Have you been feeling cranky and irritable? Prone to gas, diarrhea or abdominal pain? Having acne breakouts on the regular?
It might be time for you to look at your dairy consumption. Now, I love cheese as much as the next person. Butter is the food of the gods, as far as I’m concerned. But until I actually eliminated dairy from my diet was I able to see what the trade-off was for enjoying dairy products, and in the end, I decided that feeling bad was simply not worth the momentary pleasures of dairy. Flat tummy, clear skin, and no more stomach aches won the day!
If the thought of drinking your morning coffee without a splash of milk or life without cheese brings on minor panic attacks, it’s not in your head. Dairy produces casomorphins in the body, which act exactly like they sound - like addictive opiates that keep you coming back for more. The cheese addiction is REAL, my friends.
Dairy also contains lactose, or milk sugars. You’ve probably known people who are lactose intolerant. Many people also become increasingly lactose intolerant as they get older. It does make sense that something that promotes growth is suitable for your body when you’re young, but not needed as you age.
So is dairy for you, or not? While mainstream dietary recommendations tell us that dairy is a good source of protein and calcium, other studies have shown that in some cases, dairy is potentially harmful to your health. It appears to be a truly individual case of dairy benefiting some, but causing problems for others.
One factor may be the health of you gut. Those that are sensitive to gluten are also likely have an inflammatory response to casein. The type of dairy matters as well. Commercially pasteurized dairy is very different from dairy made from raw milk. As my gut health has improved over the years by following a gluten-free diet and eating probiotic-rich foods and lots of organic and local vegetables, I’ve found I’m able to enjoy raw and goat dairy products in small amounts without the negative side effects.
How do you know if you have an intolerance to dairy? The truth is it's hard to know until you try life without. We recommend going dairy-free for 30 days and then reintroducing it to see how your body reacts.
Here are our FOUR top tips on how to eliminate or reduce dairy in your diet:
1. Swap your coffee creamer to coconut milk, almond milk or our housemade Brazil nut milk. I saw a barista version of oat milk at my local cafe the other day. The possibilities of milk substitutes has never been greater!
2. Try switching to ghee instead of butter. Ghee is clarified butter that has the milk solids removed and is lactose and casein-free, without losing the delicious taste. Many people find that goat based dairy products are often easier on the system as well.
3. Add hummus, avocado, or nuts instead of cheese. These are awesome alternatives on salads. Hummus and avocado makes for a great spread on wraps and sandwiches. And nuts are such a great snack. All are healthy sources of fat that your body may need when you are craving dairy.
4. When eating out, ask the waiter which options are dairy-free on the menu. Thankfully restaurants are understanding dietary restrictions more and more. And you can typically ask them to remove the dairy elements from your dish.
If you have no time or desire to cook, you can also order your meals from Provenance for every day of the week. Everything we make is dairy-free, gluten-free, with no refined sugar. Our health-supportive chefs and culinary certified nutritionists are super creative at creating dairy-free masterpieces, so you won’t miss the milk, butter, and cheese one bit! Plus, the benefits to your gut health from eating a diet rich in prebiotics/probiotics, fresh vegetables, pastured meats, and wild seafood are immeasurable. Our Commit to Clean Challenge is also a great program to help you go dairy-free. With no need to think about menu choices or ordering every week, you can stay focused on your busy week and we'll take care of nourishing you.
Choosing to go dairy-free can have a dramatic impact on your overall wellbeing - both physically and emotionally. At Provenance, we are addicted to feeling good. Once you've eliminated the foods and ingredients like dairy and gluten that can be triggers for low-energy, inflammation, breakouts, etc the effects are incredibly noticeable. You'll start to realize how dramatic you feel when you consume different types of ingredients. And once you've practiced elimination for 30-days it becomes a habit to start incorporating a "no cheese please" saying into your routine.
Caroll Lee - Founder of Provenance Meals
Caroll is an avid cook, mother of two, Board Certified Health Counselor and the founder of Provenance Meals. Her passion in life is to feed people real food -- food that is raised, grown and prepared in traditional ways that are good for your health and good for the planet. Caroll practices holistic nutrition, understanding that a healthy diet must be combined with other sources of nourishment—loving relationships, enjoyable physical activity, meaningful work and spiritual connectedness—to reach true health and happiness.