Many people including my self, grew up with the thought that "milk does the body good". We were told it would give us strong bones, is a good workout recovery drink and even that it could help prevent osteoporosis.
After studying the process of digestive troubles, hormonal imbalances, food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances, the impact of dairy (and gluten for that matter) seemed to be a trending theme - especially in relation to those who suffer from acne, gastrointestinal troubles, acid reflux, joint pain, sinus problems, headaches, constipation, eczema and autoimmune disease.
As someone who experienced years of digestive distress and painful acne, I tried everything over the years with no luck - expensive face washes, creams, birth control and antibacterial soaps. If only I realized sooner that the skin is the body's largest detoxification organ and my acne was a result of what I was putting into it rather than onto it. When I cut out dairy from my diet (the whey protein I was using too), my skin cleared up within 2 weeks!
The science behind the matter speaks volumes. This isn't just a "fad" or an opinion of health junkies like myself.
Here are some alarming FACTS and statistics:
Dairy* (especially non-organic dairy) is a major source of organochlorine dioxins – a known estrogen mimicker, which has been highly correlated with the development of estrogen dominant conditions such as breast cancer and endometriosis. These estrogen mimickers are also associated with increased fat deposition in the body and it doesn't help that dairy has an insulin boosting effect (Insulin is our body's fat storage hormone).
Next to gluten, dairy is one of the most inflammatory foods in the modern diet which can lead to intestinal damage, digestive distress, increased bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and acne.
The sugar (lactose) and the proteins (casein and whey) in dairy are what give it these inflammatory properties in the body. Dairy products promote the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes in the body that cause inflammation, cramps, and pain*. For me, I found cheese to be my greatest issue as cheese is much higher in the protein casein than milk.
Especially susceptible individuals are those who are lactose intolerant as they do not produce the lactase enzyme. This enzyme is required to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk. This worsens the accompanied digestive issues whenever they consume dairy products.
Even people who do produce the lactase enzyme can still react poorly to dairy products because of the two proteins, casein and whey that are found in dairy. The casein protein has a very similar molecular structure to gluten and 50% of people who are gluten intolerant are casein intolerant as well.
The consumption of dairy has also been linked to colon cancer, prostate cancer, and type 2 diabetes due to it containing insulin-like growth factor 1.
Studies actually show that drinking milk is NOT bone protective at all. In fact, countries who drink the most milk actually have the HIGHEST incidence of osteoporosis!
If any of these above points are enough to concern you, going dairy free does not have to be hard or limiting! There are so many dairy-free alternatives on the market these days. Some of my favourites include:
Unsweetened almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, or rice milk
High calcium foods such as almonds, kale, broccoli, figs, spinach and oranges
Dairy-free cheese brands such as Daiya (www.daiyafoods.com) and Raw Foodz products including dips, dressings and spreads (www.rawfoodz.com)
GHEE which is a dairy free, clarified version of butter
Always buy organic dairy if opting to include occasional dairy in the diet.
I personally avoid dairy 90% of the time, but I am no stickler for living a neurotic 100% dairy free life. There will be times and places where dairy-based food options are the only ones available, and I will enjoy myself without worrying too much.
If you are interested in learning more about which foods impact hormones and digestion, or even how to improve skin health with the proper skin-loving diet, you will love both my Bikini Bod Beat the Bloat ebook as well as my Healthy Skin From Within ebook!
Visit the link in the Shop section of my website to check them out.