Dairy Isn’t The Only Answer

By Paleo
In Paleo Food
Oct 22nd, 2010

Pasteurised milk is something we need to look out for, the same goes for any pasteurised dairy products. Chances are that if you’re buying milk from a supermarket in a carton, it’s been pasteurised, some milk companies will even say that the milk has been pasteurised and homogenized on the carton, like it’s a good thing(?)

Pasteurised milk destroys and denatures the milks structure, it’s denatures the proteins and destroys active enzymes, kills beneficial bacteria and dramatically reduces the vitamin content. The milk now is far from its original form, it has been processed to the stage where its structure looks nothing like what it would if it came straight from the cow. Most yogurts will go through this same manufacturing process and to make it worse will have substantial amounts of sugar added into it as well. The high amounts of sugar added to yogurt will generally out weigh any beneficial bacteria (like lactobacillus acidophilus) and any good qualities that it may still contain.

If you are drinking fresh milk from a grass-fed cow, without it going through processing factors, milk could be a beneficial addition to your diet as it will still be nutrient rich. But if you’re not, then you need to eliminate or reduce your milk consumption in order to improve your health.

Too many people tout milk as a healthy food, and it’s easy to see why with all the marketing going on saying how milk is such a fantastic calcium source. In fact the marketing for milk and dairy products is so high that many people don’t even know what other food sources contain calcium. Here is a small list;

  • Sesame seeds, Flax seeds
  • Almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans and most other nuts
  • Green leafy vegetables i.e. spinach and broccoli
  • Salmon, sardines

The food sources mentioned above are a far superior source of calcium for our bodies than milk and other dairy products. Yes, dairy contains a high amount of calcium, but that doesn’t mean it’s bio-available in the body, in-fact research shows calcium from plant sources are absorbed much better than that of calcium in milk. The reason why is that calcium is a mineral that needs an alkaline environment in the body to be absorbed effectively, un-fortunately dairy as a food is acidic. The result is our bodies search for ways to balance up the acidity of the dairy with something alkaline, and if you haven’t eaten anything with an alkaline Ph level at the same time (fruits and vegetables) your body will go to the best source, which is the calcium in your bones. This same problem occurs with any other foods we consume that are of a high acidic level, the body will find balance by leaching calcium from our bones in order for it to correctly digest the meal you have consumed. Osteoporosis, anyone?

This is extremely important to know, as the best way you can assure that your body is going to keep as alkaline as possible is to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, pretty much the only real source of alkalinity for the body. Also keep in mind that other factors contribute to an acidic environment in our bodies, stress and breathing in chemical fumes are only a couple of things the majority of us are faced with on a daily basis.

There are lot of people who are finding out they are lactose intolerant, and this is actually a normal intolerance for all humans (with exception to some groups of Central European people), it just depends on whether your body shows signs such as feeling lethargic, coughing, acne, or getting a skin rash. This is similar to gluten allergies, research shows that amongst all species of animal life, everyone has a gluten intolerance, whether you notice that now and decide to discontinue eating those food sources, or do that in 20years when you get diagnosed with something serious (caused by a gluten allergy), it doesn’t change the fact that your body has an intolerance.

People don’t need huge amounts of calcium everyday, even if you consume relatively small amounts of green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and fish, you will be consuming enough calcium for the body to run effectively.

There is also evidence showing that certain cells in our body play the roll of bringing calcium into our bones, and other cells which play the roll of taking calcium out of our bones. There is a limit for how many cells responsible for bringing calcium into our bones stay around for. If during our lives we begin to consume too much calcium, these cells will be used up a lot faster due to the fact more are needed to transport the calcium into our bones. If say after 10years you have no more calcium transporting cells, your body is no longer going to be able to replenish our bones with calcium to stay strong. This may help explain why Eskimos who consume a high amount of calcium, up to 2000mg a day through sea animals, have a high rate of osteoporosis.

For a more detailed explanation of this, I recommend reading the well researched article ‘Excessive Calcium Causes Osteoporosis’.

What to use instead of milk in cooking:

  • Coconut Milk
  • Nut milk (almond milk)
  • No milk!

Note: Soy milk is not good! It is also heavily processed, denatured and full of sugars.

15 Responses to “Dairy Isn’t The Only Answer”

  1. Ravi says:

    you are so right – there is nothing “milk” about soy!

    However, the paleo cry “do not eat dairy” is highly suspect – while paleo’s generally have a pretty good f-off attitude towards conventional wisdom, they accept conventional anthropological assumptions that our paleo pals were not smart enough or capable enough to husband animals that provided milk/dairy nutritional adjunct… bbbbzzzzzt! – wrong!- a close examination of the evidence leads to the conclusion that we very well could have and did keep at least goats – if not other mammals long into our paleo past enjoying the delectable white gold…

    Check out the argument here: http://daiasolgaia.com/?p=1302
    Ravi @ DaiaSolgaia.com

    • Veri says:

      It doesn’t really matter if people did or did not drink milk from other animals. The scientific studies quoted should be an indication that it probably isn’t a good idea to consume such products.

      You know, aside from the fact that most other animals in the world don’t consume milk past their baby years (let alone milk from other animals..heh heh).

      Having said that if a person still wants to consume it that is up to them. Eating the Paleo way is about eating nutrient dense, whole foods, which helps us function instead of hindering. There is no sure-fire way to know what our ancestors ate (unless you know The Doctor, in which case, give him my address, k?).

