Dairy is often used as a major source of protein in the American diet, but it can lead to a number of health issues. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires dairy products sold in stores to be pasteurized – a process of partial sterilization to kill bacteria. Pasteurizing prolongs shelf life so products can be shipped around the country.
This sterilization kills the live enzymes in milk that help us digest the dairy. It depletes the very vitamins and minerals that people eat or drink dairy products to obtain. Often these products are “fortified” with synthetic vitamins that don’t provide the same benefit as the whole food source.
Absorbing calcium requires the correct assortment of minerals to escort calcium into your tissues. Cows, goats and humans have different calcium to phosphate ratios. So cow and goat milk can make you lose calcium. Sheep have the same ratios as humans. So raw sheep dairy products are a healthier choice than other types of dairy.
Eating the wrong types of dairy, and destroying the minerals required to absorb calcium in your body, can lead to calcium deposits including; tarter on your teeth, cataracts in your eyes, osteoarthritis leading to painful enlarged joints, gallbladder stones, kidney stones and loss of bone mass.
Calcium relaxes you physically and emotionally. Calcium rushing into muscle tissues, after exerting them, enables the muscles to relax. If you aren’t able to absorb calcium properly muscles can get tighter causing spasms or cramps. Spasms can then pump nutrients into the tissues to relax them. Knotted muscles can pull bones out of alignment and contribute to additional problems like scoliosis, sciatica, back or neck pain and tingling or pain in limbs.
Calcium relaxes you emotionally as well. Not enough of the right type of calcium can result in insomnia when the body isn’t able to relax at night. A warm glass of milk used to be a cure, but that was raw milk, with its minerals intact; historically at times of the year when milk was readily available. It was also the time of year when a wide range of garden vegetables supplied the variety of minerals required to act as calcium’s escort.
Just as muscles can get tighter until they spasm, emotions work the same way. When people eat too much food void of live enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, such as pasteurized dairy, processed foods, and sweets, trying to digest these items robs your body of the minerals necessary to absorb calcium. Explosive anger is similar to muscle spasms. People without the minerals required to absorb their calcium can emotionally tighten up, getting increasingly angry until they release their fury, often with verbal or physical abuse. I often prescribe nutritional supplements to rebalance and assimilate minerals, but a good diet is essential to maintaining optimal physical and mental health.
Cows, sheep and goats come from dry regions. People from those parts of the world would dry up without eating a variety of damp foods, including dairy. Dairy helps their bodies stay moist by sustaining the Yin Yang balance between their bodies and their environment. But the animals, and their dairy, have been shipped to other locales. The over consumption of dairy and other damp foods, in inappropriate regions and damp times of the year can wreak havoc on people’s health.
Dairy products create excessive mucous and phlegm in the body. Eating dairy when it’s hot and dry outside makes more sense when the body can compensate. Eating dairy year round contributes to snoring, sleep apnea, weight gain, pressure in the head, headaches, and sets the stage for colds, flu, allergies, bronchitis, sinus problems, pneumonia and other respiratory problems. Excessive phlegm congeals into masses causing lumps under the skin, fibroids, tumors and cysts. To treat all these issues I prescribe various phlegm, and therefore mass, reducing herbal formulas. I also suggest removing dairy from the diet except for occasional treats. Chronic nausea and morning sickness are typically the result of phlegm accumulation in the stomach. Avoiding regular use of dairy, and other damp foods, usually resolves the problem.
The artificial estrogen cows are fed insures they produce milk year round. Cows naturally produce little in the winter and early spring: cold damp times of the year.
Artificial female hormones initiate estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance creates weight gain around the breasts, stomach, hips and thighs, making animals, and the people who eat those animal products fat. One of the quickest ways to lose weight is to remove dairy from your diet.
Artificial estrogen has been proven to cause cancer. The excessive amounts now found in our food are the predominant cause of ‘man boobs’ and the reason men are now getting breast cancer. Anyone with cancer should be especially careful to avoid all animal products grown with hormones.
Dairy in the U.S. contains antibiotics given to the animals, ostensibly to keep them “healthy.” When we ingest these animal products concentrated amounts of antibiotics are passed on to us. This destroys the positive bacteria in our gut: our gut flora. Scientists are now saying our gut flora is one of the most important factors of overall health. It determines the strength of our immune and digestive systems. It greatly influences our mental clarity, emotions, and energy. A daily assault on our gut flora by ingesting foods with antibiotics sets the stage for countless health problems.
What about organic raw milk? It’s still the dampest food there is. It causes mucous, phlegm and weight gain. Is it healthy for some people? Yes, it is. If you’re as slender as you want to be, your body is efficiently digesting fats, you live in a dry climate, have no digestive issues, and a fast metabolism, some raw sheep’s dairy in your diet could be beneficial to you.
Think about the original purpose of milk; it’s to make babies big and fat as quickly as possible. Animals in the wild also need to grow and gain weight to be able to keep up with the adults and forage for themselves. Human babies won’t sleep through the night until they’ve accumulated enough body fat so they don’t have to wake up every few hours to eat. Mother’s milk is what accomplishes these goals. But high consumption of dairy beyond infancy is one reason for so many overweight children and adults. Taking dairy out of the diet is one of the quickest ways to lose weight.
Some of my patients tell me, ”I just have a little bit of dairy in my coffee every day.” Which means, if they have any dampness related health issues, they’re just impairing their health and exacerbating those problems “a little bit every day.”
If you don’t drink milk, where do you get your calcium? Dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, spinach, chard and beet greens, are an excellent source of calcium that we can easily assimilate. However, the dark greens must be massaged for five minutes or slightly cooked to enable us to absorb their calcium. If dark greens aren’t broken down, essentially pre-digested, you’re losing calcium by eating them. So avoid raw kale or spinach salads unless you know they’ve been massaged for five minutes. This isn’t something most restaurants are willing to take time for.
“But yogurt is good for you, right?” is another popular question. No, yogurt is still dairy. The original way to make yogurt was to take raw milk and let it ferment. The live bacteria feed our gut flora. To sell yogurt in stores in the U.S. it’s cooked until the positive bacteria are dead. Substances are added to make it taste like raw yogurt and a few probiotics are thrown in for good measure. This adds a few strands of bacteria to your gut for a limited amount of time, as opposed to raw yogurt and other cultured/fermented foods that fertilize all the positive bacteria in your gut. To make matters worse, most yogurt has added sugar and condensed fruit or fruit juices which further impair your gut flora. So no, yogurt you buy in stores isn’t good for you.
After hearing about the pitfalls of dairy a common question of mothers is, “But children still need dairy, right?” No, dairy creates a host of health problems for children who consume it. Earaches, colds and flu with prolonged coughs, runny noses, allergies and asthma can all be greatly reduced or eliminated by taking kids off dairy.
So, for very occasional treats, go for it, enjoy it. But, for most people, to eat dairy on a regular basis can be harmful to your health.
Health & Happiness,
Nancy Burton, L.Ac.