Dairy – What You Need to Know

If you’re anything like us here at Aeon Botanika, you too have contemplated your dairy intake more than a few times. You may have even spent 20 minutes in the dairy section choosing a milk alternative. “Should I get unsweetened or vanilla- or unsweetened vanilla?!” And then the inevitable glaze-over sets in & you choose milk because it tastes good and for the 50th time, you’ve convinced yourself it can’t be THAT bad… Well, let us drop some knowledge on you!

Intolerance & Sensitivity
Worldwide, dairy is the 2nd most common food allergy (topped only by those pesky peanuts), with 65% of all humans being lactose intolerant, that’s almost 5 billion people! And for those of you concerned about your caloric intake, choosing a dairy alternative will free up some calories for those munchies you’ve been neglecting.

Dairy is also the likely culprit for a variety of symptoms many people experience. Some immediate signs of sensitivity/intolerance occur 5-60 minutes after consumption, they include: bloating, nausea, heartburn, flushed face, congestion, and watery eyes. The signs of a sensitivity/intolerance that are harder to correlate are the ones that happen after that first hour, so keep an eye out for these: constipation, diarrhea, acne, dry skin, eczema & rosacea flares, headaches & migraines, joint pain, and dark circles under your eyes. This blog isn’t half over and we’re pretty sure we’ve given you enough reasons already to cut out the dairy!

Let’s dive a little deeper… if you experience symptoms after eating dairy like nausea or diarrhea, you may have a lactose sensitivity. But if you get bloated or constipated, your intestinal flora is most likely out of balance. An off-kilter gut flora can be the cause for multiple food & environmental sensitivities, so see one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists ASAP and we can help you correct this.

We know you have a keen eye and caught us using the term ‘dairy sensitivity’ and not lactose sensitivity or intolerance a couple times; let us explain: casomorphins are the breakdown products of milk’s main protein, casein. They are also opioid peptides. Hence, there is a possible addictive quality associated with dairy products that have casein. But more importantly, casomorphins effect secretions & receptors in the endocrine, reproductive, and immune systems.
Milk in California has perchlorate in it as well, which can cause fluctuations in your endocrine system (thyroid issues!). Listen to the government’s definition: “Perchlorate is used in munitions, fireworks, explosives, airbag initiators for vehicles, matches, signal flares, fertilizers, chlorine cleaners, and pool chlorination chemicals.” Let’s keep these out of our body!

Here’s the takeaway thus far: whether you are lactose intolerant or not, a healthy diet & wellness choice would be to simply stay away from lactose & casein.

A photo of a hand and leaves or something.

Hormones in Dairy
Next up: have you noticed the recurring ‘No Added Hormones’ statement on organic dairy products? Let’s talk about this; on the majority of non-organic dairy farms, cows are given synthetic Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH/rBST) to increase milk production.

Here’s your cow. Here’s your cow on steroids.

We know you are going to choose the safest products for you and your family – so you pick the organic milk. Easy peasy, right? Unfortunately, no. Milk is quite sneaky in this way. Even without the added rBGH, there will always be some level of hormones in milk 0 that is how nature intended it. Think about it this way: milk is naturally calorically dense with the mamma cow’s hormones in it to protect & fatten up the baby calf – but last time we checked you aren’t a baby calf.

Another fun fact: the added hormones from milk have the potential to signal your liver to increase the production of Insulin Growth Factor (or IGF-1). IGF-1 tells your pancreas to produce more insulin, and consistently high insulin levels in women has been associated with reproductive cancers. At Aeon Botanika, we say F*** cancer.

Additionally, excess hormones introduced to your body via dairy can promote estrogen dominance. Potential effects of higher than normal levels of estrogen are: poor sleep, weight gain in the stomach & hips, cellulite, mood swings, and elevated PMS symptoms. There may also be a connection between estrogen dominance in children and early onset of puberty.

Let’s take a breather, that was a lot of information! We promise we did it because we love you & the rest of this will be an easy read with words you won’t have to Google.

Getting Enough Calcium
So how do you get all that crazy calcium you need if you don’t drink milk? You bust the myth that calcium is only in milk! The truth is, for healthy, strong bones you need adequate amounts of magnesium, vitamin C, D & K, and phosphorus in addition to calcium. And you can get adequate to high amounts of all of these (except Vitamin D) by eating a minimum of 3-5 servings of dark leafy, green vegetables per day, easy peasy! To find out more about great Vitamin D sources, talk with one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists today. And by the way, absorption of calcium & its’ bffs is way better from non-dairy sources.

Hidden Sources of Dairy
Lastly, always read all product ingredients and keep an eye out for hidden sources of dairy. The following all denote dairy is in your food product: casein, caseinates, hydrolysates, lactose, lactalbumin, lactoglobulin, butter fat, buttermilk, half & half, whey, whey protein isolate/concentrate, and, of course, “contains milk”.

So what’s next? It’s time for you to explore the fabulous world of non-dairy milk, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, ice cream (YUM!), confections & other sweets, baked goods, and butters. And keep in mind, ghee is lactose-free, YAY!

Always here if you need us,
The Aeon Botanika Team