woman drinking milk

Best Alternatives To Cow’s Milk

Pourquoi La Vache Qui Rit fit? Why is the Laughing Cow laughing: the question long asked by the French to explain the jovial expression of the earring -wearing cow on the Laughing Cow cheese wedges that bear her name. Perhaps she was laughing at all the unknowing lactose intolerant people who were-were suffering digestive problems from eating her product. Well, it seems like the laugh may finally be on the Laughing Cow herself. With the increasing awareness of lactose intolerance, alternatives to cows milk are becoming more widely available and popular, with even the lactose tolerant making the switch, in many cases. Has the Laughing Cow laughed her last laugh? Let’s take a look at some of the competition.

Dairy Milk
Is this the reason the cow is laughing? Maybe not. Many of us grew up on plain old milk from the cows and didn’t seem to fare too badly. Cow’s milk has a respectable 8g of protein in one cup, which is still more than any nondairy option. Nonfat or low fat is a good choice for those who drink more than one cup of dairy milk a day to keep saturated fat intake to a minimum.

Soy Milk
When it comes to subbing for dairy milk, soy milk is a pretty healthy choice. With 45% DV of calcium and 6 g of protein per cup, the soybean and water concoction make for a slightly thicker consistency than cow’s milk, which lends itself well to smoothies and coffee. It can be used in place of milk in most recipes cup for cup.

Rice Milk
When put side by side with dairy and soy milk, rice milk, pales in comparison.The brown rice mixture offering up only 2% DV calcium and one gram of protein, falls short of the competition in nutrient content, and many find its texture too watery to work in recipes which use milk as a thickener.

Almond Milk
A fan favorite, almond milk, made with ground almonds and water, can be found in a variety of flavors and options, including chocolate, vanilla, original, and unsweetened. It’s a lower calorie alternative to skim milk, save for the chocolate flavor and has a higher mineral content than dairy milk. However, if its protein you seek, you may not find what you’re looking for in almond milk. With only 1 gram of protein, almond milk’s protein content is decidedly on the low side. If protein is your concern, check out soy milk with added protein, or supplement with other high protein choices.

Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is the latest item to hit the superfood charts, taking the health food world by storm. Although it is slightly higher in fat than other milk, the calorie count is a reasonably low 80 per serving, and it beats out cow’s milk in both protein and calcium content. However, if you are not a fan of the coconut flavor, you may want to leave this one off the shopping list; the coconut taste is hard to miss, If you want the experience with less emphasis on the coconut flavor, try an almond coconut blend, which will give you a more subtle hint of coconut with the 45% CV calcium of almond milk.

What is your choice when it comes to milk, and more importantly, why do you think the Laughing Cow is laughing? Let us know!

Woman drinking milk

Full Fat Dairy Products May Not Be All That Bad

Move over skinny cows! It’s great news for the extra cheese and “no such thing as too much butter” crowd; scientists have found that full fat dairy food does not increase your risk of heart attack. What, you may ask? Does this mean I can stop eating this strange excuse for ice cream I have in my freezer? Depends on your motivation, but one thing’s for sure, this is something that your stomach and heart will both approve of. Recent studies have shown that those who consume full fat dairy may actually be healthier than their low fat dairy eating (cow)nterparts. Read on for more.

The Evidence, Or Lack Thereof
What tastes good can’t possibly be good for you, right? Well, maybe it can. Recently, dairy researchers have found that, contrary to popular beliefs about saturated fats leading to heart attacks, there may be nutrients in dairy products that actually prevent them. According to researcher Stella Aslibekyan of Brown University, “Things like milk and cheese are very complex substances. We looked at heart attacks risk dairy products in their entirety and then looked at separate components of those dairy products, and it turns out that the results are null. Perhaps the evidence is not there.”

Benefits of Dairy
While Aslibekyan’s team is far from suggesting that the presence of saturated fats in dairy products is harmless, she does believe that other nutrients found in dairy, such as vitamin D, calcium, and potassium may offer protection from heart disease. According to a study published in Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases journal a study of 3,630 Costa Rican men found that dairy intake in heart attack sufferers was no different than that of those who did not get heart attacks, even when consumption was as high as 593 grams a day. Researcher, Dr. Anna Baylin says, ” The message is that it is important to look at the net effect of whole foods and dietary patterns and not only isolated nutrients.

