Get your dairy, but lose the lactose

by Patti Regehr

There is some debate about the role of dairy in the diet and, indeed, there are a growing number of  people who avoid it completely for both health and humanitarian reasons. Still dairy plays in important role in many people’s diets and there is evidence that –when used moderately — it can help in weight control and provide vital nutrients.

One common problem with dairy is the presence of lactose, which is a sugar that is found in most milk products.  As it turns out, most mammals become lactose intolerant after weaning (humans are the only animal that drinks dairy other than “mother’s milk”) and many humans also have some inabilities to fully digest lactose.

According to the National Institutes of Health National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse,  most people with lactose intolerance “can tolerate some amount of lactose in their diet,” but as we age, we often find ourselves having problems handling lactose. Some populations are more susceptible, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, and Asian Americans.  Symptoms of lactose intolerance include abdominal pain, bloating, gas diarrhea and nausea.

Green Valley Organics lactose free kefi

The good news is that there are now plenty of lactose free dairy products, including an excellent line of yogurt, kefir and sour creme from  Green Valley Organics. All of the products sold under this brand are said to be lactose free. The company sent me some samples of its yogurts and kefirs which my husband and I put on our breakfast cereal nearly every morning.  Their lactose free kefir — which is delicious — is also gluten free and Kosher certified. The company’s yogurt (also Kosher and gluten free) is probiotic with “10 live and active cultures,” according to the company.

Green Value Organics is from Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery that also makes a line of goat cheeses, yogurt and kefir. The owner is Jennifer Lynn Bice who’s family has been in the goat dairy business since 1968. The company, which is based in Sebastopol, California  employs 45 people and is committed to being both socially and enviornmentally responsible.  Its milking parlor is run with solar powered hot water, its manure and hay terms are composted and used for vegetable gardens and, where possible, its reclaimed water is used for cleaning.

No Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

The company does “not support the concept of GMOs in food,” and pledges to “never knowingly use ingredients that contain GMOs.”

And, if you’re curious about how to milk a goat, check out this video from Redwood Hill Farm.

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