Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

E-Z Gourmet Lactose-Free, Gluten-Free Cookies

E-Z Gourmet has just announced a crunchy line of wheat-free, gluten-free, lactose-free cookies to add to its original chewy cookies.

INTRODUCING... The latest addition to the E-Z Gourmet product line. The Crunchy is available in Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon, Chocolate, and Peanut Butter. Just like our Classic cookies, the Crunchy is made using our closely guarded mixing and preparation methods. Our preparation methods give you a cookie with texture, flavor, and all the health benefits of soy whether you prefer a snack that is soft or crunchy.

Some, if not all, of their cookies are also vegan or sugar-free (sweetened with Splenda) or have other healthy-sounding claims like no trans fat.

Chewy cookie flavors are Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Heavenly Peanut Butter, Marble Delight, Poppy Seed Pleasure, and Vanilla Chocolate Chip.

Each cookie package (about 11 cookies) is $4.49.

Contact Information:
La Vita Health Foods Inc.
Eli Minz

Bookmark and Share

Friday, June 29, 2007

Not All Vegans are Created Alike

While searching for examples of people who still claim that "sugar rots teeth" I ran across "Sugar: Leaving a Legacy of Dental Decay, Obesity, and Dysfunctional Immune Systems for our Children, by Michael Dye. Dye is not a fan of sugar. He's not much of a fan of science either, cherry-picking statements out of old books, quoting others with his biases against sugar, mangling digestion, and managing not to cite a single medical journal article.

I found the article on the site of Gerry and Ray Coffey, who are Hallelujah Diet Health Ministers.

Uh oh. That rang a bell. There is a vegan diet book called The Hallelujah Diet, written by George Malkmus. Malkmus also wrote God's Way to Ultimate Health: A Common Sense Guide for Eliminating Sickness through Nutrition. In that book, his co-author was... Michael Dye.

Malkmus is a believer. From the comments on his books at Amazon, he believes in an interpretation of verse 1:29 in Genesis:

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

This is taken to mean that Christians should eat only food and vegetables and that meat was not part of the diet until after Noah's flood.

I can't pretend to understand this interpretation, but it does lead to veganism for its believers.

Unfortunately, Malkmus' Hallelujah Diet goes much further. He has been accused of running an MMP, a multi-level marketing plan, to sell his BarleyMax powder. And what do his diet books tell you to eat to achieve weight loss? You guessed it. BarleyMax powder.

There has been one actual scientific study of The Hallelujah Diet. Food and Nutrient Intake of Hallelujah Vegetarians, Michael Donaldson, Nutrition and Food Science, 2001, Volume 31, Number 6.

This study can be found in full at the diet's website, Hallelujah Acres, at:

Why? The author, Michael S. Donaldson, is Director of Research, Hallelujah Acres Foundation, Salisbury, North Carolina, USA.

He finds, not surprisingly, that the diet can work. Why is also not surprising. It is an extremely calorie restricted diet. People who can continue on it are bound to lose weight. Donaldson does not examine whether people can continue on it. He just studies their food intake given on a food diary and analyzes that.

You have to read between the lines of his seemingly positive conclusion:
This dietary pattern, both in food choices
and timing of eating, allows people to adopt a
low calorie diet that is sufficient in most
nutrients with little effort in restricting the
amount of food eaten. This dietary pattern,
when implemented and supplemented
carefully, meets the criteria for calorie
restriction with adequate nutrition, which has
been shown in many species to increase the
average and maximum lifespan of animals, and
to reverse and prevent chronic degenerative
diseases (Weindruch and Walford, 1988). On
low energy diets great care must be taken to
ensure adequate nutrition; if energy intake is
too low (< 50 per cent of DRI) one is at risk of
seriously compromising their health.

Some modifications of this dietary pattern,
to provide vitamins B12 and D, and higher
intakes of iron, selenium, zinc and protein,
may be necessary for successful long-term
health. Regular consumption of nutritional
yeast would help ensure adequate nutrition
for this vegan population; 1.5 tablespoons of
Red Star nutritional yeast (16g) contains 8g of
protein, 8·g of cyanocobalamin, 0.5mg of
iron, 3mg of zinc, and 22·g of selenium. The
use of supplemental vitamin B12 and
supplemental vitamin D during the winter at
high latitudes would cover the most critical
deficiencies of this diet.

He also cites low energy, inadequate nutrients, and that a "compromised" metabolic Vitamin B function was found in 50% of those surveyed.

And that 58% of them ate some animal products. That's correct. Defying a diet based on a religious principle, 82 out of 144 studies found the need to add animal products to a vegan, raw food diet.

I support veganism. And vegetarianism. And meat-eating, for that matter. You can have a healthy diet with any variation of the three.

The more you restrict your diet, however, the more aware you must be of what you do eat and the more care you must take to ensure that you are not depriving your system of what it needs for health.

I absolutely cannot recommend the Hallelujah Diet. Sensible veganism requires more care, more attention, and less of a powder sold by the people who write the books.

Bookmark and Share

Eliminate Cavities with Lower Lactose

Presumably everybody has heard that sugar "rots your teeth." You can find this pretty easily on the internet.

They're wrong. A somewhat more modern explanation can be found in the paper, "Serum Calcium, Phosphate, Fluoride and Lactic Acid in Dental Caries." by Jawed M, Shahid SM, Zia-ul-Islam and Mahboob T. Shiraz E-Medical Journal, Vol. 7, No. 1, January 2006.

The authors make two points. Patients who had cavities (or caries, in dental jargon) had reduced levels of calcium, phosphate, and fluoride; and increased levels of lactic acid.

This suggests ways to reduce or eliminate cavities. Increase the calcium, phosphate or fluoride or decrease the lactic acid.

Addig fluorine to water certainly helps with the first.

Now a Florida dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Hillman, has patented a means of doing the second.

An article by Art Levy at talked about Dr. Hillman's work:

Working in his research lab in 1976, Dr. Jeffrey Hillman accidentally discovered a mutant strain of Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Unlike typical Streptococcus mutans, this strain was lactose-deficient, meaning that after it gorged on sugar, it didn’t produce copious amounts of lactose acid, the stuff that digs holes in tooth enamel.


After years of clinical trials, first on rats and now on people, Hillman’s treatment is moving closer to market. Called Replacement Therapy, it essentially replaces the Streptococcus mutans already in the mouth with a modified, lactose-deficient strain. “It may take six months to a year, but eventually our strain will kick out the disease-causing strain,” he says. “A one-time treatment can give lifetime protection.”

You might well wonder what "lactose acid" is. It's our old friend "lactic acid" misunderstood by someone lacking in basic science.

Dr. Hillman still needs FDA approval, so don't expect to pour bacteria into your mouth any time soon. And don't get grossed out by the idea of pouring bacteria into your mouth. You probably do that every day, but just call it probiotics, or even yogurt. Bacteria can be your friend if you only let them.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fabulous Fudge Factory Dairy-Free Confectionery

While I was on the Redwood Wholefood Company website, I found their Fudge Factory, "unique dairy free fudge from Devon."

Special recipe with soya milk to taste as good as full dairy fudge. How? Because it's made in Devon where confectioners understand fudge. A product to satisfy an increasing number of customers who are lactose intolerant as well as vegetarians and vegans who choose to avoid dairy produce and GMOs.

Dairy free fudge is a rare item, so I hope those of you looking for a small indulgence are aware of this treat.

Bookmark and Share

Redwood Wholefood Company Named Best Vegan Company

In the first ever Vegan Environmental Awards, the UK firm Redwood Wholefood Company was named Best Vegan Company.

An article in the Northampton Chronicle and Echo said that:

The awards, organised by vegan company Yaoh, were designed to recognise the unique positive contribution of the vegan lifestyle to the environment by focusing attention on some of the stars from the vegan community.

Thousands of British vegans voted for their favorites in the competition.

Redwood won because:

The company’s aim throughout its ten-year history has been to create innovative and inspirational meat-free foods that reflect the principles of veganism – namely health, compassion towards animals and concern for the environment.

The entire range of Redwood products are healthy and suitable for vegetarians, vegans and those with dietary needs – be it religious or medical.

Every product is free from lactose, cholesterol, hydrogenated fats and artificial colours or preservatives.

Redwood Foods are also available in Spain and in Australia.

As I try to point out, vegan foods are perfect for those who are lactose intolerant or want or need to avoid dairy for any other reason.

I'd tell you who else won Vegan Environmental Awards, but even though the awards were given out as far back as June 10th, their website still hasn't been updated. [!] Can anyone explain this?

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Foods that are dairy-free, or free of other potential allergens, are easier to get today in ordinary supermarkets than ever before.

Even so, not every supermarket has a wide selection of these foods, which often are produced by local or regional firms.

What about online? I just discovered is your one stop for finding kid-friendly help for your allergic child. Whether your child has food allergies, environmental allergies, or related conditions like eczema and asthma, we have allergy-safe food and candy, eczema-friendly skin and bath products, non-toxic home and laundry cleansers, medical equipment and gear, books and even toys to help your child deal with their allergies and start having fun being a kid again.

They have pages for various allergens, as well as a product grid if you need to find foods that are free of more than one.

The Dairy Food page is not terribly impressive, as it turns out. My website lists hundreds more products. The advantage of is that you can simply click on the product and order it.

Offline contact info:
SpotOn Products, Inc.
1595 Peachtree Parkway, Suite 204-175
Cumming, GA 30041

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Quest for Food

There are many books about eating, and a growing number on food. However, there are very few books that analyze why humans eat the way they do.

One of the few writers who make it his work to tackle this subject was Marvin Harris. I wrote a tribute to him and his books when he died. (The link for that other tribute site I mention on that page no longer works.) There have been few books since that emulated him.

While browsing at Amazon, though, I came across a new scientific text that looks to contain a fascinating look at the entire physiological and genetic processes of eating, from basic metabolism on up.

The book is The Quest for Food: A Natural History of Eating, by Harald Brüssow.

Book Description

The Quest for Food: A Natural History of Eating is a collection of essays that surveys eating through time, from the perspective of a biologist.

The quest begins in prehistoric times with religion and the exploration of the connection between food and sex. This leads to an investigation of the deep links between food and culture, exploring the basic question of "what is eating?" The second section embarks on a biochemistry-oriented journey tracing the path of a food molecule through the central carbon pathway until it is decomposed into CO2, H2O and ATP. The third section delves into the evolution of eating systems, beginning with the elements of the primordial soup through the birth of single cell organisms such as bacteria and archea. We then follow this evolution in the fourth section through higher developed organisms: from the first organisms in the ocean to the ones on land. The next two sections explore the stories of food from an ecological, then behavioral viewpoint, leading the reader from animals to early hominids, and into human history. The final section takes apart an anthropocentric view of the world by presenting man as prey for the oldest predators: microbes. The text closes with an agronomical outlook on how to feed the billions.

The goal of The Quest for Food is to catalyze discussions between scientists working in food science, and those in biological and biomedical research.

The Table of Content - which goes on for six pages! - is a marvel of interest.

I'm not sure if I'll ever get to read it. The cover price is a staggering $119.00. I'm trying to convince myself that it is as essential as it sounds. The fact is that much of the rot that is published about milk, dairy allergy, lactose intolerance, and for that matter all other health matters stems from their authors having a totally inadequate understanding of how food and digestion works.

I'm talking myself into buying it. The sacrifices I make!

Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 25, 2007

UK Quacks Winning the Game

I spend a lot of time complaining about the state of health reporting from the UK. See, just as the most recent example More Bad Info from the UK and especially take a look at the series of comments made.

I'm not alone. A huge controversy has erupted because an English professor's anti-quack blog was removed from the server of the University of London because of a complaint from the quack!

