Dairy-Free Living: Moving Away from Milk - dummies

Dairy-Free Living: Moving Away from Milk

By Suzanne Havala Hobbs

People give up dairy products in their diets for different reasons, including personal health and environmental concerns. Deciding to go dairy-free may be the result of one or more of these considerations:

  • They can’t digest cow’s milk. Most of the world’s adults can’t completely digest cow’s milk. Some have so much difficulty digesting milk that they develop unpleasant symptoms, such as gas, bloating, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea, when they drink milk or eat other dairy products.

  • They want to support the health of the planet. Animal agriculture, including the production and distribution of milk and other dairy products, takes a toll on the earth. It contributes to air and water pollution and global warming. It also requires large amounts of fossil fuels and fresh water supplies, and it plays a part in the overuse of antibiotics.

  • They have compassion for animals and people. Modern methods of dairy farming raise ethical concerns about the manner in which animals are treated on factory farms. The dairy industry is associated with the meat industry, where retired dairy cows join animals raised for their meat. The animals are processed in slaughterhouses where animals are treated inhumanely and conditions are dangerous for workers.

  • They just don’t like the taste of milk. They may not find the taste or texture appealing, or they may be turned off by the thought of drinking mammary secretions from cows.

  • They want to take better care of their health. Although dairy products do have some benefits, you can like dairy too much. It can be detrimental to your health in the amounts that Americans typically consume it.

Milk is devoid of dietary fiber, and it’s high in artery-clogging saturated fat. When you drink milk or eat dairy products regularly, you risk pushing out of your diet foods you need in greater quantities, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. You also raise your blood cholesterol levels and increase your risk for coronary artery disease, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.