Post #31 CAMEL MILK!!!
In Podcast Episode #25, Karen tell us about a dairy alternative you may never even have thought of!
Does cow milk give you an upset stomach? Are you tired of almond, soy, and coconut milk? Looking for a new superfood? Introducing camel milk! Actually, camel milk has been an important source of nutrition for the nomadic desert cultures for centuries. We, in the US, are just now coming to realize that camel milk is a nutrition-rich superfood; it's known to be rich in iron, vitamin B and C, and low in fat. It’s also valued in East Africa and the Middle East for its medicinal properties.
Camel milk will probably not be battling for shelf space in the dairy section of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s anytime soon, but according to the LA Times, there is a Santa Monica based company that recently sold its 100,000th dollar of camel milk. It’s called Desert Farms and its slogan is “Make every day a humpday”. Clever! And, interestingly, Desert Farms sources its camel milk from Amish farmers in the Midwest. So far, they are the only ones who milk camels in the US!
You can use camel milk as a direct replacement for any other type of milk, but it supposedly does have a distinct taste. It’s been described as tasting saltier and nuttier than cow milk. The camel milk from the US is said to have a more of a sweet, slightly salty, creamy taste while the milk from the Middle East has a more nutty and smoky flavor.
Dr. Millie Hinkle, founder of the American Camel Association and Camel Milk USA says that the FDA has approved the consumption of camel milk, but restricts its import. There are only about 3000 camels in the US, so that drives up the price and makes camel milk more expensive.
THE BENEFITS OF CAMEL MILK
According to camelicious.com and livescience.com, camel milk has a similar nutritional composition to whole cow milk when it comes to calorie, protein, and carb content. However, it’s lower in saturated fat and has more vitamin C and B, calcium, iron, and potassium.
Other benefits are:
• Less lactose than cow milk, making it more tolerable for people with a lactose intolerance
• A different protein profile than cow milk which makes it better tolerated by people with allergies to cow milk.
• Contains antibodies that can help treat diarrhea. It’s been used in the Middle East for hundreds of years to treat the diarrhea associated with Rotavirus
• May lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. Camel milk contains insulin-like proteins and provides the equivalent of 52 units of insulin per 4 cups. It’s also high in zinc which improves insulin sensitivity. (HAS ACTUALLY BEEN STUDIED AND HAS BEEN SHOWN TO HELP!)
• Contains lactoferrin and immunoglobulins, which are proteins that help fight disease causing organisms.
• Lactoferrin has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. It inhibits the growth of E.coli, H.pylori, and C. albicans to name a few.
• One study showed that camel milk can protect against low white blood cell count
• Some believe that it can improve autistic behavior in kids on the spectrum, but so far, those are just anecdotal reports.
RISKS OF CAMEL MILK? REALLY??
Yes, there are actually some risks. Well, I wouldn’t really call them risks so much as downsides.
• Camel milk is significantly more expensive than cow milk. Camels only produce milk after giving birth (like cows), but have longer, 13 mo. Pregnancies. Camels also produce less milk than cows (1.5 gallons per day compared to 6 gallons per day). Apparently, camels also don’t like to be milked and are generally grouchy.
• Camel milk may not be pasteurized since it is traditionally consumed raw. Organisms in raw milk can cause infections and kidney failure, but camel milk in particular can contain organisms that cause Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, tuberculosis, and brucellosis (Mediterranean fever). Guess that’s more than a mere downside!
• May pose ethical concerns. Camels are being imported into areas where they don’t traditionally live, aren’t well adapted to milking machines, according to healthline.com, and need the selective breeding that cows have had in order to start producing more milk.
GLASS TO GLASS MILK COMPARISON: 8oz WHOLE COW MILK vs 8oz WHOLE CAMEL MILK
Cow Milk Camel Milk
· Cal: 150 · Cal: 110
· Total Fat: 8g · Total Fat: 4.5g
· Saturated Fat: 5g · Saturated Fat: 3g
· Cholesterol: 30 mg · Cholesterol: 15mg
· Protein: 8g · Protein: 5g
· Calcium: 30% daily value · Calcium: 30% daily value
· Vit A: 4% · Vit A: 4%
· Vit D: 25% · Vit D: 6%
THE BOTTOM LINE
Is camel milk good for you? Yes, it certainly seems to be (as long as you buy the pasteurized version!) and you’re willing to pay a lot more. It can be a good alternative to cow milk for those with lactose intolerance and allergies. The fact that it can help a diabetic lower their blood sugar is a huge benefit. And who doesn’t love an antibacterial, antimicrobial, immune boosting drink? I say go for it!
If you’re looking to try it and can’t find it in the grocery store, there’s a company called Camelicious (www.camelicious.com) based in Dubai. It is one of the world’s leading camel milk suppliers and you can place an online order. Also - Amazon, of course!