have another potential problem. I am low on milk and yogurt and out of kefir. I probably have a total of 6 quarts of sustenance left. And I most likely won't get my milk until Sunday evening. So we shall see how that all pans out.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day 5: Blessings On Our Meal

Food should be appreciated more. I think this is part of the problem in our country these days. Food is taken for granted. It is cheap to buy and easy to prepare. There is no need for hours of slaving in the field or the kitchen (for most people). With the industrial revolution came easier lives for farmers and moms. And I'm not knocking this but we have come to the point where it is too easy. So easy that we don't really care. We don't care (or know) what went into making the food or transporting it. We don't care what effect it has on our bodies and our health. We act as if food doesn't matter.

When food doesn't matter it is easy to eat junk and feed your kids junk. I often wonder how people can be so blase about what they put into their bodies. I was guilty of this too. So I suppose I can answer the question myself. I have to admit that I just really didn't think it mattered. Now, I do believe that it matters. I really do think that you are what you eat (which would make me a tall glass of milk right about now).

But I also think that attitude is important. I remember reading somewhere that in Ayurvedic thinking your state of mind when preparing food can affect it's nutritional value. So, it's not just about eating the perfect diet, it's also about doing what feels good. Striking this balance is hard. But it is also important to remember that comfort food is usually the stuff that is not good for you.

Back to my original thought. If there was a way to make people appreciate food more then perhaps people could be convinced to eat more healthy foods. One way to do this is to introduce people to super tasty AND healthy food. Like a juicy grass-fed steak smothered in butter, heavy cream and mushrooms (you can tell I'm still craving the steak). This is actually good for you and it's delicious. A twinkie might not look as good after that meal. Another way is to bring them to farms. I think if we visited sustainable farms and created a connection with the land, the food, and ourselves, we might appreciate food more.

And when you appreciate food, I mean, really appreciate it, you probably won't eat as much. Savor each bite, enjoy the whole experience (I think this is also an Ayurvedic concept) and you will feel satiated with less. It is also our duty to pass on an appreciation of food to our children. I love this about anthroposophical pedagogy (basis for Waldorf education). They really try to instill a reverence and appreciation for food at each meal. I need to work on that more.

So, speaking of appreciating food, I love food and I miss it. I know I spoke with big words about drinking milk for 30 days but I just don't see it happening. I just don't feel healthy right now. I do admit that during the day I feel pretty good and I have been having pretty strong endorphin rushes but by about 3 PM every day I feel dizzy and weak. My optimism wanes with the passing of the hours each day. Perhaps I'm not consuming enough and for sure I'm not resting enough. I am supposed to be doing this whole thing on bedrest but that is not an option for me with 2 little ones.

Without this blog I would have stopped this thing days ago. I am proud to say that I haven't cheated at all, like I don't even lick my fingers after peeling a banana for my daughter. But I do find it hard to go on. And yet hard to give up.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day 4: Milk Do Your Magic

Today I had a lot of energy and I was quite bouncy. Food was not as enticing for some reason. I'm somewhat over the whole food thing (not). I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm over it but I'm not dying to eat food. I watched with little interest as my family chowed down on some cottage bacon with rice and salad (as you can see dinners are a very simple affair these days).

I forgot to mention that I had lost 7 pounds over the weekend. I know, it's crazy! But I'm happy to say that I did gain 3 pounds back and I'm now at 121. I look skinny. And I don't like it one bit. I was actually hoping to fill out a little from doing this. I guess that one day of fasting really affected me. I'm also having a dizzy spell right now. I was doing really well today, more energy than I had had for days but just in the past hour or so I'm feeling quite dizzy. It is so annoying because I was really hoping to feel energized and spunky and to be getting plumped up from all this milk. Instead I've been dizzy, tired, and weak and I'm getting even more skinny.

The thing is, when it comes down to it, it sucks that I can't eat but if I was seeing more physical results I would be more motivated to keep this thing up. I can definitely handle the temporary loss of food if I am getting some great results in return. But so far, nada. I've also noticed that my feet are still tingly and my thyroid still feels swollen.

