September 06, 2012

Why You Should Ditch Dairy for Better Health

There's a good chance that dairy is robbing you of better health. In fact, it's even the culprit of things like allergies, eczema, asthma, arthritis, bloating and acne.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you’re not alone.

With a culture that has dairy so engrained in it’s diet, it’s easy to believe all the hype and think that dairy is good for us.

It makes sense. After all, when you grow up learning that you need 2-3 servings of dairy from the food pyramid, you’re just trying to follow guidelines for a healthy and balanced diet.

So, are you ready for a little truth about dairy?

The research shows that dairy is acid-forming inside the body. Many of you smart (gluten-free) cookies know about acidity versus alkalinity from high school science. New York Times best selling author Kris Carr says the body works to maintain a delicate pH balance. Technically, pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration in solution. The main point you need to know is that the pH scale runs from 0-14. Neutral pH is 7.0. The higher the pH (greater than 7) the more alkaline, and the lower the pH the more acidic.

The pH Scale

0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14

acidic <-------------neutral-------------> alkaline

All dairy measures up on the left side of the scale. Kris goes on to note that we don't want our bodies hanging out of the left side because inflammation, allergies, arthritis, skin problems, mood disorders, depression, constipation, bowel issues, stress (physical & mental) and chronic disease looove an acidic environment. What these things don't like is an alkaline environment. To achieve an optimal, or slightly alkaline environment (7.365 on the scale) we want to stick to a plant-based diet.

Here's where things get a little tricky, but really important. The pH operates on a logarithmic scale with multiples of 10. So, it takes ten times the amount of alkalinity to neutralize an acid. Let's go back to our handy dandy scale.

0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14

A jump from 7 to 6 doesn’t seem like much, but in reality it will take ten times the amount of alkalinity to neutralize.

7 to 5 = 100 times. 7 to 4 = 1000 times. 7 to 3 = 10,000 times. Get the picture?

Here's an example of what goes on in the body when it has to make a jump from acidic back to homeostasis....cheese is about a 5.1 on the pH scale. What does the body do when something acidic, like cheese, enters inside? Basically, the body will do anything to maintain a pH balance so it takes "buffer minerals" (calcium, magnesium, potassium - building blocks of the body) to neutralize those acids. This means a lot of extra work for your body and lot less of those enzymatic reserves and minerals that keep your body and bones strong. Think osteoporosis and premature aging as a long term effect.

The good news is that there’s no need to feel like you’re missing out on anything if you decide to give dairy the boot. There are loads of healthy and tasty alternatives on the market – most of which you can easily make at home. Even just a few dairy replacements will have you noticing incredible, positive changes in your body.

Here’s a list of alternatives to common dairy products:

Milk (6.5 on the pH scale)
Almond milk (unsweetened)
Brazil nut milk
Coconut milk
Rice milk
Hemp milk
Oat milk

Cheese (5.1-5.9 on the pH scale)
Cashew cheese
Brazil nut cheese
Macadamia nut cheese
Daiya (a tapioca-based cheese)

Yogurt (4 on the pH scale)
Coconut yogurt (So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt is a great brand)

Sour Cream / Creamy Dressing (4.5 on the pH scale)
Cashew cream
Cashew sour cream
Oil-free, herb-based dressing
Nut-based dressing

Ice Cream (5.4-6 on the pH scale)
Coconut ice cream (Coconut Bliss and So Delicious are two great brands)
Rice milk ice cream (Rice Dream)
Frozen fruit ice cream

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