Nutrition

Whats the Deal on Dairy? Healthy or Unhealthy?

If you know me, you know this post is a long time coming. All my friends know I try to avoid dairy, don’t drink milk and think it is actually unhealthy for our bodies. (they’ve had to listen to my rants about it).

I have also debated on writing about dairy for a while because its so controversial, a lot of people get really defensive when I talk about how harmful it is for your health and the last thing I want to do is offend someone. I don’t want to push my habits on you in any way but I DO want to get informative, nutrition information out there so you can change your life for the better.

I grew up like most of you, thinking dairy was so good for you, makes us grow big and strong, essential for healthy bones and teeth and full of nutritional value. I believed milk, cheese and yogurt were part of a healthful diet for the longest time. But when looking back, eating these kinda of things never made me feel good or nourished in the way that vegetables or fruit does. Dairy has been advertised as healthy for a very long time which is why it such a hard idea to adapt that it’s not as good as we once thought. But I mean hey, the dairy industry pays millions of dollars to promote that it’s good for us, has many health benefits and pays other companies to tell us that same. So it’s not our fault for believing them for so long.

The more interested in nutrition I got and the more research I did, the more I paid attention and the more I realized it made 0 sense for humans to be consuming dairy products. It really blew my mind how much research and evidence there was proving how harmful dairy was to humans and how many diseases it was linked too.

People are forever asking me why I choose not to drink milk and then continue to ask where I get my calcium and vitamin D from…

First of all, milk is fortified with Vitamin D meaning there isn’t a natural occurrence of vitamin D in milk and the vitamin is not in its natural state. When a food is fortified with something, its not easily digestible or absorbable compared to when a food naturally has that vitamin present. A lot of the times when foods are fortified with something like milk is with vitamin D, it’s just a claim to make it seem healthier and more desirable. It grabs your attention and gives you the impression you need this product because there are a lot of vitamin D deficiencies. Foods use the cheapest form of the vitamin that your body can’t even absorb, so you are not getting the amount it claims you are getting.

Second of all, there are so many other plant-based sources of calcium that are filled with other antioxidants, fibre and phytonutrients. Such as, chia seeds, bok choy, dark leafy greens like kale or spinach, beans, sesame seeds, etc. Soooo, I get my calcium from a variety of those sources.

By the way I didn’t just wake up one day and make up in my own head that dairy is bad for you. There is plenty of scientific evidence that it’s unhealthy not to mention unnatural for our bodies to consume dairy, and I will explain to you why.

Here are some of the main points I have learned about dairy that have totally turned me off to consuming on the regular and explains why It’s harmful to our bodies.

1. Alrighty so to kick things off I want to tell you guys that there is NO evidence that supports the fact that milk and other dairy products are good for our bones and teeth. In fact, studies show that in areas where dairy consumption is highest, there are more bone fractures and people developing osteoporosis (weak, frail bones). The reason being is that the type of calcium we get from milk doesn’t penetrate our bones in order to make them strong. Milk and other dairy products is very acidic to our body, lowering its pH levels, so our bodies actually pull out the calcium from our bones in order to neutralize this acid because calcium is a great neutralizer. Calcium is then flushed out through our digestive system so when we consume milk, our bodies can lose more calcium then its gaining.

There are so many plant-based sources of calcium that have fibre, antioxidants and other nutrients that are so much more beneficial. I mean where do you think cows get their calcium from….. PLANTS. Not another species milk (cause were the only species that does that and its fucking weird leading me into my next point).

Here are some amazing plant-based sources of Calcium:

  • Kale (90 mg/serving)
  • Sesame Seeds (280 mg/ serving)
  • Almonds (80 mg/ounce)
  • White Beans (100 mg / half a cup)
  • Arugula (125 mg / cup)
  • Brocolli (180 mg/ cup)

2. It’s just unnatural that we consume cows milk and other dairy products so I don’t know why we have been sucked into believing the dairy industry when they tell us its good for us. You wouldn’t go suck from the nipple of a cat, or dog, or coat, or horse would you? Well we do from a cow which is so strange. We don’t squeeze out milk from our breasts to feed a baby or grown ass cow do we? Nope, that would be weird, but cows are forcibly impregnated and have their babies taken from them so they can feed humans? what. the. hell.

