The #1 Reason To Ditch Dairy

Integrative Medicine Doctor By Amy Shah, M.D.
Integrative Medicine Doctor
Dr. Amy Shah is a double board certified MD with training from Cornell, Columbia and Harvard Universities. She was named one of mindbodygreen's Top 100 Women In Wellness to Watch in 2015 and has been a guest on many national and local media shows.

Good news: I'm going stay away from the ethical, religious, and political aspects of the dairy industry. Just for the sake of this argument.

The #1 reason you should ditch dairy is because it's inflammatory.

That's not my opinion. I grew up on dairy (after all, milk does a body good, right?) and I loved my ice cream. But as a physician, I have been influenced by the science.

I study and work with patients who have food allergies, intolerances and immunology issues and what I see in my practice is that in many people, and through many different mechanisms, dairy is causing unwanted inflammation.

If you are eating healthy but still experiencing acne, GI trouble, acid reflux, joint pain, sinusitis, headaches, constipation, eczema, autoimmune disease or even cancer, my advice is that you try ditching the dairy. Do it for 30 to 45 days. You might be amazed at how good you feel.

The science behind ditching dairy

You might already know this but dairy is among the most common food allergies in children. The cow's milk proteins enter through the gut and cause an allergic response.

In adults, there are multiple mechanisms that can cause inflammation (allergic and non-allergic), depending upon the patient's genetic predisposition and many other factors.

Besides the inflammatory response, a big percentage of people in the world are lactose intolerant, which means they aren't fully able to digest the milk proteins. There are many problematic dairy proteins but casein, casomorphin and butyrophillin are the main ones. In fact, T. Colin Campbell, author of The China study, has linked casein with cancer.

To make matters more confusing, not all casein is created equal! In fact, casein in milk varies depending on the cow. A1 beta-casein, for example, is linked to digestive problems, joint pain, and possibly leaky gut syndrome. However, the casein called an A2 beta casein protein, doesn’t seem to have this same problem.

What if you don't have any of these health issues? Can you still eat diary?


I understand that some people can eat dairy and tolerate it. They remove dairy and feel no different, nor do they have ethical or other objections to dairy consumption. But if you do consume dairy, my advice is to eat raw, full-fat dairy. Raw and full fat is great because it is closest to the way it comes out of the cow. It is unpasteurized, unprocessed and un-homogonized. (But of course, please investigate the quality of the source and the local laws in your state about raw milk consumption!)

You might also be wondering where you're supposed to get your protein, calcium, and vitamin D if you're not eating dairy. I had the same concerns before I gave up dairy, but when I looked into it, I found tons of alternatives.

Here I have a recipe idea from my new inflammatory detox, which is dairy-free and gluten-free.


A Protein Packed Dairy-Free Smoothie

You can get 22 grams of protein with this whole foods, plant-based smoothie. (Yes you read that right! 22 grams of protein with no added whey or other dairy!)

Not to mention it's loaded with fiber, calcium, antioxidants, and vitamins.


  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 cup blueberries or cherries
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and/or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup ice optional: stevia or more berries for sweetness


Wash spinach and berries thoroughly

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender (like Vitamix)

Sprinkle with chocolate shavings if you want a extra treat.

Want more ideas for anti-inflammatory foods? Working on it here for you!

Amy Shah, M.D.
Amy Shah, M.D.
Dr. Amy Shah is a double board certified MD with training from Cornell, Columbia and Harvard...
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Amy Shah, M.D.
Amy Shah, M.D.
Dr. Amy Shah is a double board certified MD with training from...
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