Not Milk?

So, in my quest to make every day’s food choices just a little bit healthier for me and, in turn, my boy, I have removed nearly all dairy from my life.

Some parts of it haven’t been so difficult. I’ve never been one to sit down and drink a big glass of milk. In fact, the thought makes me feel a little nauseated. I’ve always viewed milk as more of a food than a drink, so drinking food on top of eating food never appealed to me.

Many of the things I do miss are easily replaced, albeit with more expensive choices. But I’ve pretty much come to expect that. I’d rather pay a little more and eat smaller portions (that goes for organics, too.)

I used to eat a lof of Greek yogurt, which I’ve replaced with So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt. Coupled with Dorset Cereal Berries & Cherries for breakfast, it’s enough to make me forget about the snooze bar in the morning! It has a bit more fat, but I don’t freak out over fat in moderation.

For cereal, granola, oatmeal, etc., I find that almond milk is my favorite with rice milk a close second. I don’t opt for a lot of soy in my diet, so I tend to steer clear of soy milk except for the occasional latte or Amy’s Enchilada (YUM!)

As for ice cream, I think that problem is easily handled. Between soy and rice options, there are many out there from which to choose, and ice cream really shouldn’t be an everyday staple anyway, right? When the urge strikes, Rice Dream is phenomenal, or you could just go with frozen fruit. If you really have time on your hands, you could puree it and make some homemade sorbet. Incorporate a little wine and you’re really talkin’…perhaps that could be the focus of a future blog post….

Cheese is the biggest problem for me. I like a good slice of delicate deli Swiss, and a sprinkle (handful?) of freshly grated Parmesan on almost anything. And don’t even mention giving up pizza…

I have yet to find a cheese substitute that has quite the same meltiness and mouthfeel as the real thing, but I’m open to suggestions. This is why I said “nearly” all dairy…there is still a chunk of Parm in my fridge.

Now for the real question: If dairy is so healthy, why cut it from my diet?

Well, we’re told that it’s healthy, but I’m not buyin’ it. I don’t believe that dairy is good for us, our bones, our overall health, our athletic prowess, whatever… and I sure don’t believe we need three whole servings a day in a country where obesity is rampant. The vast majorities of other countries don’t consume nearly the dairy we do, if any at all

I’m not the only one. A simple Google search will yield more information than you’d probably want on the subject. It is theorized that all kinds of medical issues are caused or worsened by dairy, and that a diagnosis of “lactose intolerance” implies a defect when spoken within our country, when, if viewed through a less American-centric lens, the more appropriate term would be “lactose tolerant” for those few folks throughout the world who can actually digest lactose. (I’ve even read one person’s statement that the term “lactose intolerant” is racist. Food for thought…) It is also proposed that in areas of the world where dairy is not consumed regularly, osteoporosis is not an issue like it is in the US. But I am neither a doctor nor a scientist, so a lot of what’s out there is a little over my head.

What I do know is this:

1. Much like my milk is designed to be the perfect food for my son, cow’s milk is specifically formulated to be the perfect food for baby cows. Duh.

2. Cows are absolutely, without a doubt, NOT supposed to produce the amount of milk we take from them. The toll it takes on their bodies is not pretty.

3. We are the only animal that drinks the milk of another animal, and the only one that drinks milk at all past a few years of age.

4. The resources needed to feed the cows to make the milk greatly outweigh the so-called benefits of the milk itself. Nutshell: it’s simply inefficient and bad for the environment. 

5. The dairy industry has a sh*t ton of money (and if milk is that great, why do I have to be pursuaded by celebrities and athletes with milk mustaches? Am I supposed to be that shallow?)

6. I’m seeing more and more dairy-free options out there every time I shop, so there is a market out there.

And, finally, since I’ve cut out the fairly small amount of dairy I did eat/drink, I’ve noticed a marked difference in my baby’s digestion. Gas is a non-issue now. Whether the two are related, I don’t know for sure, but I do know what my gut tells me.

There is a lot of other disturbing and just plain yucky information about milk out there is you want to find it.

As for me, I’ll pass on the moo juice.

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