Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is Milk the Perfect Food/Drink?

You have to be careful about equating water with milk -- because more than half the world's population (particularly of adults), are lactose intolerant, or simply, "allergic to milk," which can be the cause of a multitude of dysfunctions.

My first job coming out of college in the Vietnam era as a "conscientious objector," was as a medical metabolic (nutritional) research subject conducted by the military, which up to that point, derived most of their conclusions based on the study of Mennonites, or Amish, who were the major groups of COs at that time.

They used a milk-based formula as their basic (control) diet -- to which they would add or omit whatever they wanted to test, since milk was regarded as the "perfect food," and none of their subjects seemed to have a problem with it, because the Mennonites and Amish are one of the most inbred groups on the planet -- all favorable to the diet of milk.

So when I had problems tolerating the diet, I became the subject of exhaustive tests to find out what was wrong with me, because everybody "knew" that milk was the perfect food. After a few months of virtual constant distress, and not being able to find anything wrong with me, we mutually agreed to part company, and I needed to find another "alternative service."

Twenty years later, I ran into a book claiming to be the first written about the unknown, undiscussed and even suppressed phenomenon of "lactose intolerance" -- that was recognized throughout most of the world, and documented in the writings of cultural misunderstandings that caused distrust of American foreign aid that included powdered milk -- that the natives used to whitewash their huts.

Some drug companies addressed this lactase deficiency so that many can digest milk, but while they can, milk is also implicated in thickening the mucus, which produces problems of its own, often noted as the "phlegmatic" condition of the aged and those with autoimmune diseases, for which products that thin or liquefy the mucus, most notably guaifenesin -- the standard remedy for bronchial congestion as experienced in colds and flus, and their accompanying (arthritis-like) body pains -- have been suggested as a "cure."

And even beyond that, the Ayurvedic East Indians, made sacred in their diet, seeds that had the same essential properties of liquefying the mucus -- such as fennel and fenugreek seeds, still used as the base for "herbal" cough medicines in health food stores. The world conqueror Alexander the Great, seems to be the link in passing that information on to the Romans (Legion), who also carried fennel as their standard provision to maintain their health and vitality -- as they conquered the world.

Fennel tea remains one of the standards of that designation of recommended "herbal teas," and there is renewed interest in its consumption for the multitude of ailments, as one of the world's oldest known health elixirs and cure-alls. It is sometimes eaten as a vegetable that looks a lot like celery. Most people are familiar with it as the plant often seen growing in empty lots and untended areas as the peculiar plant whose string-like leaves taste like licorice -- which seems to have been a popular syrup of those peddling patent medicine remedies as their trade before the modern drug industry took over -- with their specialized drugs specific to each condition.


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