So, come on milk, do your magic.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day 3: The Miracle of Milk?

I am operating under the assumption that this raw milk diet is actually very good for me. Yes, I know this is obvious but the concept really hit home today when I began to wonder if the diet IS good for me. Perhaps I'm making a big mistake. What if I suffer some sort of long-term damage from this?

The doubt was initiated by a long spell of my head vibrating. I don't understand it any better than you do. The only way I can describe it is that my head felt like it was vibrating, a little. It's the same feeling you get when you've just finished brushing your teeth with an electric toothbrush. I was also feeling weak and a little dizzy.

And with this feeling of lousiness I began to think that this stupid, crazy thing was a bad idea and that I really, really wanted a piece of steak with a nice tasty salad. And I'm sick of kefir, it's awful stuff and I can't get the taste of grass out of my mouth. Okay, I'm done complaining.

So I went back to the book that spurred the temporary bout of insanity that makes me think a raw milk diet is a good thing. And this is what he said;

"Various other symptoms may arise while one is taking
milk, such as headache, backache, pains in the limbs,
feelings of weakness and lethargy, or sleeplessness."
"All the symptoms manifested are
indications of the house-cleaning and rejuvenation which the
body is undergoing, and are no sign that the milk should be
"Where these symptoms develop, I believe the individual
can consider himself extremely fortunate also, for it shows
that the milk diet is not only producing a favorable reaction
in the system, but that the vitality of the body is sufficient to
bring about this reaction with the proper aid. While such
symptoms may not develop in some individuals with great
vitality, rest assured that they will not develop where the
vitality has been lowered to the point from which there is no
return. Also be assured that there is no other régime that
will bring these symptoms and the returning health they
indicate more quickly, and yet with less severity than will
the milk diet."
"We have in the milk diet, without doubt, the most
powerfully effective of all agents for the eradication of
poisons, toxins, waste, and unnatural elements of any
nature; and for the restoration to normal of any tissue and
function capable of restoration; and for removing all
obstacles to the highest manifestation of the vital force
within the body. No other single food can compare with it,
and, for many disorders, no combinations of foods can equal
it for effectiveness."
(The Miracle of Milk, Bernarr McFadden)

So, I decided to rest a bit. Because this guy really knows how to talk up milk.

About an hour later I felt much better and I've been fine all afternoon. Quite relaxed and languid actually. I've decided to just take this whole thing day by day now.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 2: Now I Know What It's Like To Be A Starving Artist

OK, I miss food. But I do feel much better than yesterday. By 7 PM tonight I will have consumed 102 ounces of milk, yogurt or kefir. I did the math this morning. I would start at 7 AM and drink 6 ounces every 45 minutes throughout the day until 7 PM. For some reason I did the math a little wrong though because I thought that would add up to a gallon but now I realize that it is a little less than a gallon (a gallon is 128 ounces). And I am a little hungry so tomorrow I'll shoot for a gallon.

I am normally a person who does too much thinking. I'm always planning and organizing. I'm also one who lives by the laws of common sense. I am punctual, fast-paced, and aggressive (you can imagine how I drive). I'm not a spacey-type of person and I always lament that I'm not as creative as I would like to be. So, it came as a surprise to me today that I was very lucid in certain areas (like speaking to farmers about how they divide up a 1/4 of a cow and the politics of small-scale farming) but for the most part I am a total space-case.

It has taken a bit of effort to remember exactly what it was I was doing. I've been driving like someone who has no particular place to go. And I've spent long moments staring off into space thinking about nothing. I also took a long leisurely nap with my daughter. These are pretty much positive things for me because I do need to slow down.

But I also feel a slight sense of panic that has come with the apparent loss of control. I like to have my house clean and to be operating right on schedule. But in order to keep up to my usual standards I would have to muster up the strength and willpower that I seem to be saving for something else. So I suppose that I'm letting the housekeeping go and the cooking (a little) and just kind of going with the flow of things and not worrying about time as much.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Day 1: Anything is Better Than Nothing

I fasted all day on Saturday and it was pretty horrible. The first half of the day I was OK but as the day progressed I began to feel more and more weak. I thought I would have become grumpy but instead I just started to fade away. I remembered that McFadden (the guy who wrote the book I am following for this diet) said that the more body fat you have the longer you should fast. Since I have like 18% body fat I decided that one day of fasting was enough. This was sort of a no-brainer when I woke up this morning with a major vertigo spell. I was so weak and my head was spinning so much I was going to vomit, pass out or both. But I immediately began drinking some of my yogurt and felt much better within an hour.

So today is Day 1 instead of tomorrow. But that's OK. I didn't get my milk until about 1 PM today so until then I had to have my yogurt (which was fine) and my kefir (which I had let sit too long and was therefore quite sour and the unhappy consistency of runny yogurt). The milk tasted sweet as pie when I finally got some!

So far my impressions are thus:
I am glad I have this blog because I need all the motivation I can get to keep doing this.
I have no idea in the world how I'm going to get through this month.
Milk is delicious but a cup an hour gets old after about 3 hours when that is all you can consume.
Yogurt sweetened with bananas is delightful and I miss it.
I miss all food. Food is wonderful and I look enviously at all of the sane people in this world who have no desire to do an exclusive raw milk diet.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Some Things I Love About Milk

So, for those of you wondering why I think raw milk is so cool, it just so happens that in responding to an anti-milk article online I have written down a few of those reasons.

Here is the article, in case you are curious:

And below is my response to it. The first part, in quotes, is from a posting of mine on a forum and after that is what I wrote today. I haven't eaten at all today so my brain is a little funny. Please excuse any typos!

"I agree with a lot of what he says about milk because he is talking about pasteurized milk. He's right on and I think the dairy (and meat) industry is carrying on with horrendous acts of cruelty to animals. And they are creating a product devoid of essential enzymes (to facilitate digestion) and nutrients.

However, what I am advocating is a completely different product. Animals that are kept on small-scale farms by conscientious farmers will never have pus in their milk and any diseases will be caught early on. These animals are extremely healthy and pathogens are monitored on a daily basis. Their milk is filled with enzymes, vitamins and nutrients that are hard to find in such abundance elsewhere. (BTW, human milk is filled with pathogens as well, but, just like raw cow's milk, the natural bacteria inhibit the overgrowth of these pathogens in the milk and in the belly. i.e.: they actually protect you from those other foods that cause the majority of food-borne illnesses, like spinach, sprouts, peanuts, etc).

And I really don't get the argument that we are to eat like other animals. How does that argument hold water? Are we to eat like tigers (raw meat)? Or cats? (raw meat) or cows (grass?) Why are we to eat like other animals? They don't all eat like us.

And if one is to argue we were meant to eat only what we did in H/G times then we better go empty out our pantries. First and foremost: sugar. Oh, and don't forget to get rid of all those handy crackers and cereals, oh, yeah, and bread, rice, beans, corn, popcorn, fruit rolls, soy milk, almond milk, a whole slew of veggies, HFCS, the list could go on and on.

Milk in it's natural state was consumed by humans way before agriculture. MOST of the things we consume today were introduced into the human diet long after milk was. So by this guy's logic, we were not meant to eat that other stuff either. He also denigrates meat. Does he mean to imply we didn't eat meat either? There are many who would take issue with that one.

He says we get too much protein. My response is, we don't get enough fat. A high protein, low fat diet is almost as bad as a low protein, low fat diet. We need fat and lots of it; it just needs to be good fat, not in the form of vegetable oils.

If you really want to give your children healthy food, the right place to start is probably avoiding all refined sugar and processed foods and only feed whole foods that you have obtained from a local source. (oh, wait, that could be raw milk)

So IMO, the only reason why you wouldn't consume raw milk (besides those with real allergies to casein and such) is because you don't like it (to turn his argument around)."

In his article Dr. Kradjian says:
"Milk is a maternal lactating secretion, a short term
nutrient for new-borns. Nothing more, nothing less."
My response to this is: Raw milk from healthy cows contains the following beneficial elements:

: According to Dr. Edward Howell, author of the book, "Food Enzymes For Health and Longevity"
"It seems that we inherit a certain enzyme potential at birth. This limited supply of activity factors of the life force must last us a lifetime......Other things being equal, you live as long as your body has enzyme activity factors to make enzymes from......If enzymes were in the food we eat they would do some or even a considerable part of the work of digestion by themselves. However, when you eat cooked, enzyme-free food, this forces the body itself to make the enzymes needed for digestion. This depletes the body's limited enzyme capacity.....This state of enzyme deficiency stress exists in the majority of persons on the civilized, enzyme-free diet." (Howell 78-79) He goes on, "In fact, low enzyme levels are associated with old age and chronic disease. There's not much hard evidence on whether taking additional enzymes will extend the life span. However, we do know that laboratory rats that eat raw foods will live about three years. Rats eating enzymeless chow diets will live only two years. Thus, we see that diets deficient in enzymes cause a thirty percent reduction in life span. If this is held true for human beings it may mean that people could extend their life spans by twenty or more years-just by maintaining proper enzyme levels." (Howell 24-28)

Raw milk contains the following enzymes: Lactase: helps break down lactose into simple sugars; galactose and glucose, Galactase: breaks down galactose, Lactoperoxidase: assists with oxidation of organic substances in milk, Lactoferrin: kills many pathogens that are attracted to iron, assists with iron assimilation, and strengthens the immune system, it has been approved as an anti-microbial against E. coli, Catalase: protects cells, Amylase: aids in digestion, Lipase: can separate fatty acids from triglycerides (the absence of these enzymes in pasteurized, homogenized milk causes the milk to go rancid), Phosphatase: bacteria destroyer. (The Untold Story of Milk, Ron Schmid, 106-108)

Ron Schmid in his book, "The Untold Story of Milk", summarizes the value of enzymes in raw milk. "These enzymes play a vital role in the assimilation of the vitamins and minerals in milk, support the immune system, and provide powerful protection against pathogens. They are what make raw milk a living food." (Schmid, 108)

Bernarr McFadden writes the following about enzymes in raw milk, in his book "The Miracle of Milk":

"These ferments or digestants undoubtedly act as stimulators and regulators
of nutrition, and are identical in their function with certain
of the digestive enzymes secreted by various organs in the body."

Pasteurization kills almost all enzymes, rendering it a dead food.

Raw milk from healthy cows will contain the following nutrients:

Vitamin A
: contains large amounts, this vitamin is essential for growth, protein, mineral and vitamin digestion and assimilation, blood and bone health

B Vitamins
: support "healthy nerves, skin, eyes, liver, muscle tone, and cardiovascular function; they protect us from mental disorders, depression and anxiety. Deficiency of the B vitamin complex can result in the enlargement and malfunction of almost every organ and gland in the body." (Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon, 38)

mineral salts
help to balance the body's acid/alkaline balance;

lime, flourin, sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and iodine and other mineral salts
which are easily assimilated by the body from raw milk and are essential for the health of teeth, bone, brain cells, nerve cells, and ductless glands;

leukocyte cells
which happen to be similar to those white blood cells in our blood and when added to our blood aid in fighting disease cells;

Vitamin C
a strong anti-viral and vital in the prevention of scurvy. "it is also needed for a whole host of processes including tissue growth and repair, strength of capillary walls, lactation and adrenal gland function. It is vital for the formation of collagen, the body's structural substance." (Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon, 38)

which is essential for nutrient absorption in the food, is crucial to our basic cell growth and health, is necessary for our brains to function properly and aids in hormone production.

Essential Fatty Acids:
available in the milk of grass-fed cows, they protect against disease and are important for brain and memory function. The typical American diet these days has an excess of Omega-6, so the Omega-3s in raw milk from grass-fed cows provides another means to balance this excess

Vitamin D
necessary for strong bones and teeth and normal growth and unfortunately is so deficient in our diets that most doctors prescribe it as a necessary supplement

Beneficial Bacteria: Found in abundance, aid digestion and protect against overgrowth of bad bacteria, often kill pathogens, act as a natural antibiotic,

Pasteurization and homogenization either destroy these essential nutrients or make them difficult for our bodies to absorb. The highly acidic, force-fed grain diet given to most cows (even organic) results in the reduction or abscence of many of these nutrients.

So, in essence, raw milk from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows is an extremely beneficial food that is packed with lots of essential nutrients that are lacking in the typical American diet. It is an easy and delicious way to get the nutrients and bacteria we need to maintain good health and it is much cheaper than supplements. Kids love it too!

Dr. Kradjian goes on to say:

Consider for a moment, if it was possible, to drink the milk
of a mammal other than a cow, let's say a rat. Or perhaps
the milk of a dog would be more to your liking. Possibly
some horse milk or cat milk. Do you get the idea? Well, I'm
not serious about this, except to suggest that human milk is
for human infants, dogs' milk is for pups, cows' milk is for
calves, cats' milk is for kittens, and so forth. Clearly,
this is the way nature intends it. Just use your own good
judgement on this one.

There is evidence that humans have been drinking the milk of other mammals for over 30,000 years (to put that into perspective, corn has only been around for about 7,000 years). Humans across the globe, throughout history have valued milk as a reliable source of nutrients and energy. It has been regarded as a sacred food by many ancient cultures. Humans have (and sometimes still do) consumed the milk and blood of cows, buffalo, bison, reindeer, yak, goats, sheep, and antelope. And as I stated above, we also consume every other part of the animal, why not also the milk? I don't see the basis for this argument. I think that it is just his personal opinion that humans shouldn't drink milk.

Well, I could go on for hours on this guy because he really leaves himself open to criticism but I am on my fast right now (no food for 2 days) and my brain is not functioning too well. I applaud him for attacking the horrible ways cows are treated and the health risks of consuming conventional, mass-produced, pasteurized and homogenized milk. But raw milk from pasture-raised cows is really completely different, incomparable actually.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I Will Miss Salad

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On the eve of my fast I chose to eat Corned Beef Hash. How sick is that?! I didn't really choose per se, I just didn't plan well. The corned beef hash was good though. It was my first time making and eating this dish. As I was eating it though I was thinking that I should have made some steak with mushrooms instead, one of my favorites. But I think I will miss salad the most!

Tomorrow and the next day I will be fasting on water, and more water. Ho-hum. This is the least exciting part of this whole thing for me. I don't do well with no food.

Before I begin this "diet" I really want to have my blood work done to see what my TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), T3, T4 (thyroid hormones) and my antibodies (Hashimoto's indicators). The problem is that the insurance company doesn't want to pay because I just recently got tested. I'm still debating whether or not to do the test anyway. I really want to see if the raw milk diet has an effect on those indicators.

I know it is not as objective but before starting I do want to note how I feel overall.

I am pretty flexible and don't feel like my muscles are tight or tense (even without yoga in the past week).
I have plenty of energy as long as I get 8 hours of sleep; anything less and I feel tired but not exhausted.
It takes me about 15 minutes to fall asleep at night.
I remember my dreams about once a week or so.
I sleep fairly deeply.
I often tense my jaw and sometimes I grind my teeth at night.
I have a strong feeling of contentment emotionally.
I feel very relaxed (in general).
Lately my endorphins are pulsing pretty regularly (I can feel them).
My right foot is occasionally tingly and/or swollen (down from daily and in all 4 limbs about 2 months ago)
My right hand and right foot "fall asleep" in the night about once or twice a week (down from nightly about 1 month ago)
My cheeks are red but I have only a small amount of acne (compared to pretty visible chronic rosacea about 7 months ago)
I sometimes get a small rash on my hand where my rings are.
My feet tend to have dry skin and some calluses.
My hands get dry if I am too lazy to use my rubber gloves religiously.
If I eat something that is not a protein after awhile of not eating I get a head rush.
Sometimes I feel dizzy if I stand or sit up too quickly.
Possible TMI: I rarely have gas and I have pretty frequent bowel movements but sometimes it is a little dry and pellet-like (there I wrote it).
I weigh about 124 lbs and I have about 18% body fat.

So that's about it I think. I am excited about starting this but a little nervous. I've met a few naysayers. We shall see.