Reasons to Stop Eating Dairy

For 2013, why not do the one single thing that can have a huge impact on your health – DITCH dairy!

When I got dairy out of my diet, it made the biggest difference in how I felt.  At twenty my joints hurt, and my knees in particular were so stiff some days that it hurt to sit and stand.  My digestion was sluggish, and my body felt ‘slow’.  In my twenties.  That’s pretty darn young to feel slow and uncomfortable.  When I got dairy out of my diet, I felt profoundly better.  It didn’t happen overnight for me, because some things were hard to ‘ditch’ (like cheese).  As you will soon see, I later learned that was because of the highly addictive quality of cheese.  But, once the dairy products were gone for good – my body felt renewed.

I talk about dairy far more than any other animal ‘food’.  I think we consume so much of it without even realizing, and unlike meat products which we know we should reduce or eliminate… most of us truly believe that dairy is good for us.  I want to change that.  Last year I created a list of 12 reasons to dump the dairy, many very important issues summarized in one post.  I’ve updated it this year, and of course, added another VERY good reason, so here you have it folks…

13 Reasons to Ditch Dairy in 2013

13.  There have never been more – or better – dairy alternatives.  I became vegan almost 20 years ago.  Our alternatives for non-dairy milks were: bad-tasting soy milk and bad-tasting rice milk.  That was it.  Vegan cheeses?  Forget it!  Vegan ice creams?  Uh, if you want to call a rice-based icy concoction with a weird oily aftertaste ‘ice cream’, I guess it counts – I just never ate it.  And, that was a big deal for this ice-cream loving vegan!  Now?  You are spoiled, people! 😉  Have a look at just some of the dairy-free options available:

Milks: Coconut milks, Almond Milks, Rice Milks, Soy milks (always organic, please), Hemp, Flax, Oat, and blends like Almond-Coconut. Really – there isn’t ONE option in all of these that is at least as good as – or better than – cow milk?

photo credit:

Cheeses: Daiya shreds and Daiya wedges probably earn top spot here for commercial cheeses.  But, there are many more recipes available too.  Try my two vegan parmesan alternatives, my ‘Truffled Cashew Cheese’ (pictured below, from LTEV, and recipe coming soon).  And, have you seen Miyoko Schinner’s new Artisan Vegan Cheese cookbook? WOW!

Truffled Cashew Cheese

Yogurts: Coconut yogurts and greek yogurts, Organic Soy, Almond.

Ice Creams:  Oh, you guys are lucky!  Coconut ice creams from Coconut Bliss (my FAVE!) and So Delicious, Rice ice creams by Good Karma, soy ice creams, and then many nut and seed based ice creams like almond creams, hemp, and cashew.  Or, make your own with my “Dreena Dazs” recipes!

Seriously, I haven’t even exhausted all the brands and options here – we are lucky to have so many delicious options – no excuses.

12.  Cancer Prevention.  Prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers have been linked to dairy consumption.  And, if you’ve read The China Study, you’re aware of the link between casein (the main protein in milk) and cancer.  If not, READ it!  Dr. T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University and author of The China Study, says casein is one of the most significant cancer promoters ever discovered.  Think about how often children are pushed to eat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Childhood diets rich in dairy products are associated with cancer in adulthood.  For more, watch this video from Dr. Colin Campbell.

11.  Cheese is addictive.  That’s why it’s so darn hard to stop eating the stuff.  But, as you’ll learn in Julieanna’s brief video (and through this list), it’s best to kick the cheese (and dairy) habit.

reasons to stop eating dairy #vegan

10.  Osteoporosis.  Seems counterintuitive.  We’re supposed to drink milk to protect against osteoporosis, right?  So why do the countries that guzzle the most dairy have the highest osteoporosis rates?  We now know that it’s not just calcium intake, but absorption and loss.  When we eat diets high in animal protein (milk included), our bodies become acidic and calcium is drawn from our bones to neutralize that acidic environment – cheese is particularly acidic.  Ditch the dairy (and the meat) to help maintain a more alkaline state in your body.

9. Plant-Based Calcium.  Last year, the “Healthy Eating Plate” food guide pushed dairy off the plate, based on Harvard’s assessment that high intake can increase the risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer, and also suggesting that foods like collards, bok choy, and baked beans are safer choices than dairy for obtaining calcium.  Speaking of calcium sources and absorption, did you know that kale contains more calcium per calorie than milk (90 grams per serving) and is also better absorbed by the body than dairy?  And that’s just ONE plant food you can eat.  Other plant-foods boosting calcium include: beans, nuts like almonds and seeds like sesame, broccoli, collards, whole-grains, and tofu.  (And if you think eating leafy greens is hard, I have a leafy-greens post coming up, stay tuned!)

reasons not to eat dairy #vegan


8. Heart Disease.  All that cheese and milk (and other dairy products) pack a wallop of cholesterol and saturated fat to one’s diet.  A low-fat plant-based diet has been shown not only to prevent heart disease, but also reverse it.  And, before you think low-fat dairy is okay, it has been linked not only to increases in allergies, but also type 1 (childhood-onset) diabetes.

7. Constipation.  Milk and cheese have no fiber.  (Neither does meat.)  Dairy is constipating for children.  Our children have never been constipated, yet I have heard parents talk about poo problems over and over.  And, grownups, if the kiddos get constipated from dairy, you will too (maybe you are right now).  There’s no need for laxatives.  Eat a plant-based diet (rich in whole foods), and you’ll poop easy.  There, I said it.

6. It stinks.  Okay, there is nothing scientifically or even ethically sound about this argument.  But, have you ever just smelled milk?  Put aside the fact that you’ve been drinking it since your wee years.  Take a glass and smell it.  It has a stink.  I guarantee that if you grew up drinking almond or coconut milk and you tasted COW milk, you would immediately say “peeU”!  It is what we are conditioned to drink, and cow milk is – well – stinky…  and, that’s even before it goes sour.

5. Antibiotics and hormones.  The mass production of milk requires cows being stressed to unnatural levels.  This stress results in mastitis in the cows, which requires antibiotics, which make their way into the milk in our markets.  As well, synthetic hormones such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) are commonly used in dairy cows to increase the production of milk.  Do you want to drink growth hormones and antibiotics?  Do you want your children to?  You may bypass this one point by choosing organic milk products – but that doesn’t change the composition of milk…

4. Saturated Fats, Cholesterol, and Hormones.  Skim milk is marketed for lower fat content, yet a 2011 Harvard study of 12,829 children showed that the milk sugar in skim milk may make you fatter than whole milk. And, all milk products (as with ALL animal products) contain cholesterol.  And, we have been sold the line that “organic” milk is the solution.  But as explained in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutritionjust because you pay more for the ‘organic’ label doesn’t mean you’re getting a safe, toin-free product. Milk products are inundated with steroids and hormones (both naturally occurring and production-induced… and microbiological contaminants (think bacteria, viruses, parasites and mycotoxins) can also find their way into your dairy products.

3. Animal cruelty.  Dairy production might be the most offensive and heinous of all animal farming.  Baby calves are pulled from their mothers at birth. Mother cows will bellow and search after being separated from their young. While female calves are slaughtered or kept alive to produce milk, male calves are taken, chained in tiny stalls and raised for veal. And, since is unprofitable to keep dairy cows alive once their milk production declines, they are usually killed at 5 to 6 years of age (though their normal life span exceeds 20).

2. Lactose Intolerance.  I would guess that if any of us were tested, we would be deemed ‘lactose intolerant’.  It is estimated that about 75 percent of the world’s population are ‘lactose intolerant’, and those that aren’t (primarily Caucasians) tolerate milk sugar because of an inherited genetic mutation.  That’s because the milk is meant for cows, not people…

1. It’s COW milk.  Again: milk. from. a. cow!  Why are we all drinking milk from a cow when we wouldn’t drink the milk from our lactating dog or cat… or milk from a horse, pig, or racoon?!

We are the ONLY species that drinks the milk of another species, consuming it long after weaning.  Would you go out into a field and suckle from a cow?!  I don’t think so.  Think about that connection.  Just think about it.

Have you already given up dairy?  If so, what have you noticed?  (Please share your experiences for other readers.)

If not, what is YOUR reason to dump dairy in 2013?


