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Mercury-Free Dentists — Pioneers and Catalysts for 21st Century Health Care

By Dr. Mercola

We finish up this, our eighth, Mercury-Free Dentistry Week, with a documentary by Elizabeth Hong and Daniel Montoya. "Mercury Undercover" exposes the very real dangers of mercury toxicity, and its connection to amalgam fillings.

Amalgam, also called "silver fillings," is in fact a massive consumer fraud. By referring to the color of the compound rather than its content, consumers everywhere have been tricked into placing a known neurotoxin in their mouths.

Think about it: If your dentist said, "OK, I'm going to put a large mercury filling into this molar," you'd probably sit up and say, "Hey doc, maybe we should talk about this!"

Most people are aware that mercury is hazardous to health, but if they don't know that amalgam contains mercury, then they cannot object to it in the first place. And that's exactly how the dental industry and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) want it.

Most Americans Are Deceived by Inaccurate Term

In a report titled, "Measurably Misleading"1 Consumers for Dental Choice, led by Charlie Brown, former attorney general of West Virginia, reveals how the FDA and the dental industry have deceived you about amalgam.

A Zogby poll, commissioned by Consumers for Dental Choice, reveals that Americans are indeed fooled by the terms "silver fillings" and "amalgam."

Fifty-seven percent of Americans are unaware that amalgam is a mercury filling, and 23 percent believe amalgam is made of silver. Also, a mere 11 percent of people say their dentist ever told them that amalgam contains mercury.

The FDA is responsible for addressing consumer fraud that occurs in medicine and health. But when it comes to mercury fillings, the agency has refused to take corrective action. Not only that, it actually condones, not condemns, the marketing of amalgam as "silver fillings." Hence, the deception continues.

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Dental Mercury Fuels Chronic Inflammation in Your Body

Indisputable evidence exists that dental amalgams readily release mercury in the form of vapor when you eat, drink hot liquids, brush your teeth, or otherwise stimulate your teeth.

As noted in a 2010 scientific review2 on mercury exposure and children's health, there is no known safe level of exposure for mercury. Ideally, exposure should be zero, so any dentist insisting that mercury exposure from amalgam is "minimal" or "inconsequential" is really not acting in an ethical manner.

The mercury vapors released from the amalgam in your teeth readily pass through your cell membranes, across your blood-brain barrier, and into your central nervous system. Effects can be psychological, neurological, and/or immunological.

At above average doses, brain functions such as reaction time, judgment, and language can be impaired. At very high exposures, mercury can affect your ability to walk, speak, think, and see clearly.

One 2012 study3 evaluating the effects of mercury on cognition in otherwise healthy adults found that those with blood mercury levels below 5 µg/L had the best cognitive functions. Mild impairment was evident at blood mercury levels of 5 to 15 µg/L and above 15 µg/L, cognition was significantly impaired.

Mercury is also known to cause kidney damage, which is why it's so important to have your mercury fillings removed by a properly trained biological dentist. As explained by mercury expert Chris Shade, Ph.D., mercury can also displace other elements such as zinc and copper, by attaching to the receptors that would otherwise hold these essential minerals.

Overall, mercury has a very strong ability to dysregulate your entire system, which is part of the reason why mercury toxicity symptoms are so difficult to pin down. For example, I've written about one case in which a woman diagnosed with multiple sclerosis came to realize she was actually suffering from mercury toxicity. She recovered after undergoing an appropriate detoxification protocol.

Putting an End to FDA's Concealment of Mercury

For decades, the FDA and American Dental Association (ADA) have successfully concealed the fact that amalgam is made of 50 percent mercury, and that there are health risks associated with mercury fillings. It's time for the truth to be acknowledged.

The Minamata treaty on mercury , thanks to an aggressive and strategic three-year campaign by Brown and his team, includes a mandate that every ratifying nation scale down amalgam use –- and start immediately. The United States ratified the Minamata Convention, which entered into legal force a year ago this week, on August 16, 2017.

The FDA's stance on amalgam is in direct violation of the Minamata Convention, as its amalgam rule advocates more mercury fillings for Americans, not less! Thus, Consumers for Dental Choice created a petition to FDA, signed onto so far by over 45,000 people.

Why Do Half of All American Dentists Still Use Mercury Amalgam?

When Consumers for Dental Choice was founded, only 3 percent of dentists were mercury-free. The organization has been instrumental in catalyzing change in the industry. Today, more than 50 percent of dentists in America have stopped using mercury filings. Unfortunately, we seem to have stalled out at around 50 percent of dentists who still insist on using amalgam.

"We think the pro-mercury dentists have stabilized because they won't learn anything new and the profits are so easy," Brown says.

Indeed, dentists make more money per chair per day when using mercury fillings. For factory-style dentistry, where the teeth represent dollar signs instead of part of a human being, dentists drill, fill and bill.

And of course, since amalgam damages tooth structure and cracks teeth, pro-mercury dentists continue to profit from amalgam long after its initial placement. The good news is that in virtually every community in America you can now find a mercury-free dentist, and I urge you to keep looking until you find one. You can use the seven links at the bottom of this page to help you find one.

"Never go to a dentist that uses mercury fillings on anybody; on the welfare child, on the young, on the old, on the black or white, or the Asian, or on anyone. Do not go to that dentist. Don't give them one dollar, one euro, one pound, one peso, or one Australian dollar. Go to a mercury-free dentist; the men and women who only put safe materials in everyone's mouth," Brown advises.

For Decades, the ADA Forbade Dentists to Reveal Truth About Amalgam

The ADA's longstanding effort to keep consumers uninformed is another factor that has kept the secret going for so long. The ADA owns two patents on amalgam: patent numbers 4,018,600 and 4,078,921.

The patents have now expired, but while they were in effect the ADA went to incredible lengths to wipe out mercury-free dentistry and quash dissent from the emerging critics of mercury-based dentistry. It went so far as to adopt a "rule of conduct" that actually prohibited dentists from discussing mercury with their patients:

"Based on available scientific data, the ADA has determined that the removal of amalgam restorations from the non-allergic patient for the alleged purpose of removing toxic substances from the body, when such treatment is performed solely at the recommendation or suggestion of the dentist, is improper and unethical."

Yes, the ADA said it is unethical for a dentist to tell the truth to his patients. This gag rule, enforced by state dental boards, clearly violated the First Amendment. It was finally undone by Consumers for Dental Choice, starting in 1998, and by dentists who boldly stepped forward over the years. Still, the effects linger.

Mercury Has No Place in 21st Century Dentistry

As noted in the Consumers for Dental Choice report "Measurably Misleading"4 a majority of consumers are not given even the most basic information about amalgam — the fact that it contains mercury. The central deception revolves around referring to mercury fillings as "silver" or "amalgam."

Still to this day, many dentists will not use the "M" word, mercury, in talking to their patients for fear of jeopardizing their license, thanks to the ADA's rule of conduct (above). For a long while now, mercury has been dentistry's greatest controversy and its great little secret.

Fortunately, dentists worldwide are now moving toward mercury-free dentistry. Indeed, it's time for dentists everywhere to "grab the bull by the horn" and tell their patients that amalgam is about 50 percent mercury. The word "silver filling" is a deception, and "amalgam" is an ambiguity.

Both terms need to be replaced with the truthful description of "mercury filling." Mercury-free dentistry is the future, but to get there, consumers need to be told the truth, and that means that dentists need to speak out and make their voices heard in their communities.

Bringing Mercury-Free Dentistry to the US

Working with talented environmental, consumer, and health leaders, Consumers for Dental Choice has launched mercury amalgam phase-out campaigns in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America to complement the North American campaign. The world and American campaigns are synergistic, each helping feed the other. In the United States, efforts are also being redoubled, with a focus on forcing the FDA to uphold the promise made by the nation when it signed the Minamata treaty on mercury pollution.

It's quite simple really. The United States of America has made a promise to the international community to immediately begin reducing the use of amalgam.

Consumers for Dental Choice and its leader Charlie Brown continue their full-court-press campaign to bring mercury-free dentistry to the U.S. and worldwide. If you wish to stay informed, I encourage you to follow them on Facebook. You can also receive their announcements by joining their mailing list at ToxicTeeth.org.

Three Ways You Can Help the Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry

This is the week we can get Consumers for Dental Choice the funding it deserves to achieve these aims. I have found few NGOs as effective, and none as efficient, as Consumers for Dental Choice. Its small team has led the charge on six continents – including ours! So for the eighth year in a row, I will match the funds you give.

The goal is to raise $125,000. I’ve upped the ante 25 percent from last year’s cap of $100,000.  So, please, consider giving a generous donation, and all funds received will be matched by Natural Health Research Foundation, which I founded. There are three ways you can help Consumers for Dental Choice succeed:

1. Use only mercury-free dentists. If your dentist still offers amalgam as a choice, switch to one who will not put mercury in anyone's mouth. Also be sure to let your dentist know why you're leaving.

2. Join Consumers for Dental Choice's newsletter list on ToxicTeeth.org, or Mercury-Free.org, or write to Charlie Brown at Charlie@ToxicTeeth.org.

3. Make a donation. I will match donations dollar for dollar. To succeed in the battle against the FDA, we need to reach that $125,000 goal.

If you prefer to mail your donation, please send your check to: Consumers for Dental Choice, 316 F Street, N.E., Suite 210, Washington, DC, 20002

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Chaga Tea: Benefits of This Unusual but Health-Boosting Beverage

Are you tired of drinking the same old tea over and over? Chaga mushroom tea may be a good option for you. Chaga tea has been used in Russia and other Baltic countries for hundreds of years to boost immunity and improve overall health.1 It is now gaining popularity in Western countries, as numerous studies are touting the nutritional components of chaga mushrooms. Continue reading this article to learn more about the impressive health benefits of chaga tea and how you can include it in your daily routine.

What Is Chaga Tea?

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a parasitic fungus commonly found in cold climates, typically in Siberia, Alaska and Northern Canada.2 It is usually attached to birch trees, with the infection eventually killing the tree and the mushroom dying soon after.3

Trees infected with it develop a black growth on their bark reminiscent of charcoal, with a brown interior.4 Chaga mushrooms come irregularly shaped and cracked with a distinct cork-like texture. They typically grow within arms’ reach, making them easily accessible for harvest. However, in some instances the mushrooms may grow at heights of 10 to 30 feet.5

While chaga may look like something you wouldn’t want anywhere near you or your beloved trees, it is actually popular for its wide array of health benefits. Its high concentration of vitamins, minerals and nutrients paved the way for chaga to be lauded as a superfood.6

After numerous studies showed the benefits of chaga consumption, chaga product availability in the market increased. These products range from raw chaga mushroom chunks to chaga tea, skin cream, lip balm and joint rubs. However, brewing chaga tea may be the easiest way for you to benefit from this mushroom.

The Health Benefits of Chaga Tea

Before it became widely popular, chaga tea was already being widely utilized in Russia, Poland and other Baltic countries. It is valued for its antioxidant, antimicrobial and tumor-preventive properties.7 In addition to these uses, chaga tea may:

  • Boost immune function. In a 2011 animal study from the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, chaga extracts were found to influence the production of cytokines that regulate the production of antibodies in the body.8
  • Help regulate blood sugar. A 2017 animal study from Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy shows that the polysaccharides found in chaga may have antihyperglycemic properties due to its effect on the Akt/PKB signaling pathway.9    
  • Help keep inflammation at bay. In a 2010 study published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, mice were administered chaga extracts to test its effectivity on easing inflammation. Its effectiveness was linked to its effect on the inflammatory cytokines.10

Chaga Tea Nutrition Facts: Does It Contain Caffeine?

