What’s All the Fuss About Dairy?

Last week I shared the case of Doug, with seasonal allergies, who, along with a protocol to improve his elimination and clean up his digestive tract, gave up eating dairy products. After a month, Doug’s symptoms went away. Once he finished his protocol he stayed off dairy to curb the inflammation and hasn’t had any symptoms for two years.

While eating dairy did not cause Doug’s condition it certainly was keeping him from healing.

Daily I talk with people who could benefit from removing dairy from their diets, but the truth is, most are unwilling to take that step. Why is that so? I’m not the only practitioner searching for this answer, but here are a few things I have discovered in my effort to understand this dilemma.

In the face of growing evidence that dairy is just not a benefit to one’s health, most people continue to consume milk, yoghurt, and cheese at alarming rates. The average American consumes 33 lbs of cheese a year, which is triple the amount they did in 1970. This increase continues on while scientific studies state countless chronic conditions from cancer to arthritis to sinusitis are aggravated by dairy products. So, we find individuals searching for help for their symptoms from one health practitioner to another while their answer may be no further than controlling what is in their kitchen.

What is equally true is the need to consume dairy products is culturally engrained in the American diet. Forty years ago the U.S. Dairy industry began quite a series of ad campaigns that are still deeply imprinted in our minds. “Milk does a body good” is apparently a very hard slogan to turn off.

Finally, the truth is dairy products are addictive. The protein casein breaks down into casomorphines when digested and actually creates a desire for more. Anyone who has taken even a sliver of manchego cheese knows just how hard it is not to have just one more bite. So now you know it’s not only about how good it tastes, but how good it makes you feel—at least in the moment. Hear out Dr. Joel Kahn on 6 Foods that Behave like Addictive Drugs.

So what do we do with this information? Here are my suggestions:

  1. Recognize that what we have been told by the dairy industry for the past 30-40 was actually for the benefit of their industry, not our bodies. No doubt they have had an incredible marketing team, but the truth for many of us is that diary consumption can cause more harm than benefit. Here is more about this subject by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
  2. If your letting go of those old beliefs about dairy requires more facts and data to make your decisions, here are some for you to process:
  3. For you experiential learners out there I say try this for yourself. Take the month of November and begin Dr. Oz’s very simple 28 day challenge that removes one set of dairy products per week, then give yourself another month completely off the products and see what you notice.