A lot of my directed questions recently have been about dairy. So, of course, this was a signal for a new post. Also, I provide my clients with a handout to explain dairy issues, and there is always an element of surprise and sometimes innate alarm bells of recognition sounding.
The dairy industry – a bit of history…
It was a few years ago when I read the book ‘salt, sugar, and fat’ by Michael Moss that I realised the extent of the influence of the dairy industry (If you are interested in the truth of how food industries get you to buy foods detrimental to yours and your families well-being, this is the book for you). An excess of milk turned into cheese left the country in a predicament, how do we get people to eat more cheese? Of course, we advertise constantly about how you can add cheese to jacket potatoes, all hot dishes, burgers, soups etc. We then produce as many convenience products as we can think of to tempt the public.
It makes sense that there may be problems with dairy when we think about it in terms of our evolution as humans. We are the only other animal species that habitually drink milk after infancy. Furthermore, we drink milk from another animal!
the problem with lactose – milk sugar
Most people are aware of lactose intolerance as there are specific symptoms which include bloating, wind, stomach cramps, diarrhoea. Many of us can be diagnosed as having irritable bowel syndrome from lactose intolerance.The result of lactose intolerance comes when we do not have the enzyme lactase, which is usually abundant in infancy (not always, hence some babies being unable to digest lactose) and then gradually dissipates. This fact in my opinion really links to the human section above. I think that we are probably more likely to be lactose intolerant than not when we take these facts into consideration.
more problems with dairy
Consuming dairy products can result in excess mucus production which can lead to blocked sinuses, itchy nose, throat and lips and a build up of phlegm in the morning. Also, surprising is that dairy is one of the main culprits in ear infections.
There are morphine-like substances naturally present in milk which can affect brain activity and could contribute to fatigue. However, the main issue with those who find milk difficult to digest is the protein – casein – which is molecularly similar to gluten the protein in wheat. Which is why a person who has coeliac or is gluten intolerant is most probably going got have problems digesting casein. It is extremely difficult to determine if you have a problem digesting casein because the symptoms could be attributed to many other conditions or problems. Casein could aggravate or cause asthma, eczema, bronchitis, nasal dripping, hay fever, tonsillitis, frequent colds and acne.
Even without any of these symptoms, we must consider modern farming techniques (outside of the UK) may mean that dairy products can contain high amounts of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics which can have severe consequences to our long-term health.
If any of the above symptoms ring a bell for you, my advice would be to cut out dairy for 30 days and see how you feel, then introduce a little bit of dairy, checking how you feel as you do. If you are okay, gradually add a little more and so on.
How do I get started?
Dairy is often the most difficult product to cut out. At first, clients always say I don’t each much dairy, then when unpacking the daily diet, it can become a minefield. Alternative names for dairy within products are casein, whey, lactoferrin and lactalbumin.
Here are some swaps to support you:
- Unsweetened almond, coconut, cashew, hemp or other nut milk (you can make these yourself or buy from any supermarkets)
- rice or oat milk
- Replace cream in recipes such as soups with coconut cream/milk (tinned coconut – a good convenience product). Also, blending soups with cashew nuts in is simply lovely and creamy.
- olive oil/coconut oil can substitute butter in baking or cooking
- use homemade hummus or nut butter as spreads on rice cakes
- It is possible to buy dairy free cheeses which are very tasty, however making your own cashew cheese is very easy and rewarding, find the recipe and method here http://passionatenutrition.co.uk/nut-milk-cheese/
- Use homemade guacamole, hummus and or salsa as toppings for potatoes etc.
- sprinkle nutritional yeast (my favourite is Marigolds engevita yeast flakes) onto soups or salads for a vegan nutrition packed cheese taste
Yoghurt or ice-cream alternatives
- Blend bananas (frozen or otherwise) for a sweet treat
- Use coconut cream (from tinned) to replace yoghurt and add berries and optional chia seeds for a lovely pudding
- Protein powders
Replace whey protein powder for natural hemp or pea protein powders
Just in case you are worried about your calcium intake, here are alternative sources of calcium:
- Dark leafy vegetables e.g. kale, spinach, cabbage, watercress, broccoli, parsley
- Nuts and seeds especially chia and sesame
- Soya – non-GMO and organic
- Pulses e.g. chickpeas, lentils etc.
If you have any questions or would like to get in touch leave a comment or contact me through one of the following:
lots of love and health,