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vegetarian trying to give up dairy--need support!

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
so i've been pretty much a vegatarian for about a year now--i occasionally was eating chicken but i'm not anymore, but will probably still eat wild salmon now and then (once a week, once every two weeks, etc.). i don't tend to like "soy" meat products very much anyway, which i'm happy about because i've been reading the whole controversy over processed soy products. basically, i'm trying to transition to as much of a natural, whole-foods diet as possible and i'm enjoying the challenge.

however, my problem is milk. i was not breastfed as a child, and grew up in a milk-loving family (we could easily go through a gallon every other day or so). cow's milk has always been such a comfort food for me--when i was sick my mother gave me very milky tea with sugar, there was always hot chocolate in the winter, etc.

i only drink organic milk now (and only in hot drinks--i don't drink it straight up anymore), but in light of all the info i've read here about problems with cow's milk, how humans aren't meant to drink it, the problems with pasteurization, etc., i'm starting to NOT want to drink it from a health perspective. and i know some people use raw milk but i can't find a good source of it. i also know people use soy, goat, almond milk, etc., but because i like regular milk so much, the other stuff just doesn't taste good to me--i'd rather just drink water. i am gradually getting myself accustomed to the taste of soy to use in hot chocolate, but then there is the controversy over soy products.

i'm about ready to pull my hair out---so, help! what do you drink and why? are you more worried about (organic) cow's milk or soy? should i just challenge myself to give up "milky" drinks entirely and stick to water and tea w/o milk? would love to hear some tips! and if i do give up milk, how do i make sure i get enough calcium? and one more, if you don't drink cow's milk, do you still eat yogurt? cheese? (sorry--i just have so many questions about this!)

one more thing--i'm not interested in eating processed soy products: soy "cheese", soy "bacon", etc.
post #2 of 33
I don't drink any milk products at all straight up. The only time I use my rice or soy milk is for cooking. I don't think there's a need for an adult to be drinking all the milk, you can get the nutrition better from other sources. A little milk in your tea isn't a big deal if you go with soy. I just drink plain old water now w/lemon on occasion and a glass of 100% juice now and then. I do eat the "cheese" substitutes so can't help you much there. Nutritional yeast can be used to make a nice cheesy sauce but the taste may be a bit different if you are used to real cheese.
You can get calcium from many other sources, such as dark leafy greens veggies, beans, tofu, almonds, blackstrap molasses. I also drink a glass of calcium fortified OJ on occasion. Vegfamily is a great website you can check out for some information
post #3 of 33
I haven't given up milk, pretty much the only place I use it is on cereal. I drink water, I grew up drinking a lot of milk and I think my tastes just changed over time and I now just prefer water. I do buy almond milk on occasion because I really like the flavor but even then I don't drink it every day.

I think if you want to give it up, why not give it a try for a few weeks or however long you want and see how it goes? If you really miss it, at least you have the organic milk to go back to if you want. It doesn't have to be permanent.

I used to really eat a lot of cheese too but for some reason I don't anymore. I don't eat a lot of meat either but I do really like nuts and nut butters. Occasionally I will put a bit of cheese in a salad or on a sandwich and I still love pizza and some pasta dishes with cheese but I wouldn't say it's a daily thing.
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by notamommayet
so i've been pretty much a vegatarian for about a year now--i occasionally was eating chicken but i'm not anymore, but will probably still eat wild salmon now and then (once a week, once every two weeks, etc.). i don't tend to like "soy" meat products very much anyway, which i'm happy about because i've been reading the whole controversy over processed soy products. basically, i'm trying to transition to as much of a natural, whole-foods diet as possible and i'm enjoying the challenge.

however, my problem is milk. i was not breastfed as a child, and grew up in a milk-loving family (we could easily go through a gallon every other day or so). cow's milk has always been such a comfort food for me--when i was sick my mother gave me very milky tea with sugar, there was always hot chocolate in the winter, etc.

i only drink organic milk now (and only in hot drinks--i don't drink it straight up anymore), but in light of all the info i've read here about problems with cow's milk, how humans aren't meant to drink it, the problems with pasteurization, etc., i'm starting to NOT want to drink it from a health perspective. and i know some people use raw milk but i can't find a good source of it. i also know people use soy, goat, almond milk, etc., but because i like regular milk so much, the other stuff just doesn't taste good to me--i'd rather just drink water. i am gradually getting myself accustomed to the taste of soy to use in hot chocolate, but then there is the controversy over soy products.

i'm about ready to pull my hair out---so, help! what do you drink and why? are you more worried about (organic) cow's milk or soy? should i just challenge myself to give up "milky" drinks entirely and stick to water and tea w/o milk? would love to hear some tips! and if i do give up milk, how do i make sure i get enough calcium? and one more, if you don't drink cow's milk, do you still eat yogurt? cheese? (sorry--i just have so many questions about this!)

one more thing--i'm not interested in eating processed soy products: soy "cheese", soy "bacon", etc.


Well...if you don't want to eat processed soy why would you consider soy milk? That is processed soy.

I almost never drink milk. I've never liked it. But dairy...I LOVE. Cheese, butter, cream--yum! And very healthy imo. It's not hard to go without though if you're determined to cut it out of your diet. I was thinking, can't hot cocoa be made with water? Maybe just add some marshmellows to make it a little creamy. Coconut milk is great in tea, I can't tell the difference between that and using regular cream. Coconut oil can be used instead of butter for some things. *Homemade* almond milk is great.

I don't know, I don't think going from organic cow's milk to stuff like fortified rice/soy milks and margarines makes for a healthier diet. Unless you suspect that your body doesn't handle it well I see no reason to avoid dairy. Pasteurization does destroy some of the nutrients in milk but, that can be made up for by culturing it. Raw is best though, keep looking, you might run across some eventually. Raw cheese is usually easier to find. If you're not on a tight budget and live in the US, you can order raw dairy products online from organicpastures.com
post #5 of 33
I detest drinking milk, and I will not eat non fermented soy products. Soy milk is completey processed and filled with sugar. I can tolerate some yogurt, however. I even like some yogurt.

I can eat a piece of organic cultured cheese from a www.slowfoodf.com point-of-view, but I will *not* touch highly processed soy milk made with GMO soybeans. Not that i think organic soy milk is any better.

Does dairy make you feel sick? or are you more concerned about the ill treatment of dairy animals? Are you against the use of animals for human reasons in any way? Or is it more about health? Would getting eggs from your own well -cared for, free -range chickens, or from a local farm, allow you to eat eggs, or are you upset about using animals this way? There is a lot to consider and muddle through as you find your peace

I think if you try to understand what your dietary motivations are you can feel better about whatever choices you make.
post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 
oops...somehow posted twice...
post #7 of 33
Thread Starter 
thanks for the responses! to answer some of the questions, my reasoning for giving up meat is 1) there seem to be so many negative health issues surrounding it and 2) as i become more aware of how most animals are treated, the idea of eating meat just makes me feel horrible. and, 3) i know i could get free-range, grass-fed, organic meat, but i really like not having to worry about "meat" juice and bacteria and stuff when cleaning up the kitchen.

i'm okay with eggs for the most part, i get the Organic Hen brand which i think is pretty good, they're organic and treat their animals really well (as far as I can tell). and there's a raw milk sharp cheddar from Organic Valley which is so tasty, although i'm trying to cut back because vegetarianism aside, i eat too much cheese.

and for those of you who asked if milk makes me sick, no. although i have always had on and off issues with mild eczema, and i think i read somewhere here that it could be dairy related? i just consume too much dairy and always have, and i'm starting to realize that it's probably not good for me. i do really like yogurt, though. any reason to give up organic cow's milk yogurt?

as for the soy milk, i drink the organic Silk which is non-GMO during the rare times that i do drink it. i was reading all the threads here about "dangers of soy" and "dangers of pasteurized milk" and for some reason i thought soy milk was not as bad a processed food as, say, soy cheese, but those of you who pointed out that it *is* processed are 100% right. soy cheese and soy meat kind of gross me out because i figure if i don't want to eat meat and cheese, why do i want meat and cheese substitutes? and, following that logic, what is soy milk but a milk substitute?

so, a few more questions if you're not all tired of my endless questions: what kinds of soy do you think are okay (those of you who are strict about staying about from processed soy)? also, if you don't drink pasteurized milk, why don't you? why is it unhealthy? (all the reasons i've read over the past few days get muddled in my head...information overload!)
post #8 of 33
i switched back to not eating dairy just last week. i've been vegetarian for 14 years now, but we've gone back and forth on dairy. we have a HUGE weakness for ice cream. my reasons were similar to yours, although factory farming plays maybe a larger role for me than you indicated. a vegan friend of mine pointed out that, even when the cows aren't stuffed full of hormones, they still have to be constantly in some sort of nursing state to be making the milk that we are eating. plus, what happens to all of those bulls that are born to the cows making our milk? anyway, over the past few weeks it started bothering me more and more and i gave it up.

greens have a TON of calcium and we should eat a ton of them. now that i've broken my dairy addiction, i'm liking the greens more.

Silk makes an unsweetened soy milk.

I think the processed soy milk is ok, but that's just me. i wonder with some of the other soy products if it isn't all of the other stuff that is bad (like smoke flavoring that a lot of them use).

oh, i like baked tofu to get sort of a fullish feeling from eating. not that you asked but just in case you care... oooh, and i ate some yummy dry roasted, light salt edamame today. it was terrific. can't remember who makes it though.

as for milk, i do think it's unhealthy - the whole we were not meant to drink the milk of another animal thing.

anyway, i'm yakking on and on (i'm sleepy and should go to bed now...), but good luck!
post #9 of 33
I don't think a lot of dairy cows actually mate. I think they are inseminated and birth females. Just as only certain stock steer are raised to give meat and the females are inseminated and the sex choosen. A couple of vails of bull sperm can impregnant many females.

Small dairy farms are different, esp if you can find one that is actually in the business of preserving certain stock and not milking a cow to her death. (although even some small farms use insemination so they do not have to keep more animals than they can manage. Farmers can purchase choice sperm)


Factory farming is baaaaaaaaaaad.
post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by notamommayet
thanks for the responses! to answer some of the questions, my reasoning for giving up meat is 1) there seem to be so many negative health issues surrounding it and 2) as i become more aware of how most animals are treated, the idea of eating meat just makes me feel horrible. and, 3) i know i could get free-range, grass-fed, organic meat, but i really like not having to worry about "meat" juice and bacteria and stuff when cleaning up the kitchen.

i'm okay with eggs for the most part, i get the Organic Hen brand which i think is pretty good, they're organic and treat their animals really well (as far as I can tell). and there's a raw milk sharp cheddar from Organic Valley which is so tasty, although i'm trying to cut back because vegetarianism aside, i eat too much cheese.

and for those of you who asked if milk makes me sick, no. although i have always had on and off issues with mild eczema, and i think i read somewhere here that it could be dairy related? i just consume too much dairy and always have, and i'm starting to realize that it's probably not good for me. i do really like yogurt, though. any reason to give up organic cow's milk yogurt?

as for the soy milk, i drink the organic Silk which is non-GMO during the rare times that i do drink it. i was reading all the threads here about "dangers of soy" and "dangers of pasteurized milk" and for some reason i thought soy milk was not as bad a processed food as, say, soy cheese, but those of you who pointed out that it *is* processed are 100% right. soy cheese and soy meat kind of gross me out because i figure if i don't want to eat meat and cheese, why do i want meat and cheese substitutes? and, following that logic, what is soy milk but a milk substitute?

so, a few more questions if you're not all tired of my endless questions: what kinds of soy do you think are okay (those of you who are strict about staying about from processed soy)? also, if you don't drink pasteurized milk, why don't you? why is it unhealthy? (all the reasons i've read over the past few days get muddled in my head...information overload!)

I don't think there's any reason to give up yogurt, it's a good source of probiotics.

I think the only soy I still eat is what's in my Ezechial sprouted grain bread. I avoid all soy (even unprocessed) but I don't get too bent out of shape about a little here and there.

I think you really need to trust your intuition when it comes to diet. If *you* think dairy is something you would feel deprived giving up then don't do it. If you don't have any health issues relating to dairy then why stress out about it? I think it's good to make sure you're eating a varied diet, so I can see cutting back if you're eating too much but, I don't see what the benefit of going completely dairy free would be if it's something you take pleasure in eating.
post #11 of 33
how do they choose the sex? abort the males?
post #12 of 33
For me, coming from the premise that milk/dairy is the non-violent way to get animal protein into my omnivorous body, I try to make sure that the dairy I am consuming IS non-violent. That's why I choose organic. Since I don't really have access to non-homogenized dairy, I generally only consume cultured dairy and heated milk. I was raised with a traditional Hindu lifestyle and I they don't traditionally consume cold milk. They consider it to cause mucus and slow the system down. The Ayurvedic way is to boil it with a small amount of sweetener to break it down.
Anyway, if you are cutting it out for health conscious reasons, you don't really need to replace it, you can just cut down your need for it until it's gone. Or at the very least, heat it first.
You definitely don't NEED milk or dairy. As humans, we have lots of food options. You can increase your nut intake, remember to put beans to soak overnight a lot, make sprouts, dried fruit, etc.
post #13 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mz_libbie22
I don't think there's any reason to give up yogurt, it's a good source of probiotics.
MZ: assuming for the moment that one is coming from the perspective that pastuerized milk is unhealthy (even if it is organic), what makes yogurt from pastuerized organic cow's milk okay? is it the fact that it's cultured? does that cancel out any "bad" qualities from the pasteurizing? i'm just curious.

kavamama: that's interesting about the ayervedic way of consuming milk...how exactly do you prepare it? do you actually have to boil it or is just heated it up till it's warm okay?

this is great...i am learning so much!
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by notamommayet
MZ: assuming for the moment that one is coming from the perspective that pastuerized milk is unhealthy (even if it is organic), what makes yogurt from pastuerized organic cow's milk okay? is it the fact that it's cultured? does that cancel out any "bad" qualities from the pasteurizing? i'm just curious.

Two of the things pastuerization destroys is the naturally occuring beneficial bacteria and enzymes in milk, culturing the milk into yogurt would add those things back into it. Culturing also lowers the amount of lactose in dairy.