  1. 3 years a Vegan says

    One important point that no one has really talked about here is that our gut bacteria like us to keep eating what we have already been eating because the existing bacteria know how to digest those foods well. Dairy bacteria are especially strong at making our brains think that we need milk and milk products. It took me 6 months to stop craving dairy products once I stopped cold turkey. Think about it….how much do you crave dairy foods versus other foods…..kind of like a baby calf would crave milk as it grows. The activia yogurt challenge is a huge example of this. “Take the Activia Challenge by eating 2 yogurts a day for 4 weeks” or something like that. At that point you have altered your gut bacteria such that you crave the yogurt that you have been eating. Don’t eat dairy, you seriously do not know what it is doing to your body. Eating dairy (and meat) is the new smoking…..people just haven’t realized it yet.

  2. says

    That’s awesome. I’ve been having difficulty losing weight for a while too. I stopped drinking a lot of milk but I eat a lot of cheese. I think that’s the thing I would like to eliminate from my diet to jumpstart my own fitness goals.
    All the best to everyone on here who is trying to live a better life.

  3. Al Moran says


  4. Al Moran says

    Great information. I just learned of the dangers of cars milk and cheese, yogurt etc, maybe a bit late but it is better later than never. Yes it causes cancer in the prostate and in the breasts, heart problems etc.. My guru suggested to drink goat milk instead because it has a complete different make up. It is by far easy to digest and does not have the problems that dairy from dairy has. Since then I got me a yogurt maker and organic goat none fat powdered milk and cheese. My energy levels have increase a great deal. Now I consume small portions along with none fat protein and lots of alkaline veggies. Thrashed all plastic containers, cereals with BHT known to cause cancer and banned in many countries. I am in shock that in this continent we are poisoning our selfs and what is more terrible: our children. Of course we are up against multi billion dollars companies. Still can not believe that this is going on in the most powerful and greatest country on earth. What a shame for those that knowing this have approve the use of this substances. I urge everyone that loves their children and family members to help create awareness of this situation. We are talking here about the well being of our love ones and everybody else. I can assure you that the people that authorized this substances are not consuming them. It is a pity, , isn’t it a shame ( George Harrison).

  5. Kendra says

    Okay, I’m sure this is TMI, but I had been constipated my whole life, regardless of how much fiber and water I consumed. Last summer I embarked on the Whole 30 Challenge, which eliminates grains, legumes, alcohol, dairy and sugar (plus sugar substitutes) from the diet for 30 days to determine if you are sensitive to one or more of those food groups. About a week into the experiment, my bowel movements became textbook normal for the first time ever. I didn’t know which was the offending food group, so I slowly reintroduced each one after the 30 days to discover that dairy is the culprit. I don’t drink cow juice anymore (but do have a splash of half and half in my morning coffee and fry my eggs in a pat of butter) and my constipation problems are gone. This is a wonderful thing since colon cancer is rampant in my family. The hard part, which is taking a bit of convincing, is weaning my family from milk. Wish me luck!

  6. says

    Well Said, Thank you!!!

    Too many people are tricked into thinking that dairy is en essential food source, when really it’s killing them. Thanks for sharing your opinion on the matter! I’m in the middle of teaching my audience the same thing :)

    • Dreena says

      Not a problem, Al. Thanks for visiting my site and for your feedback. Hope you enjoy some of the recipes here as well.

  7. Nardos says

    Totally agree!! It is so unnatural to be drinking another species milk but people just do not really think about it! Once I realized how strange and unnatural that was, I immediately gave up dairy. It has so many adverse health affects and it is so sad that there is so much propaganda by the dairy industry even though there is no supporting evidence that consuming cow’s milk has any health benefits. Cheese and Milk continue to make people overweight and contributes to problems with inflamation. If you ask kids nowadays what is the most important drink they will say milk when they should be saying water! I think it is important that we start teaching our kids what REAL health foods are and how important nutrition is for lifelong health.

  8. Amy says

    i worried about my little one being lactose intolerant but thort i would give gout’s milk a try she drank half a cup an then brort it back up worse then milk she was 3 an in pre school i gave the saff oat milk to give her insted of soy as i was worried about soy disrupting her hormone diveopment at a yonge age but i now feel terable for the other children how are rutenly given it at school to so call keep them healthy.

    also i find it interesting to compare me an my sister for exsaple my older sister was breastfed but i was bottle feed cows milk formula. at the age of 18 i find out that im lactose intolerant yet my sis dose not start showing noticeable singns of an intoralans in-till her late 20s and im convinced its case her body dident have to proses cows milk at such a young age.

    also i get it went this article says that cows milk smells bad from the age of 5 i would not drink plane milk as i found the smell sickening an i could not tell if it was off or not. now i realize i should of dug my heels in an refused it in any form as our senses are good at telling us whats right or rong for ourselves.

  9. cassie says

    agree!!! thanks for the info. I have become dairy free not long ago and love reading up on all of these articles… it is so basic when u think about it, but for some reason we don’t, we just drink it. I now love almond milk and will never go back to cow’s not for my children either… I went to this health retreat not long ago and now read all their articles also, one of which is of the same info about how dairy is no good for us, I am loving all the info, keep it coming please. here is the link to the other one i read that some may like

  10. Robery says

    I been wondering since cows milk is very bad for you cause it has A1 protein maybe goat milk would be healthier I tried goat milk after I gave up cow mill and don’t see the same effects when drinking cows. Cows gives me congestion overall just feel bad but not with goat. What do you guys think?

  11. says

    Hi Nancy God is good. The original diet was SFN, seeds fruits nuts as from Garden of Eden. God made us some say and he knows whats best for our bodies. When we wonder of and make our own food decisions we can get in trouble.

    Doctors have one option for most sicknesses. Treat the symptoms and wait for it to get worse. Yet getting the wrong foods out is clear.

    Moses ate Manna, not diary. Adam and Eve , SFN and we can heal much faster on this plant based diet.

    check out the web sites , many now,
    Dr McDougall program
    Engine2 diet
    Forks over knives
    Rave diet

    I have my own SFN diet system which I use to heal the sick where they cant get relief from doctors…..

    Cows DNA is not human DNA. Cow DNA is to make a incredibly huge calf into a one tonne animal in one year. So if we eat of cow we will get their incredible weight adding DNA into our system. They have no small veins and eyes and no fingers only hooves. So their cow cholestral is incredibly huge ball compared to our tiny human one. No wonder people loose eye sight , as their eye balls fill with massive blood vessel growth.

    God has a plan. God bless you for your own walk.

    John J

  12. No a los productos lacteos says

    September 6th, 2014 was my last day of consuming dairy (well, with the exception of a pat of butter on two occasions but I am done with that). No more yogurt, butter, cream cheese, etc. I am a 52 year old male who does not consume meat and now dairy. The changes are quite noticeable. My energy level has increased. I do not tire walking up and down subway stairs. My waist has diminished in size. I noticed less fat, in general, on my body. Although I am a work in progress, I know that my newfound gastronomic journey is a good one which will ultimately lead me to good health and increased energy. And I feel good doing my part to protect those animals who are defenselessly at the mercy of human beings who continually exploit them for profit.

  13. Ken says

    I’ve been plant based, whole food for three years now. Watching Forks over Knives changed my life. I’m 51, don’t take
    any meds. My weight and blood work are perfect. I feel great. It’s just that simple…….

  14. Gj1975 says

    This is my 11th day no dairy, and the first day I’ve missed ‘milk’ chocolate. Feeling better, in myself, no bloating ! Despite eating bread, which I always thought was the cause. My stomach feels great, but I’ve had an awful headache the last 2 days, is that detox ? And is it why I’m missing chocolate today? My son is milk intolerant hence my thoughts about dairy free benefits. I feel better in so many ways, and have found my taste buds have changed already. Will keep going, but it’s frustrating as less dairy free options in the UK than the US

  15. Agata says

    I have become a vegetarian over 6 months ago, eventually cutting out dairy products, I would still have cheese on random occassions but trying to ditch it too; I have more energy than ever before, my diet now consist of variety of vegetables, cooked, juiced and blended I feel that my skin is glowing, no more mood swings, no depression or anxiety (use to have them before). I will never go back on animal based diet again!

  16. N. O'Malley says

    I have been vegan for a week now, and I have never felt better! When I started, it was to try to lose weight and because I felt that meat and dairy were having adverse effects on my digestion and energy levels. Once I started eating vegan, I decided to watch some vegan documentaries, and once I saw the horrible conditions these animals have to suffer through, that was even more motivation to strictly follow a vegan diet. I’m happy to say that I don’t feel deprived, I’m less bloated and have lost weight. I like that I can eat carbs, too! It’s not like crazy Atkins or Paleo that restrict things we should be eating! I love it. I also feel so light when I jog. It’s the best decision I’ve made as far as the way I eat.

  17. Brittany Thomas says

    I have been eating dairy all week and I haven’t lost even one pound! Mom eats dairy all the time and she got Osteoporosis anyway! How’s that for evidence!

  18. Fully commited says

    Thanks for a great article. I’ve been dairy-free for a week now and i’m still getting detox symptoms (headache, stomach pains, body aches). I heard that it could take the body one to two years to fully detox. I have not had any cravings so far, but what is interesting is that my mind is rarely hungry- but my body is. Before, I was always thinking about food and wanting to snack all the time, but I was never really physically hungry (always bloated maybe). I rarely ate breakfast because of this. Now it’s the opposite! My mind is calm and thinks much less of food, but when it’s time to eat, I get hunger pangs! Even in the morning. I assume it’s because my metabolism is finally starting to quicken?
    I quit meat, sugar and wheat/gluten a few years ago, but I never had this much of an effect physically. I’m hoping to lose some weight, get rid of my hormonal breakouts, chronic headaches, bloating and joint pain. I know intuitively that going dairy-free is the right thing to do for my body.

  19. says

    I’m not a big milk drinker, but I eat yogurt and cheese almost every day and have never felt better. For me the key was getting the sugar out.

  20. al says

    I dont want to feed my son with cows milk but the alternatives u speak of are all product that have long shelf life UHT so what chemicals and goodness would these have also?
    Im just dont know what to do.

  21. Justine says

    I vaguely knew about the negative side of dairy and I am sure kids learn how to drink milk, not by choice. I remember as a child I hated milk because it stinks but was forced to drink it because it suppose to be good for you. My aunt is dairy free for years and years as she is lactose intolerant, she is 50 years old and her skin looks amazing! Wrinkle free ad younger than her years.
    Although I tried cutting down on dairy already for years, I thought as a vegetarian I would miss out on protein and B12. But after reading all of your positive reaction on this blog, I will try to cut down all of it cheese, yoghurt etc. lets she what happens :)

  22. says

    I gave up dairy in September of 2013 completely. I have half-heartedly done it in the past but always let it creep back. This time done. And I haven’t felt this good in my entire life. Ever. I began to eat more healthy choices, added some products from the line I sell (Arbonne) to help along the way and I have lost over 50lbs and my psoriasis is almost completely gone for only the second time in my entire life…(Oh did I mention I am 51 years old…) the only other time my psoriasis disappeared was during one of my pregancies….but came right back….I am eating a much more “vegan” diet, I supplement my protein with the pea-based protein from Arbonne and I no longer eat anything fried either…I only miss pizza……oddly and not very often. Otherwise I am so happy with my choice!!

  23. Nancy Salanueva says

    I just did a 15 day juicing reboot and have not had dairy in 3 full weeks. I had no idea that dairy was the cause of all my body aches and pains. Joints (all from toes to my hips) pain for 6 years. And now, I’m amazed at how much better I feel. My doctor told me that I had osteoarthirtis and to take Tylenol. That to me was unacceptable. I’m 44, not over weight and I felt that if things continued, I would end up in a wheel chair very soon. Thanks for all the info in this site.

  24. Andrea says

    This is my 3rd day being dairy free. Yes it is hard. I grew up thinking ice cream to be it’s own food group. I just bought my last half gallon of chocolate covered cherry from blue bell :(. I know the benefits will outweigh the longing. So far so good, I guess. I really dont notice any noteworthy changes as of yet. Also trying to cut out refined sugar. Heard it does more damage to the skin than the sun (wrinkles). I’ve already had to cut out wheat because of wheat intolerance I just acquired. Geez.

  25. Remi says

    I just recently gave up dairy and began drinking green juices. I’m a little under the weather at the moment and I can definitely feel it. But I’m amazed at how the mucous is moving out of my system. Had I still been consuming dairy products, I would be thoroughly congested no doubt. So that alone makes me not want to touch it anymore.

  26. Sam says

    In a nutshell there are two simple reasons to give up dairy:

    1. Most importantly – Milk = Severe animal abuse. If you love animals, do not drink milk. Unless it comes from a plant.

    2. We are not cows.

    End of.

  27. Evan says

    Please if you are reading this, I cut dairy out of my life 2 years ago and life has never been better. My body is in the best shape of my life and I do not ever have an upset stomach. More energy and better living.

    It’s not an easy route (Yea I know pizza is amazing) but the benefits outweigh the cons.

    If you are considering this, start NOW. Not tomorrow, not a week, start now. Closely monitor what is in food, try not to eat processed food and remember no dairy. Good luck to whoever reads this.

  28. Stacy says

    Well I have a 4 week old who is strictly breastfeeding, lots of crying before bed and excessive pooping along with a terrible bum rash. I cut out the majority of dairy (it isn’t easy!) and all those symptoms are gone. I can’t wait to see the long term effects in me.

  29. aj says

    Interesting read but there is obvious bias I can understand the cheese being acidic but not regular milk itself. We could argue just about all food except alkali food to be acidic because it is broken down via acid in the stomach. I also would like to know thatif the cancer study was done on purely Caucasian subjects. If they are lactose tolerant shouldn’t they acquire a resistance to the cancer. Does bgh break down when it enters the stomach or do I have to inject it t ok have it in my system. A trace amount get through. Igf is also linked to hgh does that mean we get cancer from that?

    • Rachael says

      That’s not correct about all foods being acidic if broken down by our stomach acid. Some foods, lile lemon which are acidic on the outside actually become alkaline whem broken down by the body.

  30. Stephanie says

    I have been considering ditching dairy so I’m so glad I came across this site! I will say my good byes to ice cream and cheese until Monday when I start my new dairy free life! I will be sure to keep a list of notable changes to post. I give my daughter almond milk and organic cows milk but I’m going only to almond milk starting tomorrow. Hopefully her egzyma clears up!

  31. Kevin says

    It’s annoying how all these restaurants sneak in all these dairy ingredients without us even knowing! When I go out to eat, it’s usually at an Asian eatery. No wonder why they have such flawless skin.

  32. Laura Jones says

    I have not read this yet but I saw the “addictive quality of cheese” part.
    I am vegetarian but I will just never give up cheese. But I am trying to lose weight from my belly at the moment and I am wondering why oh why I can’t. I think I know the cause now: milk! (I drink semi-skimmed)

    I glug it down after eating and if I feel thirsty because it has this ice cold, fresh, tasty sweet flavour! As a kid right up until I left home at 18 I would pack away most of the household milk and get reprimanded for it. from 18 to about 28 I had absolutely no milk whatsoever, I just didn’t buy it, I wanted to lessen my effect on the dairy industry. I didn’t even miss it. I gave up tea (which I was addicted to at home!) and just lived on water.

    But now I live with someone else who has milk and we buy about three 4 pinters a week and I’m back on the glugging! And I get told off for using all the milk again.

    I realised how bad I was last night when I was alone in the house, replaced the milk for the other half for when he came home and I polished off that 4 pint carton to myself!!

    I really want to give it up but it’s so difficult when it’s in my bloody fridge! And he won’t give it up because he needs his cups of tea. I need to be stronger-willed though because I can’t stand this belly flab on my otherwise fabulous figure.

  33. Jenna says

    I have always suffered from digestive problems until I decided to give up dairy. As a little girl, I had serious constipation issues. They were so bad that I was prescribed a laxative every day until I became regular. I also more recently suffered from chronic stomach aches, bloating, and gas. Some of the attacks would be worse that others, but I never could figure out why. One day my roommate who is both gluten and dairy free told me that it might be lactose intolerance and I should try giving up diary. I gave up lactose for a week, and I suddenly felt so much better! The gas, bloating, and stomach aches that I was so accustomed to went away. I became more regular because I was replacing all of the dairy in my diet with fiber-rich foods with lots of nutrition. I still eat dairy every once and a while, but only during special occasions. I have to stay away from milk, ice cream, and butter on an empty stomach. But everything else works for me on those special occasions. During my regular life though, I couldn’t be happier with the results!

  34. says

    The first and foremost reason I don’t drink dairy is I just don’t like it! It is digusting, and I don’t like dairy products either, no cheese , no yoghurt none of it! After I got older and could have probably choked down something for the sake of nutrition I am so glad I didn’t. I remember being pregnant and the nutritionist trying to shove dairy down my throat. I wish nutritionists were better educated so that wouldn’t happen.

