Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Do you have a drinking problem?

This? Oh this is just me hanging out with England rugby player Danny Cipriani earlier today. Danny wanted to discuss his diet and training with me - and in particular how a milk intolerance has affected his performance in the past. In the interests of clarity, I guess I should confess a few things. Danny didn't invite just me for 'elevenses' (I guess he's shy?) - and in fact the invite came via The a2 Milk Company.

Danny and a2 have teamed up to spread the message about the 'Welcome Back to Milk' campaign. Seems there's a lot of misinformation in the 'free from' arena. Allergies and intolerances have got all jumbled up and there's a right scrum (see what I did there?!) about what we can and can't, should and shouldn't eat and drink. So let's 'try' and break it down (ok, I'll stop now).

First up, milk and milk products (like cheese) are high in calcium, protein and micronutirents (like iodine) and consuming dairy is considered essential for bone, skin and muscle health (Danny has all of those). If you cut dairy out of your diet and you don't replace its entire nutritional profile you could be putting yourself at risk of diseases such as osteoporosis.

But what if consuming milk leaves you feeling unwell? Perhaps affecting your digestion or making you feel sluggish. Well this is where Danny comes in, because as you can imagine he needs to keep himself in tip top condition (keep up the good work Danny, your country needs you). But eating a milky porridge breakfast and having several protein shakes saw him consuming about a litre of the white stuff before 1pm. Come the time for his second training session of the day, Danny was feeling bloated and lacking in energy. Perhaps it was no surprise when he was diagnosed with a dairy intolerance.

What are you missing?

To begin with Danny cut milk and beef from his diet. He tried some of the 'filk' products on the market (fake milk - geddit?) but found them less appetising and, in some cases, less nutritious and full of added ingredients he didn't necessarily want or need (milk has one ingredient - milk - but some filks may have up to 20 listed ingredients including sugar, salt and phosphates). But a chance encounter with a2 milk in Australia changed all that. a2 milk is taken from cows that naturally produce milk that  only contains the a2 protein (usually dairy cows produce a mix of milk with the a1 and a2 protein in it). Studies show that these two proteins are digested quite differently - and that some people can have adverse reactions to milk containing the a1 protein.

Which is where The a2 Milk Company comes in. a2 keeps its own British herds of cows that only produce milk contain the a2 protein (they can use a DNA test to ascertain which genetic stock a cow comes from). And while a2 is not suitable for anyone medically diagnosed with galatosaemia, lactose intolerance or a cow's milk allergy, it does mean that many people can come back to milk simply by switching to a2 milk - which has exactly the same nutritional profile as the other cow's milk you'll see  on the supermarket shelves. It's available in most supermarkets, so it's worth giving it a two-week trial if you think milk might be causing you problems with your health.

And I think we can all agree that it's good for Danny to get these things off his chest.


  1. Oh amazing! I have a mild dairy intolerance and Toby (10 months old) is currently dairy free but I really want to try and introduce dairy slowly into his diet. This could be perfect, thank you!xx #BloggingToJogging

    1. Definitely worth a try. The company suggest trying a very small amount of a2 milk in tea - or 50ml in a glass. If you don't react you can gradually increase this amount. It would be great to be able to drink milk without any problems. Thanks for commenting.