Pouring milk

Full Fat Dairy May Be Healthy
Additional research corroborates the Brown University study. There is evidence that full fat dairy key reduce the risk of:

  • Diabetes
    Palmitoeic acid, occurring naturally in meat and full fat dairy food, can protect against diabetes and insulin resistance. One study showed that individuals who consumed a diet including whole fat dairy had higher blood levels of trans-palmitoleate, decreasing their risk of developing type -2 diabetes by two thirds, as compared to those with lower levels.
  • Cancer
    Conjugated linoleum acid, a.k.a. CLA, is a type of fat found naturally in cow’s milk that can significantly lower the risk of cancer. A study found that those who ate a minimum of four serving of high fat dairy per day had a 41 % lower risk of bowel cancer than people who ate less than one.
  • Heart Disease
    A sixteen year study of Australian adults found an indirect relationship between full fat dairy consumption and the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease.

Full Fat Dairy and Weight-Loss
Females who indulged in one serving of full fat dairy were found to gain 30% less weight over a nine year span than their low fat eating counterparts.

What do you think of the info? Willing to scrap your 1 and 2% milk for the pure stuff? Let us know!

Woman with insomnia

Foods That Fight Insomnia

If you suffer from insomnia, you may look back nostalgically on Thanksgiving nights falling asleep in front of the TV with the taste of sweet potato casserole still lingering on your tongue. While it’s easy to understand how the concept of self-induced food coma may seem tempting to the sleep deprived, it may not be the best health option, and there is only so much leftover turkey one can take.

However, that is not to say there is not a link between eating and sleeping. There is scientific proof that certain foods are more conducive to sleep than others. But before you establish running credit at the deli counter, you may want to know your options.

Walnuts
No only do walnuts contain heart-healthy fats, they also have been found to contain melatonin, a bodily hormone that plays a role in regulating sleep cycle. Dr. Erin Palinski Wade, RD, CDE says, “Try snacking on a small handful about 20 minutes before bed to help you relax and reach a deeper state of restful sleep.”

Walnuts

Bananas
In addition to having high levels of serotonin and melatonin, bananas are also packed with magnesium. Magnesium promotes sleep by decreasing levels of cortisol in the body, a hormone know to interrupt sleep patterns. Although eating the fruit itself has its calming benefits, most of the sleep-inducing power is in the peel. The daring may consider sprinkling banana peels with cinnamon to make them more palatable.

Tart Cherry Juice
A study published in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology tracked the effectiveness of tart cherry juice, which contains melatonin, on older adult insomniacs. The participants who were given 8 oz of tart cherry juice twice a day slept an average of 87 minutes longer each night than those who received a placebo. Nutritionist Kayleen St. John, RD, explains, “Other study data has shown a significant elevation in melatonin in groups consuming cherry juice.”

Basil
Palinski Wade says, ” The plant contains sedative properties, which can help you fall and stay asleep. And as a bonus, it not only helps promote sleep, but is great for reducing indigestion,” a further sleep interrupter. She continues, “Research on this shows the sedative properties come mostly form the hydroalcoholic extract and essential oil of O. basilicum.” She points out that liquid basil extracts are available at the market and can “be used to flavor food, as a supplement, or as an essential oil.

Basil

Milk
It seems the common beliefs about the sleep-promoting abilities of milk are not without merit. “Milk may control melatonin production since it is a great source of calcium, ” Palinski-Wade explains. “Milk is also rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which has a calming effect on the body.”

Vitamin B6
According to Mary Hartley, RD, ” When we fall asleep, levels of serotonin rise and adrenaline levels fall. Serotonin, the relaxing hormone, is partly made from the amino acid, tryptophan, which is activated by Vitamin B6.” Fortunately, B6 can be found in a wide variety of foods, such as potatoes, fortified breakfast cereal, chicken, fish, peanut butter, fish, bananas, and several vegetables, so deficiencies are uncommon.

Do you go to the fridge when insomnia strikes? Tell us about it. And let us know how the cinnamon banana peels turned out!