I was raised to eat dairy products, as most of us were. And, way back when in England, dairy was a lot healthier than it is today. However, I’ve come to understand that even the healthiest dairy cannot be called a health food. I know this flies in the face of what we’ve been led to believe (especially as far as bone health is concerned), but having done the deep dive into evidence-based science papers, I can no longer ignore the facts. Moreover, my health took a serious turn for the better when I gave it up. So I wanted to share with you the 5 reasons why I went dairy free.
- Cow’s milk is a strange food for humans: Cows milk is for baby calves. They drink it until they are strong and fat enough to be on their own. Even adult cows don’t drink cow’s milk. And I don’t believe it’s a healthy food for humans either. We didn’t evolve as a species to drink milk from cows, which is why 75% of the population are lactose-intolerant. Human babies are supposed to drink their mother’s milk. It’s the perfect food. And when they are weaned off their Mother’s milk, they can get all the nutrients they need from a varied plant-based diet.
- Consuming dairy products might actually increase the risk of bone fractures! It’s astonishing to realize that we have been led to believe the opposite – that milk gives us the calcium we need to keep our bones strong. This couldn’t be further from the truth. According to The Nurses Healthy Study, consuming dairy might increase the rate of bone fractures by a whopping 50%. I get all the calcium I need from fruits and veggies, particularly dark leafy greens. It’s way more important that you take Vitamin D supplement (2,000 IU daily for most adults), to build strong bones. And, don’t forget that strength training is one of the most important things you can do to build strong bones – at least 2 sessions a week.
- Increases Cancer Risk: Consuming dairy products may significantly up the risk of certain cancers, particularly prostate cancer.
- Acne! Yes, indeed. The Harvard Nurses Study found that a strong correlation between high school milk consumption and severe acne.
- Digestive Issues: Even if you don’t think you are lactose-intolerant, you might be sensitive to dairy. This is how I found out that I was: When I gave up dairy, 90% of my digestive issues went away. If any of my clients have IBS, I take them off dairy right away. I also haven’t had a sinus infection since giving up dairy (and I used to get loads of them!).
- Saturated Fat: Whatever the latest media butter-is-good-for-you frenzy has led you to believe, dairy products contain saturated fat. Saturated fat will increase your risk of coronary heart disease.
Interestingly, one of the hardest foods to give up (second to sugar), is cheese. It’s not only because of the salty/fatty factor, it’s also because of a protein in cheese called casein. This breaks down into casomorphins, which have an opiate effect. Like sugar, you have to give yourself 2 weeks off cheese for your taste buds to adapt. When they adapt, you will find that you enjoy the taste of delicious foods without having to have them covered in cheese.
And finally, if you get really desperate about the cheese thing, I have discovered the most incredible vegan cheeses, which are unbelievable:
Myoko’s Kitchen: These cheeses are insane, and they even do a “mozzarella” which melts on pizza.
Kite Hill: I cannot tell you how obsessed I am with all their cheeses. And, I love that they do a ricotta, which is perfect for my vegan lasagna.
Parmela Creamery: Oh wow – these artisan nut cheeses always sell out in every store that carries them – they are that good.
And I highly recommend making your own Almond Milk!