8 Healthy Ways To Go Dairy Free

by Jenna Crawford October 13, 2017

8 Healthy Ways To Go Dairy Free

Lactose can be found in milk and dairy products. For personal reasons, or due to a medical issue such as lactose intolerance, you may wish to avoid consuming lactose and dairy products. Unfortunately, dairy products also contain many beneficial vitamins that are required for a healthy body.

Giving up dairy can be a daunting task. Not only do you need to avoid the obvious culprits like milk, cream, and butter, but you need to learn how to navigate food labels and understand that dairy ingredