Sunday, August 4, 2013

Should you Eliminate Dairy in your Diet?

Ruth dumps the dairy and get her calcium elsewhere.

In the second half of life, should you dump dairy? One of the sensitivities that can occur as you age is your sensitivity to dairy. I am lactose intolerant, it runs in my family, so this food allergy happened in my forties. You can become intolerant of dairy at any stage, so if you are experiencing gastro intestinal discomfort, you should look to eliminate the culprit. Do two weeks avoiding dairy products and see if your situation improves. I laugh when I think about my daughter’s response to milk. During Hurricane Sandy her refrigerator stopped working, and when she went to pour the soured milk down the drain, it was a solid mass of stench. She has since refused to drink milk because it reminds her of that smell. LOL! She adds hot water to her coffee instead of milk. It works for me too. But you can substitute almond milk, or soy milk if you prefer.

Here's how dairy can do more harm then good:

Harmful Dairy

- It is highly inflammatory. Second to gluten it is one of the most highly inflammatory foods out there. The inflammation dairy causes can lead to digestive issues such as gas, constipation and diarrhea as well as causing other symptoms such as acne.

- It is acid forming. Our bodies like to maintain a neutral pH balance. Milk, along with most animal products, is acid forming food meaning that your body has to compensate for the increased acidity to restore the neutral pH balance. The body does this by using the alkaline stores it has in the form of calcium, magnesium and potassium stored within the bones. This pulling from the body’s reserves weakens the bones making them more susceptible to damage.

- It is full or hormones and antibiotics. Dairy farmers have long been injecting the cows with genetically engineered bovine growth hormone ( rBGH) to increase milk production. This increase in milk production can lead to udder infection, which is then treated with antibiotics, which can find their way into dairy products.

The dairy industry has been masterful at getting us to believe that
milk is the highest source of calcium and it even provides milk for the free lunch program to instill the idea that milk is the foundation of health. It isn’t. Take a look at this calcium chart and find where milk sits on this table.

(Print chart.)

Once you determine your sensitivity to milk products, you can try to reintroduce some dairy and see how your system works with a bit of cheese or yogurt.  I indulge in hard cheese and yogurt for breakfast, toppings and treats. But I can’t drink a glass of milk or eat ice cream. See what works for you. The key is discovering your culprit, so eliminate all dairy products for 2 weeks and see if your digestion improves. If it does,  eliminate dairy products for one month. Then add one dairy product on the first week of the second month and see how you fare. You may be able to select some dairy to your diet that suits your palate. Now that you are in your second life, your palate is more sophisticated and as always, most personal. Craft what works for you and enjoy these non-dairy treats in the meantime:

No Bake Vegan Creme Tartlets

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 8 tartlets

1/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews
1-1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1/2 tablespoon plain milk alternative (almond, coconut, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon arrowroot or tapioca starch
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
3 to 5 drops pure stevia extract, optional
soft cookie that you can shape such ginger soft, or soft macaroons
Fresh raspberries, blackberries or blueberries

1. Place the cashews in a spice / coffee grinder, the grinder container of a personal blender, or a small food processor. Process until finely ground or powdered, about 30 to 60 seconds – it’s okay if it starts to clump.

2. Add the maple, oil, milk alternative, starch, vanilla, and salt (transfer all to a blender if using a regular grinder), and process until smooth and creamy. Taste test. Blend in the stevia to heighten the flavors, if desired.

3. Press the soft cookie into 8 mini tartlet or cupcake molds / tins. 

4. Divide the cashew filling evenly between the tartlet cups.

5. Freeze for 15 minutes.

6. Top with fresh berries.

7. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to devour.


By Ruth Gantman, HHC, AADP, Holistic Health Coach

You can contact Ruth with your questions here in the comments or at  

Also visit Ruth's site for more information on nutrition and diet at Nurtured By Nature.


  1. Ruth. what a great post. I made the transition to almond milk and goat
    yoghurt and goat/sheep cheeses a couple of years ago. Never miss cow products. I love the calcium chart: so many good choices beyond dairy. Really helpful. Always proud to have you on our site. Thanks again.

  2. How much bok choy would you need to eat to consume 100 calories? An interesting post but we need to be careful in interpreting and using the statistics. Glad you found a solution which works for you.

  3. I'm also trying to figure out how much bok choy or romaine you have to eat, but this is a great list. Wonderful alternatives here - many I see that I'm going to try.

  4. There are 20 calories to an ounce of bok choy. 100 calories would yield 8 oz. (775 calcium)
    8 oz. glass of milk is 100 calories. (189 calcium)
    I can go on through the list, but don't be sidetracked by the numbers. The point is that boy choy has more calcium per oz. than milk. I am trying to have you see a new way of looking at your food choices.
    The point of the chart is for reference, not portion sizes.