James Randi has a report in the June 15, 2007 issue of his SWIFT newsletter. A reader reported there:

I have come across the worst news of its kind I have encountered from the UK (lately, at least). Professor David Colquhoun has been ordered to remove his very informative and entertaining anti-quack site from the University College London server by the Provost at the request of Alan Lakin, husband of nutritionist Ann Walker. Colquhoun commented that "cleanser of the lymphatic system," a claim Walker made for red clover, was "meaningless gobbledygook." This was enough to get him kicked off.

Events have moved swiftly, pardon the pun. Colquhoun's DC's IMPROBABLE SCIENCE page has a new home and will soon be readmitted to the University's servers.

As Randi wrote, however:
And we highly recommend readers to read the Goldacre account, then go to this new website, but be prepared to spend an hour there just assessing the sad state of affairs in UK medicine as it competes with quackery.

Beware of any health claims made by any product that can't be backed up. Beware of health claims made for or against dairy that you might read in newspaper articles from those who have no idea what they're talking about. Fight the quacks. It may not be the most inspirational slogan ever devised, but it will do the world a world of good.

Bookmark and Share

Late Breaking News. Darwin Not Lactose Intolerant

You may not remember the kerfluffle in the news a couple of years ago when some researchers announced that they had determined that the cause of Charles Darwin's chronic illness was lactose intolerance. It was one of the first items I posted on the blog.

In a recent issue of Notes and records of the Royal Society of London, which I keep on the coffee table right next to US magazine, a pair of Chilean doctors [I'm not making any of this up] have concluded that he suffered from Crohn's Disease.

This explains his upper abdominal pain, his flatulence and vomiting, as well as his articular and neurological symptoms, his 'extreme fatigue', low fever and especially the chronic, relapsing course of his illness that evolved in bouts, did not affect his life expectancy and decreased with old age, and also the time of life at which it started. It apparently does not explain, however, many of his cutaneous symptoms.

They rule out lactose intolerance as a cause.

I'm so relieved.

The reference is Notes Rec R Soc Lond. 2007 Jan 22;61(1):23-9.

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Benecol Adds Tropical Fruit Flavored Soy Drinks

Benecol, the European giant of cholesterol-lowering margarine fame (see Functional Nondairy Makes Europe Healthier), has announced a soy drink that also says it lowers "bad" cholesterol.

The press release I found at says:

Responding to a customer need to produce a product suitable for over seven million people in the UK who are either lactose intolerant, or just wishing to avoid dairy for ethical or health reasons, Benecol have designed a dairy-free tropical drink.

Customers can enjoy just one healthy and nutritious mini bottle of Benecol Tropical Fruit & Soya Drink a day for a simple, delicious way to lower their cholesterol.

Only Benecol foods contain the unique active ingredient Plant Stanol Ester, which has been clinically proven to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 14% in over 30 scientific studies. All the products in the range contain this unique ingredient and just one bottle of Benecol Tropical Fruit & Soya Drink with a meal is enough to lower cholesterol to help maintain a healthy heart.

The benefits of the new Tropical Fruit & Soya Drink are:

- Low in saturated fat
- Lactose free
- Made from non-GM soya
- Suitable for vegetarians
- Just 30 Calories per drink
- Clinically proven to reduce cholesterol

The perfect choice for those looking for a dairy free cholesterol-lowering product.

Benecol was first launched in Finland in 1995, after a public health initiative to lower the nation’s cholesterol. After its pioneering success in Finland, Benecol became the first product of its kind available in the UK and Ireland in 1999 – maintaining a strong commitment to keeping hearts healthy. The Benecol range now includes tasty yogurts, yogurt drinks and spreads.

Some Benecol products have made their way to the US, so we'll have have to wait and see if and when these arrive.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, June 22, 2007

Soyatoo Nondairy Whipped Soy Topping

I recently discovered that Now and Zen, the maker of Hip Whip whipped topping, no longer seems to be in business.

While I was trying to discern that company's fate, I stumbled across a reference to a replacement item that sounds even better: Soyatoo!® Soy Whip™.

At the company's website, Soyatoo is described as:

»Real cream at last!« A dream come true for everyone who wants or has to avoid dairy products.

Soyatoo!® Soy Whip™ is the first completely vegetarian whipped cream. It behaves and tastes just like normal whipped cream, but it contains no milk or any other animal ingredients.

Soyatoo!® Soy Whip™:

▪ is 100 % vegan & free of cholesterol
▪ contains 40 % less fat than classic whipped cream
▪ is gluten free
▪ contains 0% trans fat and is heart-healthy
▪ is perfect with fruit, desserts & beverages
▪ has incredible flavor and texture and no soy bean taste
▪ comes in a practical spray can

Soyatoo!® Soy Whip™ is the culmination of creative know how of the company, which is based on twenty-five years of experience in soy products. Soyatoo!® Soy Whip™ is a significant step forward for non-dairy milk and cream alternatives.

Calling it "real cream" is one of my pet peeves, but I suppose if those of us who are lactose intolerant or dairy allergic think of it as resembling in taste and/or appearance real cream, it's acceptable puffery. But real should be reserved for real, darn it.

Ingredients are:
organic soy milk (water, soybeans), organic coconut oil, organic fractionated palm kernel oil, organic sugar-beet syrup, organic maltodextrin*, tartaric acid, carrageenan, sea salt, natural vanilla flavour // propellant: nitrous oxide

Soyatoo is available at specialty stores and at larger retailers like Whole Foods.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Enjoy Life Snacks

I do most of my weekly shopping at the flagship Wegman's Food Market, the store that all supermarkets want to grow up to be.

Yet somehow I didn't notice, until an article in the Elmira Star-Gazette pointed it out, that Wegman's is now carrying the Enjoy Life line of products.

Here's how they describe themselves in the press release:

Enjoy Life offers 19 products including soft-baked cookies, snack bars, granola, bagels, semi-sweet chocolate chips and trail mix that are specially made to be gluten-free and free of the eight most common allergens (no wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish or shellfish). They are also all natural, trans-fat free and made in a dedicated nut- and gluten-free bakery.