    • Faith says

      I have always hated milk because like the author says it stinks. I told a friend this a few years back and she laughed because she didn’t believe me. She went home and poured herself some milk and took a whiff just to see if I knew what I was talking about. To this very day she does not drink milk either… hahahaha. I can even leave ice cream at the store. Now how do I just say no to the cheese!

      • kitsy says

        I grew up in the dairy state (Wisconsin) and really hated the taste of milk. I could tolerate it only if I could knock off some cookies or cake at the same time.

        One summer after our evening meal I ran out to play with the neighborhood kids, and left my full glass of milk sitting on the table. Sometime later, my mother called me in and forced me to drink that vile stuff. By then it could have been harboring all sorts of vicious bugs, but nobody knew those things back then. Yeah, the stuff stinks to high heaven…besides NOT doing a body good.

  35. Su J says

    Thank you for doing this site – I find it really interesting to hear other peoples stories. I have been a vegetarian for 27 years. I am now permanently off all dairy since having recently suffered a sudden onset of horrendous sinus problems stomach cramps and facial eczema. It’s early days yet so I’m waiting for all the other health benefits to kick in – although within a few days my sinus problems and eczema started clearing up, so that was good enough for me. I keep reading all the good reasons why people have given up because it is encouraging when giving up a major food group. I have a fair list of food intolerances, so I’m hoping that now I have eliminated all dairy from my diet, I will feel more balanced and healthy. I am now vegan and look forward to trying new recipes and facing the challenges ahead.

    • Deana says

      I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years eating dairy. I have had the same issue with horrendous sinus problems. A sudden onset of facial eczema, stomach cramps.
      Since watching the Earthlings Documentary by Joaquin Phoenix ( can be seen on u tube) A Must to see if you care for yourself others and Animals, where your food comes from and what is put in t before we eat it. A Graphic Horrific way about the Truth how societies treatment in dairy and meat industry treat Animals. For me it was like watching a German Death Camp for Animals. This has had a profound in pact on my life. Its now changed my life for the better, and im very proud to say im now a Vegan. :) Not only for a more compassionate ethical treatment for Animals, But my Health, and the environment and for the planet we live in.
      Since not eating Dairy the eczema is clearing and less stomach cramps, and I feel so much better already, and its only been a month! I very much look forward to learning about a more compassionate life style. I will spread the word to shine the light to Help others too.

  36. Susan says

    I am not a vegetarian by any means (but will not eat veal on principal) but have celiac so I’m gluten free and lactose intolerant so I’ve been dairy free for a long time. Since giving up dairy my stomach feels better, my eczema is gone, my skin is clearer, and so is my nose! I don’t miss dairy simply because of the way it made me feel. Milk in particular was a big problem and I always say it smells bad but my kids think I’m nuts. I wish I would’ve ditched the dairy when they were little from the get-go. It’s impossible to convince teens to give up pizza and ice cream! Now if I have dairy (butter is snuck into so many foods) I feel sick within a few minutes. It’s hard to believe how I was living my life feeling horrible all the time!

  37. Tan says

    When I dropped dairy in 2010, I used alternatives like almond and soy. Of course, I miss the cheese, can’t lie, but there are cheese alternatives, though I don’t care for them anymore. However, now my allergies have lessened and I can breath a lot easier as my nose doesn’t clog up due to swelling. Now I can also play sports much easier by focusing on the sport instead of trying to breathe through half a nostril. Also, turns out I was lactose intolerant anyway. Plus, dairy isn’t healthy nor ethical.

  38. says

    Thanks Drenna!

    This post is very informative, you have really dived deep into the reasons for quitting dairy. I particularly liked “it stinks.” I guess I never thought of that one :)

    Knowing your reasons for quitting dairy is extremely important to actually being able to quit. There are also a few other things however that we need to do to successfully quit dairy. I outline those here:


  39. Jamie says

    I have given up dairy because of a DVD that I watched. It’s called “Got the Facts on Milk?” and it is VERY informative. In the DVD, it said that “milk was basically pus”. Ew, why would you want to drink pus??? Also, when you drink dairy milk, you’re drinking infected milk because most cows get mastitis due to the high stress levels that occur. And I won’t even mention what the conditions are like in the factories and farms where they kill the cows after they have stopped producing milk.

  40. says

    Generally dairy products contain lots of fat which affects your body weight so if you are the heavy weighted person you should avoid to eat dairy products to keep your health good.

  41. Sinead says

    “Animal cruelty.Dairy production might be the most offensive and heinous of all animal farming” I’m sorry but are you serious?! For someone who travels globally visiting dairy farms and works in this area (most importantly the welfare side) I take offense to some of the things being stated here. It is a nice article with some valid points. I especially liked your facts on plant calcium sources in plants, but some of your arguments here are completely ignorant especially to the guy who stated that somatic cells in milk is pus….please research these points before stating something so ridiculous.

  42. Lisa says

    I noticed a huge difference when I ditched dairy. My pre-menopause symptoms were gone and my PMS was gone. I felt “normal” for the first time in years. It was hard but so worth it!

  43. Griselda says

    Interesting information.
    One factual correction: In Canada growth hormones are not permitted for dairy cattle. All milk is tested prior to processing.

    • Dreena says

      Thanks for the note Griselda. That’s correct, though my understanding is that modified milk ingredients (used in products in Canada) can include the hormones. It’s also important to note that natural occurring hormones in dairy can also be problematic. Received your email as well, thanks for adding the info.

  44. James says

    You forgot to mention the yuckiest reason of all to stop drinking milk: it has pus in it! Because the cows are milked for hours on end with metal clamps fastened to their udders, they get chronic sores which become infected. The pus from these infections seeps straight into the milk. And while the pus is effectively “killed” by pasteurization, that doesn’t mean it’s eliminated. The cells are merely dead. In the average liter of milk there are literally hundreds of millions of dead pus cells. And this is freely admitted by the USDA! They have a maximum allowable pus level of 750 million cells of pus per liter of milk. This is not scaremongering or conjecture, it’s freely available information.

  45. says

    I have been experiencing symptoms of lactose intolerance for a few years and have mostly given up dairy but I do cheat once in a while (usually pizza) and am trying cut it out. My body can seem to handle those goat and sheep cheeses and Greek yogurt. Is it ok to eat these or are they just as bad? Thanks.

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  49. says

    I realized about a decade ago I have a sensitivity to dairy and very possibly a dairy protein allergy. (Interestingly enough, things with lactose and no other dairy ingredient don’t seem to affect me.) With each passing year, things got worse and worse, but all I seemed to do was just figure out ways to cut back or eliminate temporarily.

    Symptoms I discovered were related to my consumption of dairy:

    *water retention/weight gain
    *dry skin
    *skin breakouts
    *bloating (non-water bloating)
    *stomach upset
    *at my worst, serious digestive issues causing me to wonder if I had colon cancer
    *increased sinus problems
    *immediate mucous with the consumption of anything with butter

    My final straw was when I was violently ill from having had a couple of pieces of pizza the previous night (I had previously been able to have just 2 pieces with only a mild aftermath). I felt so horrendous, I stopped letting myself “cheat” here and there after that, although I’m realizing now that there are still some symptoms that are lingering and some that pop up here and there and I suspect the “may contain” products are at fault (or another food sensitivity) and I’ll need to pay more attention to that.

    In any case, I spent years in self-torture because it seemed easier to not change. But you know what? I just made muffins this morning and used rice milk instead of cow’s milk. They were delicious! We make pancakes fairly often and I use a non-dairy milk. Made some just last Sunday for extended family and people thought I had made a separate batch of pancakes for myself and used “regular” milk for them. Nope. They had no clue. I use non-dairy milk on cereal, in baking, in Cream of Wheat… It really is that easy to switch milks in many cases.

    It’s been 3.5 years that I’ve been completely dairy-free and I do wonder now what the big deal was for me to finally say, “I’m done with dairy.” (I say that, and yet I still have the veg*n hurdle to cross! I manage to do a week here and there but haven’t made the commitment. 😐 Yet. 😉 )

  50. says

    My goal for this year is to give up dairy. I have found it SOOOO much harder to do than giving up gluten. Milk isn’t my issue as I don’t drink much and do like the alternatives (though don’t like that many are sweet- gross). But cheese and ice cream are my big weakness. And actually, I could manage the cheese with only a slip now and then but ice cream in the summer…it’s hard.

