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To drink milk, or not to drink milk
Should I drink milk that comes from a cow, or should I drink milk that are made from plants, should I drink just a little bit, or should I not drink any milk at all?
I've heard over and over again the last few years that one shouldn't drink milk that comes from a mammal as an adult because from a biological standpoint it's only meant for growing babies (cows milk is only meant for growing cow babies). Also, the dairy industry is wreaking havoc on our planet. So, according to these sources and when looking only at this side of the story, the only right thing to do is to not drink milk (or consume any form of dairy) at all! But what if suddenly an other point of view pops up? One that says that if you suddenly completely eliminate an entire food group from your diet, it can cause all sorts of problems for your body and your health... Then what to do??
Gradual cutback & a "lenient lifestyle"
I'm thinking that the best approach will be to cut back on dairy at a gradual pace, and not eliminate it completely, but use mostly plant-based options most of the time and have dairy in tiny dosages on a regular basis. I think that might be a win-win situation!
Obviously, for the sake of our earth, we should neither consume animal meat nor dairy products, but those are two big food groups - what do we have left then? Well, we have fish and eggs.. and of course plants. An all-plant-based diet sounds great, but also really strict. What if you're invited to dinner at a friend's house, with a ton of other people who are carnivores - a BBQ for example - do you bring your own food and become the odd one out of your own free will (not due to food allergies etc.)? Or do you tell your friend that you can't eat any of the food she's made? Or maybe just eat the salad? This is where the "lenient lifestyle" comes in. I guess you can call it flexitarian or semi-vegetarian (but I don't like to call myself that - I like to think of it as the new "normal"). So instead of cutting out dairy completely, one can have it once in a while, when that is the most lenient option. For example being served ice cream or a home-made cake made from dairy products and pleasing the person serving it by stuffing your face and telling them how much you love it!
Health benefits of cutting back on dairy
In addition to help saving the planet, another reason why I want to cut back on dairy is that I've read (and experienced - I think, don't know for sure) that dairy products increase inflammation. I have chronic tendonitis and I read that for it to be better, I should leave dairy out of my diet. But, according to Medical News Today, "most people naturally stop producing lactase, which is the enzyme needed to break down the lactose sugar in milk, once they stop consuming dairy." Thus, I guess, once you go full no-dairy, you never go back.. which sounds a little scary to me. To never be able to digest dairy properly again. That's why I think my "lenient lifestyle" option is the best way; then you can harvest the benefit of a non-dairy lifestyle at times (maybe not to the fullest, but probably close) and still be able to enjoy a scoop of delicious dairy ice cream on a hot summer day without being stuck on the toilet long into the wee hours.
Avoiding symptoms of lactose intolerance
(E.g. Bloating, gas, stomach rumbling)
Avoiding hormones and steroids
Reducing cancer risk
Addressing ethical concerns
Fortunately, there are many great substitutes to dairy products. I'm addicted to sour cream, and was thinking that I for sure can't give that up, but then I found a creme fraiche from Oatly (oat-based products) and it's almost better than sour cream!
(I get the coffee oat milk from Oatly - it's the best for steaming)
(Walnut, cashew, coconut, peanut etc.)
(but go easy on the soy products - do to their Isoflavone content; The effect of this plant estrogen depends on ethnicity as well as a few other factors)
(to get cheese flavor in a dish)
Read more about soy here and alternatives to dairy here