Even if you grew up drinking milk, eating cheese, and occasionally indulging in a pint of ice cream, there are plenty of reasons to give up dairy. The latest research is becoming more critical of this food group, and arguably dairy consumption is responsible for many of the chronic health problems we face. If you’re still on the fence about giving up your beloved dairy products, keep these seven reasons to give up dairy in mind.
One of the most highlighted reasons to give up dairy is the potential antibiotics that are in products like milk and cheese. Cows are regularly fed steady doses of antibiotics to prevent them from getting infections and other illnesses. But do you think those antibiotics simply stay in the cow and don’t go into any of the cow’s byproducts? It’s not crazy to think that some of those antibiotics leak into the milk these cows produce. You can abstain from unintended exposure to antibiotics by eliminating dairy from your diet.
Cows aren’t just fed antibiotics—they’re also fed hormones to help them grow bigger and produce more milk. Although the FDA argues that it’s perfectly safe to drink milk from cows that have been treated with growth hormones, I’m not taking any chances. New studies show that consuming synthetic hormones like the ones fed to cows can lead to hormonal imbalances across the board ranging from thyroid disease to diabetes and pancreatic cancer.
3. Cow Pus
I know this one sounds a little gross. But did you know that there’s a high likelihood your next glass or milk or slice of cheese has trace elements of cow pus in it? Try as they might, farmers can’t create a perfectly sanitary environment for their animals (it is a bar, after all). And don’t think that pasteurization is cure-all. Not only does pasteurization sometimes fail to kill all the bad bacteria in milk, it also destroys all the beneficial enzymes prevalent in raw milk. Do yourself a favor and cut the dairy before you get sick!
4. Lactose Intolerance
Did you know some studies indicate as many as 75% of people are lactose intolerant? If you often suffer from abdominal pain or other stomach issues after consuming dairy, you could have an intolerance. Remember that intolerances don’t just leave you with a stomach ache. Over time, they can lead to villi destruction of the small intestines and malabsorption problems. Opt out of dairy if you fall into this category.
5. Animal Cruelty
You don’t need to be a PETA member to be conscious of animal cruelty. Many milk-producing cows are slaughtered for beef after a mere five or six years when their milk production declines. Keep in mind wild cattle can live well into their 20s. When it comes to food, your dollar is often your vote. If you don’t like the way cows are being treated in the meat and dairy world, you can abstain from buying these products.
6. There Are Other Forms of Calcium
Don’t think that milk is the only way you can get enough calcium in your diet. Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, and dandelion greens are all rich in calcium, especially when you purchase these foods organic! If you’re cutting out dairy, don’t neglect other plant forms of calcium that can help you meet your daily calcium requirement.
One final reason to consider dropping dairy is the theory that consuming dairy is unnatural for humans. Cows ultimately produce milk to feed their young—not us! That’s why many vegetarian and vegan advocates argue that drinking cow’s milk or consuming other forms of dairy is unnatural for humans.
At the end of the day, your decision to eliminate dairy from your diet is a personal choice. What are some of your reasons for giving up dairy?