Milk… it does the body good, right?
If you’re talking about the milk from your own species yes.
A woman’s breast milk for a baby… yes!
The mother’s milk provides the perfect proportion of protein, fat and carbohydrates for the rapid growth phase of a baby.
It also contains beneficial bacteria to establish a health gut microbiome for the baby and nutrients that support the development of the baby’s immune system.
This is all in proportion for the baby of your own species.
Cow’s milk provides the perfect ratio for a growing calf to turn into a cow.
So, all of this is designed to stay within the species AND for the baby’s early rapid growth years.
Humans are the only mammals that drink milk of another mammal AND to drink it as adults.
There’s a lot that can be said and debated about this, but for the context of our conversation here, let’s stick with milk’s effects on our health – specifically in the context of autoimmunity.
While you may not feel that you have an allergy or even a sensitivity to dairy, let me say, I understand. I didn’t either.
I loved my morning cereal and yogurt with lunch.
Then I started to learn more about dairy and decided to test it out for myself.
What would my body feel like if I eliminated dairy?
Spoiler alert… I never went back to consuming dairy.
I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I eliminated it from my diet.
Here’s just a few symptoms that can be alleviated by going dairy free.
Symptoms of Dairy Intolerance/Sensitivity
- Brain fog
- Excessive weight
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Joint or muscle pain
- Migraine headaches
- Skin irritations & rash
Sounds similar to the list of symptoms with gluten sensitivity, right?
That’s because the amino acid profile (the building blocks) of gluten look very similar to the amino acid profile of dairy to the body. So, if the body has a sensitivity to one, it likely will have the same reaction to the other.
Autoimmune Disease & Dairy
Furthermore, if you have a diagnosed or suspected autoimmune disease, it’s fair to say that you’re dealing with leaky gut.
We’ve talk about this many times before – but in short the lining of your intestines which helps to absorb the nutrients from food and transfer it into the bloodstream and the out to the cells is weakened by gluten and dairy. This enables undigested food particles, bacteria and toxins into your bloodstream triggering your immune system to react, and many attribute this to be the start of the autoimmune process.
Needless to say, dairy does NOT do the body good!
What About Calcium?
Many people still hesitate over the idea of eliminating dairy from our diet out of fear of not getting enough calcium.
This in large part is due to the fact that we’ve been brainwashed by the dairy industry to believe that it’s the only way to have healthy bones and that’s just not true.
First, you can get calcium from plenty of plant-based foods – especially our leafy greens.
But beyond that, we have to also look at what’s depleting our bones! That’s sugar, carbonated beverages and a sedentary lifestyle.
We need to be reducing our sugar intake, kicking the soda addictions and including some form of weight training into our exercise routine.
Now, let’s dive into the options of what you can have when eliminating dairy.
First let’s talk milk.
There is now an entire aisle of most grocery stores dedicated to non-dairy milk. This includes:
- Almond milk
- Cashew milk
- Coconut milk
- Flax milk
- Hemp milk
- Oat milk
- Rice milk
- Soy milk
So, which is the best option?
My personal opinion is original unsweetened coconut and/or almond milk. I would definitely avoid soy milk as 90% of the soy in our country is genetically modified and we simply don’t know the long-term effects of that.
I know I don’t want to be a guinea pig, do you?
Stick with almond and/or coconut.
Just one caution or caveat, read the labels and make sure that carrageenan is not listed as an ingredient. This is an emulsifier, so it helps to keep the liquid blended well as it’s on the shelf, however, it’s a known carcinogen and creates a lot of digestive upset.
There are plenty of carrageenan-free plant-based milks.
Next let’s dive into cheese.
I know this is the hardest for cheese lovers.
I’ll say upfront, for the true cheese connoisseurs often times it’s best just to eliminate it as an ingredient completely rather than to find a “fake” alternative because this is one of the hardest foods to recreate.
That said, Daiya offers great non-dairy cheese, especially if you’re trying to create a dairy free pizza.
A super ripe avocado is great to give salad a creamy texture or you can add sliced avocados between tomatoes and fresh basil for a dairy free caprese salad.
Rice cauliflower surprisingly can be another option. This one actually came from one of my clients. She missed cheese sprinkled on top of her salads, so you added rice cauliflower, it gave her the appearance that she was eating her “normal” salad.
Sometimes it’s a dance when we’re eliminating our favorite foods. Nobody can tell you it will be easy. But anyone that has stuck with it, will tell you it’s 100% worth it.
Choose your health over cheese… and over dairy.
So, I’m curious to know, where are you with eliminating dairy?
Have you tried it and gotten benefits?
Have you been considering it but haven’t yet taken the plunge?
If so, I hope this inspires you to take that next step.
Remember, creating sustainable habits, is all about making small but consistent habits.
What’ is one step that you can take today to improve your health tomorrow?
And as always if you’re interested in receiving more help in making changes to find freedom from autoimmune disease, I would love for you to join my group coaching program.
You can learn more able alenebrennan.com/join.