In addition, the company offers a helpful Food Allergy & Intolerance Survival Guide that consumers can download online at the company’s newly updated website,, or by calling 888-50-ENJOY.

Of course, they've been around since 2001 and can be found at many outlets, including Whole Foods Market (CA), New Seasons Market (OR), Sprouts Farmers Market (AZ, CA, TX), Clark's Nutrition (CA), Dillon's, Fry's, Kroger, King Sooper, & Smith's in addition to Wegmans.

Bookmark and Share

More Bad Info from the UK

I go away for a week and the world's press is full of articles with dubious information. Coincidence?

As always, the worst offender is to be found from the U.K. This one would be laugable if it weren't so infuriating.

This week dispenser of bad info is Nick Joshi in the Telegraph newspaper.

Here's the question he was asked:

I am 64 and was diagnosed as lactose intolerant three years ago. I have eliminated cow's milk from my diet but, on occasion, I'm still bloated and uncomfortable after eating, so I think the intolerance may be broader than diagnosed.

Two years ago I developed scalp psoriasis, which I find very difficult to control. Are the two conditions linked and is there anything else I should avoid?

I use soy products in place of cow's milk.

Looks straightforward. Gave up milk and replaced it with soy. Still has symptoms which are classic symptoms of an allergic response.

Diagnosis: soy allergy or some other food allergy, right?

Don't be silly.

He still thinks it's lactose intolerance. He does not mention the word allergy even in passing.

This is the unbelievable advice he gives.
Some studies suggest that lactose intolerance is associated with dermatological conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Cite them, please? Cow's milk protein allergy is associated with these symptoms but I know of no studies that says LI is.
Certain medications such as antibiotics, and even iron supplements, can reduce the body's ability to produce lactase, as can the natural ageing process.

Again, no. I know of no studies that says any medications or antibiotics can interfere with the ability to manufacture lactase. He's clearly confusing this with the known effect of antibiotics killing off the "good" bacteria in the colon that digest lactose, a completely different mechanism

Why does he spout this nonsense? Here's a possible clue.

Lactose may not be the only intolerance you have, and a holistic practitioner will be able to work out what kinds of foods your body dislikes.

There are qualified medical doctors who take a holistic approach to the body. This is sensible since the body is a series of interrelated systems.

However, whenever I see the words "holistic practitioner" on the internet, they always seem to be in the context of someone spouting horrendous misinformation about the human body. Be very cautious concerning any purported advice from holistic practitioners. See a qualified doctor instead.

And for pity's sake, stop sending health questions in to U.K. newspaper columnists. You'd be better off consulting a magic eight-ball.

Bookmark and Share

$3800 Mistake

When you're peddling a research report for the astounding price of $3800 you'd think you'd take the time to be sure your pitch has been proofread.

Not the Datamonitor people. Or perhaps the blame goes to the shoddy coders at Pharmaceutical Business Review Online.

Whichever. One of them is responsible for this:

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disease affecting 1020% of the total adult population...

Despite the substantial impact IBS can have on sufferers' well being, about 7080% of sufferers have not been formerly diagnosed.

Wow! No wonder those of us with IBS feel so lousy. We each have it ten times over.

And this in a report whose justification of its price is so that you can:
Quantify the key target segments of the IBS patient population across the seven major markets

Quantify your press releases first, please.

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Baby Formula Comparison Charts

There is no one right way to imitate mother's milk in a baby formula. And that's not even looking at the fundamental question of whether it is to be cow's milk-based, soy-based, or based on hydrolyzed proteins. A multitude of nutrients can be added and those in a variety of portions and amounts. The complexities are enormous and each family has to decide for themselves which combination works best for their child, and for their budget.

The Nature's One firm makes baby formulas. I don't know anything about them; this is not a recommendation or endorsement, nor do I have anything against them.

What I can say is that they feature a nutritional comparison page that offers charts in Abode's .pdf format that compare their formulas' nutrient composition against a number of other brand name formulas in the categories of dairy, soy, and organic formulas and oral electrolytes.

The charts look to be both comprehensive and informative. It may be useful to print them out and study them for guidance when you look into the question of formulas for your baby.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Breastfeeding: Any Time, Any Place, It's Still Good

Breastfeeding is a subject that seems to drive people insane. Despite my public stance of encouraging breastfeeding for any woman who is able to do so, I've been attacked by fanatics because I also give advice on formulas to women who can't or even won't breastfeed. For some women, breastfeeding is an absolute. All women should do it. I'm not sure what they're supposed to do with their baby if they can't. Give it for adoption, I suppose. This is apparently a position equivalent to that of abstinence for sex education. There is an enormous amount of proof that abstinence doesn't work as a policy, but that matters not to its advocates. Better to have a failed, unworkable, counterproductive policy than change one's mind.

Did you know that 38 U.S. states have laws stating that women have the basic right to breastfeed in public? I don't know why the other 12 don't. Perhaps it's too obvious for them to bother with.

Yet the fanatics persist. Breastfeeding, they say, is obscene. Horrid. Indecent. (Twenty-three states have exempted breastfeeding from any violation of their indecency laws.) A photo of actress Maggie Gyllenhaal breastfeeding her child started an uproar. Here's another photo of her doing so, less blurry than the original.

Are you properly shuddering in horror? Why not? You can clearly the entire side... of her baby's head.

Don't believe me that breastfeeding is sickening? Check out this letter from a woman - a woman, mind you - writing in to the Dear Amy advice column to say that:

I am as uncomfortable knowing that a woman is breastfeeding even if the mother is wearing a tent, as I would be with a couple groping each other with all their clothes on. It just isn't public entertainment.

Well, no, it isn't. It's a function vital to the health of babies. All children should be breastfed for at least the first six months. It doesn't happen. No more than about 30% of American women do so.

