Who better to write an article about milk than the Milk King himself, me. Yes I gave that title to myself, but I’m not sure the ladies at Publix would argue as my wife and I would buy 4-5 gallons at a time. We drank milk like a religion because it “did our bodies good” and we loved the taste. And yes, skim milk does have taste.
When my brother first introduced me to the Paleo diet, I believe my exact words were, “I will do it all but I’m not giving up milk.” He had already successfully stole my bread and I wasn’t about to let the sweet juice of cows go too. He seemed to comply with my demands and let me go on my merry milk way.
My obsession with milk began when I was about 10 years old and my parents had me tested for allergies. The doctors found out that I was highly allergic to dust (who isn’t?) and MILK. Instead of giving up milk, I felt determined to drink more of it. You know how kids are when you tell them not to do something. I drank more chocolate milk, more lowfat milk, and even ventured into skim milk, which ended up becoming my milk of choice.
In high school, nothing was more important to me than baseball. I wanted to win a State Championship and nothing else. As my senior season began and all the years of hard work were culminating in this moment, my doctor made me sit out because I had pleurisy. It was an inflammation in my chest that was so painful it felt like I was having a heart attack whenever I tried any quick movements. I had to go on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs and sit out three very very long weeks.
In college, it was the same story, I still loved baseball and was trying to walk on to the team at Rollins College. Every day I struggled with an intense burning in my chest and throat. Not one to complain, I dealt with the pain and figured it was just my bad luck health striking again. It wasn’t until after I got cut from the team that I decided to go see a doctor about my chest pain. He diagnosed me with acid reflux disease and recommended I take a couple Prilosec pills a week, and additional pills for flare ups. The pills worked but it seemed like a lot of effort. I felt like an old man relying on my meds…the feeling was anything but Superhuman. And for anyone who has had to habitually purchase a prescription or over-the-counter drug, you know how expensive this can be over time.
This past October (2011) I cut my milk intake from 5 gallons a week to just 1 a week. I stepped down from being the King of Milk, and coincidentally I was able to give up Prilosec pills COMPLETELY. No more acid reflux, no more heartburn, no more stomach aches. And a lot more money in my pocket for real food!
As I studied the Paleo diet, a reoccurring theme started to stick out to me, blaming health problems on “bad luck” genetics is completely false. You may have a predisposition to certain foods, like I have to dairy, but I can now control my problems by changing my diet.
In a month of diet change, I reversed what I thought was a life sentence to heartburn pills. My stomach aches have also become A LOT less frequent. I’m grateful to the Paleo diet for this change.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that everyone in America is “allergic” to dairy (lactose) and wheat (gluten) at some level. Our bodies have not evolved to consume these foods. Both foods are inflammatory in the body and elicit a higher insulin response, which is code for fat gain. So if you don’t have any health problem like acid reflux or an over-sensitive tummy, you may want to drop these foods just so you can be high-school skinny.
My Primal mentor, Mark Sisson at MarksDailyApple.com, just wrote an article on his Top 6 Anti-inflammatory foods. He “sort-of” finds dairy inflammatory. Like me, he finds that drinking a glass of milk hurts more than it helps him. Everyone’s body is different.
If you have a health problem that you thought could never be healed, especially not by a change in diet, try changing your diet! Food can do amazing things if you let it.