I love ice cream.
Even when it’s the middle of a freezing winter, I can get through half a tub before the end of a commercial break.
As a child, my mum’s macaroni cheese and basically any margarita pizza were my all time favourite foods, mainly due to the creamy, saltiness of the cheese.
When my cousins went home to Grenada and brought back balls of cocoa, I could hardly wait to grate them into a pot of semi skimmed milk and sugar to make hot chocolate with.
When I became a coffee lover, it was frothy coffee (Capuccino to you fancy folk) that I loved most, followed by a coffee made with no water, just milk.
Sunday mornings in many Caribbean homes wasn’t complete without condense milk being poured into cornmeal porridge and the black fruit cake at Christmas had to be swimming in single cream.
So it’s safe to say I was a lover of dairy in most forms.
Apart from school milk!!!!! I was NEVER, I repeat NEVER a fan of those little cold bottles of milk at school and refused to drink it, to the point where my mum had to send me in with orange juice to replace it. I was probably the only person who was happy when Margret Thatcher took it away.
But milk and all the processed pasteurised dairy products I’ve consumed over the years were slowly stunting my health, wellbeing and health goals.
My love of dairy blinded me to the mountains of evidence that indicated that it was responsible for many of my own health challenges and those of a large proportion of the world.
Just like wheat, sugar and soya, I excused them for their ill effects and convinced myself that the organic or expense good quality versions we’re ok. Even though they are better than the regular stuff to eat occasionally, that doesn’t make them OK to eat as part of our regular diet.
But I couldn’t ignore the stacks of research and anecdotal evidence from clients and myself for much longer, so with a goal to give up dairy I started to research it.
The 3 things I found were:
- Dairy is BIG business, so there’s a big commercial effort to keep us buying it.
- Raw (as opposed to pasteurised) & organic milk and dairy products and lactose free cheese have the least negative effects.
- Dairy, or more specifically the sugar in milk called lactose, needs to be digested in our body by an enzyme called lactase, which is found to be deficient in people of African descent, making it very difficult for us to digest it in a healthy way.
According to Mike Adams of Natural News:
“A recent study found that people without lactose intolerance — those who have the lactose digesting enzyme lactase — have ancestors from regions of the world that could easily support cattle and dairy products. The study included 270 indigenous African and Eurasian populations in 39 countries, and found that lactose intolerance is lowest in areas with high latitude and low temperatures. Two percent of people in Denmark were lactose intolerant, while 100 percent of people in Zambia were intolerant.”
(Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/008402.html#ixzz4Up2T3acQ)
As a black woman, it was the last point I’ve looked into the most and what I’ll be I’ll be expanding on more in this article.
After advising and coaching clients for the past 11 years, here are the 9 reasons (of many) that I’d give for advising people, especially my sisters to give up dairy, or significantly cut down:
(Note: all unless stated, the cows milk and dairy mentioned is pasteurised (boiled and damaged) as opposed to raw and organic)
9 Reasons Black Women Should Give Up Dairy
- You’re a human – Humans are the only animals in nature who drink breastmilk as adults and drink the milk of another species!!!! Breast milk of any animal is produce with the unique needs of the baby of that mother. So cow’s milk is designed to rapidly cow a young calf, not a human baby or an adult. This is highlighted by the fact that even though cows milk has higher levels of calcium than human breastmilk, we can absorb much more calcium from breastmilk than we do from cows milk, most probably because it’s naturally designed for us as humans. Nature knows best.
- Acne – I see far too many sisters whose beautiful skin is erupting with acne who are still consuming cows milk and dairy. It’s not known yet whether it’s because of milk allergies or milk weakening our digestion, but its been reported that cutting out dairy is followed by a significant reduction in acne in many women. So before you try and cover it up with make up or creams, give up all dairy for 6 weeks and see what happens.
- Fibroids – Black women suffer from fibroids more that any other women and whilst the cause is said to be unknown, it’s definitely been linked to hormone changes and imbalances. Dairy cattle are notoriously injected with growth hormones, antibiotics and medications, which end up in their milk, then in you when you drink it, causing further imbalances in your hormonal levels, increasing your risk of fibroids or enhancing your symptoms if you already have them.
