Special/Signature Issues » Belle

Spilled Milk

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My journey to Richmond, where my mother and sister live, began many years ago. As a nationwide health educator, I did not begin my career in the health field. My family's health (or lack of it) started me on this path.

It's been a difficult road: My beloved daddy died of a massive heart attack at age 58 when I was four months pregnant with my first child. My 51-year-old brother has just been put on a liver-transplant list; my 37-year-old sister weighs more than 250 pounds and has type II diabetes; my mother has emphysema; and my other sister is overweight and has other health concerns. Further, my son was diagnosed with ADHD years ago, and I've lost many friends and loved ones to cancer and heart disease.

I became frustrated because many of these diseases are preventable or directly attributed to poor dietary and lifestyle decisions. Everyone's choices will affect their health and longevity, and I wanted to help them make the right choices. So I went back to school. Knowledge is power and I love sharing knowledge.

It's my goal to give you the most up-to-date health and nutrition information. Some of what you might read here may contradict what you've heard or been taught. On our journey, I hope to shed some light on nutrition research, who's funding it and how it gets reported.



Why Milk Isn't the Answer

The high rate of osteoporosis in the United States has more to do with excessive consumption of animal protein (i.e., meat, dairy), along with a sedentary lifestyle and tobacco and alcohol use, than with any deficiency of cow's milk or calcium supplements.

Acidic animal protein leads to urinary excretion of calcium and the consequential loss of calcium from the bone. In a 12-year Harvard study of 78,000 women, those who regularly consumed three glasses of milk per day broke more bones than those who rarely drank milk.

Calcium supplements are not always your best bet either. Recent reports show only about 6-10 percent of calcium supplements are actually used by the body. That's only about 60-100 milligrams from a 1000-milligram pill.

You can get more bio-available calcium (calcium that's absorbed in the bloodstream and used by the body) from plants, especially green leafy vegetables, kale and broccoli. A plant-based diet yields more bio-available nutrients, including calcium, because there are thousands of nutrients called phytochemicals in plants that act synergistically.

Based on my research, I personally do not recommend dairy to anyone. If you choose to eat it, please go organic, because it has fewer contaminants, antibiotics, pesticides and the like.

You also need adequate vitamin D to assist in the bio-availability and utilization of calcium, and it's best obtained from limited unfiltered sunlight. (I can hear dermatologists shrieking!) You also need moderate exercise to keep the calcium in the bone. So don't fall into the trap of thinking that calcium supplements or increased dairy intake will correct poor dietary and lifestyle choices that lead to bone loss and calcium drain.



Did you know:

-70 percent of the U.S. population is overweight or obese?

-1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer?

-95 percent of cancer is caused by environmental and/or diet and lifestyle choices, while only 5 percent is genetic?

-40 percent of the time, the first symptom of heart disease is instant death?

-Type II diabetes is reaching epidemic rates and is a disease of dietary excess?

-Degenerative diseases are being diagnosed in younger populations?

-By the age of 12, 70 percent of our children have the beginning stages of hardening of the arteries?

-Dietary and lifestyle choices play a major role in genetic expression?

-You are what you eat?



Have a question for Tami? E-mail her at belle@styleweekly.com.



A Richmond resident, nationally recognized as The Queen of Health, Tami Hulcher is a health educator, mother of three, and president and CEO of Ola Loa, Inc. Tami is available for lectures for businesses, schools, support groups, government and civic committees. For more information, call 323-3222 or visit www.thequeenofhealth.com.

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