I’d like to take a few minutes to discuss dairy, mostly for those of you who might not know all the dangers lurking in your cheese.
When I went plant based, I had an easier time understanding why dairy was so bad for me over why meat was bad for me. Likewise, the more I learned about animal cruelty, it was the dairy industry that really made me ill with how animals were being treated.
First off, dairy is void of anything nutritionally good. The only “benefit” that milk would have is calcium, but guess where the cows get the calcium? PLANTS. As in we are eating the digested plants that go through the cows system first before we consume it. Recently it was reported that dairy farms are now injecting their cows with calcium, because they were not as healthy, because they were not eating as many plants.. go figure. So if you want calcium? Go eat your plants.
And then there are the hormones. Milk has 59 different hormones in it. 59! Among these hormones is insulin (IGF-1) which is a growth hormone. No, your not growing because of all that calcium. The growth hormone is particularly bad, and is considered in medical fields to be the rapid growth hormone, that speeds the process of cancers . Our bodies do not know what to do with milk products, and it puts a lot of stress on all of the organs. I didn’t believe this till I went plant based, and was quickly off of insulin. Any time that I’ve had the smallest amount of milk, since going plant based, my sugar spikes.The only thing milk is good for? Baby calves who drink milk like we’re supposed to – when we are infants, and from our mothers utters.
Casein is the other evil of consuming dairy. Casein is another hormone that is found in all dairy products. Casein is great in breast milk, it helps with the mother/baby bond, because it’s an oppiate. This is important for infants, but unless you are in need of being connected to a cow in that way? All it forms are some really powerful addictions. People are right when they say they are addicted to cheese. And it’s not just cheese – casein is used in A LOT of processed foods. So all of those bad foods you are addicted to? You are, and it’s because you are taking a drug when consuming them. And if you have kids, you are feeding them a drug, that will cause lots of addictions as they grow up, ones that as you probably know are really difficult to break.
And then there is cheese. Cheese, in my opinion is the worst food that we can eat. That’s right, the WORST. Cheese takes 10 pounds of milk to make ONE pound of cheese. Each bite of cheese has 10 times the amount of concentrated hormones & bacteria than a glass of milk. Cheese is void of anything good for you, and is filled with bad cholesterol, hard to burn fat and calories. It’s a powerful addiction. I would say that if you are considering going vegan, not to cut out dairy last, cut it out first. You will have a much easier time with your other addictions to different foods if cheese is taken out first. It’s a hard one, but well worth it in the end.
And then there is the protein. I was recently reading “The Engine 2 diet” where the author calls dairy “liquid meat”. Along with the other proteins and hormones found in milk this causes a leaching of protein effect in our body, which in effect causes bone loss, which in turn leads to osteoporosis. We have an alarming rate of osteoporosis in this country, and likewise countries that eat large amounts of meat and dairy. We’ve been made to believe that “milk does a body good” and that it helps our bones, when just the opposite is true. In countries where there is very little dairy and meat consumption the levels of osteoporosis are considerably lower. There have been numerous studies (pick up China Study for more info) on communities in which dairy and meat are not consumed, and how they have great bone density, higher than those who consume meat and dairy on a regular basis.
And if that is still not enough? Let’s talk about bacteria and pus. I have to admit, it’s the pus that got me when I first went plant based. In each glass of milk you drink, and in each bite of cheese you get a lot of pus, blood, and bacteria. This is completely legal, and accepted, after all, it’s only in little quantities, right? 1 cubic meter of cows milk is allowed to have 750,000 somatic cells – better known as PUS, and 20.000 live (bad) bacteria before it gets in your carton of milk or your block of cheese. Can you imagine if someone handed you a glass of milk and said “hey, before you drink this, we’ve allowed a few 1000 somatic cells and bacteria cells, but you should be fine”. How many of us would gulp the milk down?
Part of the trouble with all of this is that most of us don’t notice a huge difference when we consume milk. Or at least we don’t think we do. ALL of us are lactose intolerant, we are just not meant to consume dairy products. And like it or not, when we do it causes all sorts of trouble to our bodies. For me, as a diabetic I understand this much more, because my body does not enjoy when it’s stressed out. I consume dairy, and all of a sudden I’m putting stress on my body. It needs to figure out what to do with all those hormones and bacteria, and doesn’t have time to figure out how to use insulin, or to even do something basic like fight off infection. For most people consuming dairy just leads to things like heart burn, headaches, stomach upset, migraines, which most people just blame on something else.
Our bodies are highly efficient. But when we keep putting stress on them, time and time again? Things start to go wrong. Our bodies finally at some point go into this panic mode, and things start to shut down. There is only so much it can take, and if you already have a health problem (overweight, diabetes, heart trouble) the last thing you want is to stress your body out even more over a piece of cheddar.
On the weight loss side of things, I’ve found that eliminating dairy eliminates a lot of empty calories and fat. Now my calories and fat come from good sources, sources that don’t stress my body out. Nuts, seeds, good oils, and veggies all have good fat and calories that my body knows how to handle. Dairy has lots of fat, and lots of cholesterol – which I recently found out is something we do not need ANY of. Did you know we already make our own cholesterol? The only other source of bad cholesterol that we consume is in meat and dairy (and fake oils). Any excess cholesterol comes directly from dairy and meat (and the fake oils). Yet as a nation we keep getting prescriptions for cholesterol lowering drugs. Want to lower it for good? Eliminate meat and dairy, I can assure you that a month after your numbers will be CONSIDERABLY lower.
If you are considering switching to a plant based diet, I promise you that eliminating dairy will help in more ways than you can imagine. The first few weeks will be tough, but around week 3 your cravings will start to die down. Check ingredients! Casein is found in so many products, even some gum! The less exposed you are to it, the less you will crave cheese (and other dairy products)
Vegan dairy alternatives…
- Try.. Soy, rice, almond, hazelnut, hemp milks.
- I’d actually skip on the dairy free cheese, it won’t taste good to you right now, and will just remind you that you aren’t eating cheese. You can’t think of any plant based food the same as the food you are replacing. It takes a little time, but your tastes will change, I promise. Try new things, play with food and different ways of cooking things.
- Try coconut or soy based yogurts.
- Need a sweet fix? Try soy, rice or coconut milk based ice creams. Also, if you can find it raw ice cream is fantastic!
- Switch to soy creamers for your coffee.. Or if you really want to help your addictions, cut down on your coffee intake all together.
So give it a try, eliminate dairy, know that at first it will be tough, but it’s well worth it in the end.
Oh – and leave a comment if you’d like a bunch of recipes that I’ve featured on the blog! You’ll need them now, especially if you are going to give up all that yucky dairy!
Also, if you have tips on how you went dairy free, please share them in the comments to help out those who are veg-curious!