Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Milk and other gross things

With visions of osteoporosis in my mind, I force myself to drink milk every day in the US, in addition to taking calcium supplements.

I recently learned that the calcium supplements I’ve been taking in Rwanda have probably not been working, as I’ve been taking them with doxycycleine, which likely counteracts the effects of calcium…and of vitamins and minerals and iron supplements. This disappointment reminded me that I should update all y’all on some of the luxuries encountered in Rwanda: UHT milk.

According to Wikipedia “In June 1993, Parmalat introduced its UHT milk to the United States. However in the North American market, consumers have been uneasy about consuming milk which is not delivered under refrigeration, and have been much more reluctant in buying it.” Uh…duh.

Not only is Rwandan UHT milk strangely not refrigerated…it is also only comes as whole milk.

Let me re-explain my milk drinking habits in the US: I forced myself to drink one cup of non-fat Lactaid a day. And I usually rewarded myself with a cookie for doing this.

Room-temperature whole milk just doesn’t have a chance passing my lips. Plus there’s a lack of cookies in Rwanda. To combat this, I’ve started drinking warm milk, chocolate milk, and “chai” (warm milk with a tea bag in it…is that chai? I tell myself it is). Which has been okay, but not ideal.

I learned last weekend that low-fat UHT milk DOES exist in Rwanda. When I requested to our cook that he start buying that instead of the whole milk he said it’s too expensive. I told my mom this and she said that she’ll send me “milk money.” Thanks mom!

Tonight I made peanut butter-fluff-brownies. Obviously a cold glass of milk was a necessary companion to this delicious treat, and I have not yet received my first allowance of milk money, so UHT Whole milk was the only option. I stared and I started and I thought and I thought, and finally I decided that in order to drink the room-temperature UHT whole milk plain, I’d go halfies with cold water. And then, like all inquisitive children of my generation, I decided to Wikipedia what it actually was that I was drinking. I learned that UHT (ultra heat treated) milk is heated to 140C for 2 seconds during pasteurization, while fresh milk is heated to 74C for 15 seconds. Also, according to Wikipedia, UHT milk has the same number/amount of calories, calcium, and folate at fresh milk. Some nutritional loss of Vitamin B12, Vitamin C and thiamin can occur in UHT milk.

I excitedly relayed these fun facts to my housemates.

Zack captured my sentiments: “but it still tastes bad.”

No comments: