Choosing a dairy-free diet could significantly improve your health. Numerous studies studies have proven it.
In America, we have been consistently programmed through the media over the past 60 plus years to believe that milk and dairy products are necessary in our diet.
The fact is that consuming dairy products can have a negative impact on your health, whether you know it or not.
The following are just five of the many reasons why you might want to choose a dairy-free diet or at least reduce your intake of dairy foods, such as milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, sour cream, cottage cheese and yogurt.
Please note that the references listed below are for articles that contain more information about these five reasons, along with references to clinical studies.
When it comes to nutrition, the issue is not so much about the amount of a specific nutrient (such as calcium) that one gets, but rather the form that the nutrient is in, how well the body can digest and utilize it, and the synergistic effect of other nutrients in food that help to optimize nutrient utilization in the body.
For example, we now know that vitamin D and vitamin K are essential for helping to get calcium where it is most needed in the body—mainly bones and teeth.
Eating a dairy-free diet that includes an abundance of green vegetables can improve bone density.
The best way to protect your bones is to reduce the amount of animal protein and dairy foods in your diet and to eat more fresh, unrefined plant-based foods.
You will get more than enough absorbable calcium from a healthful diet of fruits, vegetables (especially leafy greens), grains, seeds, beans and whole grains.
If you or your child is unable or unwilling to eat green vegetables, you might want to supplement with a food-based calcium. A few brands I recommend are Nature's Way Alive! Calcium and Garden of Life Living Calcium Advanced.
You will get maximum bone health benefits if you also get exercise daily, preferably weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, running, or lifting weights.
The bottom line is that we do not need to consume dairy products for optimal health. In fact, for the vast majority of people, consuming them will most likely deteriorate their health over time.
I think Dr. Shinya says it best in The Enzyme Factor:
“Nutrients found in milk are suitable for growing calves. What is necessary for the growth of a calf is not necessarily useful for humans. Moreover, in the natural world, the only animals that drink milk are newborns. No animal drinks milk after becoming an adult (except Homo sapiens). That is how nature works. Only humans deliberately take another species’ milk, oxidize it and drink it. It goes against natural law.
“Cow’s milk, even if it is fresh raw milk, is not suitable for humans. We turn raw milk, which is not good for us to begin with, into bad food by homogenizing and pasteurizing it at high temperatures. Then, we insist our children drink it.”
If you value your health and are ready for a change, I challenge you to a completely dairy-free diet for at least one month (three months would be even better).
First, as always be sure you are drinking enough water daily to stay fully hydrated.
Second, focus on eating an abundance of fresh, plant-based foods--primarily vegetables, along with 2 to 3 daily servings of fruit, whole unrefined grains, healthy fats (avocadoes, nuts and nut butters, seeds, olives, olive oil, coconut oil)—as well as either plant-based protein or small amounts of lean animal-based protein, preferably fish and poultry.
If you consume animal protein, quality is the key. Whenever possible, buy wild fish rather than farm raised fish. Also choose grass-fed, hormone-free beef, turkey or chicken rather than commercial products made from animals raised on hormones, antibiotics and drugs, and who have a poor diet and restricted movement.
Try out some of the dairy alternatives as needed: such as rice milk, coconut milk or almond milk in place of cow's milk. I don't recommend soy milk since many people have a hard time digesting soy and it can create hormonal imbalances. In addition, most of the soy in America is genetically modified.
If you can’t do without cheese, try the non-dairy cheeses found in many health food stores. You can also find coconut and almond milk ice cream, which are very satisfying for an occasional treat.
After 30 days, take an honest look at how you look and feel, your energy levels, your digestive health, your skin and hair, as well as any changes in allergies, asthma, or any other condition you may have had. We trust that most people will notice a positive difference.
If you simply love the taste of milk, cheese or dairy products and can’t live without them at this time, I strongly encourage you to reduce your consumption and only drink milk that has not been homogenized or pasteurized at a high temperature.
Hiromi Shinya, M.D.; The Enzyme Factor; 2007.