It’s by far one of the most common spots people get stuck when going plant based…giving up dairy cheese.
There are many reasons why it can be so difficult so I’m laying it all out there for you so you have a good understanding of what dairy does to your body and how you can kick it for good.
I’m also going to touch on the ethics of dairy.
After all this is about veganism not just plant-based eating.
For a lot of the people that I help, once they make an ethical connection it serves them well because then your motivation to eat well has more meaning and you are more likely to stick to your goals.
If you don’t know me yet, my name is Megan. I’m a nurse turned plant-based coach and I teach you all about how to eat a plant-based diet that not only prevents disease and promotes weight loss but aligns your ethics and values with your actions so that this way of eating becomes a lifestyle change that sticks.
Today we are going to talk about:
• The REAL reason giving up cheese is so hard (it’s not just about taste!)
• Why giving up dairy is so important for your health
• The ethical implications of consuming dairy
• Where to go from here-how to make the switch and finally let go of dairy
By the end of this post you’ll have a better understanding of how you can adjust your diet to better prevent disease and promote weight loss.
Plus you’ll have all the information you need to make an ethical decision that aligns your personal values and beliefs with your actions.
If you’d like to go faster, then be sure to get your free copy of my signature vegan swaps checklist.
This checklist is a powerful tool that will help you understand which swaps are the best (and healthiest) choices for you!
So let’s get into it. Any questions you have go ahead and put them in the comments and I’ll be sure to answer them for you.
Cheese is addictive
If you’re sitting there thinking it’s nearly impossible to give up dairy cheese-you’re right!
But it’s not only the taste that has you craving a slice of cheddar.
Cheese is physically addictive as well!!
And there are a few reasons for this.
Dairy contains a substance known as casomorphin.
This chemical acts as an incentive for the baby cow to reenforce the need to nurse from it’s mother.
It gives the cow a bit of a high to encourage it to continue to drink milk so it can thrive.
Because humans are also mammals, we have the same receptors as baby cows, and these casomorphins attach to our receptors and give us that same good feeling.
It reenforces our want (our craving) for dairy.
But what we do is actually concentrate the dairy milk down so much as we make cheese that the concentration of these casomorphins are even more strong than what the baby cow would be getting.
This makes cheese incredibly addictive all on it’s own.
But just wait because there are other addictive properties as well you need to know about.
How Salt and Fat become addictive
High concentrations of salt and fat in our foods bombard our system with feel-good chemicals too.
Can you imagine for a moment what cheese would taste like if it had no added salt?
I can and let me tell you…it wouldn’t be delicious.
I have done an entire training on toxic hunger and why certain foods are addictive to our systems which you can watch here once you are done with this post.
I highly recommend you bring a notebook with you because you do not want to miss the information.
The basics are that high levels of salt and oil make our brain feel great.
In the wild this was an awesome response because it meant that we found a good source of calories (energy) and minerals.
But in todays urban paradise where we live next to ultra processed fast food and packages down every aisle of the grocery store, this feedback system becomes broken.
We are over stimulated, and these highly palatable foods give us a dopamine high so strong that it not only cannot compare to the natural flavors of good-for-you foods, but it leaves us feeling unsatisfied and craving more.
Cheese is a highly addictive food.
It’s time to give up dairy.
Dairy is bad for your health
Dairy is way bad for your health. I think most diets actually support removing dairy-even the keto, paleo, and carnivore fans don’t support dairy.
Dairy is a highly inflammatory food.
This makes the immune system work hard when it could be working on preventing cancer and other mutations from occurring or fighting off foreign viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
Most people are lactose intolerant
65% of people are lactose intolerant and if you’re of Asian descent than it’s likely you are 90% lactose intolerant.
This means that if you eat dairy when you don’t have the enzyme you need to properly digest it you’re going to contribute to added inflammation and uncomfortable digestive issues.
When your digestion isn’t working that means you are likely missing a lot of the nutrition from the other foods you are eating because you just aren’t breaking down the food well enough to gain access to the vitamins and minerals.
Dairy is famous at blocking iron uptake.
Dairy raises IGF1 Levels
Dairy actually raises IGF1 levels more than any other animal product.
This is due to its high complete protein content.
IGF1 is a growth hormone this promotes weight gain and cancer cell growth.
Two things nobody wants in their life….am I right?
Cheese is high in saturated fat and salt
I’ve already covered why salt is addictive, but that’s not the only reason you want to reduce the amount you’re taking in every day.
High salt intake places added pressure on your arteries and veins because it increases the amount of water your body holds onto (which is why it also makes you feel bloated).
This added water increases the blood volume and that puts extra pressure on your vascular system.
And, when you have added pressure in your system that means your heart needs to work harder to pump that blood around…..a hard working heart means it will stop working sooner rather than later.
But, salt isn’t the only thing that affects blood pressure and heart health.
Saturated fat leads to increased cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol will build up in your vascular system, making those same arteries and veins have less space to pump your blood around.
Less space means increased pressure (again!).
And you already know what that means.
Of course, added cholesterol build up will also mean a narrowing of those arteries, and can lead to decreased blood flow.
This means heart attacks, ischemic strokes, and impotence.
