During the past few decades, dairy has gotten a really bad rap. Some of this is deserved and some not so much. For those who are lactose intolerant, digesting the sugar component of dairy can cause pain and gas. Symptoms like this are probably a good indication that you should avoid dairy, especially milk. Naturally processed dairy items, like cheese or yogurt may be better tolerated. Some people who can’t eat lactose can tolerate butter, since it is low in lactose.
I had a friend who was sensitive to high-fat dairy, so she stayed away from it. This is less common, as it’s usually the lactose that causes indigestion. Chinese medicine does not love dairy or high fat foods, but not because they clog the arteries (they do not; as I write about about in my book), but rather because it can be difficult to digest and can cause other organ imbalances.
One way to help prevent indigestion from high-fat dairy, (which can happen to even the sturdiest gastronome when the quantities get high) is to include sour foods like lemon in the meal to help with digestion. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that overeating is probably the most common cause of stomach pain, so there is nothing like stopping the meal before the food is coming out of your ears.
Whether or not you can digest dairy may have a lot to do with your genealogy and cultural practices. Some nationalities eat tons of dairy and have a long life expectancy (like the French and Italians). Some eat little dairy and are also known for longevity (like the Chinese and Japanese).
The evidence against all animal foods (such as The China Study) is severely flawed and I believe that the authors were incredibly biased. The data from those studies cannot be taken at face value. If you are a happy healthy vegan then I am happy for you. However, most people need to be omnivorous to be healthy. The research of the Dr. Weston Price and the Weston A. Price foundation is an excellent antidote to the China Study.
Sometimes we sit and eat foods that we believe for one reason or another are bad for us. We say things like, “I shouldn’t be eating this but…” I do not recommend this sort of behavior. My advice is this: If you’re already eating it, enjoy it and don’t allow guilt to ruin the experience.
Choose to eat it or not to. But once you’re eating it, guilt will do nothing to protect you from the harmful effects. I believe that it is bad for your health to beat yourself up about what you are already eating! Once you’ve decided to eat it, you may as well do it with joy and enthusiasm!
Have a great Shavuos,