January 1 is the perfect day for a lifestyle reboot. For each of us, that means something different: It could be the day you quit smoking, commit to a new fitness program, or decide to reclaim your health by ditching bad dietary habits. If you fall into this latter camp, you'll want to learn more about The Dairy Detox, a fun and supportive digital program designed to help you kick the dairy habit and potentially lose weight, get clearer skin, and simply feel more vital and energetic while helping animals and the environment. Here, we talk to Allison Rivers Samson, one half of the Dairy Detox team, and discover why eliminating dairy from your diet is one of the best gifts you can give yourself in 2017.
What are some of the reasons we might want to eliminate dairy from our diets?
If you care about your health, the planet, or eliminating animal cruelty, cutting out dairy is something that can positively impact all three.
On the health side, dairy is one of the most common culprits that can contribute to inflammation; skin problems like acne and eczema; digestive issues such as constipation; breathing difficulties including congestion and asthma; and even more serious ailments like diabetes and cancer.
Environmentally, animal agriculture is the number one generator of global warming—-more than all modes of transportation combined. Shifting to plant-based milks and cheeses is an easy way to minimize our carbon footprint, reduce air and water pollution, prevent deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, and more.
From the animal’s perspective, dairy is a cruel industry. The most basic aspect is that people often think that cows just automatically have milk similarly to turning on a faucet, but just like humans, milk is the result of mammal lactation, which is preceded by a pregnancy. In the dairy industry, female cows are artificially inseminated, and shortly after birth, their babies are taken away so that humans can drink the milk instead. The mama cow will often bellow in grief at the loss of her baby—and will sometimes even stop eating. You can learn more about the life of a cow in the dairy industry in this illustrated “Draw My Life” video.
You've probably heard people say that they are "addicted" to cheese. Why is that?
People say they’re “addicted” to cheese because they are! Truly. Here’s why: The protein in a mammal’s milk is called casein. When milk is consumed, the proteins break down into amino-acid compounds called peptides, which contain a morphine-like chemical called casomorphin. You may have heard people talk about breastfed babies getting “milk-drunk.” This is because when mammal’s milk is consumed, casomorphin floods the body with feel-good hormones. This is evolution’s brilliant design to encourage baby to bond with mother and be nourished by her milk for healthy growth. The opiate-like effects not only keep baby coming back for more, but human adults as well. Since cheese is essentially concentrated milk, it has more casein and thus increased casomorphins. The addiction is real.
You and your Dairy Detox co-founder and partner Michelle Cehn are both vegan. How has eliminating dairy from your own diet changed your life?
When I ditched dairy 20 years ago, the cystic acne on my skin cleared up and I was able to release about 10 stubborn pounds. I felt clearer, lighter, and more alive.
Michelle ditched dairy when she learned about the awful animal cruelty inherent in the dairy industry. But soon after releasing dairy from her life, she found that her diet actually expanded as she crowded out dairy products with far more healthful plant-powered foods. Not surprisingly, she says that she began to feel better than ever and soon learned that the same foods that were kind to animals and better for our planet, are also better for our health! She also feels the mental benefits of knowing that her actions and her values are now aligned.
The Dairy Detox plan is just 12 days long. What can we expect to experience in less than two weeks on the program?
In 12 days you’ll get the information and practice you need without feeling overwhelmed. You will quickly learn that eliminating dairy is not only doable, but it’s an eye-opening, fun adventure as you discover delicious new foods. By the end of the course, you’ll be empowered with the knowledge, tools, and recipes to thrive dairy-free, and we bet you’ll feel so good, you’ll choose to keep going!
By removing dairy for 12 days you will give your body a chance to begin healing. Many people think they eat a lot less dairy than they really do, and they have no idea that some of the chronic symptoms they’re living with would be eliminated when dairy is removed from the diet. Dairy is packed with fat and cholesterol and has zero fiber! When you stop pumping your body with this artery-clogging formula and replace it with fiber-licious plant foods instead, you’re essentially getting out of your own body’s way and providing it with a nice broom (fiber) to clean up the junk that has been accumulating for years (or maybe even decades!). That’s when your systems can really start to heal.
Depending upon your afflictions, you might notice health benefits like healthier weight, improved energy, clearer skin, clearer sinuses, and even clearer thoughts!
For someone who has consumed the Standard American Diet (SAD) his or her whole life, the idea of never eating cheesy pizzas, lasagna, or cheesecake ever again might be too much to bear. What can the Dairy Detox program offer to those who crave those comforting foods?
The Dairy Detox offers everything you would ever want to satisfy your creamy, cheesy desires. It’s just that instead of making them from mother’s milk—which adults don’t need—we make them from nutritious plant-based foods like cashews, almonds, and coconut!
From homemade recipes for all the treats you love (including those you mentioned) to tips for choosing store-bought brands, you will have plenty to choose from.
Most of us have grown up with an understanding that dairy products are optimal sources of calcium. What can we learn from The Dairy Detox that will assure us that we won't become vitamin/mineral deficient on a dairy-free diet?
One of the many things you’ll learn is where these beliefs come from. Sadly, they were created with the intention to benefit the dairy industry’s bottom line. We’ll tell you how to get your calcium, vitamin D, and all the nutrients you need without dairy. Hint: you get them from the same place the cows do—-plants!
You've helped so many people eliminate dairy from their diets, with fantastic results. What are some of the physical (or other) benefits you've witnessed in people who decide to kick the habit?
We’ve had a wide spectrum of people take the course including omnivores who want to prevent and reverse chronic issues they’re struggling with (acne, digestive troubles, obesity, diabetes, etc.); vegetarians who are gripping onto dairy cheese with claws of death, but are ready to take their health, kindness, and environmental impact to the next level; and even longtime vegans who want to hone their messaging about dairy so they’ll know how to respond when people ask them, “How do you live without cheeeeeese?!”