With this food category, we enter into the animal kingdom and the foods made from and by animals and their products, such as eggs, milk, butter, cheese, and yogurt; and then the actual animal flesh—fish, poultry, and beef and other red meats. These are, in general, denser and higher-protein foods, more concentrated body-building foods, and also higher-fat foods. They are most important in growth years and during pregnancy and lactation, but because of their prevalence in our early years, many people, especially in Western cultures, continue to consume what turns out to be an excess of these protein and fatty foods. This may then contribute to the congestive problems and degenerative diseases that occur in later years. In general, other than for special therapeutic situations that will be described later, I believe that these animal-product foods should be consumed moderately in our diet, probably not more than 10–20 percent of our total intake, and can even be totally avoided with proper nutritional care to create a balanced strict vegetarian (vegan) diet.
Milk is a special food—the primary baby food, the first food of most mammals. It is considered our basic food of life, the connection between mother and child. Milk is often associated in early years with survival, with our love from and for Mother—so it is no wonder that many develop a lifelong addiction to this sweet essence of life. Theoretically, the relationship to sweet food, of which milk is our first, may be the basis of so many people’s acceptance and use of sugar and sweet foods throughout life. An excess of sweets in the diet creates all kinds of problems, from tooth decay to obesity to diabetes. (See more about sugar in Chapter 2, Carbohydrates.)
Lactose, a simple sugar, should be easy to digest and use in our body for energy, but some children may be unable to utilize this sugar; that is, they are lactose intolerant. Even more adults are sensitive to milk sugar; this is a separate (and major) issue from milk allergy. Nearly half of the world population is lactose intolerant, which may cause bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea after milk is consumed. Luckily, though, most children can handle at least mother’s milk and do all right on milk products, at least in their early years.
When other milks, such as cow’s or goat’s milk, are substituted for mother’s milk in infancy, milk allergy is very common. These milks are richer in proteins and have new protein molecules for the baby’s system to handle. Lactalbumin and milk casein are two of the proteins to which people, especially children, may react. Milk is the most common food allergen. Milk allergies may manifest as skin rashes, eczema, chronic otitis media (fluid and/or infections in the ears), hyperactivity, and other problems. Taking a child off milk products for a three- to four-week trial period and seeing how he or she does and then retesting with a meal of milk products is probably the best way to evaluate whether milk is a problem. If there are mild allergies, it is still possible to bring milk products back into the diet later after eliminating them for a month or two, which reduces the allergic capacity, possibly to a degree that they can be tolerated in moderation. Then a rotating diet where they are consumed only every four Day s will often be better tolerated. Sometimes substituting goat’s milk or, even better, soy milk or nut milks, will make a difference. (See more about this in the Allergy program in Part Four.)