  51. Gigi says

    I landed accidentally on your blog while researching
    Vegan recipe. I was born in a country where cheese, French baguette
    and wine are staples in our diet. I have been living in Vancouver
    for 12 years and since then my migraines, sinus infection, bloating
    Etc have become worse. I’m fed up taking medication. I’m already
    On a gluten free diet but I do love cheese and yogurt;)
    Because I’m peri-menopausal @42 years old, my doctor has suggested
    I should try to be dairy/sugar/wheat free. The more I read about vegan diet, the more
    I think it would definately benefit my health. Thus, it would not be easy. I’m in bed
    Right now nursing a migraine and I’m browsing through your website. I want to try
    Your recipe. Thanks for inspiring me today. I thought vegan diet was boring and difficult to do, but
    Your lovely blog shows that vegan is interesting and inspiring.

    • Dreena says

      Gigi, I really encourage you to cut the dairy. You will likely feel MUCH better, and it’s easier than cutting out gluten (if that hasn’t been the connection of trouble for you). Also, a lot of people need to cut out wheat, but can still eat other gluten-grains like barley, spelt, and kamut… so you might also have that experience, which offers more options. Wishing you the best, and hoping you take the good health plunge towards dairy-free living!! 😀

      • Gigi says

        Hi Dreena
        Thanks for the reply. I’m intolerant to wheat as it causes migraines after a while. I’m allergic to eggs as well (10 years ago). I was so inspired by your blog that I bought your book on Monday.
        My migraines are also hormonal related so I have been reading books about peri-menopausal symptoms and how food consumption ( especially sugar) is not good for us esp. women who are
        Estrogen dominant.
        Your book is very inspiring and I made already the chickpea /sweet potatoes recipe. I wish there was more photos of your recipes in your book;) my daughter loved the food. Now it’s time to convince the Frenchman :)
        Thank you again.

    • Norna says

      My doctor highly recommends a vegan diet. I haven’t had dairy in my diet for two to three years now and I feel much better than I have in a long time, but still not where I want to be. I have even had an easier time losing weight although it has been slow to go. I am working on that issue. I also eat a gluten free diet, but very little bread. I am slowly changing to vegan totally. My doctor only changed two years ago and said he has never felt so good. For the first time in a long time, I feel comfortable taking the advice of a medical doctor. :)

  52. suzanne says

    Love this post as my hubby and I were just talking about this. I have been vegetarian for 25+ yrs and my boyz are as well – hubby will eat meat when we are out or if we have friends visit he’ll have bacon for breakfast.
    He just read, “what makes us fat” and is all about more protein etc, very low carb and of course, he recognizes he needs to eat more veg/fruit – though he does have a fair amt of that. It makes me crazy(the low carb, hi protien thinking). This is a good compiled list of reasons for less dairy. I read the china study and watch forks over knives which helped and I have been mostly vegan for 1-2 yrs- played with it for a few yrs prior as well. (regular ice cream still gets me once in awhile when there are no nondairy options!)
    My question is though – what do you think of the processed nature of some of these foods? I try to make almond milk at home but it is hard to keep up with the demand. I am not crazy about the cheeses (ingredient list) and I do have soy yogurt, but would like to stop as that is somewhat processed as well. I avoid carageenen as much as possible. Any thoughts on this? I know it is best to do everything I can from scratch, but I work, have busy boys etc – that makes it hard to keep up. I wish I could just be home and cook (I recognize this is a full time job and wonder whoever thought women should work outside of the home! – just kidding – sort of 😉
    I would love my family to consume less dairy (hubby and one son LOVE cheese!) they are picky and do not eat many different veggies :-(
    Just discovered your sight and LOVE it!

    • Dreena says

      Thanks Suzanne, as a family we eat a largely whole foods diet. I have 3 young children, though, so I also need some convenience in the way of prepared non-dairy milks, yogurts, and things like whole-grain breads, etc. I think it’s important to choose ones that are low (or have no) sweeteners, because children become accustomed to sweet things very quickly and then it’s tricky to go back. As for carrageenan, I am not too concerned about it. I have consulted with a nutritional expert in the vegan field and they have indicated that the dosage in milks is quite low. Of course, we can always be aware and preventative, and so if you are very cautious about it, try brands that do not contain it. Busy moms will find it IMPOSSIBLE to prepare everything from scratch. You would be doing food prep morning, noon, and night – and then some! Better to enjoy healthy vegan eating with a wide variety of whole foods from greens, beans, grains, nuts, seeds, veg and fruit and give yourself the flexibility with these added convenience items. Hope that helps! :)

    • faye says

      Hi Suzanne,
      If your husband is thinking of taking on the Atkin’s diet, low carb and lots of protein, then he should think again. My husband has just gone for 2 surgeries and one more coming. For years he has avoided vegetables and ate lots of bacon, sausages, steaks, roast chickens, cheeses, and he gets kidney stones. About every other year he passes a stone or more. Some are sharp as barnacles, black and shiny, some are rounded like a small pebble. Anyway, sometimes the stones get blocked up in the urethra and the urine are trapped and backed up to the kidney and also causes Urinary Tract Infection.
      Some people are able to tolerate cheeses, meat, but excess is a no no, vegetables are great, especially the green ones. And never forget about exercise and being active, it does help with digestion as well as your well being.
      Young men who are very active do need meat for muscle, not just vegetables. Everything should be balanced.
      However, I would avoid eating any milk products and meat from USA, unless they are from reliable small farms who cares about what they feed their animals, etc. Really they add bovine hormones to speed up the milk production, so that they can conquer the market share of their products. My friends told me that large eggs and butter sold for only 99cts at the Canadian border crossing, and I wondered why and did the searching. I also avoid cheeses sold in Walmart. Once in a while, I would go for Brie cheese (fermented) and usually one from Europe. Still I wouldn’t eat it everyday, it is just really for the babies of the animals.

      • Dreena says

        Hi Faye, thanks for sharing your experience with your husband. Sounds like a very difficult time he’s had. I want to note that it is a myth that young men need meat for muscle. Some young women are more active than their male peers, and they also don’t need meat for muscle. Protein is ample in plant foods such as beans, greens, nuts and seeds, and also in vegetables. Most people consume more protein than their body needs, and especially animal proteins – which cause a lot of health problems (as you unfortunately know). Here is a very good article from a registered dietitian, that details more about the myths surrounding protein in our culture: I hope that helps, thanks for connecting and commenting. :)

  53. Kim says

    Gave up dairy from the advice of my Vegan Sister-in-law she has been vegan for about 20yrs as well. I have Rheumatoid arthritis and every time I chatted with Dawn she would tell me to get off the dairy. Of course resisted until last year at this time when my Dad passed away in Calgary. When I was there Dawn did all the cooking so of course it was all delish Vegan food and guess what I hardly had any pain. So when I got home I decided thats it no dairy…I can’t seem to get rid of the cream for my coffee though but that is a whole different thing I shouldn’t have loll. When we went back to Calgary to do the house clearout thing she cooked again and again the feeling of no pain was amazing. So I have been adding more Vegan meals in to our weekly menu and I feel so much better again with that change. I’m so glad I found your recipes as it will add yet another dimension to our diet. As of today I am down 10lbs my blood pressure is down and my Rheumatologist said “What ever you are doing…keep doing it” So I thank my sister-in-law and people like you who post such wonderful alternatives. Thank you

    • Dreena says

      Kim, that is pretty powerful. My mother lives away, and when she comes to visit she goes back home feeling better as well and having dropped some weight. I know it’s difficult when you return to regular routines and groups of friends and family and all the regular ‘dairy influences’ are there — yet I sure hope you continue with these changes now that you know firsthand how much better you can feel. :) Wishing you the best, and thanks for your kind words.

  54. says

    Cheese is indeed so tough. For me I could do without it, but getting my family off of it is proving to be a bit more difficult.

    They are astute enough to know the difference in Daiya and cheddar so I haven’t been able to go that route.

    I feel a little hopeless in this…hopefully time will win them over.

    That last picture is by far my favorite and quite powerful. Thanks so much for taking the time to compose this list of 13 reasons :)
    Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family recently posted..Hello! Remember Me ?My Profile

  55. JacQueline says

    Hello, Dreena! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful information!

    I don’t have any health issues but I am conscious of our planet and everything in it (People, Places, Things including Animals, etc) and want to live optimally for as long as possible, as healthy & happy as possible.

