Q & A: March 5, 2011

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Question:  Is Raw Milk Mucus-producing?

Is raw milk muciligenic (mucus-producing) just like pasteurized?  Should I avoid it when I have a cold and should I refrain from giving it to my 10-month old?


— Megan


The short answer is no. Raw milk (and raw dairy) contains lactase, which is the enzyme that helps us digest lactose.  People who are lactose intolerant are lacking lactase so they can’t digest the lactose.  This is why so many people who are lactose-intolerant have no problems drinking raw milk.  (Excessive mucus production is a common sign of an allergic reaction).

Here’s the long answer:

According to nutritionist, David Getoff of the Price-Pottenger Foundation:

I’m a little bit tired of hearing the statement that dairy is mucus-producing because if you take 1,000 people who, when they drink milk or eat dairy products, it stuffs them up, and if you take another 1,000 people who, when they’re exposed to either a cat or dog (or something else they’re allergic to) that that stuffs them up, nobody is going to say that cats and dogs are mucus-producing.
A lot of people are allergic to dairy, to cats, dogs or dust mites. The allergic reaction is called a histamine reaction in which case they get stuffed up, so a lot of people are allergic to milk! It’s not mucus producing any more than cats and dogs are mucus-producing. A lot of people are simply allergic to it.

He goes on to explain why so many people are allergic to milk (which is why they think it is mucus-producing) — it’s a long response but very well-written:

In general, there isn’t anything in milk that a large percentage of the population is allergic to…until we start changing it and altering it, otherwise known as homogenization and pasteurization.
Raw milk shouldn’t be called raw milk, it should only be called milk. Nobody ever calls the broccoli that they buy in the store raw broccoli, or cauliflower, raw cauliflower. They just say broccoli and cauliflower, and if you cook it, you say it’s cooked.
Well, we shouldn’t say raw milk, we should say milk if it’s raw and cooked milk instead of pasteurized (because you are basically bringing up the temperature that is starting to cook it).  When you do that you destroy all the enzymes that are in the milk, and you also denature some of the proteins.
Pasteurization alters the milk. A lot of people are intolerant of some of the changes that have occurred in this food that otherwise wouldn’t have bothered them. From my own impromptu research with a couple of thousand students and patients over many years, approximately 8 out of every 10 people who have a problem with milk or dairy, do not have the problem when it is consumed RAW.
Pasteurized dairy causes one of a variety of problems depending on the person, and people do not realize that they do not have a problem with raw milk, they only have a problem after it’s been pasteurized and homogenized. So milk is not necessarily the issue. A lot of people know that they are lactose intolerant which is the sugar that occurs in milk. Lactose intolerance is not a milk allergy. It doesn’t mean milk is not good for them. It simply means that the milk sugar, which is called lactose, can’t be properly assimilated by the body because the lactase enzyme is either not there or is in an insufficient amount and therefore causes a problem.
Lo and behold Mother Nature knows that the human body generally doesn’t do well with lactose. So she put plenty of lactase into the milk so it wouldn’t cause a problem, but we kill it all by pasteurizing the milk. Most people who are lactose intolerant can handle raw milk (as long as they don’t use it to cook with). When you cook with raw milk, you are raising the temperature even higher than the heat of pasteurization, so obviously, it is no longer RAW.
Other people have a problem with denaturing of the protein in the milk, which, of course, does not occur until it is heated. This is another reason why people who otherwise could handle raw milk have a problem with pasteurized milk.
Raw milk, in general, is much higher in quality than pasteurized milk because the cows are much healthier. What the public also doesn’t realize is that the bacteria is still in the pasteurized milk, it’s just dead bacteria, and, of course, that’s not good for us either. It’s toxic. Killing something (bacteria) doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it dead.

Question: Sprouting and Soaking Flour?

My family and I are transitioning to whole foods but there are so many things that I don’t understand yet. Please explain when to use sprouted flour and when to soak un-sprouted flour.

Also, I would like to know when/how to use the different types of flours: spelt, kamut, white wheat, red wheat, etc.

My head gets dizzy sometimes from all the new information.

— Amy


Hi, Amy,

Man, I was confused by all of this when I started, too.  Soaked, sprouted, sourdough — how to know when to do what.  My way of dealing with it back in my early days of eating traditional foods was just to avoid grains altogether — except for sprouted bread.

Here’s my short explanation of how all of this works.

Back in the old days (a hundred years ago,) all flour was sprouted.  In the old days, before they had modern processing methods, grains were allowed to sprout in the fields.

Until the 20th century, grain naturally sprouted in the field before it was milled into flour. The invention of the combine harvester during the Industrial Revolution changed everything. Grain could be harvested in the field and then moved to storage bins. The time-honored practice of sprouting was cast aside for modern processing.  (Source)

You can read more about the history of soaking grains, a traditional practice employed by all grain-eating cultures around the world, in this post I wrote:  Soaking Grains: A Traditional Practice.

As you will see if you read that article, there are a number of reasons to sprout or soak grains. One is to increase mineral absorption (Sprouting and soaking decreases phytic acid. Phytic acid blocks mineral absorption.).  Another is to make grains more digestible.  Another is to activate enzymes.

Okay, so is sprouting enough?  Yes and no.  You can get away with just using sprouted flour in your baking.  That said, if you want to also soak it, it would reduce the phytic acid even more, and further increase the digestibility and hence the absorption.

I read that the Swiss people that Dr. Weston A. Price studied not only used sprouted flour when they made their rye bread, but they also soaked it using sourdough fermentation.

Traditional cultures that ate corn typically soaked the corn for 1-2 weeks in a solution of water and wood ash or lime (cal — not the fruit).  Oats were also fermented or soured for a long time.  Cultures that used rice as a staple soaked and rinsed the rice.

