Avoiding the Perils of Dairy

Just finished up a great seminar at GoodLife Fitness in Toronto. I do want to apologize (profusely, and repeatedly) to a few gentlemen that showed up at the event and were turned away. My understanding was that it was open to the public, but it wasn’t made clear that only women could attend. If you were one of the guys that came and had to leave, please, please contact me!

Back to the seminar – it’s always interesting to see what kind of dietary challenges different people have. Tonight, it seemed like a lot of people had lactose issues, one person with a serious problem with soy, and a couple with gluten issues. I think apart from sitting around a dinner table with my Chinese relatives and friends, I have never been in the same room with so many lactose intolerant people before!

Dairy is one of the most prevalent ingredients in processed food today, but is fortunately one of the easiest things to substitute for in recipes. My personal favourites are Ryza original brown rice milk (www.ryza.ca), Rice Dream Original (both great rice milks that are naturally sweet with no added sugar), and Almond Breeze unsweetened original (this does, however, contain soy). I’ve also heard of Almond Fresh (www.almond-fresh.com) although I haven’t actually tried it yet.

As for soy milks (if you can tolerate them), I grew up drinking either home made soy milk or Sunrise soy milk, which is at a lot of Asian grocery stores (sometimes at Loblaws). So Good and So Nice are also great in unsweetened varieties. I recently also tried an unsweetened hemp milk which was really nice, but in my opinion, not worth the price. Now with me cutting back, I generally save milk substitutes for cereal, a tiny treat, or in my smoothies when my tap water tastes foul (like it has for the past 2 weeks…yuck!).

Then, of course there is goat and sheep milk that some people can tolerate, even if they are intolerant to cow milk. Both my husband and I fall into this lucky category, which means that we can still enjoy goat milk, goat/sheep cheese (yum!) and goat and sheep yogurt. Sheep yogurt, I must say, is delicious with just a dab of honey or agave syrup.

Most recently, I came across some very intriguing information about A1 and A2 type proteins in cow milk originating from different cows. Basically, the observation/theory is that more people can tolerate milk containing the A2 type protein even if they can’t tolerate the more commonly found A2 protein. Check this out for more details http://astoriamills.ca/a2dairy. A1 and A2 milk labelling only exists in a couple of countries at the moment, but hopefully it will come to Canada some day. Doesn’t this sound like the familiar pitfall of monocultures and monocropping as I discussed in my earlier “Pay Now… or Pay Later” posts? Think of how many different kinds of apples you can choose from in stores – yet we are only offered one type of banana, one type of cow milk…

Well, cow species aside, whether you can tolerate goat, sheep, nut, soy or rice milk, at the end of the day, there are a whole lot of options open to you if you can’t properly digest cow milk. Like I always say… experiment, and listen to your body!

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