I’ve always loved milk and other dairy products. I grew up drinking milk at every meal, and as I child I loved to eat huge bowls of cereal with milk. Ice cream, cheese and creamy dairy based soups were also frequent diet staples in my home. As an adult, I recently made the difficult decision to give up milk and other dairy products. The following are the reasons why I am giving up dairy, and why you should too!
Dairy Products are not All Natural
Milk and other dairy products contain contaminates that may endanger our health. Since 1994, most dairy cows in the United States are given injections of bovine growth hormone to increase milk production, and this hormone makes its way into our milk and dairy supply. While our FDA insists that there is no risk from drinking milk with traces of this hormone, 27 countries have banned its use. There are reports and studies that link exposure to an increase in the development of prostate, breast, colorectal and lung cancers.
I sat helplessly by and watched my father succumb to prostate cancer a few years ago. Since I am already at a high risk for this disease, I am trying to reduce or eliminate my exposure to items that may increase my risk of prostate cancer, including milk and dairy. If you are at an increased risk for developing one of those cancers based on your family health history or your own health conditions, then you may want to consider giving up dairy.
Even Low Fat Dairy Products are High in Fat and Calories
I also have diabetes, and I am trying to control my blood sugar by watching what and when I eat. I don’t like the taste of skim milk, but even 2% milk has 138 calories per one cup serving, which adds up quickly. Other dairy products such as ice cream and cheese also contain a lot of fat, as well as sugars such as lactose that can make it harder to control by blood sugar levels. I prefer to get the calcium and potassium that I need in my diet by making healthier, lower calorie choices that contain these nutrients. Choosing to eat kale, spinach, bok choy or other greens and pairing them with vegetables such as potatoes and tomatoes naturally contain these and other nutrients such as fiber and trace elements, making them better choices.
By using plant based sources for calcium and potassium I reduce the calories and fat content in my diet which can help me to control my diabetes as well as to reduce my risk for cardiovascular disease. Both of my parents had heart disease that was made worse by a high calorie, high fat diet. My oldest brother recently passed away from heart failure a few months after he had by-pass surgery to treat five blockages in his heart. My family health history alone raises my risk for heart disease. Diabetics also have a higher risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, so giving up dairy and replacing it with lower fat; lower calorie options could truly make a difference and lower my risk for developing heart disease while helping me to control my blood sugar.
There are other health conditions in addition to cancer, weight loss, and cardiovascular disease which the use of dairy products may impact. While many people believe that milk is good for our bones, the Internet and Media are full of reports and claims that milk and other dairy use may actually make our bones weaker and more susceptible to osteoporosis.
If you are like me and you are trying to lose weight, control your blood sugar or lower your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure then you might want to consider making different choices in the place of milk and other dairy products.
I genuinely love the taste of milk and dairy, but continuing to consume them is simply no longer worth the potential added risk of developing prostate cancer and heart disease.