If you’re still drinking from cows, it’s time to eliminate dairy and see how much better you feel!
I’d been hearing someone on staff at my clinic coughing throughout the day for at least a couple of weeks.
I’m not one to pry into my employees’ personal lives, but it seemed to be a common occurrence throughout the year, so I decided to inquire.
She had no fever… her lungs were clear… but she had nasal congestion.
So, I asked her, “Do you drink a lot of milk and eat a lot of cheese?”
It turns out that, like a lot of people, she did consume a lot of dairy products. I recommended she stop all dairy for two weeks to see how it affected her mucus production and coughing.
Within two days, her coughing stopped, and her sinuses cleared. What’s more, the problem did not come back.
Naturopathic doctors have noted for decades that many health problems are caused by a sensitivity to cow’s milk products. Common examples include chronic sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, eczema and skin rashes, mood problems, digestive ailments, arthritis, and others.
To address this widespread issue—and enhance my patients’ health—I’ve been recommending plant-based alternatives to cow’s milk that are derived from plants for decades. And now, I’m pleased to share them with you.
But first—a little background on why you should make the switch—and what it is that cow’s milk actually does (and doesn’t do) to your body.
Wipe that milk mustache off your face
There are a few prominent medical doctors that support the notion that cow’s milk is not a good food for humans.
For example, in his 1992 book Don’t Drink Your Milk: New Frightening Medical Facts About the World’s Most Overrated Nutrient, former Director of the Department of Pediatrics at John Hopkins University School of Medicine Frank Oski, MD detailed the research that demonstrated the ill effects of cow’s milk consumption.1
What’s more, nutrition expert and coauthor of the bestselling book The China Study Thomas Campbell, MD has done a lot of research on this topic and has compiled the following “12 Frightening Facts About Milk”2 (specifically, cow’s milk):
- In observational studies both across countries and within single populations, higher dairy intake has been linked to increased risk of prostate cancer.
- Observational cohort studies have shown higher dairy intake is linked to higher ovarian cancer risk.
- Cow’s milk protein may play a role in triggering type 1 diabetes through a process called molecular mimicry.
- Across countries, populations that consume more dairy have higher rates of multiple sclerosis.
- In interventional animal experiments and human studies, dairy protein has been shown to increase IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1) levels. Increased levels of IGF-1 has now been implicated in several cancers.
- In interventional animal experiments and human experiments, dairy protein has been shown to promote increased cholesterol levels (in the human studies and animal studies) and atherosclerosis (in the animal studies).
- The primary milk protein (casein) promotes cancer initiated by a carcinogen in experimental animal studies.
- D-galactose has been found to be pro-inflammatory and actually is given to create animal models of aging.
- Higher milk intake is linked to acne.
- Milk intake has been implicated in constipation and ear infections.
- Milk is perhaps the most common self-reported food allergen in the world.
- Much of the world’s population cannot adequately digest milk due to lactose intolerance.
That’s right—a large number of people throughout the world can’t digest milk and dairy products, yet they continue to try to consume them.
And that’s due in no smart part to what happens at the earliest time in our lives.
A dairy diet is udder nonsense
For many, the introduction of cow’s milk begins at birth via infant formulas. From the start, this often creates health problems such as colic, recurring ear infections, constipation or diarrhea, and eczema. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and, if possible, for at least 12 months.
Here’s a breakdown of the differences between the milk of a cow and human breastmilk:3
Research has demonstrated that breastfeeding protects babies against infections as well as reduces the risk of certain diseases such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, and allergies.
Cow milk does quite the opposite!
And when you consider the fact that breastfeeding also protects the mother from breast and ovarian cancer, it certainly does appear that we humans were designed to drink only human milk—not animal milk.
Choose a milk that actually does some good
Fortunately, there are many alternatives to cow’s milk that are derived from plants. You can certainly find one or more that appeal to you and can replace cow’s milk, be it almond, cashew, coconut, hemp, oat, soy, rice, hazelnut, or any of the others out there…
To make sure I was giving you all the available information on this subject of plant based milks, I recently chatted with an expert: Dina Cheney, a graduate of Columbia University and The Institute of Culinary Education who has a great book on the subject, called The New Milks (Atria/Simon & Schuster).
Dina points out that alternative milks have many features that make them unique and set them apart from dairy. Not only are they delicious, varied, and customizable, but they’re also lower in sugar than dairy milk (except some rice milks).
As well, these dairy- and lactose-free milks are, by nature, vegan, kosher, Paleo-compatible, and free of cholesterol and hormones.
What I like about her book is that it not only describes the health benefits of these non-dairy milks, but it also provides more than 100 dairy-free recipes for cooking with these milk alternatives. For example, they can be used as creams for the base of ingredients in dips, curries, puddings, milk shakes, and ice creams.
As she explains, you can also add these milks to cereals, or just drink them straight—warm or chilled. As well, they are an alternative to add to coffee or tea. Good options for this purpose include full fat coconut, cashew and soy milks, as they froth particularly well.
Even better, she gives step-by-step directions on how to make many of these plant milks at home. Here’s Dina’s recipe for almond milk:
- Start with raw, unsalted almonds. Pour them into a medium-large bowl, and cover with water; let soak for several hours or overnight.
- After the soaking period, rinse and drain (in a colander) in the sink.
- Pour into a blender, along with fresh water. Use either a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of water to almonds, depending on how thick and creamy you’d like the resulting almond milk to be.
- Puree until smooth, 1-2 minutes (1 minute in a high-speed blender).
- (Optional) To strain, position a nut milk bag in a large bowl. Pour the almond milk into the nut milk bag, form into a bundle, and squeeze the milk out into the bowl. This will take about 10 squeezes. You’re trying to wring out all of the liquid. (Alternatively, don’t strain, or line a hand-held strainer with a few pieces of cheesecloth, and place over a large bowl.)
- Use as is, or season with a bit of salt, vanilla extract, or other flavorings.
For more information on milk alternatives, see Dina’s website at www.thenewmilks.com.
Two sample recipes from The New Milks4
Makes 4 cups (4 servings)
Feel free to vary this delicious and creamy vegan oatmeal with different types of plant-based milks, especially pistachio or walnut. And try topping with various fruits, nuts, and seeds.
2 cups rolled or old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain unsweetened pistachio milk
3 Tablespoons agave nectar
1 tsp pistachio or almond extract
For serving: Pomegranate seeds and pistachio nuts
- Add four cups of water, the oats, and the salt to a medium saucepot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the oats are cooked, about five minutes. Stir in the pistachio milk, agave nectar, and extract.
- Ladle into four bowls, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and pistachio nuts.
Spiced Chocolate Milk Recipe
Makes about 1 cup (1 serving)
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoon plain unsweetened non-dairy milk, such as almond, cashew, or hemp
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, broken up
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon agave nectar
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods
- Oski, F. A. (2013). Don’t drink your milk. TEACH Services, Inc..
- Thomas Campbell, MD. 12 Frightening Facts About Milk. Accessed January 25, 2017 at www.nutritionstudies.org/12-frightening-facts-milk/
- Mark and Angela Stengler. Adapted with permission from Your Vital Child. Rodale Books, 1991.
- Cheney, Dina. (2016). The New Milks. Atria / Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Printed with permission from Dr. Mark Stengler’s Health Revelations www.healthrevelations.com)