Picking up where we left off last week (How To Replace Meat In Your Diet), let’s talk about how to get rid of the dairy in your diet. But first, let’s talk about why.
Of all three major categories of animal foods (meat, dairy, eggs), dairy might be the most important to cut out. It also happened to be the last thing to go for me.
Why is dairy the first animal product you should remove from your diet? Because dairy is fattening, artery clogging, cancer promoting, inefficient, terrible for the cows and addictive.
- Cheese, milk, yogurt, and ice cream contain lots of fat with zero fiber or antioxidants. They pack on the calories in your meal without adding much if any bulk, meaning your stomach feels no fuller but your waistline gets snugger. (SOURCE)
- Dairy products, especially cheese, are the number one source of saturated fat in the American diet! (SOURCE). Saturated fat raises bad cholesterol, increasing your heart disease risk.
- Cheese is especially high in sodium, raising risk of hypertension and high blood pressure.
- The main milk protein, known as casein, is cancer promoting. (SOURCE & SOURCE)
- Dairy clogs pores (leading to acne) and raises asthma risk (SOURCE & SOURCE)
- To produce a gallon of milk it takes over 1,000 gallons of water! Talk about inefficient!!! (SOURCE)
- Dairy cows are very mistreated, must remain perpetually pregnant, and have their babies taken away usually within 12 hours of birth, a very traumatic experience. (SOURCE)
- The casein in milk breaks down to a peptide called casomorphin, which activates opiod receptors in the brain. In nature, this facilitates mother-child bonding. Nature didn’t intend for the adults of another species to consume this product. These casomorphins, especially concentrated in cheese, are addicting! (SOURCE)
Those are eight fantastic reasons to DITCH THE DAIRY. I’ll add a ninth: cow’s milk has one sole purpose; to turn a baby cow into an adult cow. It’s really good at that. We are not meant to consume it, it serves no purpose, other than to increase our disease risk.
We encounter dairy in five main ways in our diet: milk, yogurt, ice cream, butter, and cheese. Let’s talk about each right now!
This is the easiest. Switch to a plant-based milk! There are so many options and pretty much all are delicious. They have no cholesterol and very little saturated fat, no casein, no cow-cruelty, and, while they taste fantastic, none are actually addictive.
Choices include almond, soy, rice, coconut, hemp, oat, hazelnut, or even quinoa. Try one or try them all!
Boom, same as above. You can use those plant-based milks to make delicious vegan yogurts. Coconut yogurt is my favorite, but almond and soy are good as well. Seriously, try one. Your mind will be BLOWN.
I sound like a broken record…same as above!!! Vegan ice cream is delicious and uses the same plant-based milks as a base. Again coconut milk based ice cream is probably my favorite, but soy is great too, as is almond. Fun fact: my old roommate and I once held a dinner party for friends where we served homemade green tea soy ice cream. We won the award for most hipster evening of 2010.
Check out Earth Balance.
Ah, alas, we’ve come to your beloved cheese. I can hear you now: “don’t make me give it up!!!” I too was like you just a few short years ago. Cheese was the final straw for me, the last thing holding me back from being 100% plant-based. I get it. Cheese is delicious. BUT, it is also terrible for the environment, the animals, and especially your health. There really is nothing that redeems cheese, and when I finally tossed it that’s when I really saw the benefits of a plant-based diet, including weight loss and skin improvements. I don’t miss those 30 pounds or clogged pores.
But, cheese is the hardest to mimic. Here are a couple options:
Daiya is the best alternative I’ve tried. Used in a recipe, like topping tacos for example, it actually works great!
Tofutti makes a vegan cream cheese (and sour cream for that matter) that are both pretty good!
If you live in Minneapolis, check out The Herbivorous Butcher. In addition to having some killer plant-based “meats,” they also make some mean vegan cheeses. If their fake cheese game is any indication of what’s to come on a large scale, vegan cheeses will seriously be served on platters next to the real deal in a couple years. Their stuff is that good.
Finally, parmesan cheese can be replaced in one of two ways. Go Veggie makes a vegan parm that is shockingly good. And then there’s my favorite: nutritional yeast. Come to love the nutritional yeast. It is a slight addiction for me. It makes everything taste amazing. You can even use it to make “cheesy” sauces for pasta, pizza, and mexican food. It’s bomb.
It’s time to ditch the dairy. You won’t miss it, and your body will be infinitely better off!