Since childhood, we are told to drink lots of milk in order to grow, and we keep drinking milk as we get older because we need it for our bones, right? And then of course there is the huge propaganda of "Got Milk?" in the US, that no doubt has encouraged people to keep drinking milk, making us believe that we need it, in order to get our much needed calcium and vitamin D.
So why are people starting to cut down on dairy? Why are many nutritionists and holistic doctors talking about dairy as being potentially harmful to adults?
Here are 5 key reasons why:
1. Lack of enzyme lactase. As babies, we need to drink our mother's milk, as human breast milk is rich in good fats that aid in proper brain development. But as we grow older, we actually have trouble digesting milk as we start to lose our ability to produce lactase - the enzyme that helps us digest lactose (the sugar in milk).
2. Mucus. Dairy causes mucus buildup in your gut, which can lead to stomach aches, bloating and gas. (While you may not realize it, you probably will once you cut dairy out completely, then add it back in. Most people notice a huge difference, feeling way better off dairy).
3. Disease. Dairy consumption is linked to many inflammatory diseases, allergies, eczema, arthritis, asthma, crohn's diseases, and the list goes on.
4. GMOs and antibiotics! The majority of cows (especially in the US) are injected with genetically modified growth hormones for the cows to produce more milk than they would naturally. So when you drink this milk, you are also consuming the artificial hormones. Plus, most cows are treated with antibiotics, and they're fed GMO corn or soy, meaning that your body will absorb these too.
5. Hormone disruption. As mentioned, dairy creates inflammation in the gut which creates hormone imbalance and impairs fertility for women. Plus, the artificial growth hormones from the cows can disrupt estrogen production.
So it's pretty clear that diary might not be as good as we thought! But what about getting our calcium, and risk of osteoporosis?
Well, studies have now shown that drinking lots of milk can actually cause osteoporosis instead of prevent it! The calcium in dairy causes the concentration of calcium in your blood to suddenly rise, so the body tries to restore levels back to normal by excreting calcium from your kidneys, overall decreasing levels of calcium in your body.
And let me tell you, you can get more calcium from other food sources (that won't have this same effect!). Some great sources of calcium include: dark green veggies (some of the highest are bok choy, arugula, broccoli, kale, & collard greens), beans, nuts and seeds. Sardines are another great source. Added bonus: consuming sufficient Vitamin C (think lemons and limes) will improve your calcium absorption, while inversely, too much protein and sodium can actually lower your calcium absorption.
So my recommendation? If you have signs of bloating/IBS, eczema, acne, inflammation, or any hormonal issues, try eliminating dairy from your diet for at least 2-3 weeks and see how you feel. During that time, make sure you fill up on leafy greens, and drizzle some lemon on them so you get your vitamin c and calcium. Most adults tend to feel much better off dairy, and now you know why!
If you want to learn more about detoxing from dairy (and gluten), send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love and calcium,
p.s. Thank you to everyone who filled out my survey, and shared your health concerns and desires. It seems that an overwhelming amount of people - from the survey results, to my clients and readers - have interest in learning about overcoming their food cravings, so I’m going to tell you how to do that!!
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