Milk is controversial. On the one hand, we’re bombarded with advertisements that say milk is good for us. That we need it. Make sure to drink enough, for your calcium requirements.
Holistic healers, on the other hand, aren’t sold on milk. In fact, many alternative practitioners tell us to avoid cow’s milk.
So what’s true.
Is milk good for you? Or will it make you sick? Has anyone ever studied this? Yes. (I’ll explain more later.)
I’ll also share my personal experience of giving up milk. This wasn’t something I wanted to do. In fact, I tried to avoid going milk free for years. But, eventually, my health problems led me to give up dairy.
Now I have no regrets. I’m living perfectly well without milk. I feel a lot better. Here’s what happened to me when I gave up dairy.
What Happens if You Stop Drinking Milk?
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More than a decade ago, I had excruciating nerve pain. I tried a ton of natural remedies. Most of them helped. But I still had pain.
Even well-selected homeopathic remedies didn’t make it go away. Pain was my constant companion. But it was a terrible friend.
My health problems got worse. Homeopathy alone did not touch the pain. Nor did fish oil. One herbal anti-inflammatory supplement helped a little.
I had already given up gluten. I noticed wheat products, and sugar, made my pain worse. But I continued to drink milk, eat cheese and indulge in ice cream.
Health Benefits of a Dairy Free Diet
I stuck with milk, even through the pain. I knew a lot about alternative medicine. I was well aware that holistic health experts aren’t crazy about cow’s milk.
When my children were little, they were dairy free. They had chronic health problems that improved so much when I took their milk away. So I’d already seen, with my own eyes, what happens when you give up milk.
However, this was something I still didn’t want to do. I didn’t feel like giving up my favorite foods. I was hoping to find another way. Instead, I wanted a magic bullet to take my pain away.
So I continued using homeopathy. But I was using it wrong. I used it like a bandaid. Meanwhile, I continued to drink milk.
Giving Up Dairy Before and After
So, yes, I spent years in excruciating pain. I believe milk may have been making me worse. But I couldn’t stop drinking it.
Some foods are additive. It’s been said (in holistic circles) that you sometimes crave what you’re allergic too. I believe this is true.
I didn’t have a life-threatening allergy to milk. I didn’t go into anaphylactic shock after drinking it. Milk didn’t cause any obvious digestive distress. I wasn’t dealing with lactose intolerance.
Are Dairy Foods Bad for You?
Instead, I believe, I had a sensitivity. Milk bothered me. Rather than going through blood work to try to detect such a condition, I decided to just give it up.
Slowly, but surely, my pain started to improve. I had fewer bad days of really intense pain. I had more good days of barely noticeable pain. Now I could go for long walks, anywhere I wanted. Before, my muscles would spasm if I walked too far. (Sometimes, this would happen if I just walked across a room.)
I can’t claim this is all due to going dairy free. I used many natural remedies. I tried lot of different healing methods. You can read more about my story in an online program called Natural Pain Management Strategies.
This is video and text course, which explains exactly what I did. I can’t claim that what I did will work for anyone else. But it should give you some ideas, which you can discuss with your own doctor. Click on the image below for more information.
What To Expect When Quitting Dairy
I’ve heard of people having withdrawal symptoms when they give up dairy. I didn’t notice these myself. I did notice this with one of my children. This child became cranky for a few days.
It’s been said that dairy can even act as a drug upon the brain. So giving it up isn’t easy.
For me, my health improved so much. Now I don’t miss milk at all. I never drink it. I’ve lost my craving for cheese. I’m fine with the fact I’ll probably never eat dairy products again. That’s okay.
I’m now living a relatively pain free existence. I have my life back. I no longer feel fragile, and unhealthy.
If you do decide to give up dairy, it’s important to discuss this with your doctor. I’m not a doctor. So I can’t give medical advice. Nor can I advise you on how much calcium you need, and the best way to get it. All I can do is share my personal experience, which has been highly positive.
So please work with your doctor. Especially if you have a physical or emotional condition. Some researchers believe a protein in milk called casein is difficult for some people to digest. So it remains undigested, and can act upon the brain much like morphine. I need to stress that this is just a theory. But it’s one I believe.
That’s because I saw what happened when I took milk awayt from my preschoolers. The resulting meltdowns were not fun. (However, they later enjoyed much better health.)
Is Milk Good for You – Yes or No?
Mainstream medical doctors typically encourage dairy consumption, unless there’s an obvious problem, such as a milk allergy.
