The United States is in the midst of a public health epidemic due to poor diet. While much of the focus has been on sugary drinks and fast food, dairy foods often get a pass. The dairy industry, propped up by government, has convinced us of the health benefits of milk and other dairy products. During the 1990s and early 2000s, it was impossible to open up a magazine without seeing the milk-mustache face of a celebrity. The “Got Milk?” ads helped drive demand for dairy products at a time when milk consumption was at its lowest point in decades.
Those “Got Milk?” ads were one example of how, for decades, the federal government has helped sustain the dairy industry by convincing people to drink more milk. Today, the US Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines recommend three servings of dairy a day, despite the fact that 65 percent of people in the world can’t digest milk. Evidence also shows that drinking lots of milk doesn’t protect against bone fractures and may be linked to certain types of cancer. And all the “good stuff” in milk — calcium, potassium, and protein — can be found in greater amounts in foods like broccoli, kale, and black beans. However, these foods are at a disadvantage when it comes to competing against dairy. They don’t have trade groups giving millions to members of Congress and lobbying for influence over the nation’s nutrition policy.
Focus on phasing out dairy by adding in plant-based foods.
Changing your milk is the easiest first step of phasing out dairy. There are many varieties and flavors of non-dairy milks that are made from soy, rice, almond, oat, hemp, etc. Be sure to read the label and choose products with no added sugar or oils.
There are many cheese substitutes made from soy, rice, almond, hemp, and other ingredients. We recommend that you stay away from heavily processed “fake cheese” products that contain isolated proteins (i.e. soy protein isolate) and added oils. Tofu, nut butters, and nutritional yeast can be used as well in some recipes to replace cheese or give a cheesy flavor. Soaked and blended raw cashews are often used as the creamy/cheesy part of plant-based dishes. Miso, tamari, and tahini are also used to replace cheese flavored ingredients in recipes.
Unsweetened, non-dairy varieties are available at many grocery stores.
Place frozen fruit like bananas and strawberries with a few dates and a bit of liquid in the blender for “nice cream.”
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