Going Plant Based for Your Health: Ditch the Dairy
by Karen Pullen
In 1922, the Capper-Volstead Act gave agricultural industries permission to form organizations and market their product, paving the way for the enormous dairy conglomerates and massive milk marketing campaigns of today.
There has never been a marketing campaign as successful. We are convinced that we require milk to live a healthy life. But that’s hype. Cow’s milk is meant for baby cows, to grow them by hundreds of pounds a year. Once weaned from our mother’s milk, we most certainly do not need dairy.
Is dairy healthy? Remember the advertising slogan, Milk Does a Body Good?
It doesn’t. Let’s look past the spin.
- Broken bones. Cow’s milk actually robs our bones of calcium. Animal proteins produce acid when they’re broken down, and calcium is an excellent acid neutralizer, so every glass of milk we drink leaches calcium from our bones. Study after study has found that people who consume the most cow’s milk have significantly higher fracture rates than those who drink little to no milk.
- Cancer. Consumption of milk and cheese has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and ovarian cancer.
- Lactose intolerance. The lactose sugar in cow’s milk is difficult for many people to digest, resulting in nausea, cramps, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
- Acne. In multiple studies, the consumption of all types of dairy products was linked to an increased prevalence and severity of acne in both boys and girls.
- Cholesterol and Saturated Fat. A single serving of milk can contain as much as 24 mg of heart-harming cholesterol and more than 20% of the RDA for saturated fat. Cheese is even worse.
- Antibiotics. Cows are often pumped full of antibiotics to keep them alive and producing milk in filthy factory farm conditions.
- Sodium. Cheese can contain up to 400 mg of sodium per ounce. Some varieties so loaded with sodium that they’re actually saltier than seawater.
- Female Hormones. Today’s cows produce milk over 300 days a year, even while pregnant. Large amounts of estrogen is found in their milk.
Replacing Cow’s Milk with Alternatives. Grocery stores carry many kinds of plant-based milks, made from soy, almonds, oats, cashews, rice, hemp, or coconut. They are usually fortified with calcium, magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins. Plant-based versions of cheese, sour cream, half & half, ice cream, whipped cream, and cream cheese are also on the store shelves.
Several dairy-substitute products are easy to make in your kitchen. You can make cheese-like sauces from cashews, or carrots & potatoes. Tofu can be turned into a ricotta cheese, cheesecake, or chocolate mousse. For ice cream, substitute nice cream—made from very ripe bananas, frozen, sliced, and thrown into a food processor or blender. Then add whatever combination of flavor ingredients strikes your fancy: cocoa powder, fruits like mango, blueberries, strawberries; pistachio nuts; crushed Oreos.
Karen Pullen is a mystery writer and the former owner of a vegetarian B&B. She is an instructor of Food for Life courses in healthy eating, certified in plant-based nutrition and plant-based cooking. Learn more at her website, www.everydayplant-based.com.
This quick & easy almond-based cheese is so awesome. Not just for crackers – put it on potatoes, spread on a wrap, add it to a salad or any steamed vegetable.
Almond Garlic-Chive Cheese
- 1 cup raw, whole almonds
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup finely chopped chives
Place the almonds into a glass container, cover with water, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
The next day, drain and rinse the soaked almonds.
Place the almonds, water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, olive oil, garlic powder, and salt into a food processor. Process until smooth.
Scoop mixture into a bowl, add chopped chives and mix until everything is combined.
Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for a few hours so the flavor can develop.
Store unused spread in the fridge for 4-5 days.