Well Being

10 Reasons To Quit Dairy (But I Can’t)

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dairy milk bottlesDairy is often posited as a complicated topic, foodwise. Milk has been pushed on the American people by a number of industries for so long that to some it feels like an unavoidable product. Milk and cheese are just part of our diet, no questions asked.

In daily life, I see people consume dairy constantly in coffee and on sandwiches, but a fully grown adult chugging a full glass of milk is a rare sight. If grown-ups are gulping plain cups of milk, they at least have the decency to do it in private. Despite the pressure to feed on dairy lest your bones crumble from osteoporosis (do you remember being told that milk helps you grow big & strong?), milk kind of creeps people out. I mean, it's for babies. Some tend to be a little freaked out by the fact that humans are the only animals that drink from the teat of another mammal. It sure makes me uncomfortable–not that getting the willies has ever stopped me from enjoying anything. The rest of the animal kingdom would probably judge us for consuming milk after infancy, but we are not like the rest of the animal kingdom. We get to do cool stuff like go to the movies, know we are going to eventually die and eat ice cream cones.

Finding dairy to be an unbelievably disturbing indulgence, nay an unbelievably disturbing vice, has yet to be enough of a reason for me to entirely eliminate it from my diet. Some people may not even be fully weirded out by the uniquely human practice of stealing and ingesting food produced specifically for calves; however, there are other more legitimate and compelling reasons to for us to wean…

Here are 10 reasons to quit dairy:

  1. Ruins Skin– Milk is pro-inflammatory, meaning it's making your acne situation worse. If you aren't already dealing with acne, milk is possibly causing a problem. Consuming dairy is also making your skin produce more sebum (the growth factor betacellulin binds to  Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor triggering follicles to amp up the sebum production) which is clogging your pores and messing up your complexion. Milk contains ample amounts of a hormone called IGF-1 that is making your acne spread and swell. Dairy has even been linked to exacerbating eczema symptoms. Yikes. 
  2. Accelerates Aging– Even the naturally occurring hormones in milk are aging you–god only knows what the additives are doing. We know that sugar can cause wrinkles, well uh lactose is just sugar. Do the math. By eating dairy you are giving yourself acne and aging your skin rapidly. Since you can still get calcium from leafy greens, why absorb creepy cow hormones into your blood stream in the name of strong bones?
  3. Allergic Reactions– Dairy allergy is one of the most common food allergies. Around 12% of the US population is lactose intolerant.  Whey and Casein are the most common allergies in children. Some think that these sensitivities wax and wane with age–you might get used to whey and casein as you age, but you might stop making the enzymes that breakdown lactose. Regardless, gastrointestinal distress due to dairy consumption is not an unusual affliction.
  4. It's Processed– Should we be considering a product that is pasteurized, homogenized, fed anti biotics and shot up with hormones a whole food? Probably not, even if it's “all natural” or “organic.” Am I the only person horrified that one sip of milk can contain the fluid from more than one cow?
  5. Making You Fat– We're constantly being told not to drink our calories, but at the same time we are pressured to drink milk. Even non-fat or low-fat milk are calorically dense–just a glass of milk here and there can add hundreds of calories to your diet. Oh, and milk causes an insulin spike after consumption (this is also linked to reason #1).
  6. Making You Sick– There's evidence supporting the possibility that animal fat causes cancer. Studies also show dairy is related to diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, colic, heart disease, asthma, lymphoma, ovarian cancer and multiple sclerosis. The the milk lobby will tell you those are just anti-milk lobby implications.
  7. Full of Pus– Milking practices are cruel and unsettling. A beautiful milkmaid gently massaging Bessie's udders isn't collecting pure milk into glass jugs, instead, violent robots are tugging at cows and collecting vats of milk, scabs, pus and tears. In 2003 researchers found 298 million pus cells in a liter of California cow's milk. Watch this gruesome video of dairy cows being mistreated–if you can stomach it. I've seen worse and I'm not even big on vegan propaganda.
  8. Hormones, Antibiotics and Misleading “Organic” Labeling– Currently, companies do not have to tell you if they treat their cows with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). Cows treated with rBGH are more likely to suffer from mastitis and in turn be given antibiotics. Even scarier, just because something is labeled something is “organic” it might not be the case. That could just mean they are fed organic feed (grass fed is still better) but are still being pumped up with hormones and antibiotics or just one or just the other.
  9. Bad for the Environment + Poor CowsCows and their gas and that whole industry are detrimental to the environment. Cows are not supposed to be in this part of the world. As for feeling sorry for the animals, I went to YouTube and searched for “cow abuse” and now I am bummed out.
  10. General DiscomfortEven those who don't have dairy intolerance or allergies can experience bloating, constipation and reflux. Dairy is hard on the GI tract, plus it can worsen sinus problems, migraines and joint pain.

Now that I feel like dairy is terrible for the earth and turning me into a bloated bogey-hag with bad skin, I'd love to quit. I'm not going to–even if I took a break from it, it would never be permanent. I love dairy even if it grosses me out. When I crave desserts, typically I go for dairy-laden creamy treats like a chocolate mousse or crème brûlée. While I'm no Paula Deen or Ina Garten in the butter department, I cook with it because it objectively tastes delicious. The thought of eating dry toast? Cringe-inducing. As far as I'm concerned, putting cream in coffee is what separates us from the beasties. Non dairy alternatives just won't do the trick. And cheese? Don't even get me going because cheese is one of mankind's finest achievements–end of story.

Maybe one day I will be able to eat for health, beauty and longevity rather than fleeting deliciousness and joy, but that day is not today and it probably isn't tomorrow either.

Please email or comment with tips and suggestions for cutting out dairy and your favorite non dairy alternatives.

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