Think about it for a second. Us humans only make milk in order to feed our babies and help them grow. ALL mammals produce milk to feed their young. After that stage, we stop making milk because after were babies we shouldn’t consume it. But then we go on to drink a different species milk.

Human breast milk is for a baby human, cows milk is for a baby cow, goats milk is for a baby goat… you get the picture right? We are literally the only species on the planet of the earth that consumes milk after were babies and drinks another species milk. So yeah its unnatural id say.

“Dairy is nature’s perfect food… if your a baby cow”

3. 75% of the words population is lactose intolerant which also tells us something. It’s horrible for our gut causing bloating, gas, indigestion and constipation. Milk and dairy products have literally 0 fibre whatsoever making it super hard to digest and cause constipation. Remember how our parents would always say, don’t eat too much cheese it will make you constipated! Well they weren’t wrong, and not sure how something that makes you constipated is promoted as a health product? Also, after were babies, our bodies produce less and less or none at all of the enzyme lactase, which digests the lactose in milk. Again… after were babies we are not meant to drink milk.

4. Dairy products have been linked to a variety of diseases and health issues such as prostate cancer, asthma and other respiratory problems, Type I diabetes, heart disease, digestive problems like IBS, arthritis, allergies, sinus problems and ear infections. These may all be due to the Insulin-like Growth Factor or Bovine growth hormone that milk is full of which is a cancer promotor, the amount of other hormones, antibiotics and pesticides that milk contains, or the high amounts of saturated fat. Milk may even contain traces of PUS from the infections a cow endures from all the stress from being forcibly impregnated over and over to produce mass amounts of milk. GROSS.

Let me just mention that hormones and antibiotics in dairy products is NOT an issue in Canada. Only in places outside of Canada such as the U.S. I know a lot of my readers are from both areas so just want to make that point clear 🙂

5. If you have really bad acne and consume lots of dairy daily, that could be the problem. I mean whenever I eat dairy I always end up getting big pimples on my face…. super annoying. Like I mentioned earlier, milk and dairy products are full of hormones and antibiotics which then, can effect your hormone balance in your body causing acne or other skin problems.

I get how hard it is to cut out dairy if you eat it a lot, I mean cheese tastes great its understandable, but its also highly addictive. I read somewhere that it has the same effect on our brains as heroine. I believe that 100% but there are so many really great alternatives to cheese and dairy products.

You can buy most things dairy free these days. Ya’ll know Ben and Jerrys? Well they have really great dairy free ice cream, it tastes no different then regular ice cream. Luna and Larrys is a great dairy free brand and SO delicious is good too.

Daiya is my go-to brand and has so many dairy free cheese options, they even have frozen pizzas too that are vegan! Silk almond milk, cashew or coconut milk are all great alternatives to milk and they taste amazing! Silk also has dairy free coconut yogurt, also really amazing. When I choose dairy free over eating dairy, I actually don’t even miss it, plus my body thanks me for it.

Nutritional yeast is SUCH an amazing cheese alternative too. You can put it on pasta, popcorn, pizza or anything else you usually put cheese on. It has an amazing taste and a cheesy texture, also very high in vitamins like B12. Its hard to find in stores so I purchase it through amazon. Heres the link: https://amzn.to/2ALw8Rl

Try cutting out dairy for a day or two, then try and go for a week and then two weeks. Pay attention to how your body feels without dairy in your life. I promise you you’ll notice a difference right away.

