Eliminating foods from your diet can be tough for a multitude of reasons. Some foods are harder than others to let go of because we worry that our diet will be lacking. For many, milk and dairy products are seen as the poster child of calcium for generations. We are expected to have a glass of milk at each meal to make sure that you are receiving enough calcium in your diet. Ironically, many people cannot even tolerate drinking milk. It is estimated that 65% or more of the population cannot sufficiently digest lactose, the milk sugar found in dairy products, after infancy. If we are expected to drink milk or have dairy play such an integral part of our diet, what should we do? Even with many gluten-free products, you will see dairy ingredients such as whey, milk solids, powdered milk, and so on.

Harvard’s School of Public Health recently sent a strong message to the United States Department of Agriculture debating their revamp of the outdated food pyramid. The USDA’s new structure, MyPlate is being challenged by Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate, which doesn’t include dairy as a dietary necessity. Their suggested alternative sources of calcium include dark leafy greens (such as collards, bok choy, kale etc.), figs, blackstrap molasses, beans, and legumes. It will be interesting to see how Harvard’s desire to be authentic is handled by the USDA in the coming weeks.

Sometimes it’s hard to let go, but being authentic and standing behind food with integrity is what Harvard chose to. We can’t help but to support them with their research, and authenticity.