How To Go Dairy Free And Not Hate It
Dairy-free seems to be all the rage these days, but why do it? And more importantly, how do you do it and still get all the nutrients that dairy products provide?
While there are some benefits to maintaining dairy in a well-balanced diet,(some dairy foods are rich probiotics (like yogurt and soft cheeses) that help with healthy gut flora and the fat and protein it provides helps you feel fuller longer) many people are looking at this new trend as the way to go for a healthier lifestyle. And there are many reasons for this-check this out:
Lactose intolerance- this condition happens when an individual is deficient in lactase which is an intestinal enzyme that is responsible for the breaking down of lactose (milk sugar) into two easier digestible sugars, glucose and galactose. When this breakdown of lactose is hindered, intestinal absorption is difficult and it can manifest itself in a variety of symptoms which can include abdominal pain and bloating, gassiness, diarrhea, and sometimes nausea.
Milk allergy- is a very different and more serious condition than lactose intolerance. A dairy allergy involves an adverse reaction in a person’s immune system and can cause more serious reactions like wheezing, hives, rashes, inflammation of the throat, asthma, and the most serious, anaphylactic shock. In this case, it is imperative that all dairy products be avoided!
Barring these more serious reasons to avoid dairy, there are more reasons why this might be a good choice for you to consider. Taking dairy out of your diet has been known to lead to clearer skin. The hormones and anabolic steroids that are sometimes found in cow’s milk can stimulate the oil glands in the skin promoting acne problems. Many dairy products are found in rich desserts that are higher in calories. Dairy-free can be a method for weight loss.
What About Calcium?
“But what about the nutrients found in dairy that would be missing in a well-balanced diet if all dairy was taken out”, you might be asking? Great question! How does one transition to becoming dairy-free without sacrificing all the calcium nutrition (and deliciousness) that comes along with it? The Recommended Daily Allowance for calcium is 1000 mg. under age 50 and 1200 mg thereafter. What about that? Where are you going to find all that replacement calcium? You might be surprised at some of the terrific (and delicious) alternatives that are out there.
Calcium is found in your leafy greens. A wonderful spinach or kale salad or a cup of broccoli will provide a rich source of calcium at lunch. How about a glass of calcium enriched orange juice in the morning? A midday snack of a handful of almonds or figs will give you a calcium boost. Stir-fry’s for lunch or dinner are a great way to fortify your diet. Bok Choy, watercress, and tofu are fantastic choices.
There are also a plethora of other things that are out there to replace your usual dairy foods but do not carry the same irritants that products made of cow’s milk might. Some are more unique and adventurous. Goat’s milk is not as high in lactose (and has lower casein levels) which can be less irritating for some people. There are nut milks like almond and cashew and there is coconut and rice milk to replace traditional milk. There is ghee-clarified butter that takes out the milk solids to use when your recipe requires butter. I could go on and on…
So where should you start on this dairy-free adventure?
- Identify a reason that you have decided to go dairy-free and keep that in the forefront of your mind so that you will stay motivated to continue when temptation raises it’s ugly head.
- Know the food culprit where hidden dairy products might be found, but don’t focus on them. Focusing on what you CAN’T eat anymore is a sure-fire way to derail your best dietary intentions.
- Focus on the delicious foods that you can now enjoy and will love you back!
- And finally, meal prep your way to success! Have lots of alternative convenience foods and planned meals ready so that you are not caught unprepared.
And today is your lucky day because we have a few of our favorite dairy free meal prep recipes right here! You didn’t think we would leave you hanging, did you? The article is titled, “How To Go Dairy Free And Not Hate It.” Here’s the part you definitely won’t hate.