Me and the Cows: A Dairy Journey

black and white diary cows blue sky green grass

I am not a vegan. The main reason for this is that I love eggs so much. Also, I imagine being truly vegan is incredibly time consuming. And a lot of stuff vegans don’t eat is actually pretty good for us.

But I can get behind the whole cutting out dairy thing.

I know – insane. Who could live without cheese or Alfredo sauce or ice cream? And I’m talking the real stuff, not vegan versions made with soy or whatever.

However, while I am not living without these things, I do live with a lot less of them than I used to.

Biggest difference? Way. Better. Digestion. Waybetter.

Long story short, I went veggie, didn’t do a fabulous job of getting all the nutrition I needed, got crazy anxious (for a laundry list of reasons), upset my intestines, got more crazy anxious.

It really is true that your GI tract is like a second brain.

Anyway, because things were so out of wack in my gut, I started reducing my dairy intake, having heard that dairy can make digestive trouble worse. I knew it was working when I overindulged one night and was in a bit of tummy pain the next day.

Once things were back to normal in my belly and head, I thought more about my dairy habits. Most of my life, I’ve been a tall glass of milk kind of girl. Dinner was not complete without it. I loved cheese as much as the next guy, and enjoyed cream based soups as often as possible. Yet, somehow, I was doing alright without a lot of it. Just as I hadn’t missed bacon or burgers, I apparently didn’t have too much trouble ordering “light cheese” in an omelet.

Of course, knowing how much better it made me feel was part of the reprogramming.

I’m not going to go into whether or not humans should consume dairy after infancy or argue about the diminished enzymes in modern, processed cows’ milk. It’s just too much for one little post.

I will, however, mention this Harvard article on the sky high (natural) hormones in our dairy cows, and that we really don’t keep and milk them the way nature intended. Also – gotta ask it – how much milk do you think our early human, hunter-gatherer ancestors were drinking? I have a guess.

Once again, I end up thinking about the paleo diet and evolutionary-minded eating.

In sum, try scaling down your dairy, if you’re so inclined. Doing so is a lot easier than you might think. Mix your glass of dairy milk with a little almond or coconut milk. Forego the cheese with your eggs. Opt for fruit or veggies rather than cheese balls. It just might make you feel a little better.

Oh, and I suppose this journey was about me and the goats too. I just love goat cheese.



Filed under Health

7 Responses to Me and the Cows: A Dairy Journey

  1. This is a complex one to wade into, so I’ll travel lightly. For the most part I agree with you. I generally feel better when I minimize dairy in my diet, but the exception for me would be yogurt. Dairy products do have some things in abundance that are good for us–particularly calcium–and our hunter-gatherer ancestors also didn’t eat brown rice or broccoli in adulthood but no one seems to be speaking out against those modern products. So the question for me would be what is the healthiest source of dairy? When I’m resisting my urge for ice cream and soft cheese, I lean towards yogurt as the most compelling answer. Obviously there’s the live and active cultures part that helps with digestion, but there’s also lots of fascinating information out there about the role yogurt may play in longevity.

    • Katie

      You know, I can’t believe I left out a bit on yogurt. I eat plain Fage almost everyday, and absolutely love it. We’ve used it in place of sour cream in taco dips and things like that too.

      As for the grains, I think the paleo diet is practically void of them (not sure about the broccoli…).

      You’re right about the complexity… food is confusing and fascinating:)

  2. Turns out brocolli is another human creation, the product of artificial selection. Have you ever tried sprouted bread? Another healthy human creation with interesting historic roots.

  3. Katie

    I have not… I don’t think. I have a friend who eats specific breads (she avoids ALL sugar because of Candida/yeast), but not sure if they count. Are they good?

  4. Food For Life makes some very good sprouted breads under their Ezekiel line. There’s some religious/historical background to their recipe, which is kind of neat, but what really gets me is that the bread, because of the protein quality, is really satisfying. And it’s supposed to be very healthy. Our local grocery store carries it in the freezer section next to the other frozen breads. Being natural, it has a shorter shelf life, which can be extended by keeping it refrigerated at home. I love it.

    • Katie

      I *am* making a trip to the health food store later this week… I’ll keep my eyes open for some! Curiosity peaked.

  5. Katie

    I picked up some Sprouted Bakehouse bread – absolutely love it. Thanks for the suggestion!

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