No to soy & no to dairy, then what can we use as an alternative?
That is an awesome question that I got from a few buddies over the last few weeks, but before I can help with that we must first ask what are we using the soy or dairy for? Most people use dairy or soy as I once did, as a drink, as a supplement, as a condiment (cheese) or as a liquid to pour over cereal grains.
If this is you, get ready for some info that will help you change. But what if you don’t want to change? Well, if dairy, soy or grains are staples in your diet, your body is begging you to change & probably giving you signs/symptoms too. (Eczema, acne and other skin issues, irritable bowl, poor digestion, headaches, weight gain, muscle cramps, constipation, trouble focusing, poor energy, mood swings, anger issues…etc are often earlier signs (late are cancer, diabetes, dementia, heart disease, and early death) that you’re eating things that your body hates whether or not your tongue or your emotions feel differently). But don’t worry, we’ll go over the why, and when there is a big enough WHY, the “how to change” figures itself out.
1st let’s discuss dairy. Dairy as a pasteurized, homogenized product you buy on the shelves of your typical grocery store with a shelf/fridge life of a month or more is an incredibly unnatural, processed (dead) food that is a far far cry from the dairy your grandparents consumed from a healthy happy grass-fed cow. Dairy now is typically not a great food because of the inhumane treatment & the incongruent diets that are associated with industrial dairy farming. The average lifespan of an industrial dairy cow is between 3-5 years compared to around 30 when fed a healthy diet and treated well. (remember you are what you eat, and what they eat too) Think about the differences: back in your grandparents’ time, the milk man came around weekly if not daily because dairy back then was a “live” food that had real nutritive value. It was rich with enzymes, vitamins, minerals, carbs, fats, proteins & other stuff that we haven’t identified yet that was very nourishing not only to us but to bacteria as well. That is why real food goes bad so quickly, it has value that other organisms are interested in too. Be wary of “foods” that don’t spoil quickly because they aren’t real “live” foods, but more “food-like (Michael Pollan coined, and has some awesome rules to eating)” man-made processed pieces of junk that will spoil your health in the long run.
Even if you can get the dairy that your grandparents’ consumed (and you can if you look hard), it shouldn’t be a staple because dairy is acidic meaning it drives your body’s pH balance (the balance between acid and base) toward acidic. Your body hates being acidic, so much so that it will pull calcium from your bones to balance your chemistry. This leaves your body with weakened & brittle bones, much more susceptible to fracture, which is the loose definition of osteoporosis. Yep that’s right, DAIRY IS ASSOCIATED WITH OSTEOPOROSIS!! I know this is ironic because the dairy industry (lobby) advertises heavily & will have you believe that milk is good for strong bones; however, the calcium that it delivers is used to balance its acidity in the body and you end up with a net negative calcium absorption rate, meaning more comes out of your bones than goes in. Other animals don’t drink or eat dairy throughout their lives and don’t have osteoporosis (humans do). The best way to absorb and assimilate the most calcium from your diet is actually from dark green veggies like spinach and broccoli. They have less total calcium than dairy; however, veggies are alkaline (basic) so you can actually use the calcium in your bones.
Dairy also causes quite a large insulin spike, which is linked to insulin resistance (diabetes), the release of stress hormones, weight gain, and mitogenic properties (increased aging & cancer) all of which pushes you away from homeostasis (balance) and toward lifestyle disease.
Dairy is also linked to autoimmune disorders because as an infant, you have what is called a leaky gut. That means your intestines are porous letting big proteins into your blood stream. This is brilliant because as an infant you really don’t have much of an immune system, so you rely on your mother’s breast milk (what humans are designed/evolved to consume for the first 2-3 years of life) for immune globulins and antibodies that protect you. These are really big proteins that fight bacteria and viruses, too big in fact to get through the intestinal wall normally, so the leaky gut allows the passage of these incredibly important proteins that your mother made especially and specifically for you. ONCE AGAIN THE BODY IS FREAKING INCREDIBLE EH?!! Here’s the rub, a person/child with a leaky gut is vulnerable to other huge proteins if eating an unnatural diet (ie if given cow’s milk during that time (or formula), unnatural proteins can get into your blood stream, which your body can confuse with itself and end up attacking both you and the foreign protein. The same thing can happen with you irritate your guts with grains (gluten especially) later in life causing the leaky gut to return.
We talked about soy last week, and I’ll post something on grains later this month, so lets get down to alternatives.
Really the only alternative to dairy and soy that I use and feel is the healthiest alternative is almond milk. The best would be if you made it yourself (home made almond milk, please disregard the chocolate and cereal references). But I feel that Pacific
is the best with Blue Diamond is pretty good and tastes good too. The switch can be made gradually or all at once, the vanilla flavored has a bit more sugar but can be an easier switch to do, and then after you are used to it then go for original. If you can acquire traditional fresh, grass-fed & unpasteurized cows or goats milk, then I say have at it. It really isn’t that bad, however, it still should not be a staple (once or twice a week) and never for infants, its’ just too risky for possible auto-immune issues later in life. Other alternatives are eating what humans were designed to eat (fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts & meat) at what may now seem to be odd times of the day. But who says you can’t have lean grass-fed steak and veggies for breakfast, (cereal has only had a strong hold on the American breakfast since the 70’s to 80’s….hmmm right around the time that we started getting really fat?!)
If you aren’t eating cereal grains (which you shouldn’t be!!, (awesome alternative PALEO-CEREAL)), then you probably won’t need much alternative, except maybe yogurt, but I haven’t found much to replace yogurt, so I just don’t eat it because again its acidic and if from industrial farmed dairy, pretty terrible stuff. Better than pop tarts, but remember you are building your amazing body with every bite you take, so build it with heavy duty materials like timber and steel not balsa wood and tin.
Your Health Buddy
Dr. Nicholas Araza DC
stay tuned for the healthiest alternative to breast milk (which is the best) for your baby