Dairy Is Not Required
It should be clear that there are many cultures around the world that do not eat dairy products. Most of pre-industrial Africa and Asia, with the exception on India and Hindu cultures, rarely consumed milk. That being said, Northern European cultures have been healthily eating dairy for thousands of years.
Conclusion #1: You Don’t Have to Eat Dairy To Be Healthy
Even though dairy has been healthily ingested and even used as medicine for thousands of years, it is not required to eat dairy products in order to be healthy. Raw milk, as nature intended, is a very good source of fat soluble vitamins and protein that Northern Europeans, Indians (India) and many other cultures used. Below I describe how traditional cultures solved many of today’s dairy problems thousands of years ago with Ayurvedic principles.
Lactose Intolerance Isn’t New
After the age of four many people, and up to 90% of blacks and Asians, stop making the enzyme lactase which makes them potentially lactose intolerant(1). Milk sugar is called lactose and needs the enzyme lactase to be digested.
DNA evidence extracted from Neolithic skeletons indicates that in 5500 BC, people in Northern Europe were also lactose intolerant(2). Earthenware vessels found in England and dated to 4500 BC contain milk byproducts, indicating milk was used in some form, although perhaps not drunk directly(3).
Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance
The signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance usually begin 30 minutes after eating or drinking foods that contain lactose. Common signs and symptoms include:
- sinus congestion
- abdominal cramps
Conclusion #2: Lactose Intolerant People Can Eat Some Specific Types of Dairy
In cheese, and particularly cottage cheese, the lactose is converted to lactic acid which is easy digest.
Folks with lactose intolerance should be able to eat cheese(4).
Cream, butter and yogurt has vey small amounts of lactose and are usually okay.
Skim milk still has lactose, so it is not a choice for lactose intolerant folks.
Isn’t Dairy a Needed Source of Calcium for Building Bones? No!
While calcium, vitamins and other minerals are abundant in certain types of milk, calcium is way more abundant in leafy green veggies. There are many non dairy cultures that have incredible bone density without consuming milk products(5).
Excellent Sources of Calcium:
- Fresh, dark-green vegetables like spinach, kale, turnips, and collard greens
- Sesame seeds and almonds
- Wild salmon and sardines
Vitamin D3 Is More Important For Building Strong Bones Than Calcium
The biggest factor regarding calcium absorption is getting adequate amount of Vitamin D3, which we primarily absorb from the sun or supplementation. How Do I Safely Absorb Vitamin D3 From the Sun?
In the cream portion of milk is a good supply of Vitamin D3, along with the other essential fat soluble vitamins A, E and K. Unfortunately these vitamins are broken down in the pasteurization and homogenization process. As a result, milk is fortified with synthetic Vitamin A, D2 (not Vitamin D3) and calcium.
More importantly, 78% of Americans are Vitamin D3 Deficient – yet Vitamin D is required to carry the dietary calcium out of the gut and into the bloodstream. Am I Vitamin D3 Deficient?
Conclusion #3: If You Want Strong Bones Get Your Vitamin D3
It is the chronic deficiency of Vitamin D3 that causes calcium deficiencies and osteoporosis.
While raw milk is a better source of fat soluble vitamins and calcium than conventionally pasteurized milk, it still does not deliver enough Vitamin D3 to benefit from the numerous health advantages of Vitamin D3 optimization. Vitamin D3 supplementation in the winter and regular midday sun exposure in the summer is strongly recommended for optimal health and strong bones. How Much Vitamin D3 Do I Need?
Should I Just Drink Skim Milk To Be Safe? No!
Skim milk is made from skimming off the cream that normally rises to the surface, which makes it nonfat and thus completely lacking in essential fat soluble Vitamins A, D3, E and K. Yet skim milk still has the proteins and lactose that can cause allergies, lactose intolerance and indigestion.
Milk is 80% casein protein and 20% whey protein. The proteins in milk are the most common culprit when it comes to indigestion and allergies. Casein in particular is very hard to digest. Mother’s milk has four times the amount of easy to digest whey protein and one-half the amount of hard to digest casein protein than cow’s milk. So it seems we were never meant to digest lots of casein. Since both of these proteins are water soluble they remain in the skim milk, making it a richer source of protein – but much harder to digest.
It is also common to think that skim milk is better than whole milk for lactose intolerance, but the lactose also remains in the skim non fat milk – again making it much harder to digest.
Mother’s milk also has five times the linoleic acid than cow’s milk, which is a fat critical for building the nervous system and intelligence(6). Skimming milk takes the small amount of linoleic acid out of the milk, along with the needed fats, so it will lack the support whole milk provides for the nervous system.
Conclusion #4: Skim Milk Is Hard to Digest and Lacks Nutrients
Skimming the fat off milk creates a higher protein, higher mineral beverage that is more difficult to digest. The fats in milk – except skim milk – build and balance the nervous system and act as carriers to deliver the calcium and fat soluble Vitamins A, D3,E and K directly into the cells.
Skim milk though, is a less toxic option….. See why below!
If You Can’t Get Raw Dairy Choose Vat Pasteurized Products
This is a hotly debated topic and may be the most confusing. Pasteurization is a process that heats milk in order to kill food borne bacteria, microbes and pathogens. While pasteurization has saved countless lives when dairy farms were less than sanitary, today many take issue with this process.
By killing the bad bacteria, the good bacteria are also killed, along with the enzymes so desperately needed to break down the hard to digest proteins and fats and deliver the vitamins and minerals. Raw milk advocates, such as the Weston Price Foundation, link pasteurization to high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, sinus congestion and the litany of health concerns blamed on dairy products.
There are 3 kinds of pasteurization that you might see written on a label:
Heats milk to 135 degrees for 20 minutes.
Shelf life 7-10 days. It’s still alive!
Preserves good bacteria and many enzymes.
BEST Commercial Choice
Traditional process: Heats milk to 160 degrees for 15-20 seconds.
Shelf life 2-3 weeks.
Preserves some good bacteria.
TRY TO AVOID
Heats milk to 275 degrees for a couple of seconds.
Shelf life 2-3 months.
Vat Pasteurization is becoming a more popular option. It provides a guaranteed bacteria free product while preserving many of the enzymes and good bacteria because the heat is relatively low.
Organic Valley may release a whole milk product that is vat pasteurized and non-homogenized. Kalona Farms in Iowa, which also distributes nationally, offers a variety of vat pasteurized non-homogenized products.
Conclusion #5: Avoid Pasteurization and Always Boil Your Milk
According to Ayurveda, heating the milk slowly to just when it starts to boil will kill the bacteria and pathogens but leave the good bacteria and the enzymes. Heating the milk too fast at high temperatures for just a second or two during conventional “Flash” pasteurization will of course kill all the bacteria but also partially breaks down the hard to digest protein chains, leaving them extremely difficult to digest(7).
Bringing already pasteurized milk to a boil will finish the job of breaking down the proteins and make them easier to digest. If you buy pasteurized milk, bring it slowly to a boil, let it cool and drink… Avoid Ultra Pasteurization. Look for Vat Pasteurized – or better yet, choose raw products.
For best digestibility bring them to a boil as well.
Always Buy Organic Dairy Products
One of the problems with non organic dairy is that the chemicals, hormones and toxins in our world are generally fat soluble. Milk is high on the food chain and toxins are therefore passed through the feed into the milk and carried in the fatty portion of the milk. The only way to avoid the overwhelming amounts of antibiotics, growth hormones and pesticides in milk is to buy organic where these fat soluble chemicals are not present.
Conclusion #6: Choose Organic (or Skim Milk if there is no other option)
If you have to drink non organic milk, choose skim milk. Yes, though it is harder to digest it is basically devoid of fat and will not carry the hormones, antibiotics and pesticides that whole or low fat milk would. Skim Milk is the only relatively safe non organic option.
Homogenization Causes Lactose Intolerance – Not Dairy
From the Ayurvedic perspective and that of many researchers, the homogenization process renders the fat in milk indigestible. The fat (cream) molecules are squeezed through a small filter in order to make them homogenous or the same. This homogenous fat is a foreign molecule to the body. Often this molecule will pass undigested through weakened small intestinal linings, and makes foreign sludge in the lymph and blood stream which sticks to channel walls, creates plaque and allergic responses(8).
Some researchers believe this process allows a toxic enzyme called xanthine oxidase to enter into the blood stream and cause damage to the arterial wall. This arterial free radical damage causes scar tissue to form. Cholesterol accumulates on the scars and clogs the arteries(9). Conclusion #7: Choose Organic Whipping Cream When Raw Products are Not Available
Since almost all commercial milk is homogenized there are only a few strategies to avoid homogenized dairy products. Skim milk is homogenized. Residual amounts of fat remain after the skimming process that is then homogenized.
The best choice is Organic Raw Milk. The only other non-homogenized milk product is heavy whipping cream. The cream is skimmed off and never homogenized. Because whipping cream will not whip when ultra pasteurized, all whipping cream is always pasteurized at lower temperatures, which also spares enzymes and good bacteria. Choose organic because the fat in cream is a carrier for fat soluble toxins.
Organic Valley sells Organic Whipping Cream that is non-homogenized and vat pasteurized. This is the best of both worlds. You can add water to dilute the cream to the desired consistency. Cream is also where the easy to digest constituents are found. It is where the linoleic acid, Vitamins A,D,E and K, minerals and other healthy fats are found. Cream is much easier to digest because it is almost devoid of lactose and hard to digest proteins.
Dilute Whipping Cream with Water To Make Your Own Health Promoting Milk
Traditionally, milk was never consumed in big glasses like in the west. Because milk is high in hard to digest proteins and lactose, it was traditionally allowed to separate from the cream. The cream was eaten in the raw form and saved for cooking, and the skim milk was made into cheese or yogurt, which made the proteins and lactose easier to digest. The cream was diluted with water for almost all cooking purposes when milk was called for. Cream provided the fats, vitamins and some minerals directly and cheese provided a high protein, high mineral product that was easy to digest.
Solution: Organic whipping cream and organic cottage cheese are available almost everywhere these days.
What a simple solution to such a complicated problem!!!
Raw Organic Milk Is Your Best Choice
If you choose to drink milk on a regular basis, the best choice is Raw Organic Milk. I still suggest that you bring it to a boil before drinking it and that you always drink it warm or at room temperature, never cold. Then you will have an easy to digest, non congesting and extremely nutritious beverage.
Unfortunately it is difficult to get raw milk. It is mostly sold through local farm shares. Go to RealMilk.com to find a farm share in your area.
Final Conclusion: The Real Question is Why Are You Allergic to Dairy?
As I have written and lectured about for many years, dairy is a hard to digest food. That is why Ayurvedic medicine suggested separating the cream, which is easy to digest, from the protein rich skim, which is difficult to digest.
While eating the healthiest form of dairy makes total sense, just changing the diet is never enough. If you have difficulty digesting something that is hard to digest, evaluate the strength and integrity of the digestive process. For this I refer you to my archived Health Reports where I have spent much time educating folks on how to reset natural digestive and detoxification pathways. If you don’t digest dairy well you do not have to eat it – just be sure it is not a sign of a weakened digestive system… If so, let’s fix it!
J. Bayless, Lactose and Milk Intolerance: Clinical Impressions, N Engl J Med, 292 (1975)
Early man “couldn’t stomach milk, 27 February 2007, news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved on 21 July 2009.
Stone Age Man Drank Milk”. London: Independent.co.uk. 2003-01-28. www.independent.co.uk/news/science/stone-age-man-drank-milk-scientists-find-605237.html. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
McDougall. The McDougall Plan, New Century Books p. 50
Walker, Osteoporosis and Calcium Deficiency, Am J Clin Nutr 16, 1965
M. Crawford, Essential Fatty Acids Requirements in Infancy,Am J Clin Nutr 31 (1978)
Ballentine, Diet and Nutrition. Honesdale, Himalayan Institute.. 1978, p.129 Oster, K., 8. Oster, J., and Ross, D. “Immune Response to Bovine Xanthine Oxidase in Atherosclerotic Patients.” American Laboratory, August, 1974, 41-47
Oster, K., and Ross, D. “The Presence of Ectopic Xanthine Oxidase in Atherosclerotic Plaques and Myocardial Tissues.” Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, 1973.
* Please Note: We cannot effectively or legally answer personal health questions here, for further assistance please consider a personalized Ayurvedic Consultation.