I gave up dairy products in early 2015 because my youngest child was diagnosed as being allergic to milk and all products with milk in them. This meant she could no longer each dairy cheese, dairy chocolate, and many of the cookies and other baked goods on the market. I felt that it would be cruel to buy and eat the things she was missing out on, so I decided to go dairy free, too.
This led to a lot of experiments in cooking and baking. We tested out different products, such as vegan non-dairy butter. There were some errors along the way, but there were twice as many successes.
After being off of dairy for the first two months, I noticed that I felt healthier. I suddenly had more energy, which, I thought, was kind of weird. I grew up in Pennsylvania German country where milk and dairy products were the main staple in the diet. Wasn’t milk supposed to be good for you? A wholesome food? What I have learned surprised me.
Up to 75 Percent Can’t Stomach Milk
There are an increasing number of studies and reports on milk consumption. Some of these conclude that up to 75 percent of the world’s population can’t stomach milk. Some people notice bloating, diarrhea, flatulence, and stomach pains after drinking milk. Other people never recognize the symptoms. The best way to find out if you are lactose intolerant is to speak with your family doctor. For the record, The Dairy Council claims that only five percent of adults are lactose intolerant.
Bad for the Skin
IGF-1, a hormone found in milk, can cause all sorts of skin problems. If you suffer from acne or eczema, you may want to consider giving up milk entirely. Many women who have given up dairy noticed a significant change in their skin just two months after quitting the white substance.
After I quit consuming dairy, something amazing happened: I started losing weight. It wasn’t a tremendous loss of weight, like when I combine actual portion control and exercise. Instead, I would lose a pound or two each month. Cutting out dairy cuts out a lot of fattening foods. I replaced dairy ice cream with coconut milk ice cream and since it was so expensive, eating ice cream really did become a rare treat. I also used to love cheese and since I don’t touch low fat products, I was consuming a lot of extra fat and calories. Removing dairy from my diet eliminated the cheese. Since many other products found on store shelves also contain milk or whey, processed foods were also eliminated from my diet. I now focus on cooking and baking whole foods.
There are hormones in milk, including organic milk, that are believed to be linked to prostate and breast cancer. Casein, a milk protein, has also been linked to cancer growth. The cancer link alone should be enough to consider reducing the amount of milk you consume on a daily basis. The Dairy Council claims that there is no link between breast cancer and the consumption of milk.
Does Not Protect Against Bone Fractures
All my life I’ve been told that I have to drink milk to grow healthy, strong bones. As a woman in my 40s, I am still being told that I need to drink milk to prevent bone fractures. Interestingly enough, The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study followed over 75,000 women for 12 years. Their study found that drinking milk provided no protection against bone fractures.
Cows Milk is for Calves
Human breast milk is for babies, and no woman in her right mind would feed her breast milk to a different species. Mother cows make milk for their babies. It is specifically designed to be the perfect food for calves, not humans. Among all the mammals on the planet, humans are the only ones who actively drink the mother’s milk of a different species.
Adding Calcium to Your Diet
When my youngest was first diagnosed as being allergic to dairy, one of my first worries was getting enough calcium into the diet. I quickly learned that eating right gave us the calcium we both needed.
- Alternative milks - You can get calcium drinking alternative milks, such as almond, coconut, or cashew milk.
- Yogurts - There are non-dairy yogurts available. My youngest child and I both eat coconut milk yogurt.
- Greens - Vegetables are a part of every meal. Include kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and collard green in your diet.
- Almonds - Add almonds to your diet. Surprisingly, the contain calcium.