Generally as spring arrives we tend to look at our health and want to shake off the comfort foods we have perhaps been eating all winter. We continue our review of diets with the Dairy Free Diet.
This diet is either chosen on ethical grounds or for health reasons.
Ethically, many people are not comfortable with eating animal produce. This can be related to the treatment that animals have historically experienced or simply not wanting to eat another living creature or its produce.
We are not offering an opinion on the subject that is a personal decision for each person to make for themselves.
Why go dairy free?
The reality is that human beings find milk products hard to digest. This can lead to congestion, digestion issues, and skin or ear problems.
I had a patient who ate so much cheese he sounded as if he was pinching his nose with his fingers the whole time. I asked him to give up cheese for two weeks. He came to see me two weeks later and his voice had changed completely! He no longer spoke with that strong nasal twang.
If people have bad colds or catarrh we recommend they give up dairy to reduce their mucus levels. It makes an enormous difference. Try it next time you have a cold!
It is necessary to be aware of what will be missing from your diet without dairy.
Calcium is a key reason people worry about giving up dairy. Dark green leafy vegetables offer good levels of calcium. Just add spinach, kale, pak choi, spring or winter greens to your meals
Finding alternatives to milk, cheese and yogurt can seem difficult. Let’s look at each one. Your choice of milk is really down to your personal preference. I like the coconut milks but there are also almond, oat, soya, goats milks to name but a few.
Don’t worry you can still eat yogurt and ice cream! My favourite example being The CoYo yogurt and ice cream range. This beats a milk yogurt hands down it is delicious!
Alternatives to butter include vegan margarines. There are a number of good spreads on the market as well as goats butter, dairy free butters and coconut based products.
Today, we are so lucky there are many delicious alternatives available to us.
Protein is always considered the “weak spot” of a Vegan diet. Meat eaters will challenge you saying “How can you possibly get enough protein without meat?”
Your answer? Oh it’s easy I eat …
Legumes (including hummus and falafel)
Nut Butters (a large choice from Meridian)
Hemp powder in my smoothies
Non-dairy milk to name but a few
Omega 6 is readily available through the fruit, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables you will be eating. Getting the balance of the omega oils can be a challenge for everyone. Omega 6 can inhibit omega 3 absorption so if you have any doubts use an Omega 3 supplement.
Changing to a dairy free diet can seem like a huge lifestyle change. We recommend that you make gradual changes. Try a coconut milk on your muesli or in your porridge. Once you are happy with that introduce another product and slowly but surely, you can make the changes at a pace that suits you.
As with any diet if you are choosing it for health reasons once you see the difference to your health it makes it easy to continue.
Still concerned you may miss on essential nutrients?
A good multi vitamin and mineral would provide broad spectrum coverage.
Calcium can be taken separately
Taking an Omega 3 supplement ensures you get your essential fatty acids
Nutrients are a whole blog and more so we have just given you a starting point. Let us know if you need more help!
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