Many people don’t question milk in the slightest and why should they? We come into this world living off nothing but milk, are practically raised on it and told throughout our childhood that we need it to make our bones stronger. The fact is, children can digest milk and other dairy products a lot more easily than adults can. As we grow up, our bodies produce less and less of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in dairy products. This is the case in people who are lactose intolerant, however, the truth is, we all are to some extent.

And even if we’re not, there are still things that you need to know if you are trying to succeed at living a clean, healthy life, free from sugar and other processed foods. Firstly, lactose is a sugar. So, in order to completely eliminate sugar from your diet, you need to throw out the dairy products too so that your body can learn to survive and function without it, and really let go of glucose and stop depending on it for energy. 
Secondly, conventional milk and other dairy products are high in bad fats - the unhealthy kind of saturated animal fats - which have a negative effect on our bad cholesterol (LDL) and overall health. ((This is where people get confused with how coconut oil can be so good for us, as that too is a saturated fat. The difference is that coconut oil is a plant, not an animal. Most saturated fats found in animal products (such as meat, dairy, poultry with skin, and beef fat) contain extra cholesterol that our bodies don’t need. Unlike animal fats, tropical oils (palm and coconut oils) are saturated fats that do not contain cholesterol but do contain an extensive list of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial plant chemicals. Like all fats, coconut oil is a blend of fatty acids but it contains an unusual blend of short and medium chain fatty acids, primarily lauric and myristic acids. It is this unusual composition that makes it nutritious, beneficial to health, safe, stable and ideal for cooking at high heats. Its benefits are literally endless (it can even reduce scarring and heal wounds) so don’t be put off)).

There is more and more evidence to show that the consumption of average cows milk and other dairy products is associated with acne, increased mucus production, inflammation, acidity in the body, asthma and other allergies. Dairy causes digestive problems for most people, however, very few people are aware that the intolerance could be the cause of any symptoms they may be living with. So many people start the day with “I’m so tired” or “I’m so bloated”, but they rarely consider that this could be a result of something in their diet that doesn’t quite agree with them. Cows milk can be inflammatory and can irritate the digestive system. On top of that it is acidic – so if you really can’t live without it in your mid-morning coffee, try to avoid it first thing for breakfast as it is likely to upset your system for the rest of the day.

Having read the above, you may be wondering what exactly milk is good for and why it is promoted and encouraged as such an important component of a healthy diet. Yes, it is great for healthy bones and for its calcium content, but there is actually very little evidence to prove that milk helps with things like bone fractures and growth. The important thing to remember is that you can get calcium from other foods. You don’t have to rely on dairy for healthy bones and you shouldn’t be afraid to let go of this traditional component of your diet. If it’s healthy bones you want, get plenty of exercise and supplement well. Get your calcium from foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, almonds, sesame seeds, tahini, sea vegetables, superfoods and sardines or salmon, amongst other things. Try giving up dairy for a few days to see if you feel a difference. You may notice improvements in your sinuses, headaches, skin, energy, and weight. Start eating dairy again after this break and if you feel terrible, you should consider giving it up for life. If you can tolerate dairy, it may be good to know that raw, whole, organic milk eliminates concerning ingredients such as pesticides, hormones and antibiotics, and is produced without undergoing disruptive processes such as homogenisation and pasteurization. To avoid complications associated with regular cows milk, buy locally and try to locate milk from grass-fed cattle that is unhomogenised and unpasteurised.

Alternatively, you can jump on the nut milk bandwagon (this, I’d really recommend). There are so many available alternatives to dairy nowadays so giving up milk has never been easier. Nut milk is fast becoming the most popular coffee companion, not to mention its outstanding performance in smoothies, baked goods and dinner recipes. And not only does it come without the nasty side effects, hormones or chemicals of cows milk, it comes with even more vitamins and nutrients and is higher in protein, healthy fats and fiber. Homemade nut milk is something so worth the effort and something you need to find time for, as it is pure, clean, free from chemicals, additives and sweeteners, and is the simplest way to consume not just nuts, but activated nuts. The soaking process (activation) enhances the nutrients of nuts and makes the original nut easier for us to digest, with reduced phytic acid and toxins. It really couldn’t get any better.