Are Dairy Products Healthy & Do I Eat Them?
Ah dairy products! This is one food group that I find people are either very attached to, or the opposite, they can give it up without much effort at all. Some people love dairy products, others not. I believe this is not only about tastes and preferences, but also where someone grew up, their ancestry and cultural background, and if foods made with dairy were eaten amongst their family and community.
Personally, I always like to approach diet from a place of balance, and take into consideration that not one diet fits all. I don’t believe in cutting out food groups unnecessarily, and this includes dairy products. For some people eating dairy products causes all sorts of havoc and distress in their body, but for others they have no reaction to it at all, and in fact for many vegetarian this is their primary source of vitamin B12, protein, and essential fats. So before deciding whether dairy products are for you or not, let’s talk about who should not be eating dairy products, and why.
Who shouldn’t eat dairy products:
1- Dairy Allergy Or Sensitivity
If you have a dairy allergy or sensitivity, you shouldn’t be consuming any dairy products. Symptoms of a dairy allergy are diarrhea, stomach cramps, bloating, gas, constipation, skin rashes, and chronic sinus congestion.
If you think you have a dairy allergy, you can always go to a doctor to have an allergy test, or you can do an elimination diet.
Some people with dairy allergies might also have allergies or sensitives to other animal milk products like goat’s milk. I also find that many with dairy allergy also have a sensitivity to soy milk. So if you have an allergy to dairy, and you switched over to soy milk, and you’re still not feeling great, I would strongly recommend having homemade nut milk instead (almond milk, cashew milk, etc.) or homemade rice milk. I believe homemade nut, seed, or rice milks to be a MUCH BETTER alternative to soy milk.
2- Acne, Breakouts, Cystic Pimples, Psoriasis, Eczema, etc.
If you have acne, chronic breakouts, or cystic pimples, I would strongly suggest you stop eating all dairy products. I would say 80-90% of acne sufferers notice either huge improvements in their skin, or complete clearing up of their skin when they eliminate dairy products, and all milk products from their diet.
Also for those that have eczema, psoriasis, or other skin issues – usually the elimination of dairy products and milk products will decrease or eliminate flare-ups. It’s worth it to take a break from dairy and milk products for a few weeks, maybe a month, and see if this helps improve your skin!
3- Chronic inflammation
If you have chronic inflammation, have aches and pains from arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, etc. — take a break from dairy. For many inflammation sufferers, this can help a lot. Dairy products and milk products are known to contribute to inflammation, and if you want to eliminate one of the causes of your pain or ill health, take a break from dairy and milk products to see if it helps.
4- Chronic sinus infections and mucous build-up
There’s not doubt that dairy products can be very mucous forming for many people. If you suffer from chronic sinus issue or even have a bout of a cold, runny nose, or even a sore throat, avoiding dairy product will help to speed up your recovery.
Does everyone need to stop eating dairy and milk products?
No! If you don’t have any of the health conditions like the ones above, and you’re perfectly healthy, and you enjoy having dairy products in your diet, I don’t see the point in cutting them out. I do recommend eating good quality dairy and milk products – always organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, and from a company that practises ethical treatment of their animals. If you can get it from a small, local farm or company, even a raw product over a pasteurized one, that would be great as well!
I also always recommend full-fat milk products over light or skim milk. It’s more filling, tastier, more satisfying, and has more healthy fats as opposed to more sugars and carbohydrates.
Do I eat dairy products?
I get terrible cystic acne from some dairy products (not from cheese, but from milk and cream). Even at the age of 39 where we’d hope I would have out-grown acne by now, I still have to watch it with milk products (which is a good thing because I have a soft spot for ice cream, but if I eat it, it’s breakout city!!!!).
Lucky for me, living in Indonesia there isn’t a wide selection of dairy products. Majority of fresh milk products are imported, and it can be very expensive (a pint of plain greek yogurt can cost close to $10). Dairy products aren’t used in local cuisine, and therefore my husband isn’t used to eating it. So I don’t cook much with dairy products, but once in a while I will use butter or ghee, and luckily I don’t have adverse reactions to it. I also sometimes like to add fresh mozzarella, bocconcini, or feta cheese to a salad to make it more substantial, and I have no skin reactions to that either.
So in all, because of the breakouts I get from milk and cream, and because I live in a country that dairy products aren’t widely available or used, I don’t eat much of it. When I visit Canada, I do like to have a little local cheese, or if someone is visiting me from Europe, I like them to bring me some cheese from their country, but this is an occasional thing, and not part of my daily diet.
One recommendation I do have!
I just want to end by sharing one recommendation I do have when eating dairy. Besides eating a good quality, organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised milk product, I also recommend eating dairy as a condiment, and not as a meal. I find most people can easily be satisfied if they do add it to their meal, but are mindful with the portions. For example, adding a small amount of cheese to a salad or sprinkling it on steamed vegetables, adding a dollop of yogurt to a bowl of berries, adding a spoonful of dairy kefir to a smoothie, etc., is not only tasty, but also adds more nutrition to a meal, and makes it even more filling. This way you get to enjoy the creamy texture of dairy, without overdoing it, or over eating it!
Want to do a Juice Fast? Join the next 10 Day Juice Fasting Program starting Wednesday, April 1, 2015!!! The program includes menu planners to transition on and off the fast, fasting outline, daily videos specifically made to guide you through the fast (20-40 minutes long each) and an online forum to connect with everyone from around the world doing the juice fast with you! Natasha is on the private Juice Fasting Forum daily answering questions and offering additional support! CLICK HERE to sign-up!