With a change of seasons comes a change of mindset. As fall quietly approaches and children reluctantly return to school, there is a sense of renewal and beginning at this time of year.
It is a time to set goals: cook dinner every night, wake up early for a morning jog, go dairy-free.
Adapting a dairy-free lifestyle will mark a new beginning and renewal of your health. By simply reducing or completely eliminating dairy from your diet, you lower your chances of suffering from potential health issues, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Considerable scientific evidence questions the health benefits of conventional dairy and shows its potential health risks:
- Growth hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics are consistently found in conventional dairy, and when accumulated in the human body, they are known to cause cancer, birth defects, nervous system and brain damage, and developmental problems in children.
- Dairy contains high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat—a diet high in these substances can increase the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease.
- A 2001 study showed the link between consumption of dairy and Type 1 (childhood onset) diabetes.
- As people age, they gradually lose the ability to properly digest the sugars found in lactose, causing unwanted symptoms such as gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and gas.
Proponents of dairy consumption argue that dairy is the best source of calcium, but there are many other foods that provide adequate, daily calcium needs: salmon, sardines, tofu, leafy greens (collard greens, spinach, kale, chard, bok choy), beans, nuts, quinoa, amaranth grain, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, peas, sea vegetables, and soy milk.
The choice to go dairy-free can be achieved gradually. Begin to eliminate dairy from your diet and if consuming dairy, be a wise consumer: choose organic, low-fat sources, as they are the healthiest dairy products on the market.
Below is a recipe for a delicious and seasonal Creamy Carrot Soup that does not contain any dairy at all:
Creamy Carrot Soup with Sweet Potato
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 pounds carrots, peeled and diced
5 cups low sodium vegetable stock
1/2 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Ginger powder or curry powder to taste (OPTIONAL)
Yields 6 cups
In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and salt and heat them in oil until onions are translucent and soft (about 5–8 minutes). Stir frequently.
Add carrots to pot and cover with a lid. Cook over low heat for 6 minutes. Stir often.
Add stock and diced potato to pot and bring liquid up to a boil. Then, reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes, covered, until carrots are very tender.
Ladle the soup into a blender and blend until creamy and smooth (may need to add more stock or water if soup seems too thick). Add lemon juice and season as desired.
Serve over 1/2 cup rice, couscous, quinoa (a calcium-containing whole grain), or other grain and enjoy!
Please note: You can make a soup creamy without any cream or dairy! Just mix in some oats or Arborio rice or diced potato to the soup and then blend everything in the end. The results will be creamy, smooth, and delicious … and dairy-free!