Weekly Gems from Ronda Gates.
Every time I hear proponents of a milk-free diet deliver their spiel I think about my mom.
In 1993, this 80 year old woman led a vigorous life filled with activities that kept her "on the go" all day. Then a severe attack of bronchial asthma precipitated a series of spontaneous spinal fractures. Within two years Mom was six inches shorter, used a walker to prevent a fall that could result in a broken hip and is in constant pain. What happened? How did osteoporosis strike so suddenly?
The mom I remember from the 40's and 50's had a light complexion and, despite an exercise-free lifestyle, a slender figure. The milk in her diet came from cream sauces that were typical of the American way of life--heavy on animal fat and protein. Even when she said she gave up a pack a day cigarette habit I saw her heading for the basement after dinner. I knew her "secret." Mom did not begin estrogen replacement therapy until well past menopause. In other words, her brittle bones did not happen overnight. Sixty years of osteoporosis-prone living caught up with her.
"You don't need to drink milk" advocates ignore the research that a low in calcium diet is a major risk factor for osteoporosis. The people who push the milk-free way of eating, usually have a book to sell that tells us that we can get all the dietary calcium we need from vegetables like cabbage or broccoli. In fact, it takes many quarts of cabbage or broccoli to get the calcium in one glass of milk. Moreover, there are other important nutrients in milk that can't be found in vegetables--protein, riboflavin and Vitamin D.
I'm not saying that drinking milk will overcome any predisposition you have to osteoporosis. Personally I'm built more like my 6'4 big boned dad. I never smoked. I've been active all my life and I eat on target--including several servings of food from the milk group every day. I supplement my diet with a couple of Tums every day.
I'm boning up and staying fit. When I'm eighty five I'm going hiking.
P. S. If you are lactose intolerant use LACTAID. If you can't drink milk for other reasons, be sure to check in with a dietitian.
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