Dairy Free

Why live dairy free?

Lactose = milk sugar

Over time humans lose the enzyme, lactase, that is required to break it down and become lactose intolerant. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include diarrhea, nausea, cramps, bloating and gas. Severity of these symptoms can vary.
In my opinion, if your body can’t tolerate something, you should probably avoid it altogether. However, if lactose is your only issue with dairy and you are not willing to give it up, you could reduce the amount you consume, as some people can handle small doses.  You can also buy the digestive enzyme, lactase (Lactaid is a popular brand name of this enzyme), and take it when needed.

Casein & whey = milk proteins

Many people, myself included, are also allergic/sensitive to milk proteins. These sneaky buggers are found in lots of soy cheeses, protein bars & shakes. Just because you don’t see “milk” listed as an ingredient doesn’t mean an item is dairy-free.

It makes a lot of sense to steer clear if you are allergic, intolerant or sensitive, but why do people without these issues choose to avoid dairy?

Everything you put in your body has either an acid-forming or alkalizing effect when it’s digested. Some foods, although seemingly acidic, actually neutralize acid in the body, and vice-versa. One is not better than the other. We should strive to live in balance. Unfortunately, the standard American diet is highly acidic. Processed food and food high in animal protein tend to be acid-forming.Contrary to what you might think, when dairy is metabolized by the body, it forms acid. It can sometimes be a trigger for acid reflux. It also triggers acid balancing mechanisms in the body, which sometimes cause the body to borrow stored calcium from the bones. Kind of defeats the purpose of eating dairy for calcium, doesn’t it?

Along a similar note, let’s talk inflammation. I think most people have experienced increased congestion and phlegm while consuming dairy, especially when ill. This is the body reacting to the inflammation caused by dairy. Producing excess mucus is the body’s way of trying to calm the inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to heart disease and cancer.

High rates of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and asthma have been seen in countries with high rates of dairy consumption.

But doesn’t milk do a body good? What about calcium?

Milk doesn’t necessarily do every body good. There are plenty of other calcium-rich foods out there. Try incorporating some of these into your diet:

•    sardines
•    salmon
•    tofu
•    leafy greens like collards, kale, turnip greens, broccoli
•    beans like soy, white beans, chickpeas, black beans
•    oatmeal
•    sesame seeds
•    almonds
•    figs
•    bone broth