Hey guys, we’re back for another round of Ask a Health Coach. This week, Erin sheds light on the health benefits of dairy products, when too much fiber is to blame, and why we should all stop labeling foods as good and bad. Keep your questions in the comments or in ours Marks Daily Apple Facebook Group.
“An odd question, but is there any scientific evidence as to whether goat’s milk is a better alternative for human consumption than cow’s milk? After a decade of eating, I’ve easily given up on everything else (grains, sugar, etc.) but the only thing I still struggle with is milk, and I have no sensitivities for it, but I wonder if it is a better alternative. “
First off, I definitely don’t think this is an odd question; Dairy products are one of the things my customers ask about the most.
Milky soft or fits into a rustic gray area. While there have been countless studies of the negative effects of sugar, industrialized seed oils, and processed foods on metabolism, dairy products are in a slightly different camp. I can see the confusion though. Many people who follow a paleo diet eliminate it completely. And while an original diet follows many of the same principles, it’s far less restrictive – even Mark agrees that high-fat and raw cow’s milk can be a great addition to your original eating plan.
But to answer your question of whether goat milk is a “better” alternative to cow milk, the answer is … it depends on what you mean by better.
Goat milk vs cow milk
Of course, there are subtle differences between brands and whether or not oils or sugar have been added, but generally speaking, a cup of goat’s milk compares to a cup of cow’s milk:
- Goat milk: 9 grams of protein; Cow’s milk: 8 grams
- Goat milk: 10 grams of fat; Cow’s milk: 9 grams
- Goat milk: 11 grams of sugar; Cow’s milk: 11 grams
Calories, if you’re into something like this, are about the same too. So from a nutritional point of view, one isn’t much better for you than the other. The bigger question I think you should be asking yourself is, how do you feel when you are consuming them? You mentioned that you are not sensitive to cow’s milk, but honestly some people are unaware of their body’s signals.
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve worked with who tell me they feel bloated after eating cheese or that their noses are runny after drinking a coffee with regular milk. These symptoms may not match what they heard from their lactose intolerant friends. You know, the sharp, stabbing pains, running to the bathroom, the other fun side effects of eating foods that you don’t have the enzymes for to break down.
Are these symptoms normal?
In my opinion, this is a great opportunity to personally assess the effects of dairy products on your body. If you’ve consumed cow’s milk milk all your life, you may have no idea how you feel without it. You may experience mild pain that you thought was caused by getting older. Or five extra pounds that you can’t seem to lose (that’s what happens to me). Or sleepless nights that you attribute to stress.
If dairy was a normal staple food, I would encourage you to avoid it entirely for at least a month for an accurate assessment of how it will affect you. I think it’s definitely worth a try. Before you became primate, you probably felt pretty comfortable eating grains and processed foods on a daily basis, too, right? You might be surprised to find dairy products play a similar role for you. Or … maybe it doesn’t.
I’m not here to get you to remove all food groups from your diet. Nor am I here to take away the pleasure of eating the foods you love. I’m just saying if you’re curious as to whether one is better than the other, only you know the answer. And it starts with taking out cow’s milk for a while, noticing if you feel any different, then adding it back in and noticing if anything has changed. If you feel bloated and foggy, choose the milk alternative. Full of energy or no symptoms at all? You can continue to drink milk until the cows come home.
“Sorry, probably TMI, but have you ever heard of someone suffering from constipation from maniac tortillas? I can’t tell if my irritable bowel syndrome is back or I localized it to the cassava. Thanks very much!”
(Again, no need to apologize. Bathroom questions are so common in my client practice that I don’t blink my eyelashes when they walk in.)
For some, swapping out grain-based staples for ones made with paleo-friendly ingredients works. And because cassava flour is made from tubers, it’s officially known as both paleo and primal. If you’re eating this way to manage your blood sugar and hunger levels, know that cassava, while having roughly twice the carbohydrates of a sweet potato, has been shown to help lower the glycemic response when added to other foods will. And to back up the answer to your question, cassava flour also contains four to five grams of fiber per cup.
Is Too Much Fiber to Blame?
In normal conditions, fiber is a good thing – in fact, it’s believed to “keep things moving and prevent constipation down there. However, too much fiber can cause gas, gas, and, yes, constipation. It’s not uncommon for people following a whole foods diet to consume more than 70 grams a day in the form of vegetables, fruits, and tubers – which can be particularly problematic if you have switched from eating almost no fiber to every meal.
The easiest way to tell if your constipation is due to cassava or your problems with IBS is to watch what happens when you change any of the variables. As a Health trainer, I always start with the lowest hanging fruit. When my clients tell me they have a new symptom, the first thing I ask is: What are you doing new? Aside from completing a Food panel testwhat can be very imprecise, the best system for finding out the culprit is your own detective.
- What if you drink more water? Are your symptoms getting better or worse?
- What if you stop eating cassava-based products for a few weeks?
- What else are you doing new? More stress? Less sleep? Less exercise?
After checking in to yourself for a few days, I believe you will have your answer.
“I thought we should lose the beans and peanut butter in the original meal plan? I am new and am trying to get started. As a mother of two and responsible for the nutrition of my extremely picky daughter and my husband, I need help! Can you correct me, please? “
Food rules really hurt us, right? Labeling the things we consume as good, bad, or my favorite without feeling guilty. I’m so about the way we make our relationship with food more complicated than it needs to be.
The problem with food labeling
Our beliefs, our background, our moral compass, and any random influencers that we may or may not follow on social media play a huge role in what we believe is right or wrong. But foods are not good or bad. Of course, eating certain foods has consequences. For example, if you treat yourself to a whipped cream-filled pumpkin spice latte and giant muffin for the first meal of the day each day, it will be something that will make you feel foggy, hungry, and notice that your pants are starting to tighten. In contrast, starting the day with a plate of scrambled eggs and buttered vegetables is likely to result in sustained energy, a clear mind, and loose clothing over time.
A bigger problem with food regulations is that it’s not just about labeling a food as good or bad. The food culture tells us that when we eat it, we should perceive ourselves as good or bad. How many times have you said, “I feel so guilty about eating this dessert.” Or “I’ll be good today.” These statements are not only unproductive but also unhealthy. And it’s perfectly okay to call it that.
How Bad Are Legumes Really?
I can think of far worse foods to put on your plate than beans and peanut butter. Especially when you have picky eaters in your house. When you’ve got your family off the Standard American Diet (SAD) and stocking your closets with real whole foods, I call it a win. And if you’re very worried about the lectins and phytic acid that Pulpy Pulse is talking about, take a deep breath. While some studies show lectins can damage the lining of your intestines, cooking turns off most of them. This study showed that navy and kidney beans only had 0.1% residual lectins after cooking. And a combination of Soaking and boiling can get rid of them completely.
I’m not suggesting that you spend all of your free time soaking beans or making your own sprouted peanut butter, which you absolutely can if that’s your thing. I’m just trying to get you to zoom out a little and see how insignificant small amounts of these foods really are to optimal health.
A tip for you so that the health of your entire family is a priority. You are doing a great job. Remember not to make perfection the enemy of good.
Do you have any further questions for me? Ask them in the comments below.
Thank You For Reading!