I noticed that you do not have any dairy as part of a whole food plant based diet. I’ve always thought it was an important part of a good diet. Why shouldn’t we be consuming it?
This is a great question and one that I am happy to answer. It is difficult growing up in America today without being inundated with the message that “milk does a body good”. So the opposite message – that dairy does not have a place in a healthy human diet – is often a tough one for most people to accept.
The reality of the situation is that there are lots of reasons why you might want to reconsider believing that dairy products are healthy. There is a considerable body of evidence that indicates that dairy consumption is linked to juvenile diabetes, asthma, allergies, constipation, chronic infections, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, and cancer – particularly breast and prostate cancer.
Much of what we are told about milk is that it is an important source of calcium. Calcium is a mineral that comes from the earth. When plants grow they absorb minerals through their roots, the plants are eaten by animals and the calcium is stored in their bones. Most of the largest animals on earth such as elephants, rhinos, giraffes, horses and cows are herbivores and they have no problem carrying around their massive bodies on strong bones. Just as they get their calcium from the plants directly, so can (should) we. Furthermore, the amount of calcium recommended in the U.S. (800-1000 mg) is much higher than what the World Health Organization recommends (500 mg per day). Personally I believe that the reason the recommendations are so high in the U.S. is because of the influence of the powerful dairy industry and its lobbyists.
Another myth that is perpetuated by the dairy industry is that the consumption of dairy helps you to lose weight. Even research that was funded by the dairy industry showed that out of 9 studies on the relationship between dairy and weight changes, 7 showed no weight gain or loss, and 2 showed weight gain.
Dairy is really liquid meat. All of the negatives that come along with meat (saturated fat, cholesterol, excessive protein, toxic and infectious agents) also come along with dairy products. And given the fact that countries with the highest dairy consumption also have the highest amount of bone fractures (an indicator of osteoporosis and bone health) there just aren’t many, if any, compelling reasons to add it to your diet and in fact, there are many reasons to exclude it.
Hope this helps,