Chaga tea contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals that are essential to keeping the body at peak condition. It is rich in vitamin B2, vitamin D, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and a lot more.11

If you’re caffeine-sensitive or you’re trying to limit your caffeine intake, the good news is that chaga tea is caffeine-free. It’s also free of other stimulants like methylxanthines, including theophylline and theobromine. This makes it ideal for drinking in the morning and at evening.12

Here’s How You Can Brew Chaga Tea

When brewing your first batch of chaga tea, it’s important that you use wild chaga instead of the lab-grown kind. Also, note that you’ll achieve better extraction the more you crush the chaga mushrooms into powder. Brewing this type of tea yields an earthy and natural-tasting tea with hints of vanilla, due to the trace amounts of vanillin found in the mushroom.

To help you brew chaga tea, here’s a step-by-step guide from David Wolfe’s book “Chaga: King of the Medicinal Mushrooms:”13

Directions

  1. Fill a glass teapot with cold water. Put the ground chaga or chunks in the water.
  2. Allow the herbs to steep in cold water from a few minutes to an hour.
  3. After steeping, take the cold water up to a hot temperature slowly to about three-fourths of the temperature to a full boil. You can do this in 45 minutes to an hour. The slow rise in temperature will allow a better extraction of the chaga essences.
  4. Using a strainer, push the chaga chunks away from the surface of the tea. Dip a ladle in the area within the strainer to get the filtered tea. Enjoy!

How to Correctly Store Chaga Tea

If you’re fortunate enough to live in a region where you can get fresh chaga, you’d need to know how to correctly store the mushrooms. Fresh chaga is susceptible to mold, so any type of moisture can be extremely damaging to it. If you have fresh chaga on hand, make sure that your supply is completely dry before storage. Here’s how to store your fresh chaga correctly: 14

  1. After harvest, dry your fresh, wild chaga in direct sunlight for several days. Make sure that you bring the chaga in during the night and only bring it out during the daytime.
  2. If sun exposure is not possible, you have the option of using a dehydrator. Set the dehydrator at a temperature of about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. You may also use a stove for drying out the chaga mushrooms. Set it at 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you have to keep a close eye on the chaga to avoid burning.
  3. Once dry, break the chaga into golf-sized chunks with a mortar and pestle, or wrap the chaga in a small towel and carefully break with a hammer.
  4. Store the dry chaga chunks in airtight glass containers. Use the chaga as needed.

Note that if a white film develops on the outer bark, it can still be used, but do so immediately. Mildewed chaga should not be stored as this is not usually present in the mushrooms; rather, mildew develops due to improper storage.

Chaga Tea Side Effects and Contraindications

While chaga tea boasts of impressive health benefits, its consumption may amplify the symptoms of numerous conditions, which include:15

  • Autoimmune diseases. Chaga’s effect on immune function may prove to be problematic for patients suffering from autoimmune diseases. By making the immune system more active, chaga could magnify the symptoms that accompany these conditions.
  • Diabetes. Chaga may alter blood sugar levels, which could make it harder for diabetes patients to regulate and control blood glucose fluctuations.
  • Bleeding disorders. While it is unclear how chaga may affect blood clotting and bleeding, this tea should be avoided by patients suffering from bleeding disorders.

Boost Your Immune System With Chaga Tea

With its impressive nutrient and antioxidant load, chaga tea may just be the next big thing in health maintenance. Its ability to help strengthen the immune system and ease inflammation is enough reason to add this herbal tea to your routine. Just make sure you get chaga mushrooms from trustworthy sources so you can be entirely sure that you’ll be getting all the health benefits they have to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Chaga Tea

Q: How much chaga tea should I drink?

A: Because of the varying tolerance that people may have for chaga tea, it’s best that you consult a health care professional to know the recommended amount.

Q: How long does chaga tea last?