For me, because I live in a state where it's really hard to get raw dairy, the choice is pastuerized yogurt or no yogurt. Because I think probiotics are so important, yes the benefits do outweigh the negatives. I buy plain, whole milk, organic yogurt and I try to eat some everyday. I also use it to make cream cheese and use the leftover whey from that to soak my grains in. I love yogurt, it's so versatile.
post #15 of 33
You actually have to heat the milk to boiling point. I think the small amount of sugar (any type of sugar should do - I sometimes use molasses) helps break down the milk proteins as well as the boiling.
post #16 of 33
Well, I'm not vegetarian, but I'm off dairy for a couple reasons right now, the main one being that we are seeing if dd is sensitive to dairy (she's still nursing), and the other being the inablilty to find raw milk (although I think I've tracked down a source now for when we go back on dairy). Homogenization is really the greater of two evils when it comes to milk, so I think I *might* be okay with pasteurized milk if I could find non-homogenized organic grassfed milk. The problems with pasteurization have been mentioned - the lack of enzymes makes it hard to digest milk plus it's really a dead food. Yogurt is okay as it has added bacterial cultures that increase digestibility and are good for your gut in general (as long as it's live). Raw cheese, if you can get it, is also fine. Cream is more easily digestible than milk because it doesn't contain nearly as much protein as milk, and the fat helps with digestion. Butter is fine, the yellower (assuming undyed) the better, as this indicates a high level of chlorophyll in the cow's diet. The worst forms of milk are ultrapasteurized and powdered. All milk products which are skim, 1% or 2% contain powdered milk. Powdered milk is bad because the cholesterol is oxidized in the process of drying.
Goat's milk is one alternative - it is not homogenized because the fat molecules are naturally smaller, so it's actually considered "naturally homogenized" because it doesn't separate (much). We've been using goat's milk to make kefir and yogurt (except my yogurt is thinner than my kefir - I'm working on it :LOL) while we're off dairy. The protein in goat's milk is smaller and therefore more easily digestible. I just reread your post and noticed you don't like goat's milk . . . are you able to try different brands/farms? Each goat will produce different-tasting milk based on diet and health, so you may yet find some you like.
Coconut milk is a great alternative too. And coconut oil can be used in place of butter for cooking or even to spread on toast. Coconut milk and coconut oil contain lauric acid which is helpful to immune function (iirc, it's antifungal).
I don't drink soy milk mainly because it is high in phytic acid (I have other reasons as well), which is a mineral blocker. If you don't have digestion and absorption issues this may not matter to you, but for me it's critical. I know that fermenting soy in the form of soy sauce and miso gets rid of the phytates, but I'm not sure about soy yogurt - it might?
Calcium is widely available among the plant kingdom too - spinach comes to mind. Also, it is very possible to find calcium supplements which are not synthetic - crushed dolomite (a rock), coral (not veg*n), and even powdered eggshells (although I've only used these for my cats - I plan to look into it further).
post #17 of 33
So, recently, I have been reading a book called The China Study, and it has changed how I view milk. There were direct correlations between diets with over 10% animal proteins and diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. The average American diet tends to contain 15% animal products. Dairy is 87% protein (caesin). Plant based protein did not have the same results, and it appears to be ok to eat as much of the plant proteins as desired. Currently, I have made my way through the section on rat studies, but am just getting into the human studies. In the rat studies, they could literally turn cancer on and off depending on the diet.

As for soy milk (Silk, Organic Valley, or your could make homemade), it is minimally processed. If I remember correct, they heat it so that would do away with the phytic acid worry because as long as soy was heated it was ok. I think the bigger concern for me is that I don't want to eat a diet reliant on one food especially if it has been over processed. So some soy that you specifically prepared as part of your diet should be fine and good, but just like corn syrup parts of soy are being over used in over processed food products were you would not suspect it.
post #18 of 33
melissa - i think joel fuhrman relies on that same book for many of his conclusions in his book "eat to live" which presents a predominantly vegan (no meat, dairy, eggs) lifestyle as a way to healthy living.

i've been really changed by furhman and have been eating this way recently (also did it a few years ago, but caved again to my weakness for dairy). very interesting book with lots of health information even if you are not interested in losing weight (the book is presented in kind of the cheesy lose weight context and eating this way is an amazing weight loss thing, but i view it as more important as a health thing).
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by melissa17s
If I remember correct, they heat it so that would do away with the phytic acid worry because as long as soy was heated it was ok.
No, heating and soaking do NOT neutralize phytic acid in soy, only fermenting does.
The book sounds interesting and I'll have to read it sometime. I like to make sure I'm not getting totally one-sided info, so I like to read a variety of different perspectives. You may be interested in doing the same - Weston Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration offers a different and interesting perspective.
post #20 of 33
Well, I just drank a glass of coconut milk thinned out with some papaya juice and water, and it was SO good. I'd take that over a glass of moo juice anyday :LOL
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