What’s the Deal with Dairy?
With so much controversy surrounding dairy these days, it is difficult to know for sure if we should or should not be consuming dairy. Many people lose the ability to digest milk as we get older, known as lactose intolerance. About 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. It is very common in Africa, Asia, and South America, and less common in North America, Australia and Europe.
Some people can tolerate ghee because the lactose and casein have been removed. Others may find they do well with fermented dairy such as yogurt or kefir, or with unpasteurized dairy products. Pasteurization kills off beneficial probiotics and enzymes. Raw dairy products also tend to have a better nutrient profile. Others find they cannot tolerate cow dairy but do well with goat or sheep products.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to diet. A personalized approach to nutrition based on what works with your body is recommended.
The best way to find out if you tolerate dairy is to experiment. Eliminate all dairy products for at least 3-4 weeks and pay close attention to any changes in your health, particularly when you reintroduce dairy. If you feel better after eliminating all dairy, chances are dairy is not for you. If you find no changes, and do not have any symptoms when you reintroduce it, then you can likely continue to enjoy dairy products in moderation.
If you find you tolerate dairy just fine and do choose to eat it, avoid consuming low-fat dairy products which are often filled with sugar. Look for full-fat, grass-fed, organic dairy products.
If it is time to remove dairy from your diet, there are many dairy alternatives on the market. Make sure to read labels to avoid replacing dairy with highly processed products that contain additives, fillers, and sugars. The best alternatives to milk are those you make yourself. Almond, hemp, and coconut milk are great alternatives that can easily be made at home.
Try the following almond milk recipe adapted from www.onegreenplanet.org
1. Soak 1 cup of raw almonds for at least 6 hours or overnight.
2. Drain and rinse almonds and add to blender with 4 cups of filtered water.
3. In a high-speed blender, blend almonds and water on high speed, about 60 seconds.
4. Pour almond milk mixture into a very fine mesh strainer or nut milk bag, and allow to drain. You can help the process by gently squeezing the bottom of the nut milk bag to release the milk.
5. If desired, pour the drained milk back into your blender and add any of the optional add ins: a splash of vanilla, cinnamon, pinch of sea salt, 1-2 dates if you want it sweeter.
6. Pour into a glass jar and store almond milk in the refrigerator. Shake well before using and consume within 3-4 days.
Worldwide prevalence of lactose intolerance in recent populations. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Worldwide_prevalence_of_lactose_intolerance_in_recent_populations.jpg