By: Julie Mancuso, JM Nutrition
As far as I can remember, I’ve always been told to drink milk and take in dairy because it does a body good. When I was growing up I believed that I needed to do this in order to grow into a healthy adult, as I’m sure did all the other kids. After all, our parents were adamant, our schools uncompromising and the media relentless, in promoting milk and dairy products. I’m sure we can all remember commercials where kids enticingly guzzle milk, encouraging the viewers to do the same.
And it’s understandable because the dairy industry is enormous in our country as it is in others, so it is in the government’s best interest to promote it.
But it’s human nature to often question what our parents and media tell us, especially when we grow up.
For me this was the case with dairy intake.
Even though I understood all its benefits and why we should consume it, I discovered even more reasons not to ingest it in large quantities. And just because things have been done a certain way for many years, it doesn’t make it right.
First, let me say that if you’re not ready to completely overhaul your diet and eliminate dairy, you don’t have to. Just be cognizant of the effects it has on your body and try to limit it, and perhaps find alternatives.
Here are some reasons to avoid dairy, if not eliminate it altogether:
Much of dairy is laden with hormones. Remember that animals are given steroids on a regular basis and this affects their milk. When humans ingest this milk, they effectively upset their own hormonal balance, leading to all sorts of health conditions. Acne and eczema are two excellent examples. One of the causes of acne is hormonal imbalance–something to which dairy contributes a great deal. Many people are known to have a clearer complexion after eliminating it.
Very similar to point 1. Unless otherwise specified, animals are given antibiotics when they are sick. The antibiotics are frequently in the animal’s system when milk is extracted. When humans ingest the antibiotic-laden milk, they are effectively destroying the beneficial bacteria in their guts, causing an imbalance. This often leads to a number of health conditions such as yeast overgrowth.
3. Bad Feed
Today many of the animals that produce milk are being fed cheap food that is sometimes genetically modified or just simply unhealthy. Back in the day, when the animals were not given antibiotics, steroids or bad feed, milk was safe to consume. But nowadays, things have changed for the worse. As a result, we should not be consuming milk from these animals, if we value our health or the health of our kids.
Dairy is known to cause mucus, which leads to all sorts of respiratory problems. Furthermore, it can aggravate asthma.
Don’t believe me? The next time you eat a good deal of dairy, pay close attention, and chances are you will notice a need to get rid of this mucus through coughing.
5. Kills Enzymes
Most of the dairy we ingest is pasteurized. Pasteurization kills many of the enzymes, amongst other things, needed for proper digestion of food. As a result, you could experience digestive problems. If you consume it on a regular basis, you may be in need of some supplementary digestive enzymes, which I can recommend. Your digestion will no doubt improve.
6. Hard to Digest
Speaking of digestion, dairy is difficult to digest for many people as it inflames their system. Like gluten, dairy is inflammatory—something many people don’t even know. Some people can’t manage to digest it at all. If you hear grumbling and feel churning after ingesting dairy, you may be one of those people. Remember, we are not designed to ingest animal dairy, despite what those cute commercials are telling you. Read about other Hard to Digest Foods.
7. Not Good for Weight Loss
Much of dairy is highly caloric and high in fat, which obviously inhibits weight loss. Think about it this way: babies are fed milk to gain weight.
So What are the Alternatives?
There are plenty of safer, healthier alternatives to typical milk and dairy. And yes, you will still get your calcium. Don’t you worry.
Goat cheese is a better option because it is similar to breast milk, so it’s easier to digest for us, humans.
Plain yogurt, I repeat plain, is okay, if tolerated, as it is fermented. This makes it easier to breakdown and offers good bacteria for your gut.
Almond and coconut milk are highly recommended if you want to eliminate drinking animal milk altogether. Remember, go for the unsweetened ones—they are healthier.
Limiting dairy or switching completely to a dairy-free diet takes some getting used to, just like with anything new. At first, the change may be challenging, and you may crave that good, old-fashioned glass of milk. But if you resist and stick with reducing dairy, you will reap some wonderful benefits. If you’re not sure how or need support in this process, I can gladly help.
It’s the 21st century and the science of nutrition has evolved. Are you going to evolve with it?