In a Newsweek article Karen Springen wrote:
Even formula makers say "breast is best." Nursing reduces a baby's risk of diarrhea, ear infections, urinary-tract infections and bacterial infections (and perhaps food allergies, obesity and diabetes). It also lowers a mom's risk of breast and ovarian cancer—and, since it burns 500 calories a day, helps her lose weight. And it's free, while formula costs about $1,500 a year.

Look, the human body is not obscene. Nudity by itself is nothing special. It can't harm anyone, even children. Breastfeeding was witnessed by children and adults for the first 99,900 of humanity's 100,000 years of existence without corrupting anyone, slowing down progress, disrupting morals and ethics, or contributing to blindness.

It is time to put these antiquated notions about the human body in the same cultural trashcan as putting coverings on piano legs so as not to offend someone's delicate sensibilities. Encouraging breastfeeding is as valuable and as productive as encouraging energy conservation. Sorry, I forgot that that's controversial too.

When American society gets into these fits of collective insanity, the only thing to do is shock it back to its senses. If you run into those who object to a mother's discreet breastfeeding of her child, shout "nipples" at them at the top of your lungs. See if they get the message.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 18, 2007

Basic Frozen Dessert Primer

It's over 90°F (32°C) in much of the country, so frozen treats are a must.

There are a million varieties and Terry Kay Bargar of the Andover Townsman breaks them down for us.

Homemade ice cream does not have to be difficult to make. Basically there are two forms — one with eggs (a custard base) and the other without eggs ("Philadelphia-style"). Add some sort of milk product (milk, cream, soy milk … the list is quite lengthy) and flavoring (vanilla, fruit, chocolate, herbs, etc.), chill in the fridge and then pour into your ice cream maker. This is the one caveat: you must own an ice-cream maker, either electric or hand-cranked. These machines spin the ingredients around, slowly begin the freezing process and thereby add air to the mixture, which turns cream into fluffy ice cream. Set the results in the freezer for a few hours to insure frozen firmness.

Ice milk simply is a lower-fat version of ice cream.

Gelato is Italian ice cream made from more egg yolks but less cream. Despite the ingredients, it contains less fat than its American counterpart and is generally denser and richer.

Frozen yogurt has the texture of ice cream but has active bacterial cultures and less fat.

Sherbet is a fruited ice cream made with low-fat milk, egg whites and fruit. Don't confuse it with sorbet, however, which contains no milk products | only fruit and sweetener and tastes tart. Back in Victorian times, and even at high-end restaurants today, you'll find sorbet served as a palate cleanser between courses.

Frozen custard is at every beach in America. Creamier and softer than ice cream, it's the perfect treat to eat between tanning and swimming.

Tofutti is made from, you guessed, tofu. It's not my dessert of choice, but for those who want a lactose-free treat then Tofutti is worth trying.

Granita is the one exception to the ice-cream maker necessity. Sweetened liquid, especially coffee, is frozen in a pan and scraped with the tines of a fork at regular intervals. It resembles snow but tastes much more flavorful!

Bookmark and Share

I Just Flew Home...

...and boy are my arms tired.

And my legs, and back, and sides, and torso, and brain. Traveling is hard, and my mattress was harder. Serious back pain.

So just a quickie tonight to get you started and more tomorrow as I go through the backlog.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sam's Club Announces Enfamil-Like Low-Lactose Baby Formula

A press release from Wal-Mart's giant Sam's Club announced that the warehouse club would market an exclusive low-lactose baby formula.

Baby formula company PBM Products, LLC, and Sam's Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. , and one of the nation's largest warehouse clubs, have introduced new Member's Mark® Gentle Infant Formula. Available exclusively at Sam's Club, the new formula is easier to digest than standard cow's milk-based formulas.

Babies react differently when trying standard infant formulas. Many experience reactions to these formulas that may include general fussiness during or after feeding, gas, or bloating. Health-care professionals often advise parents to switch to a different type of formula. In the past, these recommendations may have included switching to a lactose-free, cow's milk protein-based formula or a soy formula.

Now, Member's Mark offers a "gentle" formula that contains partially broken down whey protein and one-fourth the lactose in standard formulas. Member's Mark Gentle offers the benefits of the recommended protein source of cow's milk without sacrificing all the lactose, a carbohydrate that occurs naturally in breast milk. The new formula contains other nutrients found in mother's milk, including choline, DHA, and ARA, key nutrients associated with infant mental and visual development.


Member's Mark Gentle:

• Is fortified with iron and contains all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients required for a healthy baby's first year

• Is enriched with 17 mg of DHA and 34 mg of ARA per 100 Calories- the same levels as Enfamil® Gentlease™ LIPIL® -- at a savings of up to 50 percent*

• Is manufactured to exacting FDA standards in the only ISO 9001:2000- certified, infant formula-manufacturing facility in the United States


*More information and a savings calculator are available at the newly designed Web site,

Seems to be a mighty narrow market niche to me, but then what is Sam's Club for but to find narrow market niches that other retailers can't afford to serve.

Speaking of which, if you don't belong to a Sam's Club but you like the sound of this formula, you should out Enfamil® Gentlease™ LIPIL®, the original they are obviously trying to match.

Bookmark and Share

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Blog

One of the Gaggle of Girls on the North Shore has a family with gluten and casein allergy issues.

She's just posted part 1 in a series: "Starting to eat a Restricted Diet."

If you are just starting a restricted diet, everything looks overwhelming. That’s why most people suggest following a simple diet - protein, starch, vegetable, fruit. Roasted chicken served with sweet potato and roasted vegetables is safe for most restricted diets (drizzle olive oil & kosher salt on the chicken & vegetables), as is a grilled steak, salad, and hand-cut steak fries. For a vegetarian option, a nice lentil soup or tofu stir fry (watch out for wheat in the soy sauce, though!) is also easy and safe for most restricted diets.


Most food can be made safe for your diet - you just have to try.

Bookmark and Share


Hey, folks. I'm taking a few days off for vacation. I don't know how much time, if any, I'll have at a computer so I'll probably miss a few day's posting.

I'll be back next week for sure. In the meantime, here are a few tidbits to tide you over.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 11, 2007

No Likelihood of Reactions from Whey-Based Distillates

The European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) has a series of standards in place, much like the U.S. labelling laws, that require listing the presence of possible allergens in food. However, they left an out for manufacturers. Derivatives made from ingredients required to be listed won a temporary exemption from labeling if they had not been scientifically established to cause adverse reactions. That temporary exemption expires in November of 2007.

Medical studies had to be submitted if the exemption was to be allowed to be permanent. The EFSA was charged with conducting those studies.

An article by Jess Halliday on details the results of those studies.

Of importance to us are the following results:

EFSA said that although the analytical evidence was derived from experiments predominantly using almonds, the panel deemed an allergic reaction to be "unlikely", on the grounds that during a properly controlled distillation process proteins and peptides are not carried over into the distillate at levels over 1mg/litre.

A similar opinion was handed down for distillates made from milk-derived whey - such as gin, pastis, ouzo, anis, vodka and other spirits - since proteins and peptides are not seen to be carried over into the distillate at levels above 0.5mg/litre and lactose was not seen to be carried over at levels above 0.4mg/litre.

... [And] the Association des Amidonneries de Céréales (AAC) received the "unlikely" verdict on its two submissions on wheat starch hydrolysates, one of which concerned maltodextrins in coelic disease and wheat allergy, and the other the potential effects of wheat-based glucose syrups in celiac disease and wheat allergy.

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, June 10, 2007

More UK Dairy Allergy Nonsense

What is it with the Brits? I've posted several articles that quote British "nutritionists" making overblown or just plain loony claims about milk and dairy allergy. Like No Wonder the English Need Dentists. Or How Sick Are You, Brits?. Or Goat's Milk for Lactose Intolerants? No.

You won't, therefore, be surprised that I've found another bad example.

Not the article itself by Lucy Stephens in the York Press. The reporter, as usual, was just quoting the experts, getting "both sides" of the story.

The pro-milk side was normal and mostly correct.

Dr Sarah Elton, a senior anatomy lecturer at Hull York Medical School, agrees that milk gets a bad press which it does not deserve. ...

"My take on this is that all this celebrity stuff: I'm not taking in milk and wheat' - a lot of it is probably rubbish," says Dr Elton. ...

"In those of European extraction, there's only a small proportion - about three per cent - who don't have the ability to digest milk.

And Stephens also writes, correctly, that:
* Lactose intolerance is not the same as a milk allergy

* It is estimated that between two and three per cent of UK infants are allergic to milk. Most will outgrow the problem by the time they are three. According to the Diary Council, that means only between 0.1 and 0.5 per cent of adults are actually allergic to milk

Now, contrast that to what the anti-milk "nutritionist" says:
But Azizah Clayton, a York-based nutritionist, maintains that diary products are still one of the top four allergens that we eat.

She agrees that while an intolerance to lactose is rare, many more people are intolerant to Casein - a protein in cow's milk.

This can flare up in young children if they were given cow's milk when their digestive systems have not developed enough, she says.

It might also be the case that we simply consume too much milk. "If we over-consume, we develop an intolerance to it," she says

Four points.

1) Yes, dairy is one of the top four allergens. But overall allergies are still an extremely low percentage of the population.

2) More people are allergy to casein than have lactose intolerance? That's nuts, even in Britain. And it totally conflicts with the percentages given in the article, so you don't have to look hard to see how nuts that is.

3) Yes, children are more likely to develop allergies if given cow's milk early rather than being breastfed. Even so, it remains a small percentage of children and a much smaller percentage of adults.

4) Over-consumption of milk will give us an intolerance? That's crackpottery.

Read half the article, folks. Treat the part from Azizah Clayton like the equivalent of an Internet virus and purge it from memory.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, June 08, 2007

Bestselling Vegan Books

The website has a Bookstore. And it's compiled its top ten bestsellers.

1. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health, by T. Colin Campbell with Thomas M. Campbell

2. Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

3. Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money, by Erik Marcus

4. Vive Le Vegan! Simple, Delectable Recipes For The Everyday Vegan Family, by Dreena Burton

5. Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World, by Bob Torres & Jenna Torres

6. Vegan Planet: 400 Irresistible Recipes with Fantastic Flavors from Home and Around the World, by Robin Robertson

7. Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet, by Brenda Davis & Vesanto Melina

8. Vegan World Fusion Cuisine: Over 200 Award-Winning Recipes, Second Edition, by Mark Reinfeld & Bo Rinaldi

9. La Dolce Vegan! Vegan Livin' Made Easy, by Sarah Kramer

10. Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating, Revised Edition, by Erik Marcus

Most of these books are also available through my Milk-Free Bookstore on the Vegan Books and Cookbooks page.

If not, they'll be there soon.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Organic Hempmilk. And It's Canadian!

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods and Oils has introduced Hemp Bliss, what they're calling "the world's first certified organic hempmilk."

An article by Jean LaMantia, a registered dietitian at the Adelaide Health Clinic, in the Toronto Star adds some details.

Ingredients: Filtered water, organic hemp seeds, organic evaporated cane juice, xanthan gum; vanilla flavour has organic vanilla, and chocolate flavour has organic fair trade cocoa powder and organic chocolate flavour.

Nutritional breakdown: 110 calories per 250 ml (1 cup); 7 g carbohydrate (1 g fibre, 6g sugar); 5 g protein; 7 g fat (0.7 g saturated, 0 g trans, 1.2 g omega-3, 4g omega-6); vanilla and chocolate flavours have a higher carbohydrate level at 14 g (13 g sugar) and 16 g (15 g sugar), respectively.


According to Luther Chell, business development manager for Manitoba Harvest, the fact that the hemp beverage is non-fortified is a big selling point for its consumers. In addition, Hemp Bliss has the highest level of omega-3 fat compared with milk and non-dairy beverages.

