Whole Foods vs. Tweaked Foods

Cookbook, grocery store in Echo Park

The enticing photos in the NY Times of this Los Angeles market had me studying and identifying every item, as if I were playing “Where is Waldo?”  We will have to go check it out in person on one of our field trip/adventures. I see they carry Straus milk in glass bottles (they were the first organic dairy west of the Mississippi).  You can read the dairy’s story at

Today I made oatmeal with Straus whole milk (can pour off the cream on top or shake the bottle to mix in), prunes and a little splash of maple syrup. So delicious!  I am so glad that we are beginning to hear more about the benefits (health and enjoyment) of eating simple, fresh, lovingly produced food.  It doesn’t have to be fancy to be tasty; just think of a fresh-picked tomato.  Although we have been seduced by ads that tell us that the tweaked foods (low fat and such) are better for us, the truth is that they make loads of money for the companies who manufacture them (hence they are good for the companies but not us).  They don’t even taste very good!  Whole foods haven’t been tweaked and they’re better for us.  Even whole milk and cheese, which are on so many people’s forbidden list, are a good source of calcium and protein and so fine for us in small quantities.

In fact, a wonderful cookbook recommended by a reader of this blog is Feeding the Whole Family: Cooking With Whole Foods by Cynthia Lair.  Ms. Lair says, “I prefer not to use nonfat or reduced-fat dairy products.  These products are no longer whole, natural foods.  Their nutritional composition has been altered…  I would rather see folks, young and old, consuming a small amount of satisfying full-fat organic dairy than large amounts of products with little or no fat.”

Dr. Mehmet Oz wrote a smart article on nutrition in Time Magazine, Sept 12, 2011 (,9171,2091389,00.html) in which he states, “Even the case against whole milk, condemned by some critics as nothing less than a glass of liquid fat, is more complex than it seems.  It’s true that kids who drink a lot of whole milk drink a lot of calories, but milk can actually help control weight, since calcium binds with fat in the food digesting in your gut, meaning that you absorb less of that fat.  Some studies have seen no significant difference among skim, low-fat and whole milk when it comes to weight control.  What’s more, when you take all the fat out of milk, you’re left with too high a concentration of natural sugars, which interacts like candy with your hormones, especially insulin.  The key…is moderation. Consume more than 16 oz. of whole milk (or any two servings of dairy) per day and the calorie load swamps the health benefits.”

And for those who are lactose intolerant, as I was through my teens and early adulthood, try whole milk yogurt, kefir, cheese and other fermented dairy products that contain less lactose.  Each day, I eat one small piece of sharp cheddar aged for two years, which  contains almost no lactose!










  • Grandmama

    I loved reading your article’s in depth information about ‘untweaked’ foods plus so many interesting facts about dairy products. The fact that milk can keep us from gaining weight is just amazing and you explain so well how it can keep us from gaining weight. I did go at your suggestion to the Straus Family Creamery web site. I was very curious about their dairy farm beginnings. Their plain whole plain yogurt has been my favorite over time and recently they added a low fat plain yogurt to their line–and now I enjoy it. Their whipping cream in their wonderful glass bottles is divine whipped or not over fresh berries in season.

    • TwointheMiddle

      Oh my goodness, now you have me in the mood for the Strauss cream. Isn’t the Straus Dairy’s story interesting? They give tours in the spring!

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