Ditch the Dairy Dose: 7 Reasons to Kick Milk to the Curb

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Many of the reproductive issues I see in my clients stem from an overconsumption of milk products. This is a silent source of illness in Western culture. You are about to produce your own milk as a mother if you’re pregnant, or planning for pregnancy, you should already be weaned! Once you drink that glass of milk, the seemingly harmless lactose is transformed into galactose. Your body responds to galactose—a potent form of sugar—by producing enzymes that metabolize the sugar. When you have excess galactose in your system from too many dairy products, your body’s ability to get rid of it quickly is inhibited. This has an adverse effect on the female reproductive system. Beyond pregnancy issues, including infertility, galactose has been linked to ovarian cancer.

Proteins in cow’s milk have been linked to a number of ailments, including asthma, digestive issues, chronic mucus, runny nose, earaches, and eczema. Milk blocks iron absorption, too. Without adequate iron, the body can’t make hemoglobin (whose job is to carry oxygen in the blood). So another possible outcome of the dairy habit is anemia, which produces fatigue. Lord knows, as a pregnant woman you don’t need anything else to make you feel tired.

Drinking cow’s milk also causes a rapid increase in insulinlike growth factor (IGF-1), high levels of which have been linked to breast and prostate cancers. Many nonorganic milk products are laced with antibiotics, recombinant bovine growth hormone, and pesticides from the feed. Pesticides concentrate in the cow’s fat cells—and of course, are transferred into the milk.

Research shows that contrary to conventional understanding, dairy products actually put you at risk for osteoporosis. High levels of protein in milk promote the loss of calcium through the kidneys. So don’t believe them when they say you need to drink milk or eat yogurt for calcium. Your best bet for calcium is . . . drumroll please . . . leafy green veggies! The only reason milk has calcium to begin with is because cows eat grass. Nowadays our bovine buddies are packed into industrial farms eating grain—which does not contain calcium, and which they aren’t designed to eat. So when the milk goes for processing it has to be enriched with the nutrients that naturally occur in a grass-fed diet—including vitamin D and other minerals.

You don’t need to get Vitamin D from enriched dairy. Vitamin D lowers the risk of cancer and bone fractures. The premier way to get your Vitamin D fix is through sunshine. Your body produces vitamin D when you are exposed to sunlight, UVB rays. You need up to 30 minutes exposure on your face, arms, and legs twice per week. Take a nice walk in the sun in the mornings between 7 and 9 a.m. to get the best quality of light without the harmful UVA rays. Go without sunglasses to maximize the vitamin D intake, since the light has to hit your retina for vitamin D to be synthesized. To absorb the sunlight, it also helps to wear fewer layers. If you’re not a sun worshiper, then try vitamin D drops, which you can purchase online; Nature’s Answer makes a great vitamin D-3 liquid formula that I recommend.

Dairy is not an essential part of the human diet. Most most cultures of the world are dairy free. In fact, many populations are lactose intolerant. It’s interesting that in developing countries around the globe we see a higher incidence of breastfeeding and for longer periods of time. Yet when those children wean from the breast, they do not go to other species’ milk for supplementation. Mother Nature in her genius design would never have crafted human babies to be dependent upon the milk of cows for survival. In our culture, where many of us haven’t been nursed at the breast and haven’t had that intimate connection with our mother, it’s no wonder we comfort ourselves with dairy foods.

There are small amounts of morphine in cow’s milk- that’s why cheese is addictive. Known as casomorphins, these opiates form as casein (milk) when digested. Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Respon- sible Medicine is quoted in an article from the National Health Association as saying, “Casein, the fundamental protein in cow’s milk, breaks apart in the digestive process to release chemicals called casomorphins, and the casomorphins are casein-derived, morphine-like substances.” Cheese contains loads of casomorphins. Dr. Barnard says, “It is the process of cheese-making, when all the liquid is pressed together, which leaves just pure casein and fat. And it’s the purest form of the casein—and once in your digestive track it breaks down into casomorphins.” So cheese is essentially dairy crack! You can’t help eating it because it is addictive.

About 30 to 50 million Americans have problems digesting lactose. So why do so many of us feel so bad after eating milk and cheese products? It may have to do with lactose (milk sugar), which can result in some pretty nasty side effects— think gas, bloating, cramps, diarrhea, and even extremes like nausea and vomiting.

So what are my cheese-addicted and milk-fiend friends to do? There’s hope. Here are some tasty alternatives to milk and cheese:

  • Try dairy-free cheese. There are some “cheeses” on the market that don’t contain any cheese at all. Try brands like Daiya Foods and Galaxy Nutritional Foods for cheese alternatives from cream cheese to cheddar. Some vegan varieties even melt when heated! If you are not as fond of soy-based cheeses (and I’m not a fan myself), how about a nut cheese? A brand I love is Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheese. It comes in a variety of flavors and the texture is like that of cream cheese. Plus it’s enzyme-rich because it’s cultured.
  • Try nut milk. Most people know about soymilk as an alternative to cow’s milk, but why not try almond milk, hemp milk, or cashew milk? There are ready-made varieties available at your local health food store. It is also very easy to make your own version at home. There are lots of commercial brands out there that you can buy, but once you start making your own nut milk, there is no turning back. It’s easy, better tasting, and better for you. Try the basic almond milk recipe on the next page. This can serve as a base for your smoothies, baked goods, or morning granola.

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