The price is C$4.99 for a 32 oz. container. You can check on the Manitoba Harvest web site for a list of the stores that sell their products in the U.S., though.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 04, 2007

Dairy Allergies Damage Parents Too

Act Against Allergy sent out a press release titled Cows' milk allergy in infants causes considerable distress to entire family.

Here's some of what it said:

Cows' milk allergy (CMA) has considerable negative effects on the family unit, as exposed by findings from an international survey. In addition to coping with the disturbing physical effects of the condition on the child (including vomiting, diarrhoea, failure to thrive and eczema), 70% of parents of children with CMA said that it makes them feel guilty and distressed and 82% said that it has caused them to lose sleep.1


Dr Martin Brueton, an Act Against Allergy Advisory Board Member and Emeritus Paediatric Gastroenterologist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK, commented: "Having a child with cows' milk allergy can be very stressful for parents. The average baby with cows' milk allergy may suffer from an array of symptoms, from skin rashes to gastric problems, cries a lot and often shows problems with weight gain. Parents feel helpless as the instinct to feed their infant even more milk - usually the infant's sole food source - compounds rather than solves the problem. Until the child is properly diagnosed and put onto a suitable milk substitute, the impact on the parents and the family as a whole is considerable."

In the survey, commissioned by Act Against Allergy, further impact on family life was revealed. As a direct result of having a child with CMA, half (49%) the respondents have missed work, over a third (38%) have argued with their partner and 39% said the lives of other children in the family have also been disrupted.1

(1) Telephone Survey among 1,000 European Parents of Children Aged 0-3 Years and 505 healthcare professionals (HCPs), spread equally across the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. KRC Research, November/December 2005

More specific findings of that survey include:
▪ 82% of parents say that their child's CMA has caused them to lose sleep.

▪ 70% of parents say their child's CMA makes them feel guilty.

▪ Half (49%) of parents say they have had to miss work because of their child's allergy.

▪ Half (49%) say their child failed to thrive as a result of CMA.

▪ 39% say the lives of other children in the family have also been disrupted.

▪ 38% claim that CMA has caused arguments with their partners.

Who is Act Against Allergy?
Act Against Allergy is an interactive communications programme designed to increase the awareness of cows' milk allergy in infants, spearheaded by an International Taskforce of experts in the field and sponsored by SHS International.

The Act Against Allergy website is and features a wealth of information on CMA, including interactive tools for parents such as an online clinical diary to track their child's progress, a forum to share experiences with other CMA parents and an 'Ask the Expert' section enabling direct interaction with the Chair of the Act Against Allergy taskforce.

I checked the site out. It is actually sponsored by the makers of Neocate Infant Formula and other specialty formulas for babies who cannot have milk- or soy-based formulas because of allergies. Even though it is a commercial site, it appears to have solid, reasonable information, without especial biases. You can also ask questions in their forums about your individual problems.

They are correct about lactose intolerance, something that also impresses me, since that's rare.
Lactose intolerance is a popular but not-evidence based diagnosis in crying babies, but primary lactose intolerance at this age is almost non-existing, and secondary lactose intolerance is at this age very transient and related to infectious GE or caused by CMA as primary factor.

You should check them out and decide for yourself.

Just a small point. I don't mind reading press releases. (You should never have to. Only trained professionals can put themselves through that agony.) I know enough to throw out the hype and keep just the parts that actually offer some useful information. They are not easy to write. I know. I've done many myself. But putting a completed press release out to the public shouldn't be that tough.

Yet, apparently it's too tough a job for the supposed professionals. The one at EurekAlert was so curtailed that it left off half the release, including all the footnotes. Even so, the morons kept the footnote numbers in the text, inviting you to search all over for something that wasn't there. The one I quoted was from ANP Pers Support, which is a joint venture of ANP and PR Newswire. Their release was complete. Almost. They managed to leave out all the % signs from the entire survey, making it almost unintelligible.

Hey, Act Against Allergy. Get your money back!

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, June 03, 2007

American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations

To get the consensus of what pediatricians think are the optimum policies for children with lactose intolerance, the Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) periodically issues a policy paper.

A couple of these policies were revised in 2006. They are much too long to repeat or even summarize here, but I can give you the links to the full documents and their concluding points.

Lactose Intolerance in Infants, Children, and Adolescents, by Melvin B. Heyman, MD, MPH for the Committee on Nutrition.

PEDIATRICS Vol. 118 No. 3 September 2006, pp. 1279-1286 (doi:10.1542/peds.2006-1721)

This policy is a revision of the policy posted on August 1, 1978.


1) Lactose intolerance is a common cause of abdominal pain in older children and teenagers.

2) Lactose intolerance attributable to primary lactase deficiency is uncommon before 2 to 3 years of age in all populations; when lactose malabsorption becomes apparent before 2 to 3 years of age, other etiologies must be sought.

3) Evaluation for lactose intolerance can be achieved relatively easily by dietary elimination and challenge. More-formal testing is usually noninvasive, typically with fecal pH in the presence of watery diarrhea and hydrogen breath testing.

4) If lactose-free diets are used for treatment of lactose intolerance, the diets should include a good source of calcium and/or calcium supplementation to meet daily recommended intake levels.

5) Treatment of lactose intolerance by elimination of milk and other dairy products is not usually necessary given newer approaches to lactose intolerance, including the use of partially digested products (such as yogurts, cheeses, products containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, and pretreated milks). Evidence that avoidance of dairy products may lead to inadequate calcium intake and consequent suboptimal bone mineralization makes these important as alternatives to milk. Dairy products remain principle sources of protein and other nutrients that are essential for growth in children.

Optimizing Bone Health and Calcium Intakes of Infants, Children, and Adolescents, by Frank R. Greer, MD, Nancy F. Krebs, MD Committee on Nutrition

PEDIATRICS Vol. 117 No. 2 February 2006, pp. 578-585 (doi:10.1542/peds.2005-2822)

This policy is a revision of the policy posted on November 1, 1999.
Summary of Key Points

1) Pediatricians can actively promote bone health and support the goal of achieving adequate calcium intakes by children and adolescents by promoting the recommended adequate intakes of the Food and Nutrition Board of the NAS4 (Table 1). The prevention of future osteoporosis and the possibility of a decreased risk of fractures in childhood and adolescence should be discussed with patients and families as potential benefits for achieving these goals.

