one green planet
one green planet

Food directly affects your mood, and it’s not always for the better like when you eat a delicious piece of dark chocolate or a fresh, juicy apple that makes you feel good. Some foods can also make us stressed, anxious, and even downright cranky. Dairy is one of the most commonly reported, problematic foods when it comes to mood issues associated with the popular, ever-controversial food.

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. Casein takes a long time to digest, which it’s commonly known for. It’s one of the reasons many people eat cottage cheese or use casein protein – to keep them full for a long time. Casein takes so much work for the body and in the process, other parts of the body, such as the brain (directly affected through the health of the gut) are affected. Sugar, processed and GMO foods, along with gluten are other foods commonly linked to mood issues in many individuals.

If your mood has been suffering and you consume dairy, it might be a sign it’s time to #DitchDairy for good. Here’s why:

The Gut-Brain Connection and Dairy

Quesadillas With Cashew Mozzarella
Quesadillas With Cashew Mozzarella by Megan Sadd

Source: Quesadillas With Cashew Mozzarella

Not all bouts of irritability can be tied to dairy alone, but it is a common side effect some people have reported with casein, one of the main proteins found in dairy foods. Dr. Kelly Brogran, M.D., says that dairy (and gluten) are two of the most problematic foods linked to mood and consumption directly. It has to do with receptors in the gut and brain that react to the casein and create antibodies as a response. This creates symptoms that could even mimic bipolar disorder and create havoc in the body.

Researchers at UCLA also found that consumption of dairy changed the way the brain worked. Researchers report that the gut sends messages to the brain during digestion that causes the neurotransmitter functions in the brain. “Time and time again, we hear from patients that they never felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut,” Tillisch said. “Our study shows that the gut-brain connection is a two-way street.”

Even more serious disorders such as autism have directly been linked to dairy consumption. Reports of aggression and autistic symptoms seem to be higher when dairy is consumed. A dairy-free diet is one of the most prominent things recommended as well.

So what does that mean for you?

How to Heal the Gut and Improve Your Mood

Cashew Dill Mozzarella
Cashew Dill Mozzarella by Kirsten Kaminski

Source: Cashew Dill Mozzarella

Thankfully, the gut-brain connection is easy to fix if you believe dairy may be causing a problem for your mood. “There are studies showing that what we eat can alter the composition and products of the gut flora — in particular, that people with high-vegetable, fiber-based diets have a different composition of their microbiota, or gut environment, than people who eat the more typical Western diet that is high in fat and carbohydrates,” Mayer said.

The end all, be all? Fill your diet up with a whole foods diet, which is packed with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals that will boost your mood. You might also experience more amounts of energy, a happier mood, and possibly other health benefits too. Here are some Natural (and Easy) Ways to Replace Your Favorite Dairy Foods.

Easy Ways to Help the Planet:

  • Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based Recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
  • Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take initiative by standing up against fast fashion Pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that raise awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
  • Support Independent Media: Being publicly funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!
  • Sign a Petition: Your voice matters! Help turn petitions into victories by signing the latest list of must-sign petitions to help people, animals, and the planet.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest news and essential stories involving animals, the environment, sustainable living, food, health, and human interest topics by subscribing to our newsletter!
  • Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, Donate if you can, grow your food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!

Help keep One Green Planet free and independent! Together we can ensure our platform remains a hub for empowering ideas committed to fighting for a sustainable, healthy, and compassionate world. Please support us in keeping our mission strong.