All of these health reasons make a great case for no longer consuming dairy, but often these reasons to improve health are not enough.
Let’s take it a step further and look outside of yourself for a minute to see how purchasing dairy affects others.
The Ethics of dairy
I would be remiss if I didn’t include the ethical reasons for saying no to dairy.
Often people can understand why a person would not consume meat.
After all, it’s very clear there is a victim on the plate.
However, when we look at a glass of milk or a slice of cheese, often people do not understand how a person can think it is cruel or unjust to simply use a portion or an animals secretions.
How is there a victim when the animal does not need to die?
Let me explain in the best way I know how from a place of understanding and empathy for the person asking this question.
Why Dairy is Cruel
Just like domestic animals (like dogs and cats) cows have personalities and can form deep bonds with each other. Some cows get along well, and others would rather hang out with the other cow down by the fence.
This is especially true of mothers and babies. Mothers form deep maternal bonds with their babies just like humans do. They have a biological need to nurture and protect their young. And they have an emotional need to be close to them.
I have a question for you.
How do cows produce milk?
Are they born producing milk? Or do they need to have a baby like humans do?
The latter is true.
Female cows are forcibly impregnated so that the farmer can ensure they can have a strong milk supply to harvest.
This female cow will carry her baby for 9 months.
Once her baby is born it is taken right away.
Obviously the farmer wants the milk. That is what is profitable. That is why they impregnated the cow in the first place. The farmer cannot let the baby stay with the mother, or it will drink all of the milk.
The baby’s fate depends on if they are a boy or a girl.
But, either way they do not stay with the mom.
Babies are taken away days later either placed back into the same cruel existence as mama if she is a girl, or if it’s a boy that baby is sent to the veal or beef industry.
Mother is milked.
But her milk supply doesn’t stay string for the rest of her life.
Just like female humans, her milk supply drops after a certain time.
It’s at this point that the farmer will once again forcibly impregnate her and start the cycle all over again.
Another baby born.
Another baby taken.
Another loss for both baby and mother.
When mother is spent she is sent to the beef industry to become a low grade, cheap ground beef.
This is why the dairy industry is actually more cruel than the meat industry.
The process is drawn out with so much more emotional pain inflicted on the animal than if she had just grown up on a cattle farm and had her life ended years earlier.
As I stated earlier, most people can see why the meat industry is cruel.
Now you know why the dairy industry is the same.
It’s really time to give up dairy!
If you have not seen the documentary Dominion I suggest you do so.
This film is a huge eye opener and it explores what has been hidden from plain sight for far too long.
So now that you know you want to get off of dairy, how do you actually go about making the switch?
What are the first steps to getting off of dairy?
If you’re wondering how to give up dairy, let me take you through what I tell my clients.
If we were to work together what I would tell you is to do a complete detox from not only dairy, but all animal products as well as added refined sugar, salt, and oil (that means processed foods too!)
My detox program lasts for 14 days and you’re eating a ton of greens, beans, vegetables, berries, mushrooms, fruits and nuts and seeds while eliminating all processed foods, added salt, refined sugars and oils.
Now, this time can be very challenging.
Most clients experience mood swings, self-doubt, cravings, fatigue and a generalized feeling of “unwell”.
Depending on what sort of eating habits you’re starting from, these symptoms can last anywhere from 5-14 days.
This is why I make sure you are supported daily so you are held accountable and you feel confident in your ability to succeed.
Whether you have a coach or not during this time, it is incredibly important that you have the support of someone you trust.
This person needs to understand what you are going through, WHY you are doing this, and can hold you accountable in a loving yet strong way.
Mindset work is another key piece to success.
I walk you through the deep mindset work it takes to uncover your most meaningful motivations using techniques from NLP and health care.
Connecting your deepest values is the only way you will have lasting success.
Once you see what you value most and what truly motivates you you’ll find that it completely shifts your perspective and allows you to give yourself permission to succeed.
This is absolutely crucial to making the diet into a long term lifestyle change. And of course making it a lifestyle change is the only way your health will benefit.
Now, I do have a free resource that walks you through how to do a detox on your own so please, if you’re interested in trying this out type detox in the comments section.
In addition I also offer free support in my Facebook community.
And if you’d like to go faster, then I encourage you to watch this free masterclass so you can better understand how to have real success on your journey.
Let’s recap what you’ve learned!
- Dairy is incredibly addictive due to the dopamine release you get from the high salt and oil in addition to the high concentration of casomorphin
- Giving up dairy will increase your health by reducing heart disease from added salt in your diet and saturated fat intake. It will also reduce inflammation and digestive issues.
- Dairy is a very cruel industry and should not be supported by anyone who believe animals deserve to be treated with compassion and kindness by humans.
- In order to get off dairy for good, you need to first do a detox with support, then dig into your personal values and beliefs so you can solidify your decision and create a real transformation that will lead to a lifestyle change.
So what did you learn?
What was the most impactful piece that stood out to you?
Are you going to make the switch?
Let us all know in the comments!
I’m rooting for you!!!
Here’s a brand new pin for your board so you can share the knowledge and come back to this post when you’re ready to make the switch.