Written by Heather McClees / One Green Planet
Arthritis, joint pain, muscle aches. They’ve plagued us all at some point or another. But can joint pain be preventable through a mere change in diet? Possibly. Studies have shown those who eat a higher plant-based (vegan) diet not only experience a greater sense of wellness, but also a dramatic reduction in disease, osteoporosis, joint pain, arthritis, and general muscle aches. The removal of red meat from a person’s diet is a great idea to initiate the reduction of joint pain and other types of pains since red meat is highly acidic, inflammatory, and has been linked to cancer. But is removing red meat (and even fish, turkey, chicken, and pork) enough? Apparently not.
Why Dairy Is a Nightmare for Your Joints
Dairy has been shown to be one of the most prominent foods to cause joint pain, arthritis, diabetes, and yes, cancer too. It’s been linked to body pains, headaches, poor exercise recovery, allergies, and digestive issues. It’s acidic, said to promote excess mucus, and is often filled with excess hormones, pesticides, bacteria, and inhumanity. What more about this food do we need to hear before we kick it to the curb?
Dairy and Calcium Loss
Sadly the dairy industry promotes the use of dairy foods like yogurt, some cheeses, and non-dairy milk as a good source of calcium, however, there’s more to the story than we hear in marketing hypes. Dairy may contain calcium but it also causes calcium and mineral loss in the bones and muscle cells. This can lead to joint pain, arthritis, and poor overall health. It can also cause a nutritional deficiency that may be hard to spot.
Dairy Hurts Your Gut, Which Also Affects Your Joints
Dairy has also been linked to leaky gut syndrome, which can also affect the health of your joints. When leaky gut syndrome occurs, toxins in the gut leak into the bloodstream and trigger pain that leads to autoimmune disease. This condition leads to food allergies, around the clock pain, and even other health issues like fibromyalgia. A dairy-free (and gluten-free) diet has been shown to improve conditions in those with leaky gut, which also reduces joint pain and chronic fatigue as a result.
Dairy is a Bad Idea for Exercise and Performance
Then there’s the concern of many athletes- performance and recovery. It’s incredibly frustrating to exercise and want to enjoy your rewards, but suffer constant joint pain. It’s even worse to compete in a sport that requires proper speed and recovery and fall short in both due to joint pain. Poor muscle recovery can cause muscle injuries and even long term damage. Besides, who wants to exercise and be sore all the time? An anti-inflammatory vegan diet has been shown to improve energy, recovery, and overall athletic performance. Famous athletes, wellness enthusiasts, and plant-based (phenomenal) powerhouses Brendan Brazier and Rich Roll are two well-known plant-based, dairy-free advocates, and even vegan bodybuilders like Derek Tresize testify that removing dairy from their diet changed their athletic performance for the better.
What Happens When You Give Up Dairy
Everyone experiences different benefits when ditching dairy, however, some of the first (and most noticeable) effects are undoubtedly less inflammation and joint pain, better skin, and enhanced digestion. Fewer allergenic reactions, less fatigue, and even a better mood are other benefits that one usually experiences quickly.
How to Remove Dairy From Your Diet:
If you’re having trouble kicking dairy to the curb, don’t feel bad. At some point or another, almost all of us have eaten dairy, thinking we needed it. Luckily, it’s easy to give up once you ditch it for good. Since dairy is addicting, after a week or so, your body will adjust and you won’t even crave it anymore. Trust us, when you’ve been without milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and other dairy products long enough, you can’t imagine going back- ever.
There are also many amazing vegan substitutes on the market that you can use in place of dairy, or that you can make yourself. Your joints will thank you, so give these ideas a try:
- 5 Easy Ways to Wean Yourself Off Dairy
- 5 Ways to Battle Those Cheese Cravings Once You Go Vegan
- Why Non-Dairy Milk Beats Dairy Milk Every Single Time
- No, a Glass of Milk Won’t Help You Sleep, Try These Foods Instead
- 5 Foods and Drinks That Lower Post Workout Inflammation
- Forget Milk! Here’s Why These Seeds Are a Better Source of Calcium
- How to Make Your Own Non-Dairy Yogurt
- Vegan Butter
Let’s ditch dairy and start feeling good, shall we? If you’re dairy-free, what’s your favorite benefit?