In 1968, John McCallum developed a way for bodybuilders and other weight lifters to put on strength and mass. The plan was simple: squat heavy and drink plenty of milk. There were a few more details worked into it, but the premise remained. Squats were the keystone of any weight training, and milk was abundant with vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It was not an easy program, but one thing was very evident. The people that did the program and did not drink milk, fell far from those that were drinking milk.
We come into this world and our first source of nutrition is milk. Nothing better than Mama’s milk. Lets face it, when we are born we are essentially in our first bulking cycle. We eat, sleep and grow. At some point though, we are weaned off breast milk and are introduced to other varieties. It was accredited to farmer’s that we first started drinking cow’s milk.
Our bodies weren’t completely adept to process foreign milk, but as time continued we evolved and developed what we needed. The sugar in milk is known as lactose and in order to properly digest lactose, our bodies must produce an enzyme known as lactase. Our genetics determine our initial ability to produce lactase. As a child, when we are weaned from breast milk, we will generally begin to slow in lactase production and potentially become lactose intolerant. If we continue to consume milk from other sources, we may become lactase persistent and retain the ability to produce lactase. In short, our ability to digest milk is a matter of exposure, genetic and cultural factors.
Some research has shown that as we get older and approach adulthood our taste also changes, and the taste of breast milk becomes revolting. One theory for the change was that it evolved as a means of preventing early man from consuming milk that was to be used for the preservation of offspring. In any case, milk was the answer and we needed a new source as we got older. For some of us though, our bodies once weaned could not make the transition to other sources. This intolerance can cause varying degrees of issues.
First the side effects of being lactose intolerant can include:
- Abdominal bloating or cramps
- “Rumbling” Stomach
So for those that can drink milk, it is a great source of nutrition. But for any of those that experience any of the many levels of being Lactose Intolerant it poses a very interesting question? How can I reap the advantages of drinking milk without all the disadvantages of being lactose intolerant. You are not without hope.
- Soy Milk
- Rice Milk
- Almond Milk
- Lactose-free Milk
Interestingly enough, the first three options work well because they do not contain lactose, Lactose-free milk, is the only one that does. Lactose free milk is not free of lactose, instead it has had the enzyme lactase added to it so that lactose can be broken down into digestable sugars. It generally tastes a little sweeter than regular milk because of all the sugars being broken down. With that idea in mind, some people will simply elect to purchase lactase so that they may add it to dairy products and other foods with lactose.
None of these actually matches the full nutritional value of whole milk, but can definitely serve as a great substitute. Soy milk for example does contain phytoestrogen, which is a chemical that can mimic the effects of estrogen. In moderation, it has shown no problems but in very high concentrations may exacerbate previous conditions. Rice milk is very high in carbohydrates but lacks in proteins and fats. Almond milk is better nutritionally, it does have more protein than rice milk, but still not as much as regular milk. One thing to be aware of all of these is that they are occasionally sweetened or combined with vanilla or other flavors to enhance the taste.
Thanks to the variety of products available, there are many options for those who want to include more dairy in the diet, but cannot “stomach” more dairy in their diet. And lets be honest, nothing goes better
with a couple of cookies in a protein shake than a cold glass of moo juice.