A friend of mine, who decided that as soon as her son turned one she would no longer be breastfeeding him as he could then drink cow’s milk, posed a question recently on Facebook asking other mums who have been in this business longer than she and clearly would know more. “How much cow’s milk should a one year old be getting in a day?” The answer, which totally horrified me, came back that the government recommends (ah, those lovely “experts” again) 12 fluid ounces a day. That’s 340ml. That’s besides any yoghurts, cheese etc the child may eat in a day. WOW!! It really is no wonder that so many children and now grown adults are allergic or severely intolerant to dairy. That is a LOT of dairy and unnecessarily so. People eat dairy for two reasons: protein and calcium. But is it the best source of both and do we actually need it? My answer is no and no.
Our food needs to be made up of 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid forming. Our bodies love and crave alkaline conditions. We all know our bodies need some protein in our daily diet for growth and repair and the maintenance of body tissues. A lot of people seem to think the only places this can be found are in meat and dairy. Animal proteins contain unhealthy saturated fats and actually create acidic conditions within the body. And if our bodies become too acidic it leads to a loss in minerals, including calcium. It is also a fact that people who eat meat especially red meat more than 3 times a week are more prone to osteoporosis and arthritis than those who eat fish and a more vegetarian based diet.
Taking in a lot of dairy also messes with the stomach and upsets its balance so that it cannot effectively absorb calcium(one of the reasons you’re ingesting it to begin with). And, as has already been mentioned, so many people cannot digest dairy proteins which leads to various problems including sinusisitis issues,runny bowel movements and other allergic reactions. Also, because protein cannot be stored in the body, too much protein becomes toxic to the system which puts strain on the liver and kidneys. This excess protein also makes the body even more acidic which causes the body to release more calcium and other minerals from the bones to counteract the acidid conditions it so hates.
Can you see the vicious cycle the body’s under?! So, how then, do we ensure we get the right amount of protein and calcium in our diets if we are cutting out/reducing the intake of dairy and meat?
Good sources of protein include: eggs, quinoa, tofu, meat(in SMALL quantities), fish, beans and lentils. Fresh vegetables such as broccoli, peas, corn and runner beans are also good sources of protein. Eating these will help reduce the acidic environment in the body as well.
What about calcium? All calcium needs of the body can be supplied by eating a diet rich in seeds(especially sesame seeds), tofu and dark green leafy vegetables.
So, how much dairy does a child or adult need to consume in a day? My answer to my friend was, simply put, very little to none at all!