A: When refrigerated, chaga tea may last for up to 14 days.16

Q: Where can I buy chaga tea?

A: There are numerous stores that sell different types of chaga mushrooms. You can get them in chunks or in powdered form. Some health stores also offer chaga teabags for an easier brewing experience. However, make sure that you’re getting chaga from reputable sources to guarantee that you’re getting only the highest quality possible.

Q: What does chaga tea taste like?

A: Chaga tea tastes earthy and a little bitter, but not unpleasant. It’s also said to have hints of vanilla, thanks to the trace amounts of vanillin in the mushroom. Note that the taste may vary depending on the quality of the chaga mushrooms.17

Dairy Debate: Should Nondairy Beverages Be Labeled as ‘Milk’?

By Dr. Mercola

The recall of more than 145,000 containers of almond milk suspected to be tainted with dairy milk has again stirred the debate about how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines “milk.” The FDA and American dairy industry contend beverages sourced from plant materials such as almonds and coconuts do not meet the criteria necessary to be labeled as milk.

FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb has gone on record saying, “Almonds don’t lactate,” citing federal regulations suggesting liquids sourced from lactating cows be the only beverages permitted to be referred to as milk.1 Given Gottlieb’s comment (and penchant for the obvious), you may enjoy the featured video, which takes a satirical look at “almond milking.”

While the recalled containers of vanilla Almond Breeze are important news given the potential danger posed to anyone with a milk allergy or lactose intolerance, the bigger concern for American consumers relates to food labeling.

Is it really necessary to differentiate dairy milk from alternative milk-like beverages originating from almonds and other plant foods? After years of passively allowing nondairy beverages to be labeled as milk, why is the FDA finally acting to uphold its antiquated labeling rules?

Dairy-Tainted Almond Milk Recalled, Stirs Debate About Alternative ‘Milk’ Beverages

In early August 2018, HP Hood LLC voluntarily recalled more than 145,254 half-gallon refrigerated cartons of Vanilla Almond Breeze due to the possibility the product may contain cow’s milk, a known food allergen not listed on the label.

The affected containers feature a use-by date of September 2, and were shipped to retailers and wholesalers in 28 U.S. states.2,3

While the beverage is safe for anyone who can tolerate regular dairy products, the contaminated beverages pose a risk to consumers who have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. At least one allergic reaction has been reported to date.4 According to Time, the recall stirs the debate about the labeling of alternative “milk” beverages:5

“The dairy debacle comes in the midst of a debate over whether beverage makers can call nondairy products ‘milk,’ since the FDA’s current ‘identity standards’ for milk refer to lactating animals.

The FDA is in the process of deciding whether it will amend that definition or require companies to stop using the word ‘milk’ in reference to drinks made from soy, almonds, coconuts, oats and other common nondairy alternatives.”

Speaking at the POLITICO Pro Summit in July 2018, Gottlieb noted the FDA would be issuing a guidance document with respect to any forthcoming changes to its policies related to milk labeling.6 (The current policy, which has been revised multiple times, was put in place in 1977.7)

Changes are expected to be well-received by dairy groups, many of whom are struggling with falling prices and global oversupply.8 You may not realize milk has a standard definition designed to be enforced by the FDA. Given the reference to lactation, it’s clear nondairy alternatives such as almond milk and coconut milk technically do not qualify as “milk.”

Although the FDA’s definition of milk fills an entire page, the first sentence disqualifies nondairy alternatives in plain language: “Milk is the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows.”9

Dairy Groups Unhappy About Plant Products Being Labeled as Milk

As you may imagine, dairy industry groups are not happy about what they perceive to be the misuse of product names such as “milk” when applied to nondairy alternatives like almond or coconut milk.

With respect to the FDA activity, Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), a pro-dairy group established in 1916 that acts as a frontrunner for 27 major U.S. dairy cooperatives,10 asserts the FDA “must stop turning a blind eye toward violations of food labeling laws. It needs to use more enforcement and less discretion as dozens of brands flagrantly violate government requirements.”11

As mentioned in the video above, the NMPF and other industry groups have repeatedly urged federal regulators to enforce U.S. food labeling laws to restrict the use of dairy-related terms to products originating from farm animals.

Sorting out the labeling discrepancies is important to U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, one of the authors of a farm bill introduced to Congress in 2017, in part because of the many challenges facing American dairy farmers, such as low milk prices, uncertainty in export markets and the impact of Canadian milk pricing.12 In a statement issued by the NMPF, Mulhern said:13

“After years of inaction in response to our complaints about these labeling violations, Gottlieb’s announcement the FDA is intending to act on this issue is very encouraging.

The marketing of nondairy imitators must comply with federal standards of identity, and consumers should not be misled these products have the same nutrition as real milk, yogurt, cheese and other actual dairy products.”

‘DAIRY PRIDE’ Bill Seeks to Ban the Use of Dairy-Related Terms for Nondairy Products

A bill dubbed the “DAIRY PRIDE Act,” which is actually an acronym for "Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, Milk and Cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Every Day,"14 was introduced in both houses of Congress in January 2017 by Baldwin and Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont. The bill, part of a much larger package of agriculture-related legislation, seeks to ban the use of terms such as “cheese,” “milk” and “yogurt” for nondairy products.15

Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, a state long known as America’s Dairyland, says using the term "milk" to describe plant-based foods amounts to mislabeling according to FDA rules. “Imitation products have gotten away with using dairy's good name for their own benefit which is against the law and must be enforced,” says Baldwin. “Mislabeling of plant-based products as ‘milk’ hurts our dairy farmers.”16,17

Despite the bill gaining little traction in Congress, Baldwin and Mulhern continue to press Gottlieb and the FDA to issue new guidance to the industry and declare its intent to enforce labeling according to existing regulations.

According to ABC News, the FDA “will open a docket ‘very soon’ and solicit public comment to help develop a guidance document that would enforce the new standards.”18 They note the process may take a year or more and will most certainly face challenges from nondairy beverage producers and consumers alike.

Does the Mislabeling of Nondairy Products Amount to Consumer Fraud?

As a staunch defender of real dairy products, Mulhern has gone as far as suggesting the lack of FDA enforcement around alternative beverages such as almond, coconut and rice milk has resulted in “rampant consumer fraud” due to “the inferior nutrient content of these nondairy products.”19

Mulhern calls out the lack of protein in almond and rice milk, for example, noting regular dairy contains about 8 grams of naturally occurring protein per serving.20

The NMPF suggests there are “significant public health implications” due to the fact dairy alternatives, unlike real milk, vary widely in their nutritional profile, whereas real milk, with the exception of fat content, maintains a consistent nutritional package from brand to brand.21

While I would like to believe Mulhern is concerned about the welfare of the American public, as a representative of an industry group, it’s obvious his primary concerns revolve around advancing the interests of the dairy industry, especially as it relates to market growth and profits.

For that reason, I don’t buy what I perceive to be feigned concern by Mulhern, as expressed in an NMPF news release. He stated:22

“Consumers who purchase these imitations are not receiving the same level of nutrients found in cow’s milk, and that contributes to Americans falling short of the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals for a healthy diet. The FDA must act on this matter or else see the further decline of proper nourishment of our children and families.”

The more likely reason for the NMPF’s concern relates to the bottom line: Dairy alternatives are siphoning off market share and profits once neatly controlled by the dairy industry. Given the growth expectations for nondairy products, it makes sense dairy groups are hoping for some help from the FDA to draw consumers back to their product.