If you have any other questions about dairy or why I avoid it, ask away! 🙂

I hope you have a great rest of your Sunday. I worked all weekend so you’ll catch me enjoying some pizza with dairy free cheese and a big fat glass of wine. Cheers!

xo

Raquel

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2 Comments

  1. Hello Raquel. I don’t disagree with your comments regarding the negative health effects caused by dairy, and I appreciate the recommendations you have provided for substitutes.
    I would like to challenge some of the perspectives shared however. Most online resources refer to the “overconsumption” of dairy as a contributor to many of the negative effects. Does that mean that small quantities are safe? What about the valuable fats and sugars in dairy? In small quantities, are those okay?
    I’m asking for two reasons. (1) Absorption rates were not discussed in this post. Sure, there are many non dairy substitutes out there, but, as amazing as the human body is, it does not absorb vitamins and nutrients as well with many of these substitutes, meaning a person has to either grow up eating these substitutes, or transition their body into utilizing these substitutes over what it is used to working with. (2) With respect to your list of calcium containing foods; all of these products are common allergens. Like absorption, allergies also work on scales. Rather than an all or nothing approach, couldn’t dairy, and non dairy substitutes be utilized together, in moderation for greater effects? This allows people with mild allergies to still reap the benefits of non dairy products (kale should be gold with how amazing it is) while still nourishing their bodies with small quantities of dairy.

    I hope I’m not being too critical on you here. I really do commend your efforts towards healthier eating, and a plant-based diet is certainly the best direction to go, but like other blogs, I find that opinion clouds some of the science. Which is what a blog is supposed to be, but I personally would appreciate if we could acknowledge moderation.

    R.

    1. Hi Rey!
      Thank you for your question and comments, I would be happy to answer.
      I believe our bodies have no biological need for dairy products, and every vitamin or mineral in dairy products can be found in plants or other plant-based products. The dairy industry plays a large role in how dairy has been promoted and they spend billions of dollars promoting it, telling we need it in our lives and its essential to our growth. They promote this with not much evidence support those claims.

      Answering your points: 1) I am not recommending dairy substitutes as a means to make up for vitamins and minerals like phosphorous, calcium and vitamin D that dairy products are fortified with. I suggested those substitues as a way to replace dairy because dairy is not good for our bodies. The types of calcium in dairy does NOT absorb well into our bones, it actually pulls calcium out of our bones to balance the acidity dairy creates in our bodies. the phosphorus and vitamin D are fortified meaning our bodies don’t absorb that well either. And a lot of the times companies use the cheapest form of the vitamin to fortify the dairy products with. I explain this in my blog post. So were not absorbing much from milk overall. I suggested plant-based sources of these vitamins and minerals that are naturally present, and easily absorbable with more fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients. The substitues including dairy free cheese and dairy free yogurt I recommended are just to replace dairy products if your used to eating them and want to wean off.

      You claim there are valuable fats and sugars in milk. But the milk sugar lactose can be harmful to our digestive systems. 75% percent of people do not have lactase (the enzyme to digest lactose) because that enzyme decreases in our bodies after were done weaning. Proving we are not meant to drink milk or dairy products after we are babies, never mind a different species milk. The lactose in milk has proven to be inflammatory in people who are lactose intolerant as well as people who can tolerate it.

      2) Small quantities of dairy isn’t nourishing our bodies. LIke I mentioned before our bodies don’t absorb the nutrients from it. It would be much more benefical to eat a variety of plant-based products to get all the nutrients, fibre, protein and antioxidants our bodies need to THRIVE.

      I do not believe we need dairy in our diets. Any nutrient, vitamin, mineral, fat, protein that are in dairy products we can get from other plant-based sources that are much more beneficial. Milk and dairy products have the nutrient profile to feed a baby calf, not a grown human.

      Milk and dairy products are also pasteurized before they are put out on the shelves which kills a lot of the nutrients in milk to begin with.

      Dairy has been linked to respiratory disorders, prostate and breast cancer in men and women, acne, type I diabetes, heart disease, so in that case I don’t believe we should be consuming it at all.
      Other people have different opinions which is totally fine. This is just what I believe is the best for my body and I believe dairy consumption is unnatural and unhealthy.

      Thank you Rey for your questions. 🙂

      Raquel

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