We all know it’s important to get proper amounts of calcium in our diets. Calcium is responsible for building and maintaining strong bones. Calcium and vitamin D together may protect against cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It is also needed for muscle movement and proper nerve communication between the brain and the body. (Source: The Mayo Clinic)
The most common and often most inexpensive source of calcium is dairy. We all know this because the media and commercials have been telling us this for years. However, there are some lesser known problems with consuming dairy in general that can make it more harmful than good. First of all, typical dairy products are highly processed and may contain growth hormones such as rbht. The processing strips much of the naturally occurring enzymes and nutrients found in raw milk. Secondly, cultured dairy, such as yogurt and kefir, often contain undesirable refined sugars and/or artificial sweeteners. Thirdly, the dairy protein (casein) and/or the primary dairy sugar (lactose) can cause digestive problems or allergic reactions in certain individuals. Many of the rest of us can have an undiagnosed issue with milk that can cause low-grade chronic inflammation and may unknowingly lead to more serious issues later in life if left unaddressed. This is because all dairy can be inflammatory to the body to some degree or another. Years ago, doctors advised their patients to consume “clear liquids” like juice and chicken broth and avoid milk during illness. Milk is known to thicken or produce excess mucus, especially in asthmatic individuals. (Source: nutritionfacts.com)
When I first started caring for my dairy allergic sons I needed to learn real quick how to support them nutritionally without dairy. Therefore, in our home, we focus more on eating plenty of calcium containing vegetables, such as broccoli and okra. We grow both broccoli and okra on our farm. The clean fresh taste of these backyard vegetables is better than any I’ve ever had before! I encourage you to explore all the other wonderful calcium containing vegetables. Dr. Axe’s Top 10 Calcium Rich Food List is a terrfic place to start. I also love raw almonds which have 76mg of calcium per ounce. It’s no mystery in our house, that I have a serious weak spot for raw almonds and dairy free chocolate chips. Dairy free milks, such as coconut and rice milks, are also fortified with calcium and help us keep our calcium intake up. But just like conventional dairy many alternative milks are high in sugar. We strive to avoid high amounts of refined sugars as much as possible. Therefore, we choose the unsweetened varieties as often as possible and they work great on breakfast cereal and in recipes.
I have felt great improvements in my overall health, such as increased energy, mental clarity, and less bloating, by significantly reducing or eliminating dairy from my diet along with other positive lifestyle changes. It can be tricky avoiding dairy since it’s hidden in so many things. Nevertheless, I encourage anyone to try eliminating dairy for at least two weeks to a month to see how their body responds, especially those already dealing with an inflammatory condition like asthma. Remember to replace those calories with plenty of lean meats, fresh fruits, and vegetables and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results!
If you or someone you care about is struggling with a dairy allergy or intolerance diagnosis, or struggling to lose weight even though you feel you really are “doing all the right things”, I would like to help. I am available to provide personalized Wellness Coaching services. Learn more…