In Wisconsin, I thought every month was dairy month. Milk and cheese are major players in Wisconsin cuisine, it is the biggest dietary issue I see for people living here who want to regain their health and reduce the inflammation and acidity they are dealing with. Many people are not willing to take dairy products out of their diets to even check the possibility of them being the cause of discomfort and dis-ease. I believe this is because, if they felt better, than they would know dairy is causing their problems. And just the thought of not being able to have a slice of cheese, is enough for some people to give up on getting better naturally and instead rely heavily on prescription and OTC drugs. That is such a sad scenario because more and more research is surfacing showing that Food is one of the main factors in staying healthy and reversing poor health. Lifestyle choices have shown to be even more influential than your genes. Epigenetics is the focus of study that is actually showing how food can regulate whether certain genes are turned on or off, causing certain genetic dispositions to surface. In other words, if you have a gene for a certain illness or disease, but you are not showing any signs of that disease yet, your diet, environment, and emotions play a significant part in whether or not you will show signs of that genetic disease in the future. Also, if you already have symptoms of disease, diet changes have actually been shown to reverse disease, especially in the case of certain cancers, diabetes 2, gastrointestinal diseases, autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases. Food can be your medicine, either by omitting certain food from your diet or including specific foods. It is usually a combination of both to achieve the greatest impact.
I have taken dairy out of my diet since about 2010, and I can say I do see a difference…definitely less mucus in my respiratory tract. I used to wake up every morning and have to hack up phlegm that collected in my throat while sleeping (I know, too much information). I do not have a tendency for colds or sinus issues since getting dairy out of my diet. And I do not have the bloated feeling after eating. If I decide I want some cheese, a nut cheese or even goat cheese seems to digest much easier and not have the mucus forming result for me. But the craving for cheese isn’t there anymore. I believe your body craves poor quality food when it doesn’t know better. Once you begin supplying better food options with higher quality nutrients, over a relatively short period of time, your body stops the junk cravings and starts craving the foods it knows will nourish and fill in where nutrients are lacking. I was amazed when my body started craving greens and green smoothies…Huh? We are all ingrained with the idea that cravings are things that are “bad” for us. But I really think we crave nutrients and our body counts nutrients, not calories.
My dairy symptoms were pretty mild things to be dealing with, but just so you know how significant dairy can be in the system, I wanted to share some research that used exclusively the dairy protein, casein. Dr. T. Colin Campbell, PhD researcher and author of the China Study, used two diets of differing casein percentages, 5% and 20% to show the influences on cancer cell growth. In the case of the mice eating 5% casein and having been injected with cancer causing agent, none of the mice grew cancer cells, all had a normal life span and good health. The other group of mice, eating 20% casein, being injected with cancer agent, like the first group, all developed cancer tumors and died early. Then repeating the study, the diets were switched mid stream to show how changing the diet can influence cancer growth and it was indicative, that the higher the casein protein amount, there was greater influence on cancer growth, and if decreased, lesser cancer growth and effects. Tests were repeated and results were consistent. This goes back to what I mentioned earlier about how food affects disease manifested in the body. Your body can keep disease/genes under control, or it can lose control and the disease takes over until the body is given what it needs to overcome. I would risk saying that for most people, food is a main issue that allows the disease to take over and the body to be deficient…but to me that also means there is always hope for a reversal, if food is considered part of your health care!
So, Because June is “Dairy Month”, maybe you would like to start eliminating dairy by the end of the month, so you can see if this omission will allow you to feel better by mid July.. Removing dairy, which includes, milk, yogurt, cheeses, ice cream, cream, whey, casein, derivatives found in processed foods, etc. can seem like a very difficult undertaking. But keep in mind that there are a lot of alternatives that can take the place of, or fill in, where you would have a tendency to have dairy. Almond and coconut milks are great for basic milk substitutes and can be used in cooking. You can cultured them to make yogurt and kefir and use them as a base for ice creams. Making your own with a blender is ideal, but some of the commercial brands are decent.
To make your own almond or coconut milk, you will need a blender and a nut milk bag or sieve. For almond milk: soak 1 cup of raw almonds in a bowl of water for 8 hours. Rinse, strain and place in a blender. Cover with three cups of pure water, blend and strain. If you want to keep the milk from separating, place strained milk in blender and add a teaspoon of powdered lecithin and blend for a minute. Pour into a jar and keep refrigerated up to 5 days. Save the nut pulp for baking or raw crackers or breads. For milk, you can also use almond butter and water blended, straining is optional. You can use most nuts and seeds to make milk, just soak, rinse and adjust water amount to 3X the nut amount. adjust the amount lower for a thicker/creamier milk. HERE is a link for more plant milk variations and ideas. And Ice Cream without dairy, (pictured)
For coconut milk: you can use a young coconut and blend the flesh and the water to make a milk. If young coconuts are not available, you can use dried shredded coconut and water, blended and strained. Coconut butter and water blended will also make a nice milk. The ratio of dried coconut to water is about 2 parts water to one part dried coconut, be sure to use the unsweetened coconut shreds. You can sweeten the home-made milks by blending with one or two dates or adding a bit of stevia or honey.