Monday, 7 January 2013

Tip 3 from Igor and the dairy dilemma - Day 6



Igor's Tip of the Day:

Tip 3: Tell everyone you know about what you're doing. It's one thing to share it online with anonymous strangers, but it's another thing to tell people that you see every day. To learn some other strategies to help you succeed, check out this article:

To help you share with others what you are doing, you can share this page on facebook, or tweet about it by using the buttons at the bottom of the post. How about pinning it to your pinterest board? Whatever it is you are going to do to share your journey, do it now! And if you can't do it now, do it today and let me know you did it.

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For a list of our current participants and their replacement foods CLICK HERE.

What is a dilema? Dictionary definition as follows:


  1. A situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, esp. equally undesirable ones.
  2. A difficult situation or problem.

quandary - fix

I am in a quandary. Love that word. Here's why: 
One of my favorite meals is Steak topped with goat's milk cheese. One of our participants said that she had goat's milk feta cheese and so she had not had a dairy free day. My first reaction was to say that goat's milk is not dairy. My understanding was that the term "dairy" referred to bovine (cow) products. This got me thinking... a dangerous thing I know. So, I did some research, and this is what I came up with. Hold on to your hat, here we go:

Is Goat's milk and cheese dairy?
Up until today my answer would have been,"no," and my reasoning would have been that I consider anything BOVINE to be dairy and not goat and sheep. Upon delving into the subject in a little more detail however, I now consider goat and sheep's milk a good way to transition to NO DAIRY (unless of course you have an allergy or intolerance). 

First of all you have to look at the reasons why you are going dairy free. If you are going dairy free because you want to follow a vegan lifestyle, then goat and sheep milk is still a no-no for you. If you are doing it to avoid gut irritation, it may be better for you, but this is not true in all cases. 

At first, I thought that Goat's milk had no casien and lactose in it, but I have subsequently found out that this is not true. I recently had a conversation with a medical doctor about this very issue. He said that sometimes people who are allergic to cows milk can tolerate goat's milk, but it is not lactose and casien free. It does however have a lower amount of it and therefore can sometimes be tolerated, but in general if you have an allergy to cow's milk chances are you will have a reaction to goat's milk or sheep milk too. I strongly recommend that you get tested before making the switch and consult your doctor and allergist BEFORE you do so.   

How does this affect the 30 Day Challenge?

First off, examine why you are cutting out dairy.  

If you want to avoid the hormones and antibiotics found in milk, then that is one thing, (see this article when making your decision if your reason however, is to eat a plant based diet, then I suggest that you go for the plant based alternatives such as coconut milk, almond milk and organic soy milk. 

If you are following the Paleo Diet way of eating, you would not include soy. I very strongly suggest you have only ORGANIC soy because of the GMO risks associated with it.

So, back to the goat's milk, is it considered dairy? If you are putting it together with a group of beverages that come from an animal, then yes it is, if you are asking if it is bovine, no it's not. 

Should you replace your dairy products with goat's milk and goat's cheese? I would say that depends on what you are trying to achieve. Here is an article that might clarify things for you. 
It is called:

Does Goat Milk and Cheese Qualify as Dairy? What about Sheep Milk Products? and was posted by Posted on by in Ask Alisa, Nutrition Headlines

Although I have not read it yet, Alisa Fleming elaborates on this very subject in her book.   Alisa is the founder of, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

Here you will find a comprehensive list of dairy alternatives. Milk Alternatives and Dairy Free Beverages.   If you are on the challenge and you have chosen to go dairy free, you should really look at this page and see exactly what your options are.  

A word of caution: 
  • If you are also trying to stay grain, white carbohydrates or sugar free, then rice milk is not a choice you should include in your diet. For those cutting out sugar, all alternatives should be unsweetened.
  • If you are cutting out grains and wheat due to a sugar and carbohydrate intolerance, then choose almond and coconut milk instead. 
  • If you are trying to lose weight and have cut out dairy because you believe dairy to be high in fat, that is a whole other subject. Then we have to discuss the low fat dairy options (such as cheese and yoghurt) with their fillers, artificial sweeteners, additives and debate whether it would be better off just to have the higher fat options without all the chemical additives. Again, it all boils down to what you want to achieve. 
  • If you are concerned about fat content, then you have to put both products side by side and examine their nutritional information, weigh up the pro's and con's for each and decide. Look at the good and bad fats in both and decide which is better for you. Look at what nutrients are provided in each product and go from there.

