“Milk does a Body Good.” I am sure that many of you remember seeing commercials and/or billboards with this slogan from the National Dairy Council touting the health benefits that milk provides. More recently I have seen commercials about dairy products contributing to weight loss. Additionally, mothers all over the world put an emphasis on having their children drink lots of milk in order to grow up strong and healthy. So if milk is so good for you then why is it prohibited on the Candida Diet?
The Candida Diet is the cornerstone of treatment for a medical condition known as candidiasis. This condition is characterized by an overgrowth of yeast (Candida) in the intestinal system. External factors such as overuse of antibiotics, which kill all intestinal bacteria and a diet high in processed/sugary foods, which feed the Candida, contribute to causing an imbalance in the intestinal system. When the natural balance of the intestinal system is disrupted Candida grows and becomes an opportunistic microorganism that causes ailments throughout the body. The Candida Diet strives to restore balance to the intestinal system by cutting off the Candida’s food supply. It is the sugar content of milk that is of concern to the Candida dieter and thus why it is prohibited on the diet. Lactose, the sugar found in milk is also hard for many people to digest and can cause gastrointestinal systems that only worsen candidiasis.
It is unfortunate that milk may aggravate candidiasis because milk is a great source of so many vitamins essential to optimal health. I don’t know if there is a comparable natural food source out there that could provide such a complete source of calcium and Vitamin D as cow’s milk does. So what is a Candida dieter to do about milk? Surely we do not want to miss out on these nutrients while trying to restore our intestinal balance. Fortunately, due to today’s common occurrence of lactose intolerance and food allergies there are a wide variety of milk alternatives available that are okay for the Candida diet. Many of these milk alternatives are fortified with levels of calcium and vitamin D comparable to that of cow’s milk.
Soy Milk seems to be one of the most commonly used milk alternatives. With brands like Silk right next to the cow’s milk in the grocery store most of us have taken note of this heart healthy milk alternative. I use unsweetened soy milk a lot on the Candida diet. It has a similar consistency to that of cow’s milk and behaves as such in recipes. Soy however is one of the top eight allergens so it may not be suitable for everyone.
Almond Milk is another popular milk alternative. It is ideal for people that cannot use soy due to sensitivity or allergy. I have not used almond milk because both of my children are severely allergic to nuts. I have however heard great things about almond milk in regard to both its taste and usability. Almonds are tree nuts so they are also considered one of the top eight allergens and may pose problems for some.
Rice Milk is an okay milk alternative. This is what I use for my children because they are allergic, at varying degrees to cow’s milk, soy and tree nuts. Rice milk is great in cereal but only mediocre for cooking. The consistency is very watery so it cannot be used effectively in some recipes. It is also very sweet, even when using the unsweetened version. Rice milk is also high carbohydrates so it may not be ideal for Candida dieters especially in the early stages of the diet.
Hemp Milk seems to be the new kid on the block but I have not used it yet. Contrary to how it sounds it is not illegal nor does it contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the active chemical in marijuana. From what I have read, hemp milk has a creamy consistency and performs well in cooking.
When you are choosing a milk alternative make sure that it is unsweetened and does not contain any prohibited additives.
For more information on the Candida Diet visit Yeast Free Living.