A Renub Research study published in January 2018 suggests the alternative dairy market is on track to exceed $34 billion by 2024 due to increasing consumer preferences for casein- and lactose-free products.23,24 As you may imagine, every dollar spent on nondairy alternatives is perceived to be a takeaway from the dairy industry, which is still adjusting to the depth and breadth of the competition plant-based alternative products pose. As stated by PR Newswire, highlights of the Renub report suggest:25

  • Roughly two-thirds of adults worldwide are lactose-intolerant, and in Africa and Asia the figure is around 90 percent, underscoring the need for nondairy alternatives26
  • Following a dairy-free diet can be beneficial, and this lifestyle has become increasingly more popular worldwide
  • Demand for fortified dairy beverages and foods is expected to fuel continued growth of the dairy alternatives market
  • The potential danger of cross contamination and the higher cost of dairy alternatives are two factors that may negatively influence the growth of this segment

What Is the Best Milk for You?

The easiest way to determine the best milk for you is to listen to your body. If you feel ill after drinking dairy milk, chances are good you may suffer from lactose intolerance, a casein allergy or another type of dairy sensitivity. Rather than eat and drink illness on yourself, your best strategy is to simply avoid traditional dairy products.

Replacing milk and other dairy products with nondairy substitutes is a matter of personal choice. If you don’t miss drinking and eating milk-based products such as cheese, ice cream and yogurt and can obtain requisite nutrients from other foods, you can easily forgo nondairy alternatives.

However, if you cannot imagine life without eating certain types of foods — like ice cream or yogurt, for example — then by all means, find a substitute. Nondairy alternatives are especially helpful when you need milk-free options for use in recipes.

Keep in mind that many who believe they cannot drink regular cows’ milk actually do fine when drinking raw, organic grass fed milk, which is far easier on your digestive system. Raw, grass fed A2-only milk may be even more ideal.

Regardless of the type of “milk” and “milk-based” beverages and foods you choose, be sure you are consuming enough calcium, protein and other vital nutrients from dairy or nondairy sources. When choosing nondairy alternatives, particularly for consumption by children, be sure to read product labels and watch out for artificial ingredients and added sugar.

Due to the unique needs of their developing bodies, it is important to ensure your kids are getting the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, as well as sufficient amounts of high-quality fat and protein, on a daily basis.

Raw Milk: A Source of Superior Nutrition if You Can Tolerate Dairy

Nondairy alternatives aside for a moment, if you are able to tolerate milk, I highly recommend you drink raw milk from organic, grass fed cows. You are sure to enjoy the thick, creamy taste and the many beneficial nutrients raw milk provides, such as calcium, enzymes, omega-3s and probiotics.

The best raw, unpasteurized milk comes from healthy cows raised on open pasture where they are free from herbicides and other toxic chemicals known to negatively affect the quality and taste of the final product.

If you’re new to raw milk, you should note the appearance of grass fed organic milk is quite different from the milk you may have purchased from the grocery store. It usually has a yellowish color resulting from the carotenoids in the grass. It is one of the healthiest beverages around and far superior to the pasteurized variety. Most also agree it has a superior taste compared to pasteurized milk.

Final Thoughts from the Nation’s No. 1 ‘Health’ Agency

In the months ahead, the FDA has committed to addressing the “dairy versus nondairy” issue openly and thoroughly. The first public stakeholder meeting was held in July 2018.27 About the process, Gottlieb stated:28

“We will not be doing this in a vacuum. We’re going to have an active public process for reviewing our standard and how consumers understand the use of terms like ‘milk’ on both animal-derived and plant-based products.

We want to see if the nutritional characteristics and other differences between these products are well-understood by consumers when making dietary choices for themselves and their families.

We must better understand if consumers are being misled as a result of the way the term ‘milk’ is being applied and making less informed choices as a result.

At the FDA, we have a unique chance to empower individuals who are using nutrition to improve their health and the health of their families, and to leverage diet and nutrition as a tool for impacting the burden caused by chronic disease.”

The true test of the FDA’s commitment to the American public will only be seen in the action they take. If and when the FDA opens up the lines of communication for citizen input, I encourage you to share your opinions about nondairy alternatives. By speaking up and working together, we can continue to influence government agencies like the FDA.

 
 
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