If you're looking for some ways to go dairy free, then look no further - these tips may help you on you way. There are many reasons to go dairy free. Whether your rationale is based on ethical, environmental or health concerns, these ways to go dairy free should help you.
1. Check for an Intolerance
It's always wise to check with a health care practitioner before completely eliminating anything from your diet. The danger is self-diagnosis and although there is a wealth of information online, it's easy for people to become their own doctor of doom. (Not sure what I mean? search WebMD next time you have a cold, and you'll be convinced you're dying of testicular cancer.) Many people have reported feeling the benefits of a dairy free existence including better skin, improved digestion and less headaches. But it isn't for everyone and you need to ensure that you're getting the right nutrients in your diet before cutting anything out completely. This is one of the first things to consider before thinking of ways to go dairy free.
If you're going to ditch the dairy, you don't want to miss out on vital nutrients. For all its potential irritant ability, dairy is rich in calcium and that's something we all need in our diets. It's particularly vital for preventing osteoporosis. There are however, many calcium rich foods such as almonds and spinach, which you can add to your diet. And there are also supplements which will mean you won't miss out. However, supplements should never be used to replace a balanced and varied diet as you need certain foods to absorb nutrients sufficiently.
3. Assess Your Diet
One of the first things to do is assess your diet and see how you feel after eating particular foods. How much dairy do you eat and when do you consume it? Keep a food diary and record what you're eating and any of the symptoms you might be suffering from, such as bloating or skin reactions. Slowly cutting down rather than completely eliminating is probably wise to begin with.
4. Milk Alternatives
There are many milk alternatives on the market, which taste great with cereal and in your morning coffee. Soya, hemp, almond, hazelnut, rice and oat milk are wonderful in smoothies and shakes, not to mention your cooking.
5. Nut Creams
If you're scared about missing out on desserts whilst going dairy free, fear not. There are so many delicious and healthy dairy alternatives, which will mean you will never have to miss out on a sweet treat. For example, you can make a simple and delicious cashew nut cream by blending 340g of cashew nuts with the juice of one lemon and 2 table spoons of maple syrup. Blend until smooth and enjoy your creamy dairy free topping!
6. Cooking Overhaul
It's very easy to be on culinary autopilot and we sometimes find ourselves cooking and consuming the same things day every day. This can become boring but reassessing your cooking habits can add some excitement and variety to your diet. Even if you don't want to be completely dairy free, you may want to experiment with the many different dishes that don't require dairy, such as stir fries and Thai curries.
7. Hide and Seek
There are many ways in which dairy products surreptitiously sneak into our foods. Processed foods are often the culprits and should be avoided, not only because of their hidden dairy but because of excessive salt and sugars. Look carefully at the ingredients to see if there are any hidden dairy derivatives that could irritate your condition if you are lactose intolerant.