Most of us go through our twenties and thirties not really thinking about diet so much as many of us are very active during those decades. Then forty hits, the activity dwindles down, and suddenly you realize that your waist is also in its forties. You have two options when this happens: either keep growing your waist to be the same number as your age or actually do something about it.
I decided to do something about it and eliminating dairy from my diet wasn’t something I imagined I’d never do, let alone feel so much better after doing it. Milk is that all-American thing we would never think to criticize, but once people started looking further into why it was so good for us, the information just didn’t add up.
All of us have been raised that milk ‘does a body good’ and never questioned where that information came from. We were told by our doctors that drinking four 8-ounce glasses of milk daily not thinking twice that it was two pounds every day. We don’t eat or drink two pounds every day of anything else, but when we’re preached this in the media, school and by doctors it seems perfectly normal.
Being older we start realizing that the push for all the milk drinking came from the American Dairy Association who has recently changed its dairy recommendation to just three cups each day for everyone over the age of nine. They didn’t seem to think so much about the 50 million Americans who are lactose intolerant. Interestingly enough, the American Dairy Association fails to mention that water is actually ‘nature’s perfect beverage’, but they don’t make any money from that.
Dairy does contain nutrients, but your body is able to easily digest it in products like greek yogurt or cheese than a glass of milk. In children, milk is actually the second most common food allergy after peanuts according to the Mayo Clinic.
About one year ago I began changing my diet and exercise with small steps like eating more organic things including bison, vegetables and fruit. Rather than going extreme, I knew it would be easier for both my partner and I to take small steps which made it much easier. The best surprise was that all of these things tasted so much better than when we were eating foods that weren’t so healthy.
I’d always heard about soy milk, but after tasting it years ago, that wasn’t something I just wasn’t ready to convert to. But when friends gave me a glass of milk to go with a slice of apple pie, I was blown away by how good it was. Assuming it was organic milk, I was further shocked to learn that it was unsweetened almost and coconut milk.
That was how easy it was to switch over just by tasting it and realizing that not only is it much healthier, but it tastes so much better than regular milk. Having had heartburn more frequently over the past few years, I noticed that it suddenly went away after I stopped using any dairy products. I never put the two things together until after going for my yearly check-up. My doctor commented how my blood pressure had dropped considerably and asked me what I was doing differently.
I told him about the change in diet along with exercise and he asked me if after going off dairy I noticed that I wasn’t flatulating as much. Oddly enough, I wasn’t able to recall the last time that had happened so I decided to test this on my partner who can’t seem to stop since he hit his forties. Within two of cutting out all dairy from his diet, he had the exact same results. No more heartburn or methane gas expulsions. I know it’s not a scientific test scenario, but I have never felt better after cutting out this simple thing in my diet.
Treating heartburn is a huge business, I found the solution was much cheaper and simpler by just not using dairy products. We do get vitamin D from milk, but we also get it from many other fresh vegetable sources and plain old sunshine. The Mayo Clinic has linked early drinking of cow’s milk with an increased risk of type 1 diabetes which is enough to keep me drinking that unsweetened almond coconut milk alone.
On this journey I learned two other milk myths the first one being that it keeps your bones strong. Not so true as the rate of fractures is actually higher in countries that drink milk. To keep bones strong, you just need exercise and vitamin D. A simple walk a couple times a week out in the sunshine can give you all you need. This certainly won’t change those ads since the government spends more money on dairy than on any other item in school lunches along with supplying over $4 billion in subsidies over the past decade.
Yes, milk and dairy are as American as anything, but deciding to eliminate this from your diet certainly won’t make you un-American. Just try it for five days and see if you too don’t feel the difference. Eliminating dairy from my diet wasn’t the sole thing responsible for my weight loss, but I definitely can say it took away my constant heartburn which has been worth it’s weight in gold alone.