Guest Blog: Ring in the New By Angela Hind, M.D.

Ring in the New

 “Things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes milk is sold as cream.”

Approximately 20,000 new food products come on the market each year.  For restaurants wanting pure food menus, this means keeping up with a lot of information. And despite those sexy white-mustached and muscular, cow’s milk touting celebrities, no product line has increased more rapidly than non-dairy milk.

Due to the aggressive lobbying of the dairy industry, and extensive dairy subsidies from the U.S. government, the health benefits of cow’s milk have been grossly overstated, and its harm to human health, grossly understated. Greater dairy consumption is linked to more fractures in women, prostrate cancer in men, and an overall shorter lifespan. It is also linked to Type 1 Diabetes and acne. Top all that with the rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) debacle, and cow’s milk gets unsexy, fast.

So when it comes to that afternoon Green Sage Cafe latte, your morning cereal, or a green tea milkshake, non-dairy milks are more than just sexy, they’re crucial.

Enter the quandary. So many choices.  Hazelnut, Hemp, Almond, Cashew, Goat’s, Rice, Soy,  and Coconut. 

Enter the additives.  So many unwanteds. Carrageenan, Vitamin D2, natural flavors, sugar, agave, naturally Malted Organic Wheat and Barley Extract.

Choosing the right not-milk to offer guests at Green Sage Cafe has been a not-small task.  But as of this week, we have a winner.  And a loser.

 First, let’s talk about the loser. 

 Rice milk will soon be a thing of the past at Green Sage Cafe.  Because of its low nutrient profile, high glycemic index, and relative lack of flavor, rice milk will be replaced with other more healthy options.

 Next, soy milk will be taking a backseat to coconut milk as of this year. 

 Now, no doubt, soy is a big topic.  And yes, it’s hard to question a milk with a name like Silk.

But while the dangers of soy have been overstated, certainly the benefits have been too. One could write a treatise on the science of soy, and we at Green Sage would be glad to talk soy with you at any time.  But, for the purpose of this article, the soy story boils down to this. 

The benefits of soy are its protein, its phytonutrients, and its healthy fiber.  Its detriments are that it is cheap, it is subsidized, and it is frequently and exceedingly processed.  Adding insult to injury is the fact that 94% of soybeans in our country are genetically modified organisms.

Whole foods are inherently good.  And the soy bean is a whole food, packed with antioxidants, protein and fiber.  Processed foods are inherently bad, and are stripped of their well-rounded, delicately balanced, delivery system of nutrients.

Yes, processing of food takes its toll.  Take fruit juice for example.  Whole fruit is a nutrient-rich food, with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  It also has a lot of healthy of fiber, which slows the absorption of the fruit sugars, thus dampening the glycemic effect of the fruit.  Fruit juice is a processed food.  It has had the fiber taken out.  Thus, the beneficial diluting effect of the fruit’s fiber is gone, causing one’s blood sugar to spike after a big glass of grape juice.  Also, by drinking the fruit instead of eating it, one is getting a whole lot more of the sugars than if one simply ate a handful of grapes — because it takes more than a handful of fruit to make one glass of juice.   So while juice is a good way of getting fruit nutrients, these nutrients come with more sugar.

Soy milk is similar.  Whole soy beans are just beans. In fact, they are even a super bean in some respect, in that they are very high in protein relative to other beans.  But soy milk is a processed food, and is stripped of its fiber.  So when consuming soy milk, one is consuming a whole lot of soy in one go — much more than one would if he or she simply ate a plate of soybeans.  And in our society we consume a whole lot of soy.  We subsidize the growing of it to make it really cheap, we genetically modify it, we squeeze it, de-fiber it, heat it, whirl it, defat it with Hexane, pulverize it into flour, isolate its protein to make cardboard, combine it with other proteins to make animal feed, wash it with water to create soy protein concentrate, extrude soy protein concentrate into TVP (textured vegetable protein) and SPI (soy protein isolate).  And then, “Voila”, we label soy as a health food.  Processed soy just gives us too much, and a bad form, of a good thing.

Soy milk is about the second or third tier on this soy processing pyramid.  Soy powder tops the pyramid, and thus it will be leaving the menu altogether.  Its replacement?  Pea protein powder — for when you want a high-protein smoothie.

Additionally, because of the genetic engineering of soy, and because of its ubiquity in our food supply,  allergies and sensitivities to soy have increased in the last 10 years.  And soy allergy can look different than say, peanut allergy.  It is harder to diagnose.  It is not an immediate, severe anaphylactic reaction that makes the culprit obvious.  Instead, a soy-induced immune reaction causes nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue, rashes, and abdominal complaints.

So, Green Sage Cafe has decided to choose whole, non-processed soy foods in order to provide maximal health benefits and avoid supporting a federally subsidized food industry that is, in part, driving the junk food industry that is making Americans sick.  Soy powder is not consistent with the pure food message.

Small amounts of whole soy, such as tofu, or the even healthier fermented soy, such as tempeh, miso, or natto, is consistent with a pure food paradigm.

Green Sage Cafe is now offering organic, carrageenan-free coconut milk as an option for their shakes, coffees, and smoothies.  Coconut milk offers a healthy dose of medium chain fatty acids, iron, Vitamin C, and magnesium.  Organic almond milk will continue to be available as well.  And if you have a different favorite as your non-dairy milk alternative,  just let us know and we’ll look into it.

Angela C. Hind, M.D.

Angela C Hind, M.D.  consults through You, M.D., which provides individuals and businesses the knowledge to develop pure food paradigms that promote health and business success.