      • Steve says:

        Very well put (just resisted a name based pun, you’re welcome). The simple fact of the matter is that milk consumption between species and into adulthood is not what any animal is designed for. It’s an oddity that it’s become the norm. No matter how old the practice of inter-species milk consumption is, it’s not natural and it’s not optimal. (if he ever parks the TARDIS in my yard I’ll give him the message)

        And Ravi, I hardly think a link to an article you wrote yourself is viable evidence of the legitimacy of your claim. An argument made all the less compelling by your article being based almost entirely on conjecture. The fact that you refereed to current scientific theories as “unproven” shows how little you understand science at all. One does not “prove” a theory, one sets out to systematically DISPROVE it and those theories that stand up over time gain legitimacy. And even then, they aren’t technically “proven”. What you have done is drawn a conclusion and then sought out information to support a preconceived notion, which is NOT scientifically sound. I think I’ll leave my faith in the collective knowledge of the scientific community instead of idle speculation.

      • ravi says:

        Steve – i do not ascribe to system-dictated scientific process as you seem to be stuck in – as logical is it often seems to be, science has magnificent blinders on – self-limiting processes that cannot accommodate anything not within a prescribed set of parameters.

        – classic scientific theory puts forth an idea that is then up for disproving – and my article was for the very purpose of speculating why classic domestication theory is wrong across the board – dairy, for those who tolerate it as adults, has been shown in some very recent studies to be actually protective for many “diseases of civilization” –

        i don’t care if one consumes dairy or not – but the argument i put forth is that for many populations, dairy may very well be quite “paleo” – that is, consumed with a positive result for many tens of thousands of years. the ugly study results, i postulate, come from the consumption fo pasteurized, homogenized dead white glop – not alive, fresh raw full fat milk products.

      • amcken3 says:

        Actually a wave of people are coming forward claiming they are healing their gut, repopulating it with good bacteria by consuming raw dairy and healing themselves of dreaded diseases such as Lupus, look up Annesse Brockley and Jordan Rubin’s stories, you may be more open to the paradigm that dairy (when procured from truly pasture raised, organic cows or goats) in its raw natural form is actually curative. Don’t believe everything you are told in popular films, really do the research.

  2. Paleo says:

    This article is in regards to cow milk and the processing involved. Drinking raw grass fed milk will have some health benefits, however paleo man would have never consumed dairy in large quantities if it was available to them, especially not in the processed state as mentioned above.

  3. Informative and nice post, I agree. Eating alkaline foods too will help prevent the body from disease and illness. It will boost one’s health, helps recovery, and will slow the aging process. Prevention is better than cure.

  4. Erik Heisig says:

    I’m a little late reading this post. I liked the article and think there are some good practical points here. I’ve been practicing paleo for several years now albeit with raw dairy in the mix. I agree with Ravi that the conventional assumption that paleo man would not consume dairy is fatally flawed. Most mammals given the opportunity to drink the milk of another mammal will do so because it is instinctively recognized as a source of excellent nutrition – I would say perfect nutrition. I don’t believe paleo man was so obtuse to miss this fact. The same opposable thumbs and brain that enabled him to craft and grip a spear enabled him to grip and milk a teat. There is no reason that raw milk hand expressed from a healthy, grass fed cow or goat should not be consumed. Pasteurized, homogenized, cow’s milk packed in cheap plastic containers is more like an inert white liquid laced with endocrine disrupting chemicals than it is actual milk. I agree with the author that the best thing to use if that’s your only option is nothing.

  5. Paleo says:

    I have seen some people who react to supermarket dairy (most likely from unhealthy cows fed on grain, while being pasteurized and homogenized) while also having similar reactions to raw dairy. I’ve seen the opposite where someone will react to supermarket dairy in the form that it is purchased at and be completely fine with consuming raw dairy and/or dairy from grass fed cows that is fresh. Although dairy in its raw form may hold nutritional value, there is more to it that needs to be considered as it is not the case for every person that raw dairy will be a healthy food to consume.

    • ravi says:

      google A1 A2 milk and you will see why simply going to raw milk is not the only problem – the A1A2 milk issues explains why some people improve on raw and some react the same as conventional pasteurized –

      A2 raw is the best bet to tolerate and improve if you do, in fact, consume dairy.

  6. […] out THIS link from Nicki Violetti at Living Paleo for a great summary on how most milk is processed and  […]

  7. bearded says:

    “The reason why is that calcium is a mineral that needs an alkaline environment in the body to be absorbed effectively, un-fortunately dairy as a food is acidic. The result is our bodies search for ways to balance up the acidity of the dairy with something alkaline, and if you haven’t eaten anything with an alkaline Ph level at the same time (fruits and vegetables) your body will go to the best source, which is the calcium in your bones.”

    I’ve been experimenting with tomatoes recently. I also dug out my chemistry book. Lower pH means more acidic.

    pH of skim milk is 6.4-6.8 pH of water is a neutral 7. pH of a tomato is around 4.8. Citrus fruits are obviously acidic. Bananas are something like 4.5-5.2. Asparagus is high fives to low six’s…

    I’m confused on a couple things…is milk REALLY that acidic? Seems like “neutralizing” the acid in milk (nearly isoelectric) with fruits and veggies that are more acidic wouldn’t help make a more alkaline/basic environment for calcium absorption.

    I think Paleo’s great and I want to understand this. Where am I going wrong?

    • gbel says:

      It’s been a while since your comment was posted, but I hope this helps anyway.

      As I understand it, it’s not the actual pH of the food that’s the issue, but how that food behaves once you’ve eaten it. For example, citrus fruits are acidic, but they help your body balance the other way.

  8. liz says:

    Don’t the Masai of Africa eat dairy? I realize they are herders as well as gatherers, but still. To claim that dairy eating is solely a European thing seems to leave out a lot of relevant human history.

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