Part 2: Dairy
Welcome to Part 2 of Gluten, Dairy, Sugar OH MY!
Today we will break down something that is so near and dear to my heart- dairy.
I was the girl growing up who would be able to down a gallon of milk in a week NO PROBLEM. I LOVED IT! I drank it with almost every meal, and even for snacks (chocolate milk as a bedtime snack, anyone?) In fact, it wasn’t until my husband as well as some close friends began to start having some serious GI upset almost every time that they drank milk or ate cheese that I began to do some research.
Turns out, cow based dairy may be one of the worst things for our overall health according to recent research.
Gone (and never should have been) the days of the Got Milk ad campaigns and the preaching that if we don’t drink our milk and eat our cows’ dairy then we will all suffer from osteoporosis and calcium deficiencies.
Functional Medicine doctor and medical physician, Dr. Mark Hyman, reports countries with the lowest milk intake have the lowest rates of osteoporosis and fractures, whereas the countries with the highest recorded intake of milk have the highest rates of osteoporosis and fractures.
How did we get it so wrong for so long?
The increased and long-time consumption of cows’ dairy has been linked to a variety of major health concerns such as:
- Increased risk of prostate and ovarian cancer
- Increase development of hardened arteries (atherosclerosis)
- Promoted tumor growth in animal studies
- Autoimmune symptoms such as joint pain
- Ear infections
- Sinus problems
Pretty scary that all of these major health issues are linked to something we’ve been told our whole life is healthy.
What is making the cows’ milk so unhealthy?
According to the National Institute of Health about 65% (some reports say 75%) of the WORLD'S population have a difficult time digesting lactose (the sugar found in dairy products) and are thus, lactose intolerant. However, many scientists believe it is the poor digestion of the protein casein A1 that is causing most, if not all of the adverse symptoms we feel after ingesting cows’ dairy.
Casein proteins are incredibly inflammatory, and when ingested by humans, spark the myriad of symptoms mentioned above.
Note: Casein is often used as a binding agent and is used in many other foods that list milk or milk powder as ingredients (think cookies and crackers and other hard to avoid foods).
Our commercially farmed cows are fed diets of GMO corn, GMO soy, skittles (yes you read that right- skittles) and other non-grassy substances that are ALL highly inflammatory and NOT what the cows SHOULD be eating. This food makes the cows sick, which leads me to my next disturbing point, the need for cows to receive medication. 85 medications on average, actually- only four of which are known to be tested. These medications include many antibiotics and growth hormones, which you guessed it, wind up in the milk we drink from these cows.
Continuing on the sick cow subject, did you know the USDA allows for up to 1.5 million white blood cells per milliliter of milk sold? The white blood cells are coming from the cows’ immune system, which have been heightened due to the fact they are so sick from the food they are fed, and also from mastitis- an infection in their utters. This type of infection can get so bad that the pus from the infected utters actually winds up in the milk we drink- 38% of the milk we drink to be exact.
Personally, THAT was the statistic where I just could not continue to drink the milk I was drinking and consume the cows’ dairy that I was eating at the frequency of which I was eating it.
We’ve got sick cows that are giving us sick milk that is in turn, making us sick.
It's no wonder cows' dairy is the number one food allergen worldwide.
But Is ALL dairy bad?
In my opinion, no. Not all dairy is created equal.
- Butter: I love to use products such as grass-fed butter (like Kerry Gold) and ghee (clarified butter). Both of these foods are free from the casein protein.
- Cheese: Choosing goats or sheep’s milk cheese is the way to go. Because the casein protein is not found in these animals’ milk, digestion is made a bit easier.
- Milk: Buffalo, goat or sheep’s milk is recommended by many physicians and functional medicine doctors if you choose to consume animal based milks.
- Non Dairy Alternatives- My FAVORITE milks to cook with and use in my smoothies are actually plant based. I love to use Organic Coconut Milk (Trader Joe’s has a great canned version) and almond, pecan, or hemp milk (I absolutely LOVE MALK’s brand because the ingredients are the cleanest I can find!)
- If you do enjoy using cows’ dairy products, make sure you are checking that the products are made from grass-fed, organically raised cows. One company I like to use from time to time is Organic Valley.
If you are suffering from symptoms such as congestion, persistent ear infections, sinus issues, skin breakouts, constipation, or autoimmune disorders, I cannot recommend enough Functional Medicine Lab Testing- don’t guess, lab test! OR you could try your own elimination diet. Eliminating dairy products from your diet for three weeks and then slowly (if at all) reintroducing chosen foods in small amounts.
I am always here to work with you one on one to develop a wellness plan, recommend lab testing, and equip you with diet and supplement recommendations that are specific to your needs and your life.
As always, please feel free to message me with any questions, comments, or concerns! I am here for YOU!
Campbell, T. Dr. (2014 October 31). 12 Frightening Facts About Milk. Retrieved from https://nutritionstudies.org/12-frightening-facts-milk/
Gundry, S. Dr. (2017 September 15). Delicious Dairy Substitutes on the Dr. Gundry Diet. Retrieved from: https://gundrymd.com/?s=dairy
Hyman, M. Dr. (2018 March 2). 7 Takeaways About Dairy from My Book Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? Retrieved from: https://drhyman.com/blog/2018/03/02/7-takeaways-dairy-book-food-heck-eat/
NLM-NIH. (2019 April 16). Lactose Intolerance. Retrieved from: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/lactose-intolerance
Note: The information provided is intended for educational purposes only and should never substitute for a personal consultation with your medical provider.