Dairy - good or bad for you?
It depends. On you, on what kind and on how much!
Dairy can be a fair source of nutrition, but we also know it’s connected with various health issues such as mucus formation, respiratory difficulties (including heavy breathing, sleep apnea, snoring, frequent colds…), acne, constipation or the opposite, bloating, inflammation…
Depending on you
Do you (or your child) have a severe allergic reaction and you know it? Then obviously you have a reason to exclude dairy, until your tolerance will improve. Yes it might, by improving your gut health and your lactase levels (the enzyme that digests lactose). But also it might not. Either way you will survive fine without dairy.
To check for a severe reaction without an expensive test at the doctor, put a drop of dairy on your inner arm (do this at night, see right away or by morning). If it makes a red spot, rash etc. - dairy is not good for you for now. Check with different types of dairy. Eg. yogurt or raw might be tolerated while pasteurized milk won’t etc. You might still wanna do the allergy test then, if you want a paper for it (eg. kids eating school lunch).
Do you have a moderate reaction to dairy? How will you know? Trust your intuition. If you suspect something’s up around you and dairy, do an elimination diet. It’s free and accurate. Exclude all dairy from your diet for 5-7 days (or longer). Do not change anything else. If positive, you’ll feel better around day 4. Then add it back. Watch for reactions and how you feel. The reaction might be quite immediate from about 30 minutes to 2 days. Also watch for energy level, mood, behavior...
Did you feel better without dairy? Then the reasonable thing is to limit, or if you wish, exclude dairy, isn’t it?
Do you have a very minor or no reaction to dairy? Then you should be fine consuming some. But there are still those other two points to consider.
What dairy and how much
Too much of anything isn’t good. Period. I consider a daily glass of milk plus some cheese or yogurt too much. A splash of cream in a coffee (given you have 1-2 coffees a day) and/or plain yogurt or natural cheese occasionally sounds like body could deal with it. But again that depends on you.
Pasteurized (processed) milk and other dairy products are basically dead and nutritionally compromised. Together with these being the least digestible and the most above noted issues causing. I personally choose to exclude or largely limit these.
Dairy with live cultures are worthwhile. They help the digestion and absorption, as well as the cultures themselves are so needed in our modern diet. These include yogurts and from them dripped cream cheeses, cultured sour cream, natural cheeses, kefir, etc.
Butter can be a fairly healthy and fun fat, also ghee (for those intolerant) and cultured butter.
If you have access and tolerance to raw dairy, this is by far the most nutritious. Given a healthy origin, of course.
And that takes us to the third issue with dairy - the health of the source, including the moral of the whole thing.
So yes, store bought dairy is coming from unhappy cows, living in unnatural condition, fed unnatural stuff, given antibiotics and hormones, and forced to give milk year round, to say the least. Hence the compromised nutrition and all that sadness.
Most of us know it, but we don’t really like to hear about it. At least not without an option for a solution. So here I propose, in case you choose to keep some dairy in your diet as it works fine with your health objective:
- Find happy, naturally raised source of dairy (or goat or sheep). Look at how’s their living space, option for movement and sun exposure, feed, minimum chemicals, natural breeding circle, the after process done with the milk... Lasting products such as cheeses and butter will be available year round, while fresh milk probably only spring through summer. It is enough and more natural for you anyway. You might find only some products, not all, and it will be more expensive*.
- If you have no other option than store-bought dairy, then limit your consumption to a minimum. Only when you get a craving, let’s say? **
- Make some cultured dairy yourself. It’s really easy! Ideally if you can get at least organic milk (no or less chemicals - for your sake, but doesn’t guarantee the happiness of the animals, you know, right?)
- From 1-5 points: regular, organic, happy, happy & raw, happy & raw & little amount (or other combinations according to your options).
*The equation here is: more expensive = more dense nutrition = you will need less = you might not spend more in the long run + less stuff running through your body is better for you + less produce is needed. I see this as a win-win-win (for you, your wallet and for the animals)
**I already said consuming too much dairy is not good for you anyway.
And here are some non-dairy sources of calcium, if you were interested.
- Leafy greens such as kale, cabbage, spinach, bok choi...
- Sesame seeds
- Some beans (soy, white, black-eyed…)
- Sea vegetables
- Fish, especially small fish eaten with bone such as sardines, whitebait…
- Blackstrap molasses
I’d love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments below:
How is it for you and dairy?
By sharing your thoughts you might generate insight and inspiration for yourself as well as for others reading it.
Links to other posts, videos, etc. will be deleted as they come across as spammy.
With love & support
PS: this article is not edited, do not let that bother you if you understand;)