Dear Coach, I know I need to eat better, but I’m unsure how to begin and I get overwhelmed thinking about it. If I were to make only one change for now, what would you say is the best change to make? V.M.
Dear V.M., That’s a great question! When it comes to healthy eating, some people dive in with both feet while others tiptoe in to test the waters. The amount of benefits you experience definitely depends on the amount of changes you’re willing to make, especially if you’re suffering from any degenerative disease you wish to relieve or reverse. Having said that, all change is a step in the right direction, so making one (or two?) changes for now is a good start.
Two Important Changes
Not knowing what you currently consume each day makes it difficult to give you a specific answer. However, I’m torn between TWO answers so I’ll share them both.
One of the best changes anyone can make is to give up all dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, butter, ice cream, sour cream, etc.). That may sound like a tall order, especially since many Americans are physically addicted to dairy (especially cheese).
Where do I begin with the numerous health concerns about dairy? Let’s start by considering the very function of cow’s milk, which is to rapidly grow an 80-pound calf into an 800-pound cow in less than a year. As such, cow’s milk contains growth hormones which are not designed for human consumption. One such growth hormone, called IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor #1), sends a signal to our cells to grow, grow, and grow. The more of this hormone in our bloodstream, the higher the risk of ‘growing’ several cancers, especially breast and prostate cancer. IGF-1 not only promotes cancer development, it helps cancer metastasize to the bones, liver, lung, brain and lymph nodes.
Another major concern with dairy is the high content of phosphoric and sulfuric acids. Our blood strives to remain pH neutral (a balance between acidity and alkalinity); when we consume acidic foods such as dairy, the body must buffer that acid in whatever way possible – and it does so by drawing calcium directly from our bones to act as the buffer.
Calcium released from our bones for the purpose of buffering acidity is typically excreted through the urinary tract. Many doctors refer to this as “peeing away our bones.” Convincing people that dairy is detrimental to bone health is a tough sell, since the dairy industry has convinced us for years that we need the calcium in dairy for strong bones. Yet the countries which consume the MOST dairy and calcium supplements have the highest rates of bone fracture. Get your calcium from whole plant foods – which is where the cows get it.
Another detriment is that dairy is high in saturated fat and cholesterol (cheese is the highest source of saturated fat in the American diet). According to Statista.com, the average consumer in the U.S. is now eating over 40 pounds of cheese per year! That’s over 73,000 calories per person. Cheese is the highest source of saturated fat in the American diet; the high cholesterol content, as well as the saturated fat, make cheese and dairy products responsible for increasing the risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Casein – a protein found in dairy products – is a known cancer initiator. Through the research of Dr. T. Colin Campbell in The China Study, cancer cells in rats could actually be turned on or off by varying the amount of casein from 5% to 20% of calories. His research then led to a 27-year study – funded by the NIH, AICR and the American Cancer Society – which followed thousands of people in China for 27 years, revealing the undeniable evidence between animal proteins and cancer rates.
Dairy foods also account for about 60 to 70% of the estrogen that comes from food. A whole host of women’s issues are related to elevated estrogen, including PMS, irregular periods, fibroids, dysplasia, infertility, cancer, hot flashes and other issues.
Cheese also contains a form of morphine – opiates called “casomorphins” – making it one of the most highly addictive foods. Casomorphins keep the baby calf close to its mama, and it keeps human beings close to the cheese counter.
Milk is also a common allergen that can trigger stomach distress, gout, arthritis, constipation, migraines, acne, kid’s ear infections, and much more. There are more concerns with dairy, including Bovine Growth Hormones, steroids, antibiotics, toxins, and pus cells.
Dumping dairy is one of the best health decisions one could ever make. No form of cow’s milk is healthful for adults OR children. But fear not – there are delicious alternatives for everything – including easy homemade cheeses and ice creams.
The second (and equally important) change I’d recommend next is to cut out ALL processed meats (ham, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, pepperoni, jerky, anything smoked or cured). Processed meats are classified in the TOP category of carcinogens, along with asbestos, arsenic, and tobacco.
Please read more about processed meats in my articles titled “Hot Dogs and Bacon and Ham, oh my!”and “Is a Hot Dog Really Worth It?” and “5 Reasons to Steer Clear of the Charcuterie Boards.”
Thanks so much for your question, V.M! I encourage you to watch my free webinar titled “3 Food Mistakes that Lead to Painful Joints, Extra Pounds, and Health Problems the Doctors Aren’t Solving.”
If I can help you on your quest for better eating, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected].