Some people react badly to the lactose (milk sugar) in dairy products. Usually, someone sensitive or allergic to lactose will experience things like cramps, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or gas. Babies show what we call “colic”, which improves when the nursing mom cuts out dairy products or after a switch to a dairy free baby formula.
Lactose intolerance is so common, many commercial dairies now provide “Lactose-Free” milk and other products.
Some people have a different kind of problem with dairy that involves casein, the protein molecule in cow’s milk. This protein can cause things like hives, asthma and stuffy nose in sensitive kids and adults. A much deeper problem that can be related to intolerance to protein is bad behaviour:
“Dairy’s protein casein, has not only been linked to addiction that makes it hard to give up, but also aggression, depression, and even anger.” (http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/how-consuming-dairy-can-impact-your-mood/)
It has been well known for many years that milk and other dairy products can cause hyperactivity, lack of concentration and poor impulse control. If your child is experiencing these things, it might be worth trying a few weeks of a strict dairy-free diet.
But, you ask, WHAT ABOUT CALCIUM? Don’t kids need milk to get enough calcium? I’ll answer that question in a moment, but first, let’s talk about what we really need calcium for.
Although we normally think that calcium is mainly important to build strong bones and teeth, the first customer in line for the calcium in our body is actually our blood. Calcium is used to power our muscles (especially the heart!) and all our nerves. If there is not enough calcium in the blood, body asks for a ‘withdrawal’ from the calcium ‘bank’ in your bones. Sometimes the calcium in our blood gets used up balancing the acidity of our blood, just like taking an antacid tablet to take care of too much stomach acid.
How does your blood get acidic? By eating foods that cause acidity. Sugar is the main culprit, and the average North American eats (gasp) 130 pounds of sugar a year! It is hiding in almost every processed food. Too much red meat is also a cause of acidity. Soda pop is bubbly on account of lots of phosphorus which makes you lose calcium in your urine, starting that whole cycle of taking more calcium out of your bones to replace what you pee away!
According to the Harvard Nurses Study, women who drank 3 glasses of milk a day were actually more likely to suffer from osteoporosis, so clearly milk is not the ideal source we think it is. There are many other good quality sources of calcium. Here are some of my favorites:
Stinging Nettle Infusion
Nettles are a fabulous source of calcium as well as practically every known mineral and protein too. Put one cup of dried nettle leaves in a one-liter jar and fill with boiling water. Cap tightly and leave overnight. Strain out the plant material (compost or just toss in the garden), and store the liquid in the refrigerator. Drink within 48 hours because the high protein content causes it to spoil readily. 4 cups of nettle infusion contains 1200 mg of calcium which is very well absorbed!
Bone Broth is so easy and cheap to make! Throw some chicken or beef bones in a pot of water with onion, carrot, and celery. Bring to a boil and then simmer all day, or longer if you like. If you want to increase the calcium content, cover the bones with water and add a little lemon juice or cider vinegar for an hour before starting the broth. If you want a richer taste, be sure to roast the bones for an hour or so to start. You can use this as a base for soups, to cook rice, pasta or potatoes, or even as a nourishing hot drink.
Sesame Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds which are very high in calcium. This is one of the main ingredients in hummus, a tasty dip made with chick peas and garlic. Tahini combines well with a little apple butter for a lovely toast or sandwich spread and it can be made into a fabulous salad dressing with lemon and water.
Salmon in the can (with bones) and sardines are great sources of calcium but you really need to eat the bones!
If you want to make sure that your body really uses calcium properly, try any of the following:
Magnesium, Vitamin D3, and Vitamin K2 are all essential for proper metabolism of calcium.
Silica helps fix calcium in the bones, teeth, and nails.
Cell salts such as Calc-Phos, Calc-fluor, and Mag-Phos act to help the calcium enter right into the cells where it is needed.
If you would like more information about dietary changes that might help your child’s behaviour, visit my website:
or my Facebook Group called Improving Behaviour Naturally: