I have previously stated that since becoming a vegetarian, cheese is my downfall. I haven’t completely eliminated cheese from my diet, but I have cut back tremendously and for a girl who used to put cheese on just about everything, cutting back is a huge step. However, I no longer drink cow’s milk and have cut dairy from every other area of my diet. If you think about it, isn’t it weird that there is a recommendation to drink three servings of cow’s milk daily? When we were born did we breast feed from a cow? No, so why are we supposed to drink it now as adults?
First let’s explore why it is so hard to give up dairy. Milk contains an addictive protein called casein. Casein is broken down in the body to become casomorphins (morphine) which have an opiate effect on the body. I should also mention that casein is more concentrated in cheeses, which explains why it has been easier for me to give up milk than cheese. The purpose of casomorphins was designed by nature to make a baby feel good while attached to its mother, it helps form a bond. However, we drink our mother’s milk as babies and then are weaned off. We don’t drink our mother’s milk as adults so why would we drink the milk of other species. In fact, it is so unnatural for humans to drink milk from other animals that we lose the ability to digest lactose (milk sugar) around the age of two (after we are weaned from our mother’s milk). Lactose intolerance occurs in 90-100% of Asian Americans, 70-80% of African Americans, and 60% of Hispanics.
Milk and dairy have also jumped on the diet and weight loss train. The National Dairy Council has spent millions of dollars on making recommendations on how many servings of dairy we need per day. They have also started a campaign stating that drinking more milk is associated with weight loss. I might mention that the Dairy Council was forced to retract their claims after findings came out that the researcher who supposedly discovered this link was paid by the Dairy Council. The truth is that the consumption of animal fats and proteins has been linked to heart disease, colon and lung cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, obesity, and a number of other debilitating conditions. Cows’ milk contains ideal amounts of fat and protein for young calves, but far too much for humans. Milk from a cow is designed to turn a young calf into a 400 pound cow!
It’s hard for people to hear the truth after being ingrained with the notion that milk is so good for us and that if we don’t drink it, we will get osteoporosis. I promise you, that it is so easy to get all the nutrients and vitamins we need without milk. Calcium is found in chickpeas, leafy greens, soybeans, nuts, seeds, and beans. And did you know that we can get our vitamin D from being in the sun for just ten minutes?
I am not saying you have to give up dairy completely, but I want you to understand the truth and think about dairy in a different way than we have been taught for so many years. We are fortunate enough that if you do choose to go dairy-free, there are so many options available to replace the dairy in your life. Some options I would recommend trying are: Silk Soy Milk, Almond Breeze, Follow Your Heart cheeses, Tofutti cream cheese and sour cream. Try some of them out, they’re not so bad.