So, ideally, you want to use sprouted grains and soak them.

I buy sprouted flour, sprouted rice and sprouted corn flour online (see my resources page for sources).  I often soak the sprouted corn flour in the lime water for a short while before using, I soak the sprouted rice in rice soaking water (I reuse the same water over and over, and store it in the fridge).  That said, I will often use the sprouted flour without soaking it first. For baking, I like to use sourdough instead of yeast for leavening, because it breaks down the phytic acid more thoroughly.

I just bought a grain mill and I’m learning how to sprout my own grains, dry them and grind them into flour, which I then store in the freezer (along with the sprouted grains I buy online — they go rancid very fast so it’s best to freeze them). It’s actually very easy to do this.

I also learned how to soak and grind corn meal for tortillas and tamales.  Also very easy to do.  (See my post here.)

I do not recommend buying cornmeal, nor do I recommend buying any flours sitting on the shelf at the store.  Whole grain flours go rancid very quickly and really should only be eaten fresh.  When I buy sprouted flours online, I put them into the freezer immediately.

White flour is the most useless flour there is and I don’t recommend buying it for any reason.  Not only is it completely devoid of nutrition, I also find it to be very bland in the taste department.  (That’s not to say I never eat it.  I do.  It’s what most restaurants serve.  But I prefer the flavor of whole grains.)

As far as the different kinds of grains you referenced:

Spelt – an ancient relative of wheat
Kamut – another ancient relative of wheat
White and red wheat – both forms of wheat; the wheatberries are ground into flour; white wheat is milder tasting than red wheat

Sources: What is Spelt and Kamut? and Whole White Wheat FAQ

Question: P90X and Weight Loss?

Just wondering if you are doing P90X routine and how is it going? I am on the plan but am not doing the supplements. Wondering how to eat/supplement on the program. I am getting frustrated because I haven’t lost any weight and I am 5 weeks into it. Thanks!



Hi, Rachel!

Thanks for asking. I’ve been meaning to post an update but haven’t found time.

I was only able to do P90X for about 3 weeks.  We started in December but couldn’t keep it up.  First it was the holidays, then my husband was out of town for a conference (we were doing it together,) and then he came home with a cold. It was always something!

Meanwhile, I went in January and bought a new bike.  I even got a trailer for so my daughter could ride in the back.

I’ve been riding the bike to and from my daughter’s daycare 3-4 times a week, which translates to about 3-4 hours of working out per week.  I’m going to try to go more often to the farmer’s market on the weekend, which is one hour each way.

It’s not as much exercise as P90X, but it’s still a lot of exercise, so I’m feeling good about it.

I have managed to lose about 8 pounds since I started this program the second week of December.

I have also lost 3 inches from my waist and 1.5 inches on my hips. Hurray!  I am not back in my pre-pregnancy jeans yet — however, I am back in the jeans I bought back in 2007 after the baby was born (I was skinnier back then).  And they are really loose on me now — about to fall off!

But on to your specific question… I never followed the P90X dietary recommendations. I looked at them but I thought they were way too low-fat to be healthy.

Instead, I just started only eating when I was hungry, and I was careful only to eat ONLY to the point of satiation, and not to the point of being full (this was a big change for me, since I typically used to eat until I was full).  But I ate whatever I wanted.

However, around the end of January, the weight loss stagnated and I got discouraged.  So I started slipping into eating more.

Luckily I did not gain any weight in February.  But I did not lose any weight either.

Earlier this week my husband finished reading The 4-Hour Body

(a book that mentions the Weston A. Price Foundation a number of times) by Tim Ferris.  I’m also a huge fan of Tim’s book, The 4-Hour Workweek.

The man is, in my opinion, a real genius.

My husband decided that he wanted to follow that program.  Since I do almost all the cooking, and I’d heard good things about Tim’s “slow-carb” eating plan, I told him I’d do it with him.

So for the past 4 days we’ve been following the Four-Hour Body diet plan.  Lots of meat, fish, non-starchy vegetables, and beans.  No milk (except I cheat and put it in my decaf coffee in the morning).  The only kind of dairy you can have is cottage cheese.  No “white foods” — no bread, no rice, no potatoes, etc.  And no sugar.

Since I started this 4 days ago, I already dropped another pound.  Yay!  I’d been stuck at 147 for several weeks so it was neat to step on the scale and see 146.

My husband has been doing the 4-Hour Body plan for about a week now, and he has already lost 7.5 pounds.

OK, so the best part of Ferris’s diet plan?  You get to eat WHATEVER YOU WANT one day a week. And guess what today is?  Our binge day!  (I’m writing this on Saturday.)

So we’re going out for pizza for lunch, and I’m going to binge on chocolate this afternoon (either a chocolate bar or chocolate chip cookies with milk — I haven’t decided yet) and then we’re going out for dinner tonight with friends. Of course I’ll have dessert.  And a tall glass of raw milk!

Ferris says that binging once a week is critical to losing weight.  I haven’t read the book yet (looking forward to it) but from what I’ve skimmed so far, the idea is that if you don’t binge once a week, your body will go into starvation mode and you will stop losing weight. This makes a lot of sense to me.  This could be why I stagnated on my weight loss.

So, I’m giving it a go.  I will definitely enjoy the pizza and chocolate and raw milk today!

I’ll post again soon with more results.  If you are not on my Facebook page, you might want to “like” it so you can get updates on there.  I tend to do quick updates on there when I don’t have time to do a full post on the blog.  I’ll be posting when I lose more weight.

Hang in there! And please keep me posted on your progress.

Got a Comment?

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