This series is about which animal products are best to cut out of your diet for health and environmental reasons.
- Part 1 was on processed meats and can be found here.
- Part 2 was on red meat can be found here.
Part Three: DAIRY
i.e. milk, yoghurt, cheese, cream etc
Dairy products are high in saturated fat and contain cholesterol – both of which I talked about in the health sections of the previous posts. They are linked with a number of diseases including heart disease and diabetes. Many also find their skin and digestion clears up after cutting dairy.
Dairy is linked to quite a large range of health issues – too large and complicated to cover here.. I suggest you visit this website and check out those that interest you.
Mammals (including humans) produce milk for their young which nourishes them till they are weaned. Mammals no longer need breastmilk after weaning, be it from their own mother, or a mother from a different species (yes cow’s milk is breastmilk too!). Each mammal produces milk specific to it’s babies needs. So cow’s milk is to turn a calf into a huge cow and therefore has much larger amounts of protein than human milk. Human milk has more carbohydrate and slightly more fat (for our large brain). The ratios of other nutrients like calcium and iron are also different. This website here explains the differences. Just because something has ‘large amounts’ of something doesn’t mean it’s a good source. Yes cow’s milk has large amounts of calcium but it’s actually not well absorbed by our bodies. Food should be thought of as a nutrient package instead. Cow’s milk comes with sat fat, cholesterol, hormones, pus etc. Kale (a healthy source of calcium) comes with Vitamin K, C, fibre, magnesium ETC. The same is true for red meat – yes it contains protein – but is it a good source? Considering it’s a probable carcinogen with saturated fat, cholesterol, minimal fibre – probably not. Compared with plant based protein which is high in fibre and other nutrients, meat is a less healthy choice.
As discussed with processed and red meats, animal agriculture is increasingly being linked with environmental problems such as climate change, pollution and deforestation. There are around 270 million dairy cows worldwide. That’s over 4 x the population of the UK. Cows are large animals which require a lot of food. That food has to be grown, using land, water, pesticides/fertilisers etc. There are also the transportation costs, the materials used – all those plastic bottles, plastic packaging, tubs etc. Dairy is a huge resource drain – and when it’s for something completely unnecessary and damaging to human health – this resource drain is ludicrous.
What to eat instead?
There is a huge variety of plant based milks out there to try. Find your favourites! Mine are oat, coconut, rice, cashew and almond. Look out for added sugars – if the milk has rice in it, it will be naturally sweet e.g. Alpro Coconut or Rice Dream. Oatly barista froths up nicely for a cappuccino.
There’s a growing amount of vegan cheese on the market or have a go at making your own. A quick google of homemade vegan cheese shows the variety you can make!
You can get non-dairy yoghurts, creme fraiche, cream, custard etc. in major supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsburys. Also check the frozen section for non dairy ice cream!
I like to see non-dairy alternatives as a treat. They aren’t whole foods and some have added sugar. They are great for the transition period or if you have a cheese craving. Once you stop eating dairy, those cravings will eventually disappear (casein, the protein in dairy makes it addictive!) and eventually you will no longer see it as food!
Worried about calcium? Don’t be! Below is a list of healthy, calcium rich foods>
Thanks for reading my 3 part series on the best animal foods to cut from your diet for health and environment 🙂