Baby Food for Adults
WHEN you buy a quart of milk at the market, it is not likely that you think of it as baby food. That, of course, is actually what it is. Nevertheless, milk has become a popular adult food, being used in cooking and in various drinks. But is this baby food really good for adults?
The milk you are most familiar with is, no doubt, cow’s milk. There are countries, however, where the people are accustomed to using milk from other types of animals. Goat’s milk, for example, is popular in the countries around the Mediterranean Sea as well as in Norway, Switzerland, Latin America and in parts of Asia and Africa. In Arctic regions people use milk from horses and reindeer. Sheep milk is popular in Spain and Italy. In India and the Philippine Republic the use of water-buffalo milk is not uncommon, and in South America llama milk is used.
No matter what type of milk is used, however, it can be dangerous. Why is this? Because it is easily contaminated by disease-producing bacteria and is an ideal medium in which they can rapidly multiply. Diseases such as tuberculosis, undulant fever, typhoid fever, septic sore throat, scarlet fever and diphtheria can be spread by milk.
So, if you use milk, it is important that you use only milk that is clean. When you bring it home put it in a cold place. This is necessary so as to prevent bacteria from multiplying too rapidly. Do not pour it into unclean containers or expose it to flies and dust as that could introduce undesirable bacteria.
Milk companies try to protect you by sterilizing their milk containers and by pasteurizing the milk. This is a process in which the milk is heated to 143 degrees Fahrenheit and held there for thirty minutes. The heat kills most of the bacteria, making the milk relatively safe for use. However, in order to kill all of the bacteria and spores, the milk would have to be sterilized as is done with evaporated and condensed milk, and that requires much higher temperatures. Many people dislike the flavor of sterilized milk.
Some persons have objections to pasteurized milk because the heat used in pasteurizing it decreases the amount of vitamin C and vitamin B1 in the milk and destroys the useful lactic acid bacteria. As much as 15 percent of the vitamin-B1 content is destroyed by the heat. Raw milk, on the other hand, may have the vitamins, but it also has a greater potential for carrying dangerous bacteria. Extra care is required to make it safe.
Although milk is not a perfect food, it is a most complete food. It contains about fifty different substances. There are, however, several elements necessary for growth that are lacking in milk, such as copper, iron, iodine and manganese.
When comparing human milk with cow’s milk a pronounced difference can be noted. Human milk has two or three times as much vitamin C as cow’s milk. It also has one and a half times as much milk sugar. On the other hand, cow’s milk contains more casein and ash. This is a factor to consider when feeding an infant.
Even when cow’s milk has been altered by adding more milk sugar, it still is no substitute for human milk. Cane sugar is not the same as milk sugar, thus the use of cane sugar does not really bring the sugar content of cow’s milk closer to that of human milk. The needs of a baby are best met by human milk, not cow’s milk. Also, when fed from the breast a baby gets the full value of the vitamin C in the milk because the milk is not exposed to air, which causes this vitamin to be destroyed by oxidation.
Is Milk Good for Adults?
Many medical authorities recommend milk as a food for adults as well as for children. They suggest that adults drink a pint a day, including what is used in cooking, and that children drink a quart or more. They regard milk as man’s richest food source of calcium. It is their view that an adequate amount of milk is particularly important for children while they are growing and for women when they are pregnant.
On the other hand, there are persons who say that milk is not good for adults. The book The Encyclopedia for Healthful Living, by J. I. Rodale, opposes the use of milk past early childhood. It says: “Allergies, excessive tallness and antibiotic content are only a few of the reasons for our objections.” In another book the same author expressed the belief that milk is a contributing factor in arthritis, sinus trouble, colds and catarrh.
As you can see, there are differences of opinion as to whether milk is good for adults or not. Undeniably, some persons may have adverse reactions when they consume milk. Nevertheless, milk does contain protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals and some vitamins and is, therefore, a nourishing food.
Furthermore, our Creator, who gave man permission to eat animals, mentions milk as one of the things that made the land promised to the Israelites desirable, a “land flowing with milk and honey.” (Ex. 3:8) Abraham is even mentioned in the Bible as offering it to adult visitors. (Gen. 18:8) So it is evident that God provided milk as one of the foods for mankind.
Because of the many tasty dishes milk makes possible and the different food products that can be made from it, it can provide interesting variety for a person’s meals. Thus this food for babies is widely used as a nourishing food for adults.