Milky Mysteries

It's not easy wading through all the conflicting information about nutrition, and a classic example is milks. If you've ever felt confused about which milks are healthy/unhealthy and why... then you are in the right place!

We are not cows!

Cows milk is a fantastic food - for calves - but not a useful food for humans. Why? Not only are a lot of people intolerant to lactose (milk sugars), but we are also unable to assimilate the calcium content that milk is sold on.

That's because the calcium in cows milk is bound up with a protein (casein) that we cannot break down. You need rennet (produced - guess where - calves' stomachs) to do that.

Even worse, dairy can deplete the stores of calcium in your body. As it is rich in protein, the stomach creates a highly acidic environment to digest it.

The liver will neutralise this acidity with an alkaline environment, which it makes using its stores of calcium, magnesium, potassium etc. And when its own stores are gone, it will take calcium from elsewhere so as to keep your blood PH within safe levels - and this could mean your precious bones and teeth.

Not so(ya) good

Soya and rice milks present problems too. Soya interferes with hormones and blocks the uptake of many nutrients. Commercial milks are processed ,and also pasteurized - which may kill undesirable bacteria, but also wipes out helpful bacteria and the all important digestive enzymes.

Go nuts! A good solution is nut milk, as our ancestral gut is expecting (raw) fruits, veg, nuts and seeds.

Here's the best bit - you can make nut milk at home in minutes - far cheaper than buying it, it won't be pasteurised, you can add some yummy flavourings, and no nasty tetra-pack waste. Hurrah!

Nut milks provide more assimilable proteins, fibre, dense vitamins and mineral content and healthy fats than animal milk.

Lastly, don't forget to soak your nuts (any nut or seed). Plants protect their babies with toxic chemicals - but these are water soluble.

Soak overnight - get in the habit of putting them on to soak as part of your bedtime routine - ready to drain, rinse and whizz into milk for breakfast.