This whole dilemma illustrates three things:
  1. Every BODY is different and each person metabolizes and digests food differently.
  2. Every BODY should make choices based on what is right for THEM and on what their bio-feedback is saying to them. 
  3. Every BODY should do what they believe to be right given the evidence before them, based on the advice of nutritionists and health care providers. 
Believe me, opinions vary and you have to feel free to go with what you know and believe to be true at that time. If you have to change your opinion along the way, no biggie. Live and Learn.
Obviously if you have a severe allergic reaction to dairy, your body is telling you something loud and clear and you will know it.
Bear in mind, your body is as individual as you are, after all your DNA testifies to that, so you have to tailor your diet to what suits you best based on feelings of health and vitality. If you are eating something and it is making you lethargic or moody or feel ill in any way, then your body is trying to tell you something. Listen to it. Unfortunately often times the very things we crave are the things that are not good for us, unless of course you are craving carrots. It is also in eliminating these things for a short period of time that we can gauge the effects, if any, of any given food on our bodies.

Have you ever heard of a META decision? It is a decision that you make that eliminates many little decisions along the way. For example, instead of deciding that I will not eat chocolate, or candy, or potato chips or fries...each of them a separate decision, you decide that you will not eat junk food but choose healthier foods to fuel your body. This puts less stress on you, because all of those little decisions have already been decided under the big META decision to stay away from junk food. Your rationale is, "Is it junk food?" and if the answer is, "yes" then you simply walk away. There is no debate, not stress, no fuss.

Today you are going to make a META decision of your own. DAIRY or NO DAIRY? Okay so you don't have to make an "always and forever" decision, but at least think about it. There is some debate in the holistic nutrition world as to whether we were designed to have anything other than mother's milk. On one end of the spectrum it is acceptable to have any milk from any animal, and on the other, the argument is to avoid other animal's milk altogether. The point is that milk from an animal was created to feed the young and it has been suggested that as we get older we become less tolerant of lactose.

Skim milk generally has higher amounts of sodium in it than the higher fat milks, so be aware of that if you are on a low sodium diet, but I suggest you check your labels.

 You have to make a decision for yourself. I guess I am going to have to sit down and think about whether I am going to continue to stay bovine free or move to dairy free as defined above.  

The other thing to consider is this, if we choose to avoid milk because of the hormones and antibiotics etc, then should you and I also avoid the meat? According to EAT RIGHT ONTARIO these hormones do not cause harm to us, but are said to be beneficial. Read more about it here: Hormones and antibiotics in food productionwherein they mention that in Canada, "growth hormones are only given to beef cattle (and not dairy cattle). There are no growth hormones used in poultry or pork production." and the good news is that they also say, "... if a cow is treated with antibiotics because of an infection, the milk they produce while being treated is not sold. When hens are given antibiotics, the eggs they lay are thrown away." In this article they say that Although growth hormones and antibiotics are considered safe for food production in Canada, they offer a few tips to reduce your exposure to these additives. The less chemical additives and preservatives we ingest, the better. 

The other concern is budget. Simply put, lactose-free or organic products are far more expensive than the regular milk you find in your grocery refrigerator section. Goat's milk is not cheap either. So can my budget withstand the stresses placed upon it if I choose to buy only organic milk for my family? 
Does this mean I have failed in my challenge because I had goat's cheese? 

No, it just means that we are on a journey of learning and discovery. On we go and the wonderful thing is that we can make adjustments along the way. 

Your lineage or origin may have something to do with how you tolerate milk and dairy. For instance if you are from Europe, you will have grown up on milk, cheese and yoghurt and your body may thrive when you have them and your ancestors ate these things for generations before you. Chances are, if you are Dutch, you can tolerate dairy well, but as I said before, every BODY is different. 

What are your alternatives?
If you are substituting a good, organic cheese for a soy substitute that has been modified and which does not resemble the "real thing" then you may want to consider your options. Are you really choosing a healthier option?  Especially if it tastes horrible!

Finally, if you are not getting your calcium from milk and dairy products, where are you getting your calcium from? Make sure you are getting it elsewhere in your diet together with vitamin D which will help with its absorption. Kale is a wonderful source of calcium. If you don't like to eat Kale you can try this: Dark Chocolate Smoothie, and you can increase the amount of Kale you add if you like.

Just remember, it is always advised to speak with a doctor before any change in diet. If you have any health concerns, consult a physician. None of the information provided within this website should supersede the advice of your physician.

Let me know your thoughts on the subject, I would love to hear from you.

P.S Don't forget to tell someone about your challenge! 
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Melony Teague a freelance writer and columnist who lives in Canada with her husband and two young children.
Founder of "Secrets of Body Transformation from the Inside Out" 
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