Integrative Health Blog

Do You Have Problems with Dairy? It's Not the Cow's Fault

Posted by admin on Mon, Mar 25, 2013


Real dairy is healthy and can be enjoyed by most people, but modern dairy practices have altered the type of product we now consume.

Do you enjoy dairy products but are concerned whether they are actually good for you?

Have you experienced lactose intolerance or other unpleasant side effects when eating dairy?

What if I told you, it’s not the cow’s fault- it’s the processing methods used today that may be affecting you, and that there is healthy digestible dairy out there?

The Problem with Industrialized Dairy

Dairy has received such a bad rap over the years and rightly so if we’re talking about milk, ice cream, butter and other products that you buy off the grocery shelf. These products have been so altered from the type of dairy that was enjoyed straight from the farm for many, many years and by many societies. The dairy our ancestors drank gave them great health, strong bones, vitality and longevity.

So, What Happened?

In order to keep up with demand and make a large profit, farms became industrialized and made many changes,  producing a product which has lost much of it’s health benefits and may even be the cause of digestive and other health conditions.

Industrial farm practices, even organic, can include:

*very little access to the outdoors

*crowded living conditions

*milk can be pooled from various farms

*cows are fed grain and other “feed” including GMO corn and soy (organic can’t use GMO)

*the dairy is pasteurized at high temperatures causing denaturing of the proteins causing difficult digestion

*  conventional farms use antibiotics, vaccines and hormones

*questionable or non-existent humane treatment of the cows

Dairy Really Does Do a Body Good

The dairy ads are correct, but not if you consume the dairy off the grocery shelf, as it has been altered to be a very different product than true dairy. Properly raised dairy cows and proper production methods can provide us with an outstanding superfood, very healing and nutritious. Also, contrary to what you’ve heard, low fat or skim is not healthier. For decades, we’ve been told that eating full-fat dairy products increases the risk of heart attack. Now, a study from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that the more full-fat dairy products people consume, the lower their risk of heart attack---provided the cows were grass-fed.  Full fat is the natural state of dairy and where much of the vitamins are contained.

The Benefits of Properly Produced Dairy

*  full of Omega 3 fatty acids and CLA

*  contains all 20 standard amino acids required for human health

*  contains beneficial enzymes for digestion, immune system support, and growth

*  contains vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, B6, B12, pantothenic acid, folic acid, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, magnesium and of course, calcium.

Additional benefits from eating cultured dairy products include:

*  beneficial probiotics

*  predigested proteins for easy digestion

*  cultured dairy can be an easily digested and healing food for many with chronic illnesses especially digestive issues

Where to Find Good Healthy Dairy Products

The difficulty lies in finding dairy produced properly, and just buying organic doesn’t guarantee good dairy these days. It’s better than conventionally made dairy but there are many loopholes in the organic standards that may make it less than ideal. Two examples are: cows can be fed grain during finishing and can still be called grass fed, thereby decreasing the beneficial omega 3s and CLAs, and there is no minimum time cows must be outdoors, so they may still spend much of their days cooped up inside with little access to pasture.

Buying from a local farmer can be a great option but again the same standards of organic apply, so you need to know the farmer’s practices.

Be sure to do your homework to find the best properly produced dairy products in your area. Farmers markets and food co-ops are a great place to start.

Jody Jung RN,CHC

Topics: holistic nutrition, integrative health, integrative nutrition, digestive health, probiotics