Holistic healers often tell you the exact opposite – go dairy free.
With such radically different advice, how do we know which camp is right?
Unfortunately, there’s been very little research done on milk, and how it affects our health.
But at least one study shows a link between dairy, acne and certain types of cancer. It’s also believed (by alternative health experts, that milk increases inflammation. This is one thing I had too much of. Reducing my chronic inflammation is what I needed to do.
Does Milk Cause Inflammation in the Joints?
Excess inflammation causes pain. So reducing it, logically, should relieve the pain. At least that’s what seemed to happen to me.
It would be impossible to know just how much a dairy-free diet helped. I have no way to scientifically calculate the amount of pain reduction, or if dairy was the primary reason. All I know is that I noticed less pain when I stopped drinking milk.
My pain originates in my nerves, rather than my joints. But inflammation is inflammation. But here’s the dilemma. Does cow’s milk cause inflammation? Can giving up milk help joint pain? Can a dairy-free diet help nerve pain?
Dairy Inflammation Study
The studies I found were conflicting. They did not conclusively demonstrate milk caused inflammation. However, I’m not one to live and die by studies. I know studies are limited by design. I also like to know the source of funding behind a study.
One paper published in the Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition looked at a number of studies on milk and its potential for inflammation. The authors concluded that milk actually seems to reduce inflammation in some people, while increasing it in others, those with allergies to milk.
This study indicates milk may, in fact, be good for you.
Pros and Cons of Milk
However, for myself, I mainly use alternative medicine.
As I mentioned earlier, many holistic health experts put their patients on dairy-free diets. Or at least they try to. In the United States, drinking milk is ingrained in our culture.
So people don’t want to stop. (I totally get this, because it took me years to take that step.)
It won’t be difficult to find an holistic healer who’s not crazy about cow’s milk. (Do a quick Google search on your favorite online natural expert and see what he or she thinks about milk.)
One good source of very balanced natural health information is Dr. Andrew Weil, MD. He has published an article that includes information that potentially links cow’s milk to certain types of cancers.
So, there, you have it.
Different takes on whether milk is good for you. Or possibly not.
Milk for Adults Good or Bad?
Here’s yet another take on milk. The news is not all good, even if mainstream medical circles. One study that appeared in the journal of DermatoEndocrinology found that milk consumption increased the risk of breast and prostate cancer, as well as acne.
Another study done by Kaiser Permanente looked at milk consumption among women with breast cancer. Those who consumed high-fat dairy products were more likely to die from the disease.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Drinking Milk
Given that I’m not a medical doctor, or a licensed nutritionist, I can’t give medical advice. Nor can I advise you to stop drinking milk.
All I can do is share my personal story, and pass along already published information.
For me, giving up milk seemed to be the right thing to do. I have no plans to resume drinking it. Actually, I’m pretty careful about keeping it out of my diet.
I honestly believe going dairy free helped reduce my chronic pain.
How To Cook Without Milk
For me, I feel better on a dairy free diet. I’ve found alternatives. I don’t miss milk anymore. If you’re used to cooking with milk, there are substitutes. Cooking without milk takes a little getting to. If you feel as if you need help going dairy free, I highly recommend signing up for Real Plans, just for a month or two.
Real Plans is a healthy meal planning service that will literally hold your hand during the transition. Your subscription will include weekly shopping lists, along with recipes. This is designed to be time saving, as well as money saving. You also have access to telephone and chat support. Click on the image below for more information.
What Happens to Your Body if You Stop Drinking Milk
I’ve been dairy free for a number of years. I don’t stress about calcium. I eat a balanced diet, filled with real food. I feel much better than I did when I drank milk.
Many foods contain calcium. Green leafy vegetables contain a lot of calcium. Nuts, beans, broccoli and sardines are also good sources of this mineral. There’s also controversy over whether cow’s milk is the best source of calcium anyway. One thing that helped my decision was the realization that many traditional cultures don’t consider cow’s milk a necessary part of the diet.
For me, giving up milk seems to mean less physical pain. I can’t promise the same will happen for anyone else. But I can share my personal experience.
Whether a dairy-free diet is right for you is something you’ll need to discuss with your own healthcare providers. Ironically, the answer you receive will depend largely upon the practitioner.
In general, regular doctors are highly enthusiastic about milk. Alternative medicine practitioners may tell you to stop drinking it.
Also, some healthcare experts believe wheat is another food to consider giving up. In fact, one doctor named William Davis, MD, is convinced that modern strains of wheat are bad for everyone.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.