I was a mild baby; a big milk baby. As a teenager, I would go through gallons of milk weekly. I believed milk to be the ultimate for growth, energy and physical well-being. I'm not sure where I got those beliefs; where does any teenager get their beliefs? Only with increasing knowledge, and hopefully a little wisdom, have I been able to re-examine those beliefs, and decide the following.
We have all heard of Lactose Intolerance. The more I read, the more I see another very large group of people who may not have a lactose intolerance issue, but who just have problems consuming dairy. The problems they have are not bad enough for a doctor visit, and sometimes are not even noticeable enough for them to make the connection between the symptom and dairy products at all. Heartburn, fatigue, joint pain, allergic rhinitis, throat-clearing, rashes/eczema, mild diarrhea, mild bloating, and unexplained mild weight gain are just a few of these possible problems. If you think you could be one of these people, then read on...
After three decades of being the milk-baby as described above, I had read enough to wonder if my chronic mild-moderate Heartburn, bloating and increasing joint pain/stiffness had anything to do with dairy. I worried about the hormone issues of Soy Milk, and so decided to try Almond Milk.
Almond milk is very tasty and has about the same levels of calcium and Vitamin D as cow's milk. It has no lactose, animal fat or casein, however; and for some folks that might just be a good thing. Many people don't know that cow's milk does not naturally have any Vitamin D at all; it is added during the processing. I personally was mildly shocked when I discovered this fact. How had I not known that cow's milk contained no Vitamin D naturally? After a trial of Almond Milk and no dairy, I was quite pleased with the changes.
It seems that many of us just outgrow the need for dairy, and the ability to digest it comfortably. This makes sense if you look at nature; humans are the only species on the planet that routinely try to drink milk past infancy. If you suffer from vague feelings of fatigue or any of the problems listed above, it is worth stopping anything dairy in your diet for a month and looking for any improvement. If, after a month, you feel no differently, then you can probably still consume dairy just fine. I would counsel you to repeat this month-long experiment every few years, as the landscape of your gut changes over time
As I have said, I was a milk drinker until my late thirties; at that time I decided to try almond milk after reading an online article much like this one. Within a week the mild, daily heartburn I had been having disappeared; vague, achy joint pains left; and, my energy level became better and more predictable. I didn't believe this to be a true connection at first and restarted dairy; only to have the heartburn quickly return.
Upon switching back to almond milk, the heartburn and other symptoms again went away. Now, I hardly ever touch dairy, enjoying instead tasty almond milk. Give it a try, I think you'll be glad you did. Realize, these statements and research came very hard for me, as a previous fanatical advocate for dairy; I did not grow up in a household where it was acceptable to doubt dairy.
You can either buy a good brand like Blue Diamond, or you can very simply make it yourself (I've done it!) by using the instructions in this nifty video.
I don't put in the dates or salt they mention; but maybe will try it that way soon. Enjoy!