Dairy is getting increasingly popular as something people are eliminating from their diets. Although lactose intolerance has been a dietary ailment many have experienced, people that can have dairy without feeling their tummy are grumble are still choosing to opt out. With all the buzz around dairy-free products you may be wondering, should you quit dairy, too?
Let’s start at the beginning of why our society is milk drinkers in the process. Why someone someday decided it would be a good idea to squeeze the nipple of a cow and drink the white stuff that came out, I’m not really sure. History tells us that milk drinking began in Central Europe around 7.500 years ago. It’s believed that they were attempting to get more Vitamin D from the milk in regions where sunlight was lacking. The reality is, mothers of mammal species develop milk for their young. Cattle, dogs, cats, milk, you name it. So, why do we drink milk from a cow or even a goat but not from a cat? It’s a weird thought. Regardless, the fact is humans are the only species that regularly drink milk from another species. Is it natural? Maybe not. Yet that hasn’t stopped people from drinking cow’s milk for generations.
The big issue we are seeing in our generation now is that mere issue of pasteurization. Any food from its natural source comes complete with enzymes. These enzymes help our bodies to digest the foods. When milk is pasteurized, you take out any of those enzymes essential for digestions. That is why many people struggle with stomach aches and more when they have dairy-based products. Their body simply cannot digest or use it properly. Pasteurization is not exactly all bad, though. In fact, it serves a very good purpose to kill harmful bacteria. Pasteurization started in 1864 to kill a virus, bacteria that caused outbreaks of typhoid fever, tuberculosis and more. Although bacteria are killed, so also is a lot of the beneficial properties that your body would be able to use. Farm fresh milk doesn’t worry so much about the bacteria or the pasteurization, but unfortunately, most of us don’t have space in our backyard for our very own milking cow.
Another factor to consider for ditching dairy is the effects it has on your body. Milk actually depletes the calcium in your body (opposite of what most of us have been told) because humans cannot digest the calcium in the milk. “Animal proteins, like milk, acidify the body’s pH and this causes a biological correction. Calcium is released from the bones to act as an acid neutralizer and leaves the body in our urine, thus depleting calcium levels in our bones.” Many kinds of milk also have added extras that are just there as preservatives and don’t aid our bodies but can be harmful such as antibiotics and hormones. Those hormones given to the cows can affect our own hormones. Women, we know how important it is that our hormones are balanced.
Like most foods, there is a lot of controversy around what is good for us or not. If you are someone who doesn’t have a stomach ache, breakouts or bloating from dairy products, you may be totally fine to drink milk. If you do go dairy free, most grocery stores, coffee shops, and restaurants make it easy. Coconut, almond, oat, cashew and rice milk are all great alternatives to use in coffee, recipes, and to help you wean off dairy if you choose to do so. Here are a few of my favorite dairy-free products: