There is a simple comfort that milk gives us, wouldn't you agree? In our coffee or tea, oatmeal, chia puddings and with a cookie or dessert. A life without milk is possible, but really, who wants it?
Milk was a staple in my home growing up. I'd drink tall glasses of pure cow's milk to quench my thirst. Pasta dinners, there it was again. Chocolate cake and cookies, of course, a glass of cold
I don't think that a dairy-free diet is for everyone. I know many people who tolerate dairy just fine, and are asymptomatic after eating it. That means no skin irritation, fatigue, gas, bloat, loose stool and/or constipation.
If you don't have symptoms after eating it, I would just recommend to stick with organic and you're in the clear.
As for me? It wasn't until I was 30 and had suffered for 20+ years of constipation, acne, chronic fatigue and bloating that I finally gave up dairy. I became a holistic nutritionist shortly after quitting my dairy habit and quickly learned that there is no need to rely on milk and dairy for all of the reasons it's marketed for.
There are so many foods that we can and should be eating that are high in protein that aren't from dairy. The obvious is good quality meats, seafood and eggs, but so are nuts and
seeds. These foods can also contain omega 3s and insoluble fibre (think a built-in gut sweeper and detoxifier!)
Calcium can easily be consumed by eating kale, sardines, broccoli, watercress, bok choy, okra, and almonds. PLUS you get the added benefits of many other nutrients, healthy fats, protein and fibres by eating those foods!
Fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, sardines, salmon, cod liver oil as well as egg yolks all contain vitamin D. This vitamin tends to be low in people with exposure to low sunlight (think long winters, eh?) so supplementation may also be a good idea for those who live in colder climates.
I always recommend speaking with a health practitioner before supplementing anything as vitamins and minerals can have a powerful effect on the body and you should have an objective and educated person giving out recommendations to you.
I feel like anyone who gets calf or leg cramps says, "I need to eat a banana!"
While I'm happy that it's general knowledge that leg cramps could be due to a potassium imbalance, and that bananas are a great source of just that, I'd like to shed some light on some other beautiful foods that do, too! Avocado, acorn squash, spinach, sweet potato, salmon, apricots, pomegranate, coconut water, white beans and banana.
Note that magnesium (and calcium) rich sources such as dark leafy greens, can also aid leg cramps!
I'm not going to get into why each of these nutrients are important in maintaining a healthy body - let's just say that milk and dairy are steadily taking a back seat to other natural and whole-foods in terms of supporting our immune systems, energy, clarity of thought, gut health and a well-functioning endocrine system.
Everyone is different. If you haven't already, I encourage you to assess your health (either solo or with a practitioner) and determine if dairy is contributing to, or taking away from your vitality in life.
If you're looking for some dairy-free recipe inspiration, that's what we're all about here at The IBS Academy! Browse our recipes or giv our Anti-Inflammatory Hemp Milk a try.
Cassandra Hope, RHN
Founder of The IBS Academy
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