Most of us grew up being told "milk does a body good" and that dairy was the best way to get strong bones and calcium...
Was this all of this simply marketing to get you to buy more dairy?
Is dairy really good for you?
In my opinion - after personal experience, a lot of research and nutrition study - No - dairy is not very healthy for you. And this is coming from a girl who used to eat an entire cheese pizza by herself!
But it has calcium! Yes it does - and this is a case of the negatives outweighing the positives - meaning yes it contains calcium, but it also contains a lot of other things that have been shown to increase cancer cell growth, affect hormone levels and believe it or not INCREASE bone fractures. They ususally leave those facts out of their advertisements...
The dairy business is a HUGE business and of course their goal is to make money. The more dairy you buy, the more money they make. The more they advertise how good dairy is for you the more you will buy. Since 1983 the US National Dairy Board has spent more than $1 billion on advertising.
I could go on and on about this passionate subject but to keep this post from being a novel here are a few key points on why you should consider reducing or eliminating dairy in your diet.
Dr. Colin Campbell of the China Study quotes, "casein is one of the most significant cancer promoters ever discovered". Casein is the main protein in milk and high intake of dairy has been linked to increases in prostate, ovarian and breast cancer. "Harvard University nutrition experts have expressed concern that the hormones in dairy products and other growth factors could stimulate the growth of hormone-sensitive tumours." Michael Greger, MD.
Plant based calcium is better for you. Calcium from sources such as kale, bok choy, beans, almonds and broccoli is more easily absorbed by the body than animal based calcium. Kale actually has more calcium per calorie than milk! Dairy is very acidic. Calcium is taken from our bones to neutralize the acid levels in the body when dairy is consumed actually making weaker (not stronger, as advertised) bones.
This one resonated with me the most - considering most of my 20's was spent with horrible acne on my face! Cutting out dairy will improve your skin, especially if you are suffering from acne. All dairy products (organic or not) contain hormones which disrupt your body's natural hormone levels causing stress and inflammation. Dairy has also been linked to auto-immune skin conditions.
Digesting dairy is difficult for everyone. Although you may not have physical symptoms, your body's attempt to digest it is most likely keeping your energy low, making you tired or foggy, upsetting your tummy in the form of bad breath, indigestion, headache, bloating, gas or worse…it puts unnecessary stress on your internal organs.
I realize that dairy is a difficult thing to give up and is really a big part of many of our daily diets. I felt the same way when I decided to give it up, but now that I have - I look and feel so much better that I couldn't imagine ever going back. You may not be ready to eliminate dairy completely and that's ok. A great start would be to reduce your dairy intake and really be mindful of how much you are eating. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on my favourite dairy substitutes.