Eating Dairy Products and their effects on the Voice Professional
One of the most pressing dietary issues for a Voice Professional is what I like to call “The Dairy Issue.” Almost any teacher, coach or ENT you ask, will tell you to stay away from eating dairy products before performing or close to a performance, audition, presentation, lesson or coaching.
I agree with this advice, however, I take it a step further; eliminate all dairy products from your diet entirely. The first reaction I get when I tell this to my students and clients is always the same: “But I need dairy for the calcium and it helps my bones etc…”
This statement is about as far from the truth as can be. Like most of the other unhealthy diet choices that directly affect our throat and voice as well as the overall health of our body, our food choices have been sold to us by the Dairy and Meat industry. We need only do a little homework on our own to see what is really going on.
First let us start with the facts about Dairy products and their production, then we will address the effect of dairy on the Voice Professional and finish with healthy alternatives for getting calcium. These facts and figures are taken from many sources of research including an amazing article you must read at this website:
Here are only a few of some of the more sobering facts about milk and dairy products from this article:
ALL cow’s milk (regular and ‘organic’) has 59 active hormones, scores of allergens, fat and cholesterol.
Most cow’s milk has measurable quantities of herbicides, pesticides, dioxins (up to 200 times the safe levels), up to 52 powerful antibiotics (perhaps 53, with LS-50), blood, pus, feces, bacteria and viruses. (Cow’s milk can have traces of anything the cow ate… including such things as radioactive fallout from nuke testing …(the 50’s strontium-90 problem).
Cow’s milk is allowed to have feces in it. This is a major source for bacteria. Milk is typically pasteurized more than once before it gets to your table… each time for only 15 seconds at 162 degrees Fahrenheit. To sanitize water one is told to boil it (212 degrees F) for several minutes. That is a tremendous disparity, isn’t it!
Keep in mind that at room temperature the number of bacteria in milk DOUBLE around every 20 minutes. No wonder milk turns rotten very quickly.
ONE cubic centimeter (cc) of commercial cow’s milk is allowed to have up to 750,000 somatic cells (common name is “PUS”) and 20,000 live bacteria…before it is kept off the market.
That amounts to a whopping 20 million live squiggly bacteria and up to 750 MILLION pus cells per liter (bit more than a quart).
1 cup = 236.5882cc 177,441,150 pus cells ~ 4,731,600 bacteria
24 oz (3 glasses) = 532,323,450 pus cells ~ 14,220,000 bacteria
(the “recommended” daily intake)
The EU and the Canadians allow for a less “tasty” 400,000,000 pus cells per liter.
Typically these levels are lower… but they COULD reach these levels and still get to YOUR table.
Mycobacterium paratuberculosis causes a bovine disease called “Johne’s.”
Cows diagnosed with Johne’s Disease have diarrhea, and heavy fecal shedding of bacteria. This bacteria becomes cultured in milk, and is not destroyed by pasteurization. Occasionally, the milk-borne bacteria will begin to grow in the human host, and the results are irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s Disease.
How does this impact humans who consume cow’s milk and dairy? Obesity (over 50% of Americans and rising), heart disease, cancer, allergies, digestive problems, diabetes, asthma, desensitization to antibiotics, behavioral problems, and the constant ingestion of dioxin’s, herbicides, pesticides (and anything else the cow eats that is not good for any critter), that winds up getting stored in HUMAN fat…is not healthy by any measure.
Those who resist believing the truth should understand that MOST of the world’s population CANNOT tolerate the lactose in cow’s milk. Up to 95% of the black population, around 53% of the Hispanics, etc.) So much for cow’s milk being “natures perfect food” for humans! Mother nature knows better.
Common sense question: Where was this massive “milk is a must” before refrigeration, pasteurization and mass transportation? Back when cows gave only 1-4 pounds a day it was quickly made into BUTTER and cheese! Now that those same cows have been tweaked and shot-up with Posilac to produce up to 55 or more pounds of milk per day…almost all year long… it is suddenly (after many thousands of years) a daily “staple”. NOT!
It becomes very clear, after reading these facts ( and hopefully the article) that consuming dairy products affect us on a personal health level in an incredibly dangerous way. But what about our throat, voices, and our vocal health?
Essentially it all starts in the digestive system. Our digestive systems are not set up for dairy. Primarily due to the presence of Casein. Casein is essentially a binder. It is a polymer used to make plastics! What a great thing for our health, huh?!
That being the case, the more dairy we consume the more difficult it is for our digestive system to do it’s job; eliminate what we do not need, keep us clean and provide us with the absorption we need of the food we eat. Ongoing consumption of dairy products stresses our digestive system resulting in a myriad of diseases from Crones to Colon Cancer. We become full of mucus and clogged up. Next thing we know, our lymph and glandular system can’t do it’s job because it has also become clogged up. So we “catch a cold.”
Our head and throat take the hit resulting ultimately, in our inability to use our voice the way we need. It is as simple as that. Dairy clogs and creates mucus and we do not need it in our system. Milk and other dairy products are also loaded with sugar, another major culprit in creating mucus and affecting our vocal health. ( see my post entitled McDonalds and focus in the Brain ). Since I have completely removed dairy in all forms from my diet, I can honestly say that I have not “ caught a cold” or the symptoms of a cold in almost six years. It took some time to get used to not eating Pizza, ice cream, yogurt, cream cheese, etc… However, the results both vocally and health-wise have been incredible. Mucus, for me has literally become a thing of the past.
So what do we do then to get our daily supply of calcium and how much do we need daily?
An excellent resource for this information is FORE, the Foundation For Osteoporosis Research and Education. According to the research foundation for a healthy adult “it is recommended that you do not exceed 250
0 mg of calcium daily.” However, other research shows that 1200-1500mg per day is adequate, because more than 2000 mg per day can cause your kidneys to excrete magnesium. Which leads us to another important fact about calcium. Always take magnesium when taking a calcium supplement.
Magnesium is the transport that brings the calcium to your cells. The ratio of magnesium to calcium should be 2:1. In other words if you are taking 1200mg of calcium you should also be taking 600mg of magnesium for a complete solution. Most good quality calcium supplements should have magnesium in them. If you do not like taking pills or it is difficult for you then take liquid calcium. Take calcium 2 hours apart from other meals. For the best results, calcium should be taken at bedtime on an empty stomach.
Calcium also calms the entire body down. There is a fabulous product called “Natural Calm” which may be found at:
This product also has the proper amount of magnesium as well as boron and vitamin D. I drink a cup of this before I go to sleep at night and sleep like a rock. Maybey that is also because I feel great about getting the right amount of calcium!
For one of the best resources on how much calcium is in non dairy foods, go to Nutritiondata.com. There you may find every thing you ever wanted to know about any foods you may ever eat. Regarding milk subsitutes, try to stay away from soy as well. Soy is loaded with estrogen and studies have shown that the American digestive system is not set up for soy. Some great tasting and exceptionally healthy altenatives to dairy and soy are Almond Milk and Rice Milk.
As always I wish you the best on your vocal journey to Superior Vocal Health.
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