Let’s talk milk. Dairy is controversial and is the cause of many debates between health professionals. Some say dairy is healthy while others believe it should be avoided like the bubonic plague. The truth is, around 60% of the entire world is somewhat lactose intolerant, which means they can’t digest the milk protein, lactose.
If you are lactose intolerant and drinking cow’s milk, you could be experiencing symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation, loose stools, and allergies that may lead to ear, nose and throat infections.
If your body can digest cow’s milk and you feel like it is the right fit for your body, by all means it’s your choice to stick with it. However, I encourage you to eliminate it from your diet for at least 10 days to see how your body feels without it. You might be surprised by the results.
I personally avoid dairy milk, as I feel lighter and more vibrant without it. I agree with Dr. Hyman when he says “cow’s milk is the perfect beverage…. for a baby cow”.
So what are my alternatives?
Switch to a dairy-free milk such as almond milk, coconut milk, hemp seed milk, or rice milk. I encourage you to pick one with no added sugars and to choose the organic version.
It’s also best to stay away from soy milk as it has high levels of phytoestrogens, which mimic the body’s natural estrogen hormones. For women, this can lead to estrogen dominance, which has been linked to infertility, menstrual problems, and cancer. For men, it can cause testosterone imbalances, low sperm count, and cancer.
Bottom line – soy is not healthy and its widespread use is destructive to the environment. *
But what about calcium?
Adults need 1,000 mg of calcium per and the fact that we need milk to get this daily dose is a myth created by clever ads to keep us buying milk products. In fact, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “Animal protein leaches calcium from the bones, leading to its excretion in the urine.” This means that when you consume cow’s milk it changes the pH level in the body and turns the blood acidic, notifying the body to neutralize the damaging acidic protein before it reaches the kidneys. The only way to neutralize it is by using our stored calcium, which is drawn from our bones, causing a reverse and undesirable effect.
In reality, the best and most efficient way to get calcium is from dark leafy greens, and foods such as almonds, salmon, black-eyed peas, white beans, seaweed, seseme seeds, and oranges. In addition, most dairy-free milks found in the store are fortified with calcium. However, if you are making your own dairy-free milk this will not be the case.
But what if I want to stick with cow’s milk?
If you would like to keep cow’s milk in your diet, then it’s crucial that you switch to organic. You should choose organic milk because it is free of synthetic hormones, antibiotics, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and GMOs. Studies have also shown that organic milk has higher levels of vitamin E, omega-3, antioxidants, and beta-carotene.
Non-organic milk contains harmful contaminants from antibiotics, growth hormones, and pesticides. One of the most dangerous is the bovine growth hormone (rBGH). The bovine growth hormone is given to cows to make them produce milk faster to keep up with the increasing demands worldwide.
According to a study titled Monsanto’s Hormonal Milk Poses Serious Risks of Breast Cancer, Besides Other Cancers, “Drinking rBGH milk would thus be expected to significantly increase IGF-1 blood levels. And higher levels of IGF-1 are linked to several cancers.”
Cows that are injected with rBGH are more likely to form an infection called Mastitis, causing the cow to produce pus which ends up in your milk.
Even more disgusting is that in order to beat the infection, cows are given antibiotics, which also end up in your glass.
In addition, the cow feed used is most times genetically modified corn, creating a decrease in healthy Omega- 3 fatty acids, and an increase in Omega- 6 fatty acids.
Fat-free, low-fat, or full-fat?
If you are still set on drinking cow’s milk, it’s best to stay away from fat-free milk and choose either a full-fat or low- fat option. Healthy fats are our friends and they help keep us satiated, allow the body to absorb nutrients more efficiently, as well as promote brain health.
In the long run, it’s up to you to decide what is best for your body. I’m a big believer in bio-individuality, which means that each person has unique food and lifestyle needs. One person’s food could be another person’s poison, so it’s up to you to discover what works for you!
Health Coach Jenna
*2-3 servings a week of FERMENTED soy (tempeh, tofu, miso) is okay if your body can digest soy. If you are suffering from an autoimmune disease or any sort of endocrine system balance, it is best to avoid all forms of soy.