    I do want to eat better and stop poisoning my body with all the things the Food Industrial Complex injects and sprays onto everything we ingest. But I am a mere baby in this whole quest. I have never been a vegetarian, etc but, interestingly enough, I have always naturally leaned vegetarian and truly want to start the process of eating the best I can. And I want to start with eliminating Dairy.

    I have been drinking Skim Milk erroneously believing that I was at least choosing a better option (until I read your article above and what you wrote on the sugars in it). And I DO LOVE CHEESE! I just bought 2 blocks of it today. And some “healthy” frozen pizza & lasagna (both with cheese, of course). But I just told my boyfriend that after they are done, i’m going to give it a go at being DONE WITH DAIRY! It’s a good thing he’s also into being as healthy as possible & will do it with me (the buddy system always makes it easier).

    I will subscribe, find you on FB, Twitter, where ever you are sharing wonderful info and I am DEFINITELY sharing this article on my Facebook Wall RIGHT NOW!!

    I wish you the best health & please wish me the best with being DONE WITH DAIRY! :)


    • Dreena says

      JacQueline, thank you for considering making this change. That is the first step, just questioning and being open. And, it is all about steps – even baby steps! :) Yes, the marketing for skim milk has convinced people that it is health food. And, not surprising you love cheese – the majority of people I have communicated with over the years have said “cheese was the hardest to stop eating”… or “but I could never give up cheese”… and that’s because of the casein. So, I thank you first for considering this and talking about it with your luvvy (because support is VERY important), and secondly, I am cheering you on – you can DO this!

      Also, thank you for sharing the information on facebook, getting the information “out” is half the challenge!

      And, on you go… say buh-bye to the nasty stuff!! 😉

  56. Mr P says

    I gave up dairy about two months ago as an experiment; I’d heard that it would ease arthritis and I was starting to get pains in my hip. After an expensive week-long trial of every milk alternative I could find, I settled on a 50/50 mix of soya and a coconut milk based product.

    I’ve been making some drastic changes to my diet and lifestyle over the last 6 months, but in the last few weeks I’ve noticed:

    My weight loss has speeded up, my stomach is more settled, my throat is clearer and I have gained maybe half an octave at the lower end of my vocal range.

    I didn’t like any of the plant milks with both tea and coffee, but found that a small amount of plant milk with hot water was a very pleasing and comforting drink, so I’ve given up tea and coffee too, and sleep better as a result.

    On the one occasion that I tried a tiny piece of cheese, my throat went into overdrive producing mucus and I spent the rest of the evening coughing and gurgling, trying to clear my throat. Touch wood, no sign of my long term problems with labyrinthitis since dumping the dairy, either. Definitely plan to stay off it permanently.

    Oh… and the pains in the hip have gone, too!

    • Dreena says

      Thanks for sharing this story. I’m so pleased you have had these health improvements in a short time. I remember having throat issues, always an ‘itchy’ throat, and much mucous with colds, etc. And, yes, sometimes it takes some sampling to find the non-dairy milks that you like best. Even with a type (ex: almond), there is much variance between brands, so don’t give up on a type of milk per se, maybe try another brand too. Best to you in continued good health!

      • Mr P says

        Thanks Dreena. Not quite 100% plant-based dietvery close and it seems to suit me very well (I never was much of a meat eater, but have always struggled with a cheese addiction that, in my 20’s, put my cholesterol level off the scale). Since starting the transition at the end of July, I’ve dropped 50 lbs to 144

        • Mr P says

          … and hope to stabilise between 135 and 140 – smack in the middle of the normal BMI range for my height.

          I’ve been walking up to 50 miles a week and plan to run my first 5K soon. As I have a very sedentary job I’ve taken to standing up in the evenings. I generally pace back and forward, step from side to side, do squats or jog on the spot. I no longer fall asleep in the evening so sleep better at night, I’ve burned off a few calories, improved my mobility and, since moving around keeps me warm, I’ve cut my heating bills too!

          At 55 I’m feeling fitter than at any time since my early teens!

        • Dreena says

          Well, you are not alone with the cheese – that’s why the video is in this post, it has been proven to be addictive! Your progress and weight loss are remarkable – hearty congrats. That’s a very significant weight loss since July, and you are doing it through true, real lifestyle change. Wonderful… you have taken back your life!

  57. Stacy says

    I gave up dairy about 8 months ago and within a couple weeks my sinus issues that I have been plagued with for over 30 years disappeared. No more chronic sinus infections or endless boxes of tissues or heavy mouth breathing. I am also happy to report that I no longer saw logs when I sleep (my husband is thrilled!) I wish I had done this 10 years ago, who knew??

  58. Erin Mullaney says

    I gave up dairy completely a few months ago and it definitely makes me feel better. However, I’ve been sampling different non-dairy alternatives and had some issues digesting them. I noticed that almond milk made my stomach feel awful. Today, someone sent me an article on carrageenan which is added to many non-dairy milks. Dreena, have you heard about this? It’s pretty scary stuff. It makes me want to only make my own nut milk at home.

    • Dreena says

      Hi Erin, I am not certain that the reports about carrageenan are conclusive. Speaking with a health professional about it, there is some speculation about the dose and that it is not a significant amount in non-dairy milks. Still, there are certainly some brands that do not contain carrageenan, and you can also make milks at home, as you mentioned.

  59. says


    Do you have any suggestions on replacing cow’s milk for my 7 month old baby girl when she turns 1? The doctor is already hinting that we put her on cow’s milk when she turns 1 and my husband and I do NOT want to do that. We are both vegan and also have felt so much better since ditching the dairy!

    Any advice would be much appreciated!

  60. Mrs G says

    Hi, Dreena. I liked your post and I’ll try to committ to a dairy-free february. Let me tell you my story.
    I’m nearly 29. When I was a baby, doctors tried to convince my mother not to breastfeed me but to switch to formula. She said no and she breastfed me until 7 months. At 3 months, on a doctor’s advice, I was given milk and flour. Gluten. I became sick. Of course my mother was encouraged to give me milk. When at age 3 I stopped to drink milk, I was given yogurt. Every morning until age 17. Every morning I wanted to vomit. Then we met a doctor who diagnosed a wheat (and later gluten) intolerance and told my mother that dairy was unnecessary.
    Fast forward, now I eat primarly a vegetarian diet (except the occasional lean meat)and limited dairy. I feel much better.
    I toyed with the idea of becoming vegan, but it would be impractical since our main issue is gluten. When we stay at our parents’, they already make an effort to feed us gluten and red meat free that we cannot really impose veganism on them. Then DH has diabetes1 and it seems that yogurt suits him very well and provides a low sugar snack.
    But on my side, I’ll try on February.

    • Dreena says

      Thanks for sharing your story Mrs G. Please do give it a try, I think you will notice a big difference. Also, I want to share with you that it is possible to eat vegan and gluten-free. Many of my own recipes are gluten-free (over half in Let Them Eat Vegan are gf), and I have friends and authors that specialize in gluten-free vegan foods as well, including Ricki Heller ( and Allyson Kramer ( Just to give you a couple of links to explore a little more. Good luck. :)

  61. says

    Great article, Dreena!

    If you do not mind, I attached your link to my blog post about reasons to ditch dairy. Here is the link:

    I am sharing your post with everyone I know. Dairy is one of the worst for our bodies. I am amazed that I was brainwashed as long as I was regarding this subject. Thank you for taking the time to write this great post on the subject!

    Happy New Year, to you and your family.

    • Dreena says

      I don’t mind at all, Laura – thanks for doing so! Dairy is toxic. Awful, insidious, toxic sludge!!! So, by all means, share as much as you want – thank you!

  62. Brooke says

    Love this post!!!! My husband and I are vegan and are raising our 7 month old baby girl a vegan as well. The doctor is already hinting to us that she needs to start drinking cow’s milk when she turns a year old. We do not want to give her cows milk or soy milk! Do you have any suggestions? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! :-)

    • Dreena says

      Glad you are inspired by this info, Brooke. Are you still nursing at all? If you are still nursing, you can supplement with some other fortified non-dairy milks (that’s what I did), and use a mix of organic varieties. Don’t choose almond just yet, avoid the nut milks until about 18 months. But, you can use a blend of coconut, soy (organic), oat, flax, and later almond, etc. I have some additional info I can send to you if you email me directly too.

