I’d been hearing someone on staff at my clinic coughing throughout the day for at least a couple of weeks.
I’m not one to pry into my employees’ personal lives, but it seemed to be a common occurrence throughout the year, so I decided to inquire.
She had no fever… her lungs were clear… but she had nasal congestion.
So, I asked her, “Do you drink a lot of milk and eat a lot of cheese?”
It turns out that, like a lot of people, she did consume a lot of dairy products. I recommended she stop all dairy for two weeks to see how it affected her mucus production and coughing.
Within two days, her coughing stopped, and her sinuses cleared. What’s more, the problem did not come back.
Naturopathic doctors have noted for decades that many health problems are caused by a sensitivity to cow’s milk products. Common examples include chronic sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, eczema and skin rashes, mood problems, digestive ailments, arthritis, and others.
To address this widespread issue—and enhance my patients’ health—I’ve been recommending plant-based alternatives to cow’s milk that are derived from plants for decades. And now, I’m pleased to share them with you.
But first—a little background on why you should make the switch—and what it is that cow’s milk actually does (and doesn’t do) to your body.
Wipe that milk mustache off your face
There are a few prominent medical doctors that support the notion that cow’s milk is not a good food for humans.
For example, in his 1992 book Don’t Drink Your Milk: New Frightening Medical Facts About the World’s Most Overrated Nutrient, former Director of the Department of Pediatrics at John Hopkins University School of Medicine Frank Oski, MD detailed the research that demonstrated the ill effects of cow’s milk consumption.1
What’s more, nutrition expert and coauthor of the bestselling book The China Study Thomas Campbell, MD has done a lot of research on this topic and has compiled the following “12 Frightening Facts About Milk”2 (specifically, cow’s milk):
That’s right—a large number of people throughout the world can’t digest milk and dairy products, yet they continue to try to consume them.
And that’s due in no smart part to what happens at the earliest time in our lives.
A dairy diet is udder nonsense
For many, the introduction of cow’s milk begins at birth via infant formulas. From the start, this often creates health problems such as colic, recurring ear infections, constipation or diarrhea, and eczema. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and, if possible, for at least 12 months.
Here’s a breakdown of the differences between the milk of a cow and human breastmilk:3
Research has demonstrated that breastfeeding protects babies against infections as well as reduces the risk of certain diseases such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, and allergies.
Cow milk does quite the opposite!
And when you consider the fact that breastfeeding also protects the mother from breast and ovarian cancer, it certainly does appear that we humans were designed to drink only human milk—not animal milk.
Choose a milk that actually does some good
Fortunately, there are many alternatives to cow’s milk that are derived from plants. You can certainly find one or more that appeal to you and can replace cow’s milk, be it almond, cashew, coconut, hemp, oat, soy, rice, hazelnut, or any of the others out there…
To make sure I was giving you all the available information on this subject of plant based milks, I recently chatted with an expert: Dina Cheney, a graduate of Columbia University and The Institute of Culinary Education who has a great book on the subject, called The New Milks (Atria/Simon & Schuster).
Dina points out that alternative milks have many features that make them unique and set them apart from dairy. Not only are they delicious, varied, and customizable, but they’re also lower in sugar than dairy milk (except some rice milks).
As well, these dairy- and lactose-free milks are, by nature, vegan, kosher, Paleo-compatible, and free of cholesterol and hormones.
What I like about her book is that it not only describes the health benefits of these non-dairy milks, but it also provides more than 100 dairy-free recipes for cooking with these milk alternatives. For example, they can be used as creams for the base of ingredients in dips, curries, puddings, milk shakes, and ice creams.
As she explains, you can also add these milks to cereals, or just drink them straight—warm or chilled. As well, they are an alternative to add to coffee or tea. Good options for this purpose include full fat coconut, cashew and soy milks, as they froth particularly well.
Even better, she gives step-by-step directions on how to make many of these plant milks at home. Here’s Dina’s recipe for almond milk:
For more information on milk alternatives, see Dina’s website at www.thenewmilks.com.
Two sample recipes from The New Milks4
Makes 4 cups (4 servings)
Feel free to vary this delicious and creamy vegan oatmeal with different types of plant-based milks, especially pistachio or walnut. And try topping with various fruits, nuts, and seeds.
2 cups rolled or old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain unsweetened pistachio milk
3 Tablespoons agave nectar
1 tsp pistachio or almond extract
For serving: Pomegranate seeds and pistachio nuts
Spiced Chocolate Milk Recipe
Makes about 1 cup (1 serving)
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoon plain unsweetened non-dairy milk, such as almond, cashew, or hemp
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, broken up
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon agave nectar
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods
Printed with permission from Dr. Mark Stengler’s Health Revelations www.healthrevelations.com)