Dairy is one of those food groups we grow up eating without questioning. But as a Naturopath, it’s one of the first things I recommend my patients eliminate from their diets. You might love dairy, but it doesn’t love you back!
Today I want to share with you the reasons why you may be better off without dairy, and what you can enjoy instead.
Why give up dairy?
Well, there are many reasons, but one of the main ones is that many people develop an intolerance to lactose - a sugar or carbohydrate found in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance is the result of an insufficient amount of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose in the small intestine.
Lactose intolerance is not just something that occurs from a young age - many people develop it later in life. Often people will suffer without even realising, putting up with symptoms like diarrhoea, abdominal pain, flatulence and/or bloating. Sounds lovely, right? Well, the good news is giving up dairy will give you instant relief!
More than that, milk also contains the proteins casein and whey, which can also be difficult for some people to digest. This intolerance can show up as eczema, asthma, or behavioural problems in kids. When these families come in to see me, the first thing we do is an IgG Food Intolerance test. Would you believe it? Dairy is the most common culprit!
The problem with homogenized milk
Our love affair with milk is an odd one, mostly driven by marketing. But the truth is, cow’s milk is full to the brim with cow hormones - including estrogen, progesterone and growth hormones. All of these hormones are intended to fatten up baby cows, not for humans to drink. That’s why if you’re conscious of your weight, milk may not be the best choice.
Another problem I have with milk is that most commercial milk is homogenized. This process blends the fat up into tiny particles so that they stay suspended in the milk rather than separating and floating to the top of the carton. These tiny fat particles are now even easier for you to absorb straight into your bloodstream, causing damage to the walls of your arteries. This is one of the main reasons I tell all my clients to eliminate dairy from their diets.
What about my calcium?
Calcium and dairy are so intertwined in our minds, thanks to years of clever marketing.
However, milk actually isn’t the best source of calcium. There are many ways to get your 1,000 milligrams a day.
What to eat instead of dairy…
Ok so giving up dairy means no milk, but it also means no cheese or ice cream. Luckily, there are so many great alternatives - you won’t even miss them!
We prefer natural substitutes that you can make at home. However, if you are using supermarket alternatives, be careful to read the packet closely as they can sometimes contain their own nasties.
Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
Milk - try almond milk or fermented soy milk
Cheese - try goats cheese, or soaked cashews for a cream cheese substitute (trust us!)
Icecream - try coconut icecream or make your own banana nice-cream with frozen bananas
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