I used to consume a lot of dairy: milk in my coffee (how I loved a caffe latte!), cheese in a sandwich, yogurt as a dessert. You get the picture. As I didn´t eat almost any protein, I thought it was ok to consume dairy every day and in different forms. In fact, dairy is an important part of our food wheel, so what could I be doing wrong?
1. Most of the dairy available is not organic: as I explained in a previous post, when you buy dairy that is not organic you don´t know if the animals were fed with GMO rations. Besides, antibiotics and hormones* might have been given to them. According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, in her book Women´s Bodies, Women´s Wisdom, hormones and antibiotics stimulate our hormonal system, so many women who stop consuming dairy feel relieved from menstrual cramps, intense bleeding, pain in the breasts and in the endometrium.
2. Many people have dairy sensitivity: the symptoms can vary from bloating, flatulence and nausea, in the case of lactose sensitivity, to itchy skin, eczema and sinusitus, in the case of casein allergy. If you suspect you have a dairy sensitivity try to eliminate dairy from your diet for at least two weeks and see how your body feels. Then add it back again and notice how your body reacts (do you feel any symptom?).
3. Cheese can be addictive: you must be thinking “no way, addictive?” That´s why some people say “I can´t live without cheese!” or “I am addicted to cheese.” According to an interesting study, pizza was considered one of the most addictive foods and cheese was the reason why! Cheese has high concentrations of a protein — casein — found in dairy. During digestion, casein breaks apart to release opiates called casomorphins, resulting in addiction to cheese.
I know it can be hard to quit dairy because it is part of our culture, of our diet, and I am not saying that you should do this. I just want you to know the other side of consuming dairy, so you can decide what is best for you in a conscious way. However, in case you want to try other things, here are some options:
- Organic dairy (preferably goat)
- Vegetable milks (e.g.: almonds, rice, oats**)
- Seed/nut butters (e.g.: tahini, almond)
- Nut cheeses
- Coconut milk (instead of cream)
One final note. Before buying anything pay always attention to the label. For example, there are many vegetable milks in the market with added sugars, so if you have the chance make them at home. And don´t forget: choose organic.
*In the European Union the use of growth hormones is prohibited.
**I don´t recommend soy.