When it comes to inflammation-causing foods, the consensus amongst holistic practitioners is that gluten and dairy are the top two most common dietary culprits. That doesn’t mean everyone should be gluten- and dairy-free. There are some fortunate souls who can eat bread and drink milk to their heart’s content and have abundant energy, no aches and pains, no allergies, perfect skin and robust mental health.
However, one of the core principles of a holistic approach to wellbeing is to not ignore discomfort; the idea being that whenever you don’t feel well, it’s important to try and identify the root cause(s) of your symptoms. Many people I encounter will simply ignore signs of gastrointestinal stress and get used to suffering with stomach pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea or excessive gas. Any of these symptoms, such as feeling overly full or boated after a meal, is a sign that your digestion is simply not working optimally.
Rather than carefully consider which foods are the root cause of the unwanted symptoms, some people come to accept them as being normal or just annoyances that can be managed with medication. But not you, dear wellbeing column reader!
So is milk good for you? I think it’s fair to say if your digestion is showing signs of being unhappy then it is worth experimenting for yourself to determine what might be causing the disruption. If, when you remove dairy from your diet, you feel your digestion is more comfortable and unwanted symptoms go away, then that would be enough evidence for me to suggest avoiding dairy no matter the established nutritional value of milk. There are other ways to fuel your body with calcium, protein and trace minerals.
The key is to keep an open mind and listen to your own body’s reaction for feedback and insight. If you’re searching for an alternative to dairy products there are many including nut milks, coconut milk, soy milk, oat milk. You can even make your own nut milks at home; my current go to favourites are cashew and macadamia.