Dare You Eat Dairy?

Recently I read about research into dairy consumption. The studies found that about 75% of the adult population of Earth can tolerate dairy products. Then why is there so much lactose-intolerance?
Let’s define our terms. By “dairy” we mean anything produced from the milk of a cow. Of course, food-industry ingenuity (and the pursuit of big bucks) has created dairy by-products that bear little resemblance to the near-perfect formula Nature created to nourish calves. In many countries, including the U.S., cheese that has certain chemicals and additives that extend shelf life and add a plastic texture cannot be labeled “cheese”. Is it any wonder that these altered dairy products might cause mucous or allergies?

Real milk products quickly break down, even when refrigerated. This  breaking down, or souring, is caused by a similar process that causes bread to rise. Organisms digest the lactose, or milk “sugar” and that changes it into sour chunks or curds. Yogurt, kefir and cheese are all made by controlling the types of organisms so that certain flavors are produced. Remember that you have trillions of organisms in your gut already. Fresh raw dairy products that are fermented or cultured are very healthy. The lactose becomes lactic acid, and few people will have an allergic reaction to lactic acid. Lactic acid is beneficial to healthy flora in the human gut, that is a major part of the immune system. Lactic acid supplements will help after a course of antibiotics or if your immune system is compromised and weak.

You would never heat-treat mother’s milk before feeding it to a human infant, but that is exactly what we do when we pasteurize cow’s milk. Calves raised on pasteurized milk do not thrive. And humans raised on pasteurized milk may develop allergies and sensitivities because they lack the enzymes needed to break down the lactose into lactic acid. This will cause the rumbly tummies experienced by those who are lactose intolerant.

But here is what I often find. Gall bladder/Liver congestion is a primary reason for dairy difficulties. The unfortunate intestine is frequently blamed for problems that actually arise higher up the digestive conveyor belt.

Dairy farmers are subsidized by the Government, but the price-fixing is hurting them because dairy prices are low and the cost of dairy farm business is high. So, organic dairy farmers are doing slightly better, since they can charge a premium for milk.  My advice is to always buy organic dairy products as much as possible, since pesticides and other toxins are fat-loving and the way we treat commercial cows is unwise for the cows, and unwise for their products that we consume.

Organic raw dairy is delicious and healthy, and well-regulated. Look for local California raw milk from Organic Pastures or Claravale Dairy. They also make delicious raw cream and cheese. Raw cheeses from Spain and France are often available, and are some of the most delicious varieties. Look for Comte’ at Trader Joe’s. Hard cheeses have no lactose left after the cheese-making process, so are safer choices for those who have concerns.

Dairy products add flavor and richness to your eating plan. Always choose the least processed path, so look for whole milk and non-homogenized versions, if not raw. Whole milk is 3% fat, and low-fat is 1%-not much of a difference!  You are also going to lose fat-soluble vitamins like A and D, so there is a price to pay that goes beyond taste.

I raised my two kids on organic raw milk and neither one has any allergies, and they had few colds or flus. Babies who drink raw milk usually do not develop milk allergies. I still use raw milk in my tea.

One sign of dairy intolerance is puffy, itchy eyelids or the area around the eyes. If you are sensitive already, total elimination of dairy products, plus taking digestive enzymes, is the answer.

If you are still concerned about dairy, or are already highly intolerant, don’t make the mistake of choosing soy. Soy isolate powder is one of the most highly processed and allergenic foods. And Monsanto is behind the big soy push-not a company that has anyone’s health at heart. And soy has phyto-estrogens that may interfere with optimum thyroid function. Children raised on soy products often go through puberty earlier from the estrogenic influences on their endocrine systems.

Humans have eaten raw or cultured dairy products for thousands of years. If we go back to sane farming practices we can enjoy the health and taste benefits of “real” food, as Nature intended.