Dairy has been the center of our dining tables for years, and the industry has promoted it as an absolute necessary part of a healthy diet—but studies now prove a different truth. The reality is that not only do humans NOT require dairy for health, but it has been shown to be detrimental to many people. Let’s look at why ditching dairy may be one of the best dietary decisions you can make.
The calcium myth: Dairy is a necessary component of a healthy diet for optimal bone strength.
The calcium truth: In countries that consume little to no dairy, the populations have some of the lowest rates of osteoporosis in the world. Plus, dairy can be high in unhealthy saturated fat and cholesterol, and certain cancers are linked to the consumption of caesin, a protein in dairy.
The dairy industry’s marketing campaigns are very powerful, and it can be hard to get beyond the myths.
An animal’s milk was created to nourish and grow its young. Cow’s milk is specifically designed to grow a small calf to hundreds of pounds in a relatively short period of time. A mother’s breast milk is designed to nourish human babies for optimal growth and important immune defensive. Both of these milks are the perfect food for their young of the same species, as each species creates the optimum food for its own offspring.
Humans are the only species that regularly consume the milk of another mammal. But nature has made most humans (at least 75 percent of the population) lactose intolerant once weaned from the breast. Many people are unaware of their dairy intolerance because they are so used to the gas or other gastrointestinal issues they experience that they believe it’s normal or blame the symptoms on other things. Maybe it is time to connect the dots.
Dairy has been linked to:
1. Increased bone fractures in populations that consume a high amount of dairy.
2. Increased risk of prostate cancer in men when consuming more than two servings of dairy per day.
3. Accelerated cancer growth. Cancer cells have been seen to grow faster with consumption of dairy, which stimulates insulin-like growth factor-1.
4. Consumption of unwanted hormones, contaminants and antibiotics, all of which are given to cows to promote growth and fight infections that can occur due to the stress of constant milking.
5. Chronic constipation, gas and diarrhea.
6. Type 1 diabetes in children; the protein composition within cow’s milk—particularly the beta-casein A1 molecule—is radically different than what is found within human breast milk.
We need to stick to our own species. Other animals do.
Dairy is Addictive
Giving up dairy can be hard because it has addictive qualities. It contains casomorphins, a substance that releases a euphoria sensation like the opiate effect. This is also the origin of cheese eaters’ constipation. (Also a major problem with heroin addicts.) Being addictive, milk assures that a baby will continue to seek nourishment from the source, its mother. It is not intended to attract full-grown mammals.
Changing your diet is not easy and sometimes best if done a little at a time. Do yourself a favor and find out how it feels to be dairy-free. Try ditching it for at least three weeks, and then for a lifetime. The harmful effects are not worth the dairy addiction or the risks that accompany this food group.
Following are some dairy alternatives and a recipe for a great creamy nutty cheese sauce.
Egg, Fat and Dairy Alternatives
You can leave the cow in the pasture happily grazing on the green grass Mother Nature supplies and still have your milk and drink it too! With the growing awareness of dairy allergies, lactose intolerance and greater understanding of species-specific milk, more people are turning to the alternatives that are on the market. And because of the increased demand, there are many mainstream dairy-free milks now available.
Nut milks in equal portions such as almond, cashew and hazelnut can substitute in most recipes. Nut milk that is free of carrageenan is your best choice. This little extra ingredient used in many products can still cause problems because all forms of carrageenan are capable of causing inflammation. Other non-dairy milks such as oat, rice or soy will work, as well. However, if your soy milk is not organic it probably is a GMO product.
Any nut milk, soy milk, coconut milk, mashed potatoes, pureed garbanzo beans, pureed cauliflower, pureed tofu, soy sour cream, soy whipping cream, or soy creamer can create a creamy alternative to dairy products.
Nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and/or chopped walnuts or almonds make great nutritional toppers. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that has a strong flavor that is described as nutty or cheesy. It contains trace amounts of several vitamins and minerals. Nutritional yeast can also be a significant source of some B-complex vitamins, including vitamin B12.
Soy-, rice-, and nut-based cheese alternatives work great as a healthy substitution. However, make sure you read the labels, as many cheese alternatives contain casein, a protein found in dairy that is linked to cancer.
A Dairy-free, non-hydrogenated margarine like Earth Balance or Melt works great for spreading. Coconut oil, avocado puree, prune puree, or applesauce can be used for baking. Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and nut oils work wonderful for roasting and frying.
Firm tofu, drained and crumbled is easy to use in place of ricotta.
If you are leaving the eggs in the coop, here are a few substitutions you may use, depending on what type of cooking or baking you are doing.
One egg equals:
- Use 1 ½ teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer plus 2 tablespoons of water to equal one egg. This is a non-GMO powder that contains no eggs or animal protein.
- Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2-3 tablespoons flour
- 2-3 tablespoons bread crumbs
- ¼ cup cooked oats
- 2-3 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons potato starch, cornstarch, or arrowroot
- ¼ cup mashed white or sweet potatoes
- 1 tablspoon ground flax seed meal + 3 tablespoons water + 1 tablespoon oil +1 teaspoon baking powder + 1 teaspoon potato or cornstarch
- ½ cup rice or soy yogurt
- ¼ cup applesauce or pureed fruit
- ½ cup mashed banana
- ¼ cup silken tofu blended
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 1 cup of water left to sit for 15 minutes
- Vegetable broth
- Liquid from a can of beans or vegetables that was opened
- White wine
- Low-fat liquids such as water or plant milk
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 9 tablespoons water, let sit for 15 minutes. This is good for 1/2 the fat in a baking recipe.
- 1: 1 ratio mashed banana to fat
Nutty Cheese Sauce
3/4 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon sea or pink salt
1 cup unsweetened cashew or almond milk
1 clove chopped garlic
2 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon mustard
In a high-speed blender, combine the cashews, nutritional yeast and salt. Grind to a powder. Add nut milk, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, vinegar and mustard. Blend until smooth and creamy. This can be now heated in a saucepan or poured over hot pasta or vegetables and mixed into heat. Add more milk if a thinner sauce is desired. Sauce will thicken when it cools.
Susan Musial Bigelow is vice president of Health Coach Connect and a Licensed Respiratory Care Practitioner with a passion for organic gardening. She believes good health starts in the kitchen. Sue earned her Bachelor’s of Animal Science from the University of Massachusetts and worked for many years in the veterinary and pet industries with a focus on animal nutrition, where she noticed that animals’ skin and ear infections often could be cured with dietary changes. Throughout her journey, Sue continued to educate herself regarding health, wellness and nutrition, spirituality and lifestyle improvements, realizing all issues have a root cause. Going through her own personal and career transformation, Sue earned a degree in Respiratory Therapy and later received her Masters of Science in Administration from Saint Michael’s College. After witnessing too many patients dying of preventable chronic disease, she was motivated to pursue a certificate as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Her passion embraces animals, horseback riding, kayaking, cooking, and walks in the wilderness. Visit Health Coach Connect at www.healthcoachconnect.com