Americans love cheese, ice cream, milk, and yogurt. A dairy free diet
even to many vegetarians. They understand the reasons
for avoiding meat, but dairy products seem to be
healthy, maybe even essential. Everyone believes
we need dairy products for calcium.
a dairy free diet?
Yet the truth is that dairy products are linked with dozens of health
problems, both major and minor.
John McDougall, MD says that the most
change a person can make to improve their health is to follow a dairy
Read these milk facts
to understand why he says this.
So why do people cling to dairy products so desperately? Because they
have been brainwashed.
Dairy industry brainwashing
The dairy industry has been distributing "educational" materials to
schools since the early 1920's.
Cash-strapped teachers are grateful for
posters and pamphlets. Children love the colorful interactive
In many schools, milk is the required beverage with
Every five years, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) update the Dietary
Guidelines for Americans. The 2010 MyPyramid poster in the guidelines
tells Americans to drink 3 cups of milk per day (2 cups for children
age 2 - 8).
More than half the members of the
advisory board that creates the
guidelines have close ties to the dairy industry. And as with the
tobacco industry, their goal is to promote their products, not to
protect public health.
Also, the U.S. dairy industry has a huge advertising budget. When we
turn on the TV or open a magazine, we see attractive
celebrities wearing silly milk mustaches.
They tell us to drink milk.
It reinforces our childhood conditioning. We believe that milk is good.
We maintain our emotional attachment to dairy products. The
The typical American consumes nearly two pounds
milk, cheese, and
butter a day. That is six hundred pounds of dairy products per person
per year. However, the American obsession with
dairy products is somewhat unusual. Billions of people
around the world naturally follow a dairy free diet. Many of
Lactose is a sugar found in cow's milk and human breast milk. Children
produce the enzyme lactase from birth to digest their mother's milk.
World wide, three-quarters of humans stop producing it around the age
of four. This varies by racial group, as the chart below shows:
||85 - 100%
When people who are lactose-intolerant drink milk, they suffer from
abdominal cramping, gas, diarrhea, nausea, and
bloating. Milk is obviously not a perfect food if it makes so many
When lactose intolerant people understand the connection between milk
and their misery, they usually follow a milk free diet.
If so many people around the world (and in the U.S.) survive
on a dairy-free diet, we clearly don't have to panic about giving up
biggest challenge will be finding the hidden dairy products
lurk in so many of our foods.
Hidden dairy products
The easiest way to avoid hidden dairy products is to eat whole plant
foods in their natural form: vegetables, fruits, beans, intact whole
grains, nuts, and seeds.
When you buy packaged foods:
If you have been using a lot of dairy products, you may wonder how you
can switch to a dairy free diet. What about dairy substitutes?
nutrition labels carefully. Look for obvious dairy products
like milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, cream, sour cream, and yogurt.
This includes skim milk, milk powder, butterfat, buttermilk, kefir,
lassi, whey, and most margarines.
- Check for any ingredient that contains the word
casein, such as sodium
caseinate, calcium caseinate, or casein. Casein is the main protein in
cows milk. Many soy cheeses contain casein.
- Beware of lactose and galactose, which are milk
Although there are vegan substitutes for most dairy products, many of
them are highly processed foods. See
our page on vegan foods
to learn about soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, oat milk, hemp milk,
soy yogurt, soy cheese, soy ice cream, and other vegan ice cream
If you crave cheese, get a copy of The
Ultimate UnCheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak. She has
many delicious and creative recipes to make your dairy free diet
You may want to use dairy substitutes occasionally, but it is better to
re-educate your tastes to like simple plant foods. Instead of soy milk,
we eat our oatmeal with no milk at all. The oatmeal stays hot that way,
and we love it.