5 Reasons Why I Don’t Eat Dairy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of us who grew up in North America were raised on milk and dairy products.  We were lead to believe that dairy was not only important but NECESSARY for bone health. Dairy is one of the 4 food groups in the Canadian food guide and it is recommended to have 2 cups a day.

But over the last few years many questions have been raised over the benefits of dairy.  Many individuals report gastrointestinal upset due to the lactose in milk and others seem to be unable to tolerate casein, another protein found in milk.  Although dairy does have a few benefits, I personally feel the risks (or side effects) outweigh the benefits for dairy consumption.  Not only does my food sensitivity test reveal that I develop an inflammatory response in my body when I eat dairy, some of the recent research presents some pretty compelling reasons to put down the cows milk.

Here are the other reasons I have chosen to stop consuming diary:

  1. MILK MAY INCREASE BONE FRACTURE RISK: In 2013, 2 researchers from Harvard, Dr. David Ludwig and Water willet published an article raising even more questions about milk: they suggest it does not help bones become stronger and may be linked with cancer . In the late 90’s the Nurses Health study followed over 75,000 woman for over 12 years and found no protective effect of increased milk consumption on bones.  In fact, it may even increase fracture risk.
  1. DAIRY CONSUMPTION HAS BEEN LINKED TO CANCER: dairy consumption may also be linked to ovarian cancer and breast cancer !
  1. DAIRY MAY INCREASE ACNE AND OTHER INFLAMMATORY CONDITIONS: Additional concerns have been outlined in research pertaining to dairy promoting acne, allergies and inflammation in some individuals. Many woman notice less PMS symptoms and/or less cramping with the removal of dairy from their diet. I have seen numerous cases of hard to treat acne significantly improve by just removing dairy from the body!
  1. WE CAN OBTAIN ENOUGH CALCIUM THROUGH VEGGIES, NUTS AND SEEDS: The recommended daily calcium intake for woman aged 9-18 years of age is 1300mg per day and for woman aged 19-50 it is 1000mg per day. 1 cup of milk is around 300mg, however research has shown that calcium absorption from vegetables (kale) is greater than from milk. Listed Below are some great sources of calcium.

Sesame Seeds –  A quarter cup of sesame seeds has 351 mg calcium.

Spinach – A cup of boiled spinach has 245 mg.

Collard Greens – A cup of boiled collard greens has 266 mg.

Blackstrap Molasses – One tablespoon has about 137 mg.

Kelp – One cup of raw kelp has 136 mg.

Tahini – Two tablespoons of raw tahini (sesame seed butter) have 126 mg.

Broccoli – Two cups of boiled broccoli have 124 mg.

 

  1. DAIRY MAY AGGRAVATE OTHER MEDICAL CONDITIONS: such as irritable bowel syndrome, ear infections and chronic constipation.

Except for the odd piece of cheese, I have cut dairy out of my diet completely for the past few years. There are so many great alternatives available- almond milk, hemp milk, gmo organic soy milk, rice milk etc! Goat’s milk is also a good alternative for some, however individuals who have a really hard time digesting cow’s milk also may have trouble with goats.

Have more questions about diet? Or are you looking for more ways to increase your health? Book an appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor!

Yours in Vitality,

Dr. Emily

 

Works Cited

Feskanich D, Willet WC, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA. Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study. Am J Public Health 1997;87:992-7.

Cumming RG, Klineberg RJ. Case-control study of risk factors for hip fractures in the elderly. Am J Epidemiol 1994;139:493-505.

Huang Z, Himes JH, McGovern PG. Nutrition and subsequent hip fracture risk among a national cohort of white women. Am J Epidemiol 1996;144:124-34.

Cummings SR, Nevitt MC, Browner WS, et al. Risk factors for hip fracture in white women. N Engl J Med 1995;332:767-73. 31. Finn SC. The skeleton crew: is calcium enough? J Women’s Health 1998;7(1):31-6.

Nordin CBE. Calcium and osteoporosis. Nutrition 1997;3(7/8):664-86.

Cramer DW, Harlow BL, Willet WC. Galactose consumption and metabolism in relation to the risk of ovarian cancer. Lancet 1989;2:66-71.

Genkinger JM, Hunter DJ, Spiegelman D, et al. Dairy products and ovarian cancer: a pooled analysis of 12 cohort studies. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006; 15:364–72.

Outwater JL, Nicholson A, Barnard N. Dairy products and breast cancer: the IGF-1, estrogen, and bGH hypothesis. Medical Hypothesis 1997;48:453-61.

Chan JM, Stampfer MJ, Giovannucci E, et al. Plasma insulin-like growth factor-1 and prostate cancer risk: a prospective study. Science 1998;279:563-5

Melnik. Evidence for acne promoting effects of milk and other insulin like dairy products Nestle Nutr Workshop Ser Pediatr Program. 2011;67:131-45. doi: 10.1159/000325580. Epub 2011 Feb 16.

