A couple years ago I nixed dairy, yes even cheese, from my diet. That food group we were all told was necessary for our calcium intake and avoiding osteoporosis, is in fact not necessary. When I say dairy, it’s not just milk. It’s byproducts from cow’s milk, it’s cheese, yogurt, ice cream, chocolate and more.
To sum up the main reasons I gave up dairy it’s pretty simple, it caused me to be constipated, bloated and occasionally made me break out in hives. There is a lot of research out there that points to the idea that we do not NEED dairy in our diet.
There’s so many alternatives for both nutrients and taste that are actually better for your body. If you think about it, dairy is nature’s food for growing mammals; infants and animals drink milk to grow and received nutrients from their mothers, but humans are the only mammals that continue to drink milk and eat other dairy based products past the crucial developmental stages of infancy.
The science behind why dairy caused me to be bloated, constipated and breakout has to do with the sugar and proteins in it. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, dairy sugars and proteins are the second most inflammatory things we digest, second only to gluten. This inflammation sends the stomach into a hellish nightmare of digestion that causes the symptoms I mentioned before.
I won’t get into the science of all the exact things dairy does to your body, but according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, dairy consumption is linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and other health issues.
The argument that dairy is needed for bone density and health has also been proven to be invalid. According to multiple studies from the Physicians committee dairy did not help bone health at all in children, adolescents or women. The actual best ways to build bone density are other food to include in your diet such as broccoli and kale and getting exercise.
I haven’t really missed dairy since I gave it up because I have included other things in my diet that satisfy my cravings. Everyone now and then I truly miss cheese, but staple foods that typically include cheese can still be made, for example our vegan lasagna.
Recipes that would require butter, such as creamy pasta sauces I’ve replaced with a nutrient-rich cauliflower cream sauce that tastes amazing. Milks for drinking, cereal and more can easier be replaced with milks made from nuts such as cashews or coconut. I can even make milk flavors in chai, chocolate and strawberry.
I use nut milks in my baking, coconut oil instead of butter, nut milks instead of yogurt in smoothies, and when I want ice cream I buy non-dairy brands that use coconut or almond milk.
This week I encourage you to try going dairy free, even if it’s just for one week to see how different your body feels. At Be Well Meals our entire menu is dairy-free and we also offer coaching and cooking classes if you are interested in getting help to live a dairy free lifestyle come see us or contact us here.