First of all, when I say ‘dairy’ what exactly am I talking about?
Well, any milk-based food that comes from an animal, although I’m mostly focusing on cow dairy for the purposes of this guide.
Here are common examples of these foods (this list is by no means exhaustive):
- Milk (duh.)
- Cheese and Cottage Cheese
- Yogurt and Kefir
- Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt
- Sour Cream
- Crème Fraiche
What’s the Problem with Dairy?
It’s commonly thought that the problem with dairy is the lactose or the fat it contains. This is not completely true, because there are other factors in dairy that tend to cause many more issues than the above parts.
The fact is, a protein in dairy called A1 casein morphs into casomorphin or BCM7 when your body tries to digest it. Why does this matter? Well, casomorphin is an opiate- therefore inciting brain fog and potentially really strong cravings. I know- I used to crave dairy like a baby cow- especially right before my period. But then acne. . .
Remember that A1 casein? Well, that bugger has the potential to really upset your insulin sensitivity. The casomorphin it contains causes inflammation (another Happy Hormones no-no), which in turn impairs your body’s ability to recognize and use insulin properly. When your insulin balance is off- so are your hormones. Your stress hormones like cortisol may become imbalanced, or you may have terrible cycles or menopausal symptoms. Got PCOS? This is your big reason to avoid dairy.
Hormones and Antibiotics
Unless you are getting grass-fed, organic, and preferably RAW milk, then you can bet there’s some weird shit hanging around in your milk. Hormones are fed to cows to keep up their milk supply, and antibiotics are given readily to prevent and treat diseases that come about from the cows being smushed together in small and confined spaces. These hormones and antibiotics then take up residence and/or wreak havoc on your body. Ruining your healthy gut bacteria (probiotics) and influencing how your own hormones work.
And that is why dairy isn’t necessarily your hormones’ best friend.
What Does a Dairy-Free Meal Look Like?
- Big pile of mixed greens with julienned veg of choice and grilled salmon.
- Creamy dressing using oil, vinegar, herbs and some full-fat coconut milk.
- Few sprouted or raw crackers.
What to Do When You Can’t Avoid It
Sometimes what you eat is out of your control. True that most of the time we have the power to get what we need to nourish ourselves, some accidental cheese might end up on your plate.
What I suggest is purchasing a bottle of a dairy-focused digestive enzyme supplement to have on hand when these situations pop up- though NOT as a crutch to eat daily dairy.