The Dairy Dilemma
December 27, 2014
The Dairy Dilemma
By Megan Roosevelt, Registered and Licensed Dietitian
Founder of healthygrocerygirl.com and the Healthy Grocery Girl Nutrition Plan
The inspiration for this blog post came one of our Glow Smoothie Challenge participants who asked, “Should I continue to eat dairy-free after the 4 week challenge?” First, if you’re wondering what this Glow Smoothie Challenge is all about, check it out here! You can join and begin your 4 Week Glow Challenge at anytime! Secondly, I am happy to answer your nutrition question! In fact, I will be answering your nutrition questions regularly, so keep posting them online and your question could be featured in an upcoming blog post!
Now, about going dairy-free. If you’re like me you grew up thinking that milk and dairy are essential for strong bones. You grew up thinking that dairy is a good source of calcium and a great way to consume more protein. However, what if I told you that milk isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? When taking a closer look at the scientific research and evidence, what if you were to find out that dairy is not all that essential? Sure dairy does contain calcium and protein, this is true! However, dairy has some side affects that for many are just not worth it, especially when there are additional great sources of calcium and protein available from plant-based foods. The following list is a few reasons why many individuals are deciding to give up dairy and seek alternative sources of calcium and protein, and are seeing improved health benefits by doing so.
- rbHG “Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone”: Conventional milk commonly contains this hormone, which is given to milk cows to improve growth. Hormonal balance is essential for our body to function optimally and feel great. Consuming added hormones from our diet can interfere with our body’s hormonal balance.
- Pasteurization: In the US our dairy is pasteurized, for our safety, however this process of heating up milk also destroys dairy’s live enzymes. The result is that dairy is difficult for many to digest.
- Inflammation: Dairy has an acidifying affect in the body, which can lead to inflammation. Inflammation is associated with most all diet-related diseases.
- Osteoporosis: The countries with the highest rate of osteoporosis, which includes the United States, are also the countries with the highest intake of dairy. Dr. Campbell of the China Study states, “Ironically, osteoporosis tends to occur in countries where calcium intake is highest and most of it comes from protein-rich dairy product.”
- Bloating and Gas: Most adults are intolerant to digesting milk or dairy and find that by giving it up they no longer struggle with bloating, gas and constipation.
- Acne: Many individuals, myself included, discovered that giving up dairy improved their skin. Goodbye acne, cystic acne and hello a more glowing, clear complexion!
Personally, going dairy-free was a no brainer for me once I learned the pros and cons of dairy. The health benefits I gained after giving up dairy not only validated this choice, it helped me fall in love with plant-based foods. I learned that plants are truly an exceptional source for so many of the nutrients we need to thrive and feel our best!
Plant-Based Sources of Calcium
Dark leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli, collard greens)
Non-dairy milk: Almond milk, Coconut milk, Rice milk
Plant-Based Sources of Protein
Lentils, 1 cup has 19 grams of protein!
How To Transition and Wean Off Of Dairy:
For some, giving up dairy is easy. For others, dropping dairy needs to be a transitional lifestyle approach. As a Registered Dietitian, I have heard hundreds of my clients’ worry that there will be no life without cheese, only to find out that they are actually fine without it, and in fact better than fine because giving up dairy has vastly improved their health! If you want to wean off of dairy I recommend beginning by shopping for better quality dairy choices during the transitional process, such as choosing organic dairy and consuming less.
For more recipes, healthy lifestyle tips, and information on transitioning towards a plant-based diet, visit Megan’s website www.healthygrocerygirl.com and check out the Healthy Grocery Girl Nutrition Plan! Available at http://healthygrocerygirl.com/nutrition-plan/