Danby. Acne dairy and cancer. Dermatoendocrinol. 2009 jan-feb 1 (1): 12-16.

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 Feb;52(2):207-14.

 Acta Otolaryngol. 1999;119(8):867-73 45. Med Hypotheses. 2010 Apr;74(4):732-4. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.10.044. Epub 2009 Nov 25..

. Nature. 2014 Jan 23;505(7484):559-63

 

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Are You Getting Enough Omega 3 Fatty Acids? A key factor in Mood & Inflammation.

Plant-based and animal sources of Omega-3 acidsOmega 3 fatty acids are commonly found in fish, seafood and some seeds.  These fatty acids have been associated with improving mood, benefiting the skin (decreasing eczema and acne) and improving inflammatory conditions such as joint pain.  New research is also finding that these substances may improve your IQ!

One interesting study found that aging humans who consumed higher levels omega-3s had increased gray matter brain volume and that most new tissue development was observed in the part of the brain associated with happiness.

Similar findings appeared in the journal Lancet. In a very large human study, scientists analyzed the diets of 12,000 pregnant women. The study found that children of those mothers who consumed the least omega-3 were 48% more likely to score in the lowest quartile on IQ tests.

Another study revealed when male teenagers ate fish more than once a week their combined intelligence scores were on average 12 per cent higher than those who ate fish less than once a week!!

Take the Quiz below (Adapted by Mark Hyman, MD) to find out if you are deficient in this important nutrient:

FATTY ACIDS QUIZ

  1. I have soft, cracked or brittle nails.  yes/no
  2. I have dry, itchy, scaling, or flaking skin.     yes/no     
  3. I have hard ear wax.     yes/no
  4. I have chicken skin (tiny bumps on back of arms or on the trunk) yes/no  
  5. I have dandruff.         yes/no
  6. I feel aching or stiffness in my joints.      yes/no
  7. I am thirsty most of the time.           yes/no   
  8. I am constipated (have less than two bowel movements a day).        yes/no     
  9. I have light-coloured, hard, or foul-smelling stools.       yes/no   
  10. I have depression, ADHD, and/or memory loss.      yes/no
  11. I have high blood pressure.     yes/no
  12. I have fibrocystic breasts.      yes/no
  13. I have premenstrual syndrome.       yes/no  
  14. I have high LDL cholesterol, low HDL levels, and high triglycerides.  yes/no   
  15. I am of North Atlantic genetic background: Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Scandinavian, or coastal Native American.                yes/no

 

Scoring Key-Fatty Acids

Score (number of yes answers)
Severity
0-4 Mild
5-7 Moderate
8 and above Severe

 

If you suspect you are low in omega 3 Fatty Acids talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about how to increase dietary consumption and what supplements may be best for you!  It is important to use a high quality fish oil supplement to avoid contaminants such as mercury.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Emily Lipinski, ND

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Why Heat Can Help Ease Menstrual Pains

hot water bottle 2

I have countless patients that come to me to help them have more tolerable periods. A great deal of woman suffer from monthly menstruation pain and many are looking for alternatives to conventional oral pain killers.

Applying heat to the tummy to ease menstrual pain is advice women have passed down through the generations.

Now scientists have proved your grandmother really was on to something when she told you to use a hot water bottle.

Scientists say that placing a warm water bottle on the abdomen can not only alleviate menstrual cramping but can also relieve pain caused by cystitis. They say placing something warm on the skin above where the pain is felt can alleviate abdominal pain in a similar way to painkillers for up to an hour.

The scientists, from University College London, found that heat treatment works by blocking pain messages to the brain.

According to Dr. Brian King, when presenting his findings to the Physiological Society’s annual conference, ‘The heat doesn’t just provide comfort and have a placebo effect – it actually deactivates the pain at a molecular level in much the same way as pharmaceutical painkillers work. We have discovered how this molecular process works.’

The scientists found that if a warm temperature over 40 degrees Celsius is applied to the skin near to where internal pain is felt, it switches on heat receptors at the site of injury. These heat receptors in turn block the effect of chemical messengers that cause pain to be detected by the body”

Unfortunately, the relief from heat is only temporary, and many woman may need other solutions (like our many tips on periodmakeover.com or completing our Period Makeover Detox, that will be available on the Period Makeover  site soon!).

Lying down and using a hot water bottle can be very helpful, but sometimes our busy schedules do not allow for this! Luckily there are many over the counter, convenient, “on the go” heating pads available at drug stores that can easily be used under your clothes at work or throughout the day.

I would love to hear from you- have you found heat an effective way to decrease period pains?

