If you’d like to elim­i­nate dairy, my fourstep guide will help you to do it over three to four weeks. Just stop­ping it al­to­gether is best, much like rip­ping off a plas­ter in one go rather than eas­ing it off and pulling out each in­di­vid­ual hair in the proce

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Cheese is de­li­cious but it could be detri­men­tal to your health

Let’s face it, dairy is de­lec­ta­ble! Is there any­one who doesn’t en­joy it? That doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean it’s good for you. While some peo­ple ap­pear to be fine on dairy prod­ucts oth­ers just glance at them and their res­pi­ra­tory or­gans go be­serk – they wheeze and get si­nusi­tis – or they ex­pe­ri­ence di­ar­rhoea, cramps and vom­it­ing. Still oth­ers ap­pear to have no ex­treme symp­toms yet are be­set with an au­toim­mune dis­ease or weight gain. You may not even be aware that dairy is con­tribut­ing to your chronic health prob­lems but as it is an in­flam­ma­tory food type you will ben­e­fit sig­nif­i­cantly by giv­ing it up. And don’t get me started on the growth hor­mones, oe­stro­gens, an­tibi­otics, steroids, and bioac­tive pep­tides that form in the gut as a re­sult of milk in­ges­tion and the pro­tein be­ta­cel­lulin (which is linked to can­cers). All of that, right there, is rea­son to stop.

Mean­while, in many of us, dairy con­trib­utes to dys­g­ly­caemia (an im­bal­ance in blood sugar lev­els), which leads to weight gain. Cut it out for a month and watch your wa­ter-re­ten­tion prob­lem dis­ap­pear, moods im­prove and weight be­gin to drop. Plus, you don’t need to worry about your bones! The cal­cium in milk is poorly ab­sorbed and bones are made out of so much more than cal­cium any­way. Cal­cium is abun­dant in our food, par­tic­u­larly leafy greens, nuts such as al­monds, bone broth, chicken liv­ers and sar­dines. If you de­cide to drop dairy you’ll still be ‘cov­ered’ if you eat a healthy Pa­leo-style diet.

The dairy ex­cep­tion is real but­ter, which is a pure form of healthy fat. Few peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence ad­verse ef­fects from good qual­ity but­ter but if you find it is a prob­lem use ghee – the pro­tein is re­moved but all the good­ness of but­ter re­mains.

There are stud­ies ‘prov­ing’ both sides of the ar­gu­ment as to whether dairy is good for you or not, so ul­ti­mately it’s an in­di­vid­ual de­ci­sion.


Per­haps the most im­por­tant point about dairy, es­pe­cially milk, is its in­sulino­genic (or in­sulin-stim­u­lat­ing) na­ture. Even though dairy prod­ucts have a low gly­caemic in­dex they have a very high in­sulin in­dex. This means they may not raise blood-glu­cose lev­els ex­ces­sively but they do raise in­sulin lev­els dis­pro­por­tion­ately.


There are over 80 nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring bovine hor­mones in milk to grow a calf into a cow. This is fine if you are a calf but what if you’re hu­man? Many hor­mones, both nat­u­ral and ex­ter­nal, in dairy have the abil­ity to dys­reg­u­late hu­man hor­mones. In­sulin-like growth fac­tor #1 (IGF-1) is one such hor­mone, and it is now as­so­ciated with breast and prostate cancer. An NCBI (Na­tional Cen­ter for Biotech­nol­ogy In­for­ma­tion) re­search pa­per con­cludes: ‘Epi­demi­o­log­i­cal ev­i­dence is ac­cu­mu­lat­ing and sug­gests that the risk of can­cers of the colon, pan­creas, en­dometrium, breast and prostate are re­lated to cir­cu­lat­ing lev­els of in­sulin, IGF-1, or both.’


If you want a lit­tle ex­tra en­cour­age­ment to give up milk you may want to con­sider the an­tibi­otics that are used to fight in­fec­tion in live­stock, which then can make their way into milk and cheese if the pro­ducer doesn’t take care to en­sure that the an­i­mal has gone through a drug with­drawal pe­riod. An­tibi­otics are also used to in­crease the weight of live­stock; glob­ally, more an­tibi­otics are given to an­i­mals than are used to save hu­man lives. Is it any won­der there is wide­spread an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance? When we take in those an­tibi­otics we may also gain weight.


The link be­tween dairy and res­pi­ra­tory dis­eases such as asthma and chronic si­nusi­tis is clear; it’s the most al­ler­genic of all food types, caus­ing ex­cess mu­cus pro­duc­tion, so it should be avoided by any­one with these con­di­tions. Many skin con­di­tions,

Don’t get me started on the growth hor­mones, oe­stro­gens, an­tibi­otics, steroids, and bioac­tive pep­tides that form in the gut as a re­sult of milk in­ges­tion and the pro­tein be­ta­cel­lulin (which is linked to can­cers).

such as teenage acne, also clear up very quickly when dairy prod­ucts are dis­con­tin­ued.

The pro­tease in­hibitors present in dairy are thought to cause in­testi­nal per­me­abil­ity or leaky gut syn­drome, and peo­ple with bowel is­sues of­ten no­tice vast im­prove­ments when they elim­i­nate this food group. The pro­teins in milk are cross re­ac­tive with gluten, so their ad­verse ef­fects are com­pounded. (Cross re­ac­tiv­ity means that when you are al­ler­gic to the pro­teins in one food, you could also re­act to sim­i­lar pro­teins found in an­other food.) Celiac-dis­ease suf­fer­ers are strongly ad­vised to elim­i­nate dairy for this rea­son.


Around 65% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion is lac­tose in­tol­er­ant and the fig­ures for South Africa range be­tween 60% and 80%. Lac­tose is digested and ab­sorbed from the in­tes­tine but first has to be bro­ken down into two ba­sic su­gars: glu­cose and galac­tose. Lac­tase, the en­zyme needed to do this, is found in the cells that line the small in­tes­tine, right on the tips of the villi. We gen­er­ally lose the abil­ity to pro­duce lac­tase ef­fi­ciently when weaned. While some pop­u­la­tion groups con­tinue to pro­duce some lac­tase af­ter wean­ing, many don’t.

Adults who could tol­er­ate lac­tose when they were younger may de­velop an in­tol­er­ance with symp­toms, such as bloat­ing, di­ar­rhoea, flat­u­lence, cramps, and vom­it­ing, that in­crease with the amount of lac­tose con­sumed. How­ever, fer­mented dairy, but­ter and ghee may still be tol­er­ated. Don’t con­fuse lac­tose in­tol­er­ance with milk al­lergy – this im­mune re­sponse to the pro­teins in cow’s milk is seen mainly in chil­dren.

Al­mond milk is a great al­ter­na­tive.

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