Dairy is a very controversial topic and is highly dependent on bio-individuality. Finding out if dairy is right for you really relies on some experimentation. Here's some information so you can make an educated decision about how and if dairy fits into your diet.
Unfortunately, a lot of the positive arguments for dairy come with asterisks next to them, but here they are:
- High in calcium (though it is not very well absorbed by the body because the molecules are too big, you'll get more bioavailable calcium from leafy greens)
- Good source of protein (some of this protein has been found to leech calcium from bones)
- High in vitamin D (only because it's fortified, there are other non dairy products that are fortified with vitamin D, you can also get it from a high quality supplement like the ones you're currently taking or by getting outside in the sun each day).
I hate to say it but that's about all I got for the benefits of dairy. The list of cons is a bit longer:
-It is an allergen to many people
- It is mucus forming creating a damp inner ecology which can lead to health problems like candida, edema, tumors, cysts, cancers, eczema, acne, arthritis, and obesity.
- Casein, a protein found in dairy, has been found to cause cancer to grow
- It causes cramps during women's menstrual cycles
- The molecules in milk are too big for our bodies to digest (remember they're for baby cows to grow)
- It isn't necessary in the diet, other countries that consume little to no dairy have far lower rates of osteoporosis than we do
- Unless you buy organic, milk is full of hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, pus, feces and can now have aspartame in it without it being listed in the ingredients.
If you decide that you do still want to include dairy in your diet, here are your best dairy options that will do the least damage to your system plus some delicious dairy alternatives:
- Always full fat and organic
- Goat/sheep dairy products- they only contain trace amounts of casein, their molecules are a fraction of the size of cows milk, and for many people they don't cause mucus like cow dairy does
- Raw cow or goat cheese- it isn't dangerous because it's been aged to a point that there is no longer is concerning bacteria. (That's why they can sell it in grocery stores.)
- Kefir- this is a fermented dairy product; it is basically pre-digested for you by the live cultures used to ferment it, making it easier on the digestive system
- Greek yogurt- as long as it's made from goat's milk (which it should be), the way it's made is it's fermented, the liquid whey is removed, and some of the lactose sugars are removed. Always opt for plain, unsweetened and add your own flavors to control the sugar.
Some healthier dairy and alternatives for you:
- Almond, Goat, Hempseed, Oat, or Coconut Milk (among others)
- Almond/Coconut/Goat Milk Yogurt
- Coconut/Goat Milk Kefir
- Goat Milk Cheeses
- Nutritional yeast has a great cheesy taste that I love putting on veggies and popcorn
Dairy experiment: I want you to consider an experiment without dairy this week. Make notes in your food journal about what your reactions are to find out what dairy or dairy alternatives agree with you most.
Cheesy Cheating: Try this recipe for a creamy cashew "cheese dip" my whole family loves.
2 c soaked raw cashew (I soaked mine over night but 2-4 hours will work)
1 ½ c of water (you can also use chicken broth or vegetable broth for more flavor)
6 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ a red bell pepper (for flavor and color)
1-2 cloves garlic
After you soak your cashews, drain them and toss them into your Vitamix or another strong blender or food processor. Add in the bell pepper, nutritional yeast, water, apple cider vinegar, and garlic and blend on high until creamy. It will start to look like cheese dip. I like my dip hot so the next step is to pour your dip into a small sauce pan and slowly heat it over medium heat while stirring. This is also when the seasonings come into play. I didn’t measure. I just started sprinkling and tasted as I went until I got a flavor and heat I liked.
You can also experiment with other spices or flavors. Mix in a little salsa or toss in some lime juice and cilantro. This recipe is so easy to customize for different tastes and dishes.
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