- Osteoporosis – More women than men suffer from this condition, which results in brittle softened bones, making fractures and broken bones more likely.
Most people think that drinking milk will help this due to the calcium and other minerals in milk that bones need, but maybe not…
“Nations such as the UK, where dairy consumption is high (av. 270 grams dairy products a day), has one of the highest osteoporosis rates in the world. Nigeria, on the other hand, which eats a diet high in plantains, tubers, wholegrains, vegetables and pulses and where only one per cent of the diet is dairy and less than three per cent is meat – has almost no cases of osteoporosis. (National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria, 2010.)”
But guess what happens when women of African or Caribbean descent take on a western diet, rich in pasteurised milk and daily? You guessed it, the instances of osteoporosis in us rises too.
- Obesity, Diabetes & Constipation – Three health challenges that are on the rise among black women in the UK and certainly in the clients I work with are these three. All of them have been linked to the over consumption of cow’s milk and dairy products and suffers that give up dairy have an increased chance of recovery.
- Cancer – For a number of reasons, studies have repeatedly shown that there is a link between pasteurised cow’s milk and dairy consumption and the risk of developing breast, cervical, bowel and prostate cancer.
- Pus – When a cow develops mastitis (inflammation of their mammary glands) from being over milked, not only will they be given antibiotics and medications, which we then take in, as discussed in point 1, but they’ll also have an increase of pus present in the milk they produce. Whilst there are guidelines as to how much pus the milk is allowed to contain to be sold, the fact that we are drinking the dead white blood cells of a farm animal, which have died after fighting an infection is a bit gross. Call me fussy but I don’t want to drink any pus much less a cow’s.
- Migraine – If you’ve never had one before, a migraine can be described as the worst headache you’ve ever had, tripled. It ‘s excruciating and can completely debilitate you, making you sensitive to light, make you vomit and feel exhausted. Women suffer from it more than men and they can be one of the symptoms of menstruation. Roughly 20% of migraines are caused by eating cheese, which was the third biggest trigger after alcohol and chocolate. When sufferers went on an elimination diet to remove the most common triggers and the migraines went away, then the foods were slowly reintroduce to see which ones triggered them again, cows milk was the top trigger.
- Lactose intolerance – With an estimated 60% of the population and nearly 70% of black people being intolerant to the milk sugar lactose, the chance of milk and dairy affecting your health are very high. Symptoms of lactose intolerance are bloating, gas, mild to severe abdominal cramps, headaches, constipation and diarrhoea after eating dairy. If you can relate to any of these, you may want to cut back on dairy as these can in time develop into more serious conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Let me make one thing clear: I know that it’s not easy to give up foods we love, especially ones we have an emotional and even cultural attachment to. But if you can relate to any of the 9 reasons given, then the best thing you can do is to give up dairy or at least significantly reduce it.
All the foods I loved when I regularly ate dairy, I’ve been able to find dairy free alternatives to, from raw vegan pizza and ice cream, coconut oil cheese, nut and seed milk and oat or nut creams.
If you need one to one support to change you and your family’s diet and lifestyle to reduce cow’s milk and dairy, book a free coaching session with me here today.
I hope you found this article useful in helping you give up dairy or at least reduce it. If you have dairy once every few months it’s not the end of the world, but if its’s a few times a day or several times a week, you may want to cut down, and if you need my help, I’m here for you.
If you have any comments or questions, please post them below.
Take care and stay healthy
The Naturally You Coach
About the Author: Leah Salmon, The Naturally You Coach, is a best selling author of 6 books, editor of The Naturally You Magazine, founder of Amun University, a whole foods and personal development coach, raw food workshop teacher and homeschooling mother of 6. Leah helps culturally focused mothers of colour create a nourished and fulfilled life, using personalised dieting planning with whole foods and her signature 7 step Naturally You Coaching program and M.A.M.A circle. Join her FREE mailing list in the yellow box on the right of the page to get a Free Top Ten Health Boosting Recipes Book