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Chocolate Milk: Healthy or Harmful?

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As I kid, I loved staying over at my grandparents house. For one, grandparents have way less rules than parents and two, my grandma always had Chocolate Quick. Remember that? The chocolate syrup that was squeezable out of the bottle and mixed up to make the best chocolate milk or ice cream topping ever? It was a treat though. Always a treat!

As it should be.

All over the news recently were tales of the sweet, sweet victory that LA schools have banned flavoured milk. One very small point for our team.

"Officials" are concerned that this will now decrease the milk consumption in children. The obvious question is whether the concern is in regards to the health impact or the financial impact on the dairy industry?

When we consider "banning flavoured milk" or even the common health recommendation of avoiding dairy, the next inevitable question is in regards to getting enough calcium. But I believe that there is no single food every person must consume in order to get a certain nutrient. That is just silly.

For parents and milk advocates to say that their kids must have access to chocolate milk (complete with around six to 10 tsp of sugar) to help them get their full servings of milk a day, is about the equivalent of serving up carrot cake as if it counted as a serving of vegetables.

This flavoured milk issue should never have been an issue in the first place. In my opinion, the first thing to understand here is that milk is not a required food for health. In fact, I would argue that milk, in any form, does more harm than good for the majority of our population who are most certainly not suffering from any major macro nutrient (protein, carbs and fat) deficiency.

If milk was so important for bone health, then countries with the highest milk consumption should have the lowest rates of bone disease. What has actually been shown to be more accurate is that some countries with the highest milk consumption have the highest rates of osteoporosis. This can easily be attributed to two main reasons.

1. Milk, in its whole (and ideally raw) form is naturally high in some key nutrients including fat and vitamin D. Vitamin D, as we know is vitally important for bone health. Most people are drinking fat-free milk (and according to New York city school officials, about 60 per cent of the chocolate milk sold is fat free) which means they aren't even able to absorb the fat-soluble vitamin D in the milk -- let alone that when the fat is stripped out, so are the nutrients and therefore become fortified with synthetic (read: fake) versions of the original goodness.

2. Dairy (like refined sugar, flours, meat, coffee and alcohol) is acid forming in the body. Our body is happiest in a more alkaline state. One theory is that when we guzzle back our milk, we further the acidic environment of our insides and the body is all "no... help me" and so it starts to draw minerals (naturally alkalizing) from it's most potent sources... the bones! Makes sense right? Some say the more milk we drink, the more minerals we may actually be loosing from our bones and tissues.

Additionally throw six teaspoons of sugar into the mix (about the amount of sugar in a single serving of flavoured milk) and you're causing not only a greater acid imbalance in the body, but also further contributing to poor nutrient absorption, a weakening of the immune system, and even greater nutrient losses.

So maybe, just maybe, the banning of flavoured milks in schools will do more benefit for kids than just reducing their sugar intake. Maybe the decline in the consumption of skimmed, homogenized and heavily processed milk might also create a greater benefit than hindrance to their health.

But chocolate milk is delicious!

It sure is. So make your own!

Chocolate Milk Made Amazing

1 cup nut/seed milk of choice
2 Tbs raw cacao powder
1 Tbs cooked or soaked irish/sea moss (optional)
Sweeten to taste (we love our raw honey or coconut syrup)
1 tsp maca (optional)
1 tsp lucuma (optional)

Blend all ingredients together -- serve chilled or use warmed nut/seed milk for a hot chocolate experience.

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