  63. Olivia says

    One side effect of stopping dairy I don’t think I’ve seen from anyone else is a lack of eczema! I had a stubborn patch of it on my wrist for years. No matter how I cared for it or what lotions I tried, my skin was just dry and raw until I went vegan. Also, I used to crave sugar BAD almost all the time and now I rarely do. I still like sugar, but I don’t have a burning need for it like I did as a vegetarian/omni.

    • Dreena says

      I’m so glad you mentioned that Olivia. I have heard many stories about eczema clearing after removal of dairy. Really glad to hear you aren’t suffering from it anymore. One of my sisters had it very badly all through childhood (probably b/c of our dairy intake), and she was always so uncomfortable and her skin would bleed from scratching so much. Thanks for your comment.

  64. says

    The most surprising change in my body since going vegan is needing less sleep than when I was eating dairy. I believe it is because my body rests so much better not having to work hard to digest substances we were never meant to consume. It’s like getting two extra hours a day! And I slept better figuratively, too!

    Thank you for speaking up and sharing the truths about dairy. I wish I quit dairy so long ago!

    • Dreena says

      That’s a good point Sarina. Digestive processes take up so much of our energy, and dairy is particularly difficult for our bodies to digest. Thank you for sharing this experience. :)

  65. Debbie says

    When I was a kid I was very prone to sore throats and sinus infections and had huge tonsils. Surprisingly my doctor never suggested removing them. Even into my adult years every time a doctor looked in my mouth they would comment on how large my tonsils were. A couple of years after going vegan my tonsils are non-existent. I can’t even see them anymore. I haven’t had a sinus infection in years, and hardly ever get a sore throat anymore.

    • Dreena says

      That is a crazy story about your tonsils, Debbie! As if they were regularly inflamed from diet – ? My husband also used to have very bad sore throats every year – infected, and a doctor wanted to remove his tonsils. Geez, removing dairy much easier than surgery!

      • Ella says

        Hello Ladies,
        since cutting off dairy I have experience a wonderful absence of colds. I may get sick with influenza (veeeery rarely, once every 3 or 4 years, and that is caused by viruses)but colds are not giving me troubles any longer. Take note that I leave in Finland, here we have long long winter with temperatures down to -35 degree…
        It seems that my immune system has become so strong!

        Dear Dreena, you are doing an amazing job. Thank you =)

  66. says

    Oh dairy…we have the most tenuous, Taylor Swift-like relationship ever. I now classify myself as a “social dairy eater” … it’s kind of like a social smoker: I only do it when I’ve had one drinks too many.

    How I wish I were joking. That being said, I removed most dairy from my life this past fall. It aggravates my stomach, my asthma, and my temperamental skin. So consciously, I avoid it…until someone puts a big old plate of homemade cookies (or wine + baked brie) in front of me.

    Seriously…I put Taylor to shame. 😉 I hate the dairy industry, I don’t believe its healthy, but I’m still working through the whole, “But I want to eat so-and-so’s cookies!” phase. And then there are the honest-to-God mistakes when I’ll order something at a restaurant (like pita and hummus) and the pita comes covered with parm and butter. Like who even thinks to do that?! (aka not me so I don’t say anything b/c I hate wasting food so I don’t want to send it back and be a nuisance…)

    *whew* Like I said…teenage couple. *cue “We are Never Getting Back Together*
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    • Dreena says

      oh gosh, Kait, you made me laugh reading this!! Probably because I’ve heard a lot (LOT) of Taylor Swift in this household of three girls in the past month, lol. I think you will get there, you know the issues and you know that is connected to feeling poorly… the addiction is hard – you can do it!! (you AND Taylor) 😉

  67. Ruth says

    Removing dairy and wheat over four years ago completely cleared up over 20 years of chronic sinus problems for me! My husband has much less congestion too… and his snoring disappeared!

    • Dreena says

      That’s wonderful, Ruth, that’s a long time to have had chronic sinus issues. And, snore-free hubbies, total bonus. 😉

  68. Ed Asmono says

    Its been almost 6 years since I have eliminated Dairy completely out of my diet. I’ve lost 30 pounds and feel better than ever. No more sluggish digestive system and crazy bowel movements.

  69. Sam says

    I feel so helpless because i read all of these stories about people feeling so much better and never getting sick after becoming vegan but i’ve been vegan for 6 months now, have not lost any weight, and feel no different. I still get sick, i still have stomach problems, and i still get migraines. My skin is also no better. I don’t know why it’s not having these positive effects it has on everyone else. Am i just doomed to be uncomfortable forever?

    • Dreena says

      Hi Sam, sorry you are struggling and feeling frustrated. Are you eating mostly whole foods? Vegan is not necessarily healthy, because there are a lot of processed and convenience vegan products available now. I sincerely do not believe that you are meant to feel uncomfortable forever, no. Maybe need a little dietary evaluation and tweaking here and there. I have two people I can recommend for dietary consults if you are interested, you can let me know, email if you’d like the links/info: :)

    • faye says

      Hello Sam,
      If going vegan is not the answer, you have to look elsewhere. Eating whole grains, fresh vegetables, is way better than anything from a box.
      The other culprit that makes us sick could be sugar, they are in everything that comes in a box or packaged. It comes in many forms, basically anything that ends with ..ose.. is some form of sugar.
      Is your stomach over acidic?
      How do you eat? Are you always in a rush? Sometimes we are born with ‘bad stomach’ or poor digestion. You have to chew very well before swallowing, this activates your saliva glands and our saliva is highly alkaline which when mix with the food you are chewing will greatly help with digestion.
      If you are huffing and puffing, do not eat until you are rested, do not take a bath or shower immediately after a meal. Sit when you are eating and try not to occupy your mind with work or other stressful things. Massage your stomach, in clockwise fashion after food or even when you wake up in the morning, lying flat on your bed. Massage for 10 minutes.
      Drink as little liquid (preferably warm water) with your meal. Drink later, but just sip,not pour down in one go. Half hour after a meal, go for a slow walk.
      Try to be happy. Study the energy of food.
      Some people have ‘cold stomach’ therefore should avoid things from the sea, specially seaweed (nori, wakame, konbu, dulse). Yogurt, ice-cream, mint tea, peppermint tea, watermelon)
      Foods with warm energies usually are autumn foods, with orange, red colour. Try pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, black rice, brown rice, chestnuts. All nuts are autumn foods. They are intended to keep you warm for the winter.
      Tea and coffee are usually not so good. So make your own tea, try red dates, gogi berries, a little cinnamon stick, a slice of ginger (these have warm energies) and will soothe your tummy.
      Good luck.

    • Nardos says

      Don’t give up Sam!! I have been plant-based for over a year now and I feel better than ever!! I think the key is to focus on whole plant foods as close to their natural state as possible. Use starches and whole grains as your source of energy and as your source of vitamins and minerals eat lots of vegetables (especially green ones!!) and fruit. Small portions of nuts, seeds, and avocados will give you healthy fat-soluble vitamins. Do you consume a lot of fat? Like lots of olive oil or nut butters? High-fat diets don’t really agree with most people so maybe that could be some of the problem. going oil-free has helped me alot with my skin and overall energy. Maybe a consult with a dietician or physician who is supportive of a plant based diet could really help. Just don’t give up!! Scientific and epidemiological evidence has shown that going plant based is the best thing for our bodies and for our health. Keep at it, I hope you find the problem quickly!!!

  70. Annelies says

    I quit using dairy because I had stomach aches every dag. Sometimes it was so bad I couldn’t even walk from the cramps. In an attempt to eat healty at my work, I ate a lot of yogurt. I also liked cheese a lot. But I was so sick of it,it had gone on for years now, and I had to find out wat was causing this much pain.My friend who is an dietitian said that if I wanted to find out if I had lactose intolerance, I really needend to cut everything off, cookies, cheese, milk, choclate with milk… It soundend hard to do, but I wanted to do everything to get rid of that pain every day. It took less then a month to feel the difference!! I use soymilk or rice milk and soy yogurt now. It’s so amazing I can’t understand no one had told me this before… A few weeks ago I got a gift wich was coffee with sweets. I tought ‘a few bites won’t hurt’ (desserts with cream), and again I sufferd all night long… Not long after I gave up dairy, I quit using any animal products (exept some honey now and then, and eggs from our own chickens) and I never felt better! I am enjoying cooking so much now, exiting about trying out new recipies (thank you Dreena!) I never believed I could live without cheese, but I don’t miss it for a bit. The hard things for me are now the family events as birthdays and such… They know, but not as well as I wished. Nothing but big cakes with lots of cream and milk. And even a cake for me! Frosted with choclate… It’s almost a sin to refuse to eat… But hey, they do there best and I will amaze them at my home with my delicious vegan cakes and pies!

  71. says

    I’ve eating vegan for about 7 months now and living in a small town I haven’t had access to any cheese alternatives. Once I gave up dairy there was no going back for me. I’ve accidentally had dairy from time to time over the past 7 months and each time I felt awful for a couple days afterwards; congested, upset stomach, etc. I feel lighter and healthier without dairy.

    Thanks for the great article, I wish more people would give up dairy and realize that people don’t NEED dairy to meet nutritional needs.
    Herbivore Triathlete recently posted..Polar Bear Series 5KMy Profile

  72. Christen M. says

    Awesome info all together, I’ve been eating a whole food plant based diet for years now, and I really had no problem giving up dairy once I started reading about how horrible it is for you. I just shared with many people of Facebook to help promote it.

  73. Caitlin says

    Exciting, exciting stuff!!! I am a vegetarian that has a rule to keep dairy out of our house and refrigerator, and we only have it on special occasions… like dates, or Christmas, etc…. but when I do have it, I LOVE it so much that I go overboard :-/ This article has encouraged me to be even more mindful of dairy consumption, and not just eat anything simply because it’s meat-free.

  74. Lori B says

    Thanks for sharing such great information!! I’m working on going vegan this year and this post reinforces my choice. I’ve noticed that my allergies are so much better without dairy. Love your recipes and your blog!!

  75. Helena says

    I am a student studying Agriculture and Animal Science. I think it’s great that you choose not to consume dairy products however, you have some of your facts incorrect. Maybe get your facts straight before trying to turn people against the dairy business. Agriculture is the most important business in our world and turning people against it will lead to it disappearing. If this would happen, we wouldn’t be able to supply the world with enough food so people will suffer and the animals will become overpopulated and starve also because we will be fighting for the same food as them.

    • Dreena says

      Hi Helena, have you looked at these links? Respectfully, I have been living vegan for 20 years, and have done my research. I would hope that as a student you are eager to learn, and also to question majority thought and norms. I am not talking about agriculture, but rather animal agriculture… which is NOT sustainable, or healthy, and is horrifically cruel. This argument, that “animals will overpopulate”, is something vegans hear often. Animals won’t overpopulate because we won’t be farming them in mass production for our consumption of their flesh and fluids! And, the resources used to feed these animals could be put towards grain and crops to feed humans, rather than to feed animals that humans then feed upon – the entire system is inefficient and contributing to disease and creating a grave environmental toll. I always welcome new readers and hope to create more awareness and change, perhaps you will educate yourself further. Thanks and happy new year.

      • syd says

        I would also suggest looking up the percentage of “family” farms and “agri” business farms,,,it is not like it used to be where there was a much higher percentage of farmer to population that supplied our food to this country.It is now a drastically smaller number and many “farms” are now tremendously larger then what they used to be…the margins are so low for profit you have to grow more to break even.

      • Liz says

        I like your response here Dreena. I live near NC’s Smithfield farm. 30,000 pigs are killed…..a DAY! That level of consumption sickens me. 30,000 a day is mind blowing….that is only 1 Smithfield location. I’m going the no-dairy route. No “trying” I’m doing it! I’ve been vegetarian for a few years but last week I decided I’m ready to give up the dairy. Thanks for the great article.

      • Deana says

        Helena Please go watch Joaquin Phoenix Earthlings. (u tube) This Documentary may change how you view things.
        I hope this helps.

  76. Nadine says

    Awesome article! It’s been almost 5 years now that I ditched the dairy as a vegetarian. My IBS symptoms improved 95%. My skin improved. I lost 20 pounds in 2 months, my very severe seasonal allergies were gone and I no longer got sick several times a year. 8 months later, I went from vegetarian to embracing vegan and have never looked back!

    • Dreena says

      Nadine, that’s a big deal! Huge change for your IBS, and I’ve heard others have similar results once removing dairy… that alone must be life-changing! Glad to have you in the vegan club!! 😀

  77. Erica says

    I appreciate the effort you put to educate others about the truth of foods we consume and the great recipes you share!

  78. Emma says

    No more insomnia, headaches, fatigue and dopey head since going vegan and giving up dairy. Very infrequent, very mild colds.
    The biggest noticeable difference in our family is our son’s health. Vegan since birth, he’s now a hail and hearty two year old. He has never had any kind of ear infection, nasal/sinus/chest issues, asthma, allergies or digestive issues/stomach illness and has always slept well. This winter, when so many of his friends are getting one cold after another and sick for weeks on end, he has remained healthy and strong.
    I cringe when I see mom’s giving their kids sippy cups of milk or tubes of yogurt – I wish I could make them all understand the amazing health their kids could have without milk.

    • Dreena says

      Oh, Emma, me too. The constant ‘push’ of dairy to kids. I completely agree, the colds are very different – short-lived and mild compared to many that have very mucous-filled colds that go on and on and often develop into infections. Thanks for sharing your experiences… best to you and your family in the New Year. 😀

  79. Rebecca Stucki says

    Great article, Dreena! I know that milk products were the cause of my twice-yearly colds, sore throats and sinus infections. I used to wonder how so much snot could have come out of one person! LOL! Since I became a vegan three years ago – poof! No more colds, sore throats, sinus infections, or waking up with a nose full of mucus. Ah, sweet relief! I love soy milk in cereal, coconut banana ice cream, homemade coconut oil “butter”, and delicious cashew-based cheeses. And I honestly don’t know how any woman could eat dairy at all, once they know what cows have to go through to “give” us their babies’ milk. I just don’t.

    • Dreena says

      Thanks Rebecca. “how much snot”… LOL, so true. I have seen it over the years with kiddos at school too – snot noses that go on way too long, and the colds are different, very ‘mucous-y’ and heavy. Good point about women and the connection with our babies. Very true. Also, as a woman I noticed my cycles became easier, less crampy, etc. Just one of many benefits of getting dreaded dairy out of the system! Thanks for your note, and wishing you a beautiful New Year!

  80. laurie says

    Yep! I’ve given up dairy and have been totally plant-based for a full year now. I think cheese was the hardest thing to give up because of all of the reasons you have stated. BUT, now that I don’t eat it – it doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I’m totally happy being dairy free and the only trouble I have is when I travel and restaurants think that being meat-free means that they have to douse a dish with butter and cheese to make it tasty! When I say I don’t want ANY dairy, they get stumped! They need your cookbooks, Dreena!!

    • Dreena says

      Exactly, me too Laurie. Once dairy was out FULLY, it didn’t appeal to me, but when it was there – even in the slightest amount, I was still ‘hooked’. Parmesan was the hardest for me to stop eating, and I now think it’s because of the high levels of casein. And, LOL, I couldn’t agree more about restaurants – we should get a vegan cookbook donation program going for these butter-confused chefs. 😉 Congrats on a year of plant-power!!

    • Dreena says

      That’s fabulous Amanda! And, I haven’t heard that about mood much – but it makes perfect sense, if your body feels better – that does quite a lot for a better mood!!

  81. says

    Excellent article, Dreena! I’m celebrating my 10-year vegan anniversary tomorrow. I was vegetarian for 5 years before that, and noticed a MASSIVE difference in how I felt after I cut out dairy and became vegan. No more debilitating migraines, no more itchy skin, eyes, and throat, no more joint pain. Amazing!

    • Dreena says

      Yay! Congrats on your long-term veganniversary Karina! There is far more to life after dairy, I’m so pleased to read you have left those discomforts and ailments behind you with the dairy. Thanks for sharing.

    • Dreena says

      Thank you Jennifer, and kudos for kicking the dairy habit two years ago. People will be interested in reading your story too. Wishing you a beautiful néw year too!

  82. Colleen says

    We have given up milk completely a few years ago. My youngest would cough and cough all night so I did an experiment taking her off milk for a week and then putting her back on a few times, turns out when she was off, she stopped coughing. I also noticed when that when I would have a dairy product I would have terrible allergic type reactions, so I have now just eliminated dairy all together. Not to mention all the other reasons like antibiotics and hormones that I want to avoid.

    • Dreena says

      Good for you making that connection, Colleen. Many parents just keep doing the same and write it off as “childhood”. My husband had asthma as a child and teen, and no more after cutting out dairy. Thank you for sharing your experience… And for being health-proactive. Happy New Year!

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