Yes, there is life after cheese!
That’s the answer to the question I get all the time “how would I live without my cheese?”
So let me get right to the point. If you are new to this blog, or haven’t heard many of my nutritional theories, or if you’ve been living on Mars, then this might come as a shock, so brace yourself:
Cheese and ALL dairy products are NOT good for you. They should NOT be part of your diet. In fact, avoiding dairy products will probably be the single most important decision you make to improve your health.
People get shocked when they hear me say that. What kind of nutritionist says this stuff? We’ve always known dairy products to be good for health! My mother forced me to drink milk growing up! My doctor told me to have dairy for my bones! I make sure my kids have cheese and yoghurt every day!
Let me tell you, these are all valid points, but the truth is that thay are not entirely accurate. Dairy products are not as angelic as ‘health experts’ make them seem…
I’ll tell you why, BUT I will ask you for a favour. Please do not make any counter arguments until you’ve avoided all dairy products for at least 2 weeks and seen what effect that has on your health. Once you’ve done that, we’ll talk
The reason I say that is because I know what it’s like to be very attached to dairy products. In fact, I was the biggest cheese addict in the world. I would get uncomfortable just thinking about living without it. And then as I gradually cut it out, my life changed completely!
But why? The 7 Deadly secrets..
Since I can’t spend all day blogging about dairy (as much as I would love to), I will give you an outline of the many reasons why you should stop. I highly recommend you look into each topic yourself and research it further until it makes sense to you. Here are some of the biggies:
1) Hormone overload – Cheese and dairy products are LOADED with hormones. Hormones that come naturally from the cow (to grow its calf), and hormones injected by the farmers to make the cows produce more milk. If you consume dairy products, these hormones go directly to you and they mess up your own hormone balance. When your hormones are messed up, you are more likely to gain weight, get acne, have fertility issues, less muscle tone and flabby fat, facial hair (in women), PCOS and endometriosis (in women), early puberty (in kids), and even some types of cancer (namely uterine, breast, and prostate cancers). If you don’t want hormonal problems, why are you consuming all these extra hormones?
2) Mucus bonanza – it is said that opera singers never have milk or dairy products before a perfomance. You know why? It gives them mucus and creates a very ugly ‘voice bubble’! The same with the rest of us. We are consuming milk and cheese on a daily basis and then wonder why everyone is so congested and sniffly. Kids are getting one ear infection after another; sinus blocks are all over the place… and snoring! If you want to get rid of all that mucus stuffed up in your sinus and voice box, just stop consuming dairy products for a couple of weeks. You won’t believe me until you’ve tried it. And for kids, please spare them the extra phlegm. What they really need is calcium, not mucus, and I’ll tell you how to give them better sources of calcium below.
3) Allergy shmallergy – if you think you have a dairy allergy, you’re not alone. So many people do. Why? Maybe it’s your body’s way of telling you it doesn’t want that stuff!! But you keep loading it on! Some people don’t have a full-blown allergy to dairy but more of a sensitivity which gives them very subtle symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, lethargy, skin rashes, dark circles under the eyes, and much more… these people will usually blame their symptoms on everything else except the dairy cuz ‘it can’t be the cheese!’. But guess what, it can! And it probably is. A huge number of people are reacting to dairy products without even knowing it. And worse yet, we have national campaigns that make people think they need it. These campaigns are for marketing purposes, not health. Don’t just take my word for it, look it up yourself – or better yet, try it yourself – you’ll be amazed.
4) Addiction more powerful than heroin – you know why cheese and dairy is addictive? Because it is made for the baby calf that has to be attached to its mother so that it doesn’t go astray. It keeps following its mother to get more of that addictive substance called milk. And, in a way, we do the same. I’ve been there myself. The protein in dairy – casein – is not very well digested so it enters the bloodstream in the form of a drug, making you come back for more. If you think you’re not addicted to cheese, yoghurt, milk, cream, etc. just try taking it completely out of your diet for 2 weeks, you’ll know by the cravings! Once you admit you’re an addict, you can then admit that it’s also causing many of your health problems, and you can then be on your way to recovery. See the quick recovery tips below.