In Health,

Dr. Emily

7 Reasons to Decrease Coffee Consumption

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There is honestly nothing more tempting then that beautiful aroma of freshly brewed coffee in the morning. Or, after finishing a delicious dinner sipping on the perfect little cappuccino. Coffee makes us feel happy, warm and energized, and some people swear that it has health benefits. However, coffee is not for everyone nor should it be consumed in excess. Additionally, many people add lots of dairy products and sugar to their daily cup of coffee. This adds calories and is difficult for the digestion. I have seen many patients that are drinking way too much caffeine and experience enormous health benefits once they cut out or slow down on the java.

Please read on for 7 reasons why I believe coffee should be enjoyed in moderation (or not at all for some)

  1. Coffee increases catecholamines, hormones released in response to STRESS.  The stress response increases cortisol and insulin.  This response can increase inflammation thereby making you feel tired.
  2. Coffee consumption has been associated with increased PMS!! Many woman also crave coffee close to their menses, but try and hold off- it may improve cramps, breast tenderness and irritability.
  3. It may impact your CHOLESTEROL levels. Some research has linked drinking unfiltered coffee to an increase in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Unfiltered coffee has high amount of diterpenes. These diterpenes have been linked to higher levels of triglycerides, LDL and VLDL levels. All things you do not want to be high in your body!
  4. Coffee is not great for DIGESTION. The acidity of coffee is associated with indigestion, heart burn, GERD and changes in beneficial gut flora.
  5. Due to the impact coffee has on the digestive system, coffee may also inhibit the absorption of key nutrients such as magnesium, calcium and potassium.
  6. Drinking caffeine throughout the day may impact your SLEEP. This sounds pretty basic, but if you are having trouble sleeping at night cut out the caffeine (and switch to green tea) or limit yourself to ONE CUP BEFORE 11am. Do this for at least one month.
  7. Coffee can interfere with normal DRUG METABOLISM. Constituents in coffee can interfere with metabolism and detoxification in the liver making it difficult to regulate the normal detoxification process in the liver.  Additionally coffee can interfere with absorption of certain medications such as thyroid and tricyclic antidepressant medications.

 

Many people have withdrawal from coffee, and this can last for up to a month. Try replacing coffee with green tea, herbal teas or coffee substitutes containing roasted grains (found at whole foods or other health food stores). I find that steeping a cup of Rooibos tea and adding in some almond milk or rice milk can give me some of the satisfaction coffee does. Again, some people tolerate caffeine better than others, however I would recommend making coffee more of a treat than a necessity.

In Health,

Dr. Emily Lipinski, ND

Linoleic acids and Gamma Linolenic Acids (GLAs)

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Studies have found that consumption of linoleic acids (an essential fatty acid) and vitamin C decrease drying and wrinkling of the skin.  Linoleic acid plays a key role here because once ingested, linoleic acid turns into gamma linolenic acid also known as GLA. Through a series of steps, GLA is eventually converted to prostaglandin 1, which has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin and is also effective in regulating water loss and protecting the skin from damage. You can also supplement with evening primrose oil or borage oil, both contain high amounts of GLA.  Watch my video with the wonderful Kristen Ma to learn more about evening primrose oil here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-ClA89C-K0.

Walnuts contain both linoleic acid and omega 3 fatty acids.  This is excellent because in our western diets we tend to have a higher amount of omega 6 fatty acids compared to omega 3 and this can cause an imbalance.  Additionally, some of the major sources of omega 6 fatty acids in the western diet come from corn, wheat and soy bean oil.  These have been heavily modified and now cause digestive and health problems for many individuals.

A handful of walnuts make a great snack, or can be added on top of a salad or are great additions when baking healthy treats.

Hormone Balance and PMS

Hormones naturally change and decrease in a womans life around menopause.  However many younger woman can also have imbalanced hormones.  Stress, oral contraceptives and exposure to xenoestrogens can all effect our hormones.

Some woman that experience PMS may have a hormonal imbalance.  Your Naturopathic Doctor can order a hormone panel in order to measure your hormone levels in your blood or saliva.   Once levels are known natural remedies can be used to help re-establish hormonal homeostasis.

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Some common hormone imbalances that can influence PMS:

Progesterone Deficiency

Progesterone is typically seen in high amounts during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.  In some woman prolonged periods of stress may decrease progesterone levels (Truestar Health, 2013). Deficient progesterone can cause water retention, breast tenderness, anxiety, sleep disruption, heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged cycles and headaches (Dharam Kaur, S 2005).

Estrogen Dominance

Too much estrogen can arise from taking the birth control pill or other forms of medications containing estrogen.  Additionally, we are now exposed to many xenoestrogens such as BPAs found in plastics, pesticides and hormones in foods that can act like estrogens in our bodies.  Excess estrogen can cause irritability, aggression, weight gain and is also linked to uterine fibroid and ovarian cysts.  Other symptoms of excess estrogens can include blood clots and impaired blood sugar regulation.

Excess Prolactin

This hormone, typically produced when a woman breast feeds is also produced when she is under a great deal of stress.  Too much prolactin can cause infertility, breast tenderness and swelling and irritability.  Excess levels of this hormone can also cause increased cell division in breast cells causing increased breast density.

Cortisol Imbalance

Too much or too little cortisol can cause PMS.  Symptoms of too much cortisol can include: muscle weakness, thinning skin, elevated glucose, insulin resistance, tendency towards easy weight gain and lowered immune function.  Too little cortisol can decrease the ability to handle stress, increase cravings for stimulants such as coffee, caffeine and chocolate, joint pain, increased inflammation, hypoglycemia, rapid heartbeat and an increase in White blood cells.

Decreased Thyroid Hormones

Hypothyroidism, the under activity of the thyroid gland can cause symptoms of PMS, heavy periods or amenorrhea. Other Symptoms can include low energy, poor memory, dry skin, decreased perspiration, easy weight gain, intolerance to cold and constipation.

Works Cited

Turestar Health “Four Keys to Kick PMS” by Natasha Turner accessed May 27 2013 via http://www.truestarhealth.com/members/archives.asp?content=14ml3p1a97y

Dharam Kayr, Sat. The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Woman’s Health 2005 Robert Rose Publishing Toronto.

Suggestions for Chronic Pain and Inflammation

Pain is a very complex phenomenon that combines information from the nervous system with emotions, thoughts and social context.  Pain is also highly individual and subjective and can be related to depression, anxiety, diet and stress.  There are also many conditions that cause for chronic pain.  These include but are not limited to: rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, irritable bowel disease, fibromyalgia and chronic headaches.  The pathophysiology of chronic pain is complicated,  not wholly understood and also differs dependent on the individual and thier underlying condition. Therefore, I am not going to get into these details  in this post.  However, I am going to offer some alternative suggestions for pain management.

1. Food Sensitivities

A food sensitivity is different than a food allergy. Individuals with food sensitivities have DELAYED reactions to specific foods that are triggered by IgG antibodies.  In an IgG reaction the IgG antibodies attach themselves to a food antigen creating a antigen antibody complex. If present in high amounts these complexes can accumulate in cells and can lead to inflammation, in turn promoting pain or disease.  Many naturopathic doctors and some medical doctors can run tests to measure your levels of IgG in regards to various different foods. Additionally, special diets can also help to identify specific foods that may be causing an IgG reaction.  If you have IBS, IBD or any other condition associated with inflammation discuss the possibility of food sensitivities with your naturopathic doctor.

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps individuals to identify and develop skills to change negative thoughts.  It also encourages a problem solving attitude and involves homework to keep track of thoughts and feelings associated with pain. CBT has been shown to be effective in alleviating jaw pain, migraine headaches, and in rheumatoid conditions.

3. Trans cutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS machine)

The TENS machine produces an electric current that stimulates the nerves over or around the area of pain.  It has been shown to be effective for some individuals in helping to control acute and chronic pain by either interfering with the pain response or by desensitizing the nerves involved in pain signalling. It is best to try the TENS machine with your ND, MD or physiotherapist to explore if this method of pain management is of benefit to you.  If so, you can purchase one from some drugstores or online and use frequently at home.

4. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a procedure that involves the stimulation of specific point on the body be inserting fine needles into the skin.  According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture corrects the imbalance of qi, or vital life force, that flows through us and thereby promoting wellness.  In a review article of 24 studies, acupuncture has been shown to have a 70% efficacy in treating pain compared to placebo.  Both naturopathic and traditional chinese medicine doctors can administer  acupuncture in Ontario.

5. Supplements

There are various supplements that have been shown to be effective in managing pain and decreasing inflammation.  However, appropriate and effective supplementation is based on the individual and their underlying conditions.  Talk to your naturopathic doctor about what supplements would be best for you.

  1. Van Delmen AM, Fennis JF, Bleijenberg G. Cognitive Behavioral group therapy for irritable bowel syndrome, effects and long term follow up. Psychosom Med 1996;58:508-514.
  2. Dworkin SF. Behavioral and educational modalities. Oral Surg Oral Med Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 1997;83:128-133.
  3. Arathuzik D. Effects of cognitive-behavioral strategies on pain in cancer patients. Cancer Nurs 1994;17:207-214.
  4. Johnson M, Martinson, M (2006). “Efficacy of electrical nerve stimulation for chronic musculoskeletal pain: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials”. Pain 130 (1): 157–165. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2007.02.007
  5. 5. Reichmanis M, Becker RO. Relief of experimentally induced pain by stimulation oat acupuncture loci: a review. Comp Med East West 1977;5:281-288.
  6. Photo Creds: thediarymom.blogspot.com, http://www.istoppain.com, http://www.building-muscle101.com, http://www.supplementfarmer.com