2) Physical activity, primarily weight-bearing exercise, is encouraged as part of an overall healthy bone program.

3) Currently, the average dietary intake of calcium by children and adolescents (Fig 1) is well below the recommended levels of adequate intake (Table 1). Information regarding calcium content of various foods should be given to patients and families for whom calcium intake seems inadequate. A registered dietitian may be consulted for a more thorough assessment of diet and to make the necessary recommendations to improve calcium.

4) Inadequate calcium intake by the child or adolescent is a family issue. Adequate intake of dietary calcium should be encouraged for all family members (Table 1).

5) In the office setting, calcium intake can be assessed periodically with a simple questionnaire. Suggested ages for screening are 2 to 3 years of age, after the transition from human milk or formula; 8 to 9 years of age during preadolescence; and again during adolescence, when the peak rate of bone mass accretion occurs. Targeted questions are suggested (see Table 3) to assess calcium intake, general diet, and lifestyle practices relevant to bone health.

6) The most common sources of calcium in the Western diet are milk and other dairy products. Whole milk is not recommended until after 12 months of age, although yogurt and cheese can be introduced after 6 months. Low-fat dairy products including skim milk and low-fat yogurts are good sources of calcium. Nondairy calcium-rich foods are the next preferred source, although the calcium in soy products has low bioavailability. Calcium supplements are another alternative source, but these products do not offer the benefits of other associated nutrients, and compliance may be a problem. Most people can achieve the recommended dietary intake of calcium by eating 3 age-appropriate servings of dairy products per day (4 servings per day for adolescents) or the equivalent.

7) The diet of all infants (including those who are breastfeeding), children, and adolescents should include the recommended adequate intakes of vitamin D (200 IU [5.0 µg] or 500 mL of vitamin D–fortified formula or milk per day) as well as fruits and vegetables that are sources of potassium and bicarbonate, which may improve calcium retention.

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Carbonated Yogurt?

Science has always progressed by surprises. Fleming discovered mold that prevented bacteria from growing, which led to penicillin. Geiger beamed alpha particles at atoms and when they started bouncing back that Rutherford called it "almost as incredible as if you had fired a 15 inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit you," thereby discovering the atomic nucleus.

Now we have Kaufman and carbonated fruit.

That too was a scientific accident according to Greg Bolitho's article on

What has become a growing fad in the food industry began by accident 13 years ago when Galen Kaufman, a neurobiologist, bit into a pear aboard his boat off Galveston, Texas. The pear had been locked overnight in a cooler of dry ice. "The dry ice had become carbon dioxide gas and soaked into the pears," said Kaufman. "I realized this was an opportunity, maybe even a responsibility, to share this with the world."

The world hasn't had much of a chance to thank him yet, although Fizzy Fruit can be found in "15 southwestern Wal-Marts, Bi-Low stores in four states, and 7-11 outlets across Texas."
"We can now see carbonation as a new spice," said Kauffman. "[Carbon dioxide] jump-starts your taste buds and makes the flavor stronger. ... You get all the benefits of fresh fruit, with a little more fun."

Other carbonated food ideas are percolating, from "sparkling yogurt" to tongue-tingling seasonings meant to jazz up vegetables. All use complex carbonation processes but few complex additives. Health experts welcome innovations that encourage children, in particular, to consume more fruits and vegetables. "Whatever gets kids to eat more fruits and veggies I'm for," said consultant, dietitian and former USDA official Tracy Fox. "There are so many [unhealthy] things out there and such a great need."

And same with getting more calcium into kids, so if the carbonated yogurt idea takes off it may may regular yogurt, rather than the super-sweet sugar pastes now directed at kids, a better seller.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, June 01, 2007

One to Three Pints of Gas a Day - And Not in Your Car

Everybody knows that one of the symptoms of lactose intolerance is gas. Lots of gas. Foul, smelly gas. Noisome gas, for those who know the proper meaning of the term.

The gas is produced when undigested lactose is fermented in the intestines by the bacteria that naturally live there.

An article from by their chief medical adviser Dr. Martin M. Lipman tells us more:

The average person produces one to three pints of gas per day and eliminates it in 14 to 23 passes, some while asleep. More than 99 percent of this gas mixture is odorless, and consists of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and oxygen, which we inadvertently swallow when we eat, drink carbonated beverages, chew gum, or smoke. Some carbon dioxide is made in the stomach.

In addition, the normal bacterial population of our colon (large bowel) produces a tiny amount of hydrogen gas and methane by fermenting the carbohydrates left over from the small intestinal digestive process and forming hydrogen sulfide (like the smell of rotten eggs), methanethiol (like the smell of decomposing vegetables), and dimethyl sulfide (a heavy sweetish odor). In fact, less than 1 percent of the gas we produce accounts for all of the odor.

Passing that gas mixture causes the anal sphincter to vibrate, producing a veritable symphony of sounds depending on the force with which the gas is expelled and the resistance of the sphincter. Who can forget that rousing campfire scene from Mel Brooks' 1974 masterpiece, "Blazing Saddles"?

When excess gas occurs alongside nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or involuntary weight loss, the need to see a physician is obvious. But by and large, gas as an isolated complaint is rarely due to a serious disorder. When a patient comes to me complaining about excess gas, a careful history, a physical exam, and a few well-chosen laboratory tests can rule out those few, more notable, causes: irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, celiac disease, or gastroesophageal reflux disorder. In the vast majority of cases, flatulence indicates nothing more than that the patient is alive and eating a healthy diet.

Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do to eliminate gas once it's already begun. Far better to remember to take lactase pills at the first bite of dairy and not feel sorry later.

Bookmark and Share