New Year’s resolutions always seem a little bit cheesy. By February, many people are trying to figure out how to cancel that gym membership or turn their treadmill into a coat rack. However, if you’re going to make one decision this year that sticks—resolve to remove cheese from your diet.
Let’s be honest—some folks think they just can’t give up cheese. However, once you realize just how bad something is for you, it suddenly doesn’t seem so necessary! Every year millions of Americans resolve to quit smoking or to cut back on their drinking–and the health reward is huge. The same goes for cheese. Just as giving up smoking can significantly decrease the risk of lung cancer, giving up cheese can lower the risk of prostate and breast cancers.
Cheese is the number one source of saturated fat in the American diet. It’s also linked with the number one killer: heart disease. The high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat in cheese and other dairy products can increase atherosclerosis, leading to cardiovascular problems. Reducing cheese intake or replacing it with more healthful options—like hummus—can reduce your risk.
Trying to slim down before summer? You should know that 70 percent of the calories in cheese come from fat. Once you take away the cheese, unhealthful foods suddenly become much better for you! One example is pizza. Considered one of the worst diet foods, pizza becomes thin bread topped with pureed tomatoes and veggies when you remove the greasy cheese. You can also lower the fat and calories in burritos, salads, sandwiches, or even soup by making this one simple change.
Here are some cheese-free versions of popular recipes to get you started:
South of the Border Pizza
Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna
And here’s a three-step program the Physicians Committee put together on Breaking the Cheese Addiction:
Step One: The Reality Check
Step Two: Making New Friends
Step Three: Cleansing the Palate
Resolve to make 2015 your healthiest year yet!
Turns out that all those years of milk and cookies haven’t been doing Santa any favors. This year, he’s finally breaking his silence and letting the world know that he is lactose intolerant.
Up to 65 percent of people in the world are unable to digest lactose, with that number rising to 90 percent within certain ethnic groups. Data show that approximately 79 percent of Native Americans are lactose intolerant. So are 75 percent of African Americans and more than 50 percent of Hispanics. Asians have a 90 percent statistic of lactose intolerance. Some say that, prior to moving to the North Pole, Santa Claus used to be Saint Nicholas, a Greek bishop. Since there is a lactose intolerance rate of 75 percent among people of Greek descent, it’s no surprise that Santa wants to ditch the dairy.
Consuming dairy products can actually have worse consequences than ending up on Santa’s naughty list. Just two and a half servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese per day can increase the risk of prostate cancer by 34 percent. Mrs. Claus would also benefit from switching to plant milk, since dairy milk consumption has been linked to breast and ovarian cancer, with dairy products contributing up to 70 percent of the estrogen intake in the Western diet. A 2012 study debunked the idea of milk building strong bones. Researchers found that active girls who consumed the most dairy double their risk of bone fracture than girls who consumed less dairy. The study linked good bone health with vitamin D consumption—a nutrient not naturally found in dairy products.
The saturated fat and cholesterol in dairy also contribute to heart disease, the number one cause of death in the United States. Trying to lower fat intake by switching to skim adds a new complication—sugar. One cup of skim milk has just about as much sugar as five Hershey’s Kisses.
Instead of leaving Santa a glass of dairy milk, why not try an energizing green smoothie? Not only is the color more seasonally appropriate, a green smoothie is packed with fiber and antioxidants to keep Santa feeling full between rooftops.
Breakfast is in trouble. From McDonald’s Egg McMuffin to Taco Bell’s Waffle Taco, breakfast trends continue to veer into unhealthy territory and skyrocket in fat and cholesterol. And now, even one of the most healthful breakfast options – oatmeal – is at risk. Starting in October, the Quaker Oats man will be sporting a milk mustache.
MilkPEP, the milk promotion program sponsored by the dairy industry, has splashed its marketing campaign across the iconic Quaker Oats logo. Marketing milk is a disservice to Quaker’s customers who may not know that milk has zero health benefits. In fact, milk is associated with many health risks. In the American diet, dairy products are some of the top sources of saturated fat and cholesterol – major contributors to heart disease, America’s No. 1 killer. More than one glass of milk per day can increase the risk of breast cancer by 73 percent, and two and a half servings of dairy products can raise prostate cancer risk by 34 percent. Skim milk is not a better option – it still holds many of the dangers as whole milk, including cholesterol and sugar. Just one cup of skim milk has more sugar than a serving of Lucky Charms!
Additionally, 65 percent of people are lactose intolerant and experience abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and other symptoms of gastrointestinal upset roughly 30 minutes after drinking milk. Certain populations are more likely to be lactose intolerant than others. Data show that approximately 90 percent of Asians, 75 percent of African-Americans, more than 50 percent of Hispanics, and 79 percent of Native Americans are lactose intolerant.
Fortunately, oatmeal can be easily prepared with water or nondairy milk to create a healthful breakfast. Half a cup of Quaker old-fashioned oats has 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, which will help you feel full until lunchtime. Oatmeal also helps lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Adding heart-healthy and cholesterol-free options – like fruit or plant-based milks – will help you reap the benefits of oatmeal, rather than wash them away.
By wiping off his milk mustache—or making it a plant-milk mustache—the Quaker mascot has the opportunity to help save breakfast. Customers who want to let Quaker know that they love their oats dairy free can sign this petition. Let’s all work together to keep breakfast healthful for everyone!