Saturday, May 12, 2012

Got Milk?

When I find better nutrition, I like to share it with the world, so others can benefit from my experience. Recently I've found something I think adds a lot of benefit. Horizon organic milk/s with DHA Omega-3.

Milk is the 2nd best natural source of protein, after egg-whites, and being animal proteins, they reduce recovery times after hard riding - according to Joe Friel's book Paleo Diet for Athletes.

Specifically, they contain branched-chain amino acids, which are unique to animal proteins. And yes, I have been eating more eggs too. Eggs contain a substance that prevents their cholesterol from being absorbed into your bloodstream. This explains why someone who ate 25 soft-boiled eggs a day for 15 years had normal cholesterol levels. You didn't think egg research funded by cereal companies was going to admit that, did you?

The Journal of Nutrition did their own study. Same cholesterol result, but they also found eggs imparted significant levels of lutein and zeaxanthin to the human body, in part, because of a much higher bio-availability than plant sources. These micro-nutrients help protect your eyes from sun damage attendant with outdoor sports.

(Paleo shuns milk - because cows are too big to milk...rolleyes. Heard of goats? For an excellent discussion of Paleo's underpinnings, read this wonderful research piece (pdf file) by people who would rather find things out than make assumptions. Fascinating!)

For those interested, here is a great academic presentation of how cholesterol is metabolized in the human body. The bottom line is, for healthy people dietary cholesterol is NOT a concern.  Eat all the eggs, milk and animal protein you want, but remember to steer clear of saturated fats, and above all, trans - aka hydrogenated - fats.

About 6 months ago I started buying Horizon whole milk to put in my coffee. I call whole milk "spice milk", because I use it exclusively like a spice, in my dark, Italian Roast coffee  - until recently that is. For the most part, I drink only skim milk.

In addition to a RBBB, which impairs my heart function somewhat, I'm at an age where I sometimes walk into a room and can't remember why I'm there. Horizon's plant-based DHA (Omega-3) from algae seemed worth a try, even though it's $5 a half-gallon.

After about 4 months I started to notice a couple of things. First, even when riding in Zone 5, my chest pains were non-existent, or minimal. Second,  I haven't walked into a room and wondered why so far this year, and I have stopped taking CoEnzyme Q10 for my heart, so I think the DHA is helping a lot.

In addition to the DHA, and being organic, I've noticed the milk is sweeter, and based on the nutritional info printed on the carton, it has more sugar (lactose), and about 20% more protein than regular milk.

Because my "spice milk" use restricts my intake, I've been looking for ways to incorporate more Horizon milk into my diet, and I've done that in 2 ways.
First, I've started to use their chocolate milk as an intermediate recovery food, which I drink after 15-20 minutes, favoring faster carbs for initial recovery to prevent catabolic muscle destruction. They sweeten the chocolate milk with sugar, not HFCS, and chocolate is an excellent anti-oxidant.

Official USDA Antioxidant food list by typical portion size.
Look how potent spices are by weight. Any wonder the spice trade flourished? Europeans must have realized they were receiving huge benefits from what were then exotic spices.
I'm not sure how much chocolate is in the milk, but there's none in most ride fuels, so in addition to dark chocolate I eat in deep recovery, like Newman's Own excellent Organic 50% Chocolate, whatever chocolate Horizon uses is welcome.

Second, I've noticed that using their whole milk on Raisin Bran as a midnight snack, kills my craving for ice cream, and is much healthier. I think ice cream gets a bad rap, and think cyclists don't eat enough fat in deep recovery, but this is a healthier way to get your fat.

The DHA Omega-3s don't come with nasty side-effects, like mercury poisoning, and raisin bran is low on the glycemic index. It also has the non-soluble fiber you need to 'take out the trash" in the morning, so you get rid of toxins from metabolizing ride fuels.

Just a reminder, May is Bike Month. See you out there!