Milk…it does the body good!

Milk and milk products are a gift to the person with Hemochromatosis!

Milk! It does the body good! Or does it?

Yes. Milk is an amazing addition to our American diet! It is especially helpful for those with hemochromatosis as calcium blocks iron absorption. And it tastes SO good in its various forms of ice-cream, frozen yogurt, kefir, buttermilk and SO much more! If you can enjoy milk and milk products, do it! Those with high cholesterol, low iron or lactose intolerance have my sympathy because they cannot take advantage of this wonder food. In fact, I have a little story to tell about lactose intolerance at the extreme end of the spectrum.

In my home-village of Djibanar, around 1963 I watched a newly formed non-profit organization unload a jeep full of canned pork and beans and bags of powdered milk onto my parents’ porch. This was also the location of mom’s daily clinic. Though the pork and beans went untouched, the bags of powdered milk rapidly disappeared, packed on the heads of women whose backs held babies in bamburungos. And the village hugely enjoyed this addition to their menu of rice, peanuts, fish, millet, manioc and kutcha.

They carried the milk on their heads and the babies in bamburungos on their backs  Photo author: by Adam Rogers from Washington, USA

That is, until something very sad was noticed. The babies in the village were being brought to Madame Mac – the village medic who was also my mom. But the infants were in very poor condition. They were losing weight, vomiting, had diarrhea and were dehydrated. One baby, only a month old died. At that point, my mom began to investigate and found that the entire village of Djibanar had never had free access to milk or milk products, except for what their mothers supplied at birth, and only the more mature villagers were able to assimilate the lactose.

Upon this discovery, Madame and Monsieur Mac galvanized into action, hastily assigning us to our nanny as they left in the old 1957 lorry to gather up the village’s powdered milk supplies. Each family was counseled and advised to use the leaves of the moringa tree as a tea to restore the mothers’ milk supply and thus, the infants to back to good health… that is if their mothers’ milk had dried up due to not nursing any more. It was a slow, but steady recovery and one that I remember to this very day.

But, on the upside, I have another anecdote where milk saved the day for my eighteen-year-old daughter!

I noticed after her year of chemotherapy and radiation that my daughter was drinking every bit of cream she could find. So inspired by the conviction that her body knew best what it needed, we bought a milk cow and began to milk it. Needless to say, she would skim all the cream and drink it straight every morning -cups and cups of it!

And it worked!

She began to regain her color, and started to remember her previously forgotten elementary and secondary educational skills.

Curious, I researched and discovered that the brain is primarily fed with fat! At that time, it was thought that “chemo-fog” was due to what is sometimes referred to as chemo-erosion of the myelin sheaths in the brain.

Today, my daughter is healthy and a nurse-practitioner. And a partial thanks goes to Suzie, our cow!                           Photo author: Kim Hansen – Own work, CC by SA 3.


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