5 Reasons to Ditch Dairy
By Julieanna Hever, The Plant-Based Dietitian
Dairy is not essential for a healthy diet. There are many substitutes for dairy products. When working with clients, dairy is the first thing I recommend to cut out of a diet to help optimize nutrition and health. Here are 5 reasons to ditch dairy...
1. Dairy is hormonally active.
All mammalian milks naturally contain small amounts of various hormones. You may have heard people concerned about the phytoestrogens found in things like soy foods, but dairy is actually hormonally active. Dairy is a mammalian milk and so it stimulates growth which is why it’s so beneficial for a baby, whether a calf or human to help grow. But of course once you’re full grown, growth is not necessarily a good thing. It can even be associated with things like cancer. We don’t need dairy. In fact, phytoestrogens are health-promoting, opposed to estradiol found in dairy products.
2. 65-90% of different populations around the world are lactose intolerant.
After weaning, we stop producing lactase, the enzyme necessary to digest lactose, which is a major milk sugar found in dairy products. People with lactose intolerances face really uncomfortable gastrointestinal distress when they consume dairy products because they don’t have that enzyme to digest it. Some people will take enzyme pills to cope with their intolerance. Instead of forcing your body to tolerate dairy products, listen to your body and remove them from your diet.
3. You don’t need it for bone health.
All the nutrients touted in dairy products for bone health can be found elsewhere. There’s a study that shows calcium from kale is better absorbed than the calcium from dairy milk. You can get the same amount of calcium from sesame seeds, tahini, almonds, plant milks. Vitamin D, protein, amino acids, and more can also be found in plant-based milks and other plant-based foods. All nutrients can be found in plant-based foods without the adverse effects of dairy products.
4. Dairy, especially cheese, is the primary source of saturated fat.
Dairy is the primary source of people's saturated fat. The American Heart Association still stands by the idea of getting no more than 5-6% of total calories from saturated fat in your diet. A vegan diet that contains no animal products already ends up being about 5-6% of total calories from saturated fat. When you add in one serving of dairy, or animal products, or tropical oil like palm or coconut oil, you're taking yourself over the top of the recommended amount of saturated fat in your diet.
5. So many plant-based options can easily replace dairy products.
There are an array of plant milks available, soy milk, hemp milk, oat milk, rice milk, almond milk, cashew milk...the list goes on. There are also many easy substitutes for animal products in a plant-based kitchen. So many milks can be used culinarily in dishes to replace dairy products.
Eat plants. Drink plants. For your health.