5) Bloating – if you’ve ever been bloated, you’ll know it feels horrible (and it makes you look fat!). My bloating stopped almost the same instant I stopped dairy products. And yours will too. The mucus caused by the dairy products coats that intestinal tract, making it difficult for nutrients to get through, the lactose (milk sugar) creates extra wind when its digested by your gut bacteria, and all that undigested protein casein makes a mess of the whole process! And you’re left with either bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, rectal itching, or a bit of each! Is your cheese really worth all that? If you answered yes, see point 4.
6) Toxins and puss – in that milk and cheese that you’re having is loads of toxins, depending on what the cow has been eating. And guess what, cows today are eating sprayed grass, other animal parts, insects, and probably loads of other interesting stuff. Moreover, they are given MANY antibiotics to treat – or prevent – mastitis (infection of the udders – which is very common by the way). And, most interesting, all those udder infections create puss and blood that goes directly into the milk. How do they get rid of it? They don’t. They don’t take the puss and blood out, they just heat (pasteurise) it so you don’t get ‘affected’ by it. Did you know that the amount of FDA-approved puss in milk is 40%! Would you drink something that is 40% puss?? Uggghh.
7) BS nutrients – you know that whole argument about milk being great for you because it contain nutrients, enzymes, etc.? That is total BS because if you put anything under the extreme pasteurisation and homogenisation process that dairy products go through, it won’t survive. What you’re drinking is milk that probably had some of these elements at some point, but these were long pasteurised to death by the time you put in your fridge!
I can keep going but I’ll stop here to address some other issues….
What about the calcium?
We eat dairy products for calcium right? Well, what if I told you that I have a much better source of calcium..
Dairy products, although rich in calcium, have small amounts of magnesium. The two must be together in the correct ratios for calcium to be absorbed into the bones. They come together wonderfully in some of nature’s simplest foods. Some great sources of calcium/magnesium include dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, and chickpeas!
How do I switch?
In order to wean yourself off dairy products, you have to remember that:
- It takes time. It took me about 2 years of gradually being aware of the amount of dairy in my diet and slowly cutting down as I find replacements
- It’s important to educate yourself. If you’re not protected with all the information you need, then one dairy campaign will switch you right back. You have to be convinced. I’m not trying to convince you, I’m trying to make you see the logic so that you can make your own decisions. Two easy places to start are the notmilk website and a funny book called Skinny Bitch
which can put anyone off dairy products (just read the dairy chapter).
- Dairy campaigns are heavily funded. Every ad campaign has $$$ behind it, usually not your health in mind. Dairy manufacturers also tend to sponsor research that proves whatever they want you to believe. Have you ever wondered why animals don’t drink milk past the weaning age? Cuz we don’t need it!!
Quick recovery tips
If you’ve survived this far into this blog post, then you’re almost there and I guarantee you that you’ll feel much better without dairy products… Here’s where you can start:
- Start by noting down all the different dairy products that you have in your day. Cheese, milk, cream, butter, labna, laban, yoghurt, etc.
- Start finding replacements for these before you throw them out of your fridge. For example, replace milk with home-made almond milk and replace cheese with hummus or ‘pinky sauce‘.
- If you’re in a restaurant or ordering from a cafe, go for dairy-free options. This can be slightly challenging at first because you’d be so used to ordering your ‘favourite’ sandwich or something. But you’ll soon figure out how to order dairy-free and still be happy
- Don’t tell anyone about what you’re doing… people have this unbelievable tendency to want to jeopardise others’ efforts. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone, just try it on yourself for a while – in silence.
- Note down the changes that you notice in your health. And let me know about them in the comment section on this blog!
two interviews you must listen to
My Interviews with the ‘NOT MILKMAN’ himself – Robert Cohen
If you are already dairy-free or you have recently made the switch, then we would love to hear about your story and what you do for alternatives
If you are a cheese or dairy-addict, I’d love to hear from you too!! Tell me what goes on in your head when you think about cheese
If you are just confused and don’t know what to believe anymore, then drop me a line too!
Click on the ‘leave a comment’ button on the bottom of this post
Here are some other places you could go to for more information:
Recent Arabic articles in AlWaqt newspaper
My YouTube videos explaining all this stuff
My recent book I WANT HEALTHY KIDS which has a whole dedicated chapter on this topic to teach you how to do it for yourself and your whole family
And stay tuned to this blog for more recipes and ideas. For now, you can see use these recipes