Much of the east coast is preparing for the infamous “Blizzard 2015.”
In addition to school closings and declarations of states of emergencies, social media sites are talking up a storm (pun intended) about the weather. Topics such as #blizzardof2015 and the very dramatic, #snowmageddon2015, are trending on Twitter as people post everything from images of empty food shelves in stores to recommendations about what necessities to stock up on.
Necessities, of course, have changed through the years.
When severe weather strikes, it’s not uncommon for water bottles to leave stores first.
Over time, however, the “milk and bread” run has become a common expression for those in survival mode. It’s a tradition which AccuWeather.com experts suggest stems from the 1978 blizzard in New England. The site states that “It appears that New Englanders can take credit for the purchasing of milk and break prior to the storm. It was the monumental blizzard in 1978 that trapped many in homes for weeks that gets at least some credit for the current tradition.”(1)
Milk: It Doesn’t Do a Body Good
But we might want to think twice about our milk consumption not just during storms, but all the time. According to a study published in The British Medical Journal, milk intake — contrary to popular belief — is not associated with lowered fracture risks. In fact, it’s been shown not to lessen them, and to lead to increased mortality rates to boot.
The study says:
A higher consumption of milk in women and men is not accompanied by a lower risk of fracture and instead may be associated with a higher rate of death. Consequently, there may be a link between the lactose and galactose content of milk and risk as suggested in our hypothesis, although causality needs be tested using experimental study designs.(2)
The study also adds:
High milk intake in both sexes is associated with higher mortality and fracture rates and with higher levels of oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers.(2)
Rather than turn to milk, why not try healthier alternatives?
Nut milks like almond milk are often touted as a better choice over cow’s milk. Almond milk is rich in phosphorus, potassium and zinc and contains vitamins A, D and B-12. Furthermore, it’s lower in fat and calories than even low-fat cow’s milk.(3)
Bread: Anxiety and Heart Disease
When it comes to bread, that too, is linked to health problems. When faced with a storm, many people opt for white bread. For the health-conscious, white foods are often a red light since they’re refined products.
When grains are refined, not only are the bran and germ removed, several vitamins and minerals are as well. Worse, unhealthy items such as preservatives and high fructose corn syrup are often added. Consumption of refined foods like white bread has been associated with elevated risks of heart disease, anxiety, diabetes, abdominal fat, a suppressed immune system and overall mortality.(4,5)
Instead, consider preparing meals with healthier white flour alternatives. Pureed black beans, coconut flour and hemp flour are natural options worth exploring.(5)
Avoiding a Boozy Blizzard
Finally, it’s no secret that a great deal of people stock up on their favorite alcoholic beverage when bad weather is predicted. Long liquor store lines are not unusual, nor are postings on social media sites where people declare their storm preparedness by showing images of their favorite wine or whiskey.
“Who needs bread? Who needs milk?” says Suzanne Bachman, who was buying kahlua and whiskey at store in Center City, Philadelphia in preparation for the blizzard of 2015.(6)
The stress of a storm, coupled with being cooped up in the house, often leads to excessive alcohol consumption. However, overindulgence can wreak havoc on health.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, Stroke and High blood pressure.”(7)
With so much time spent snowed in, perhaps exploring healthier drinks that can be easily whipped up in a blender is ideal.
In the past, I’ve enjoyed making a tropical smoothie, which is beneficial for glowing skin as well as weight management. Plus, the fact that it contains pineapple makes me think of warmer temperatures, allowing me to sip away my winter worries.
Play around with mixtures such as spinach, banana, almond milk and chia seeds to create delicious drinks that help, not harm, your heart.
Smoothies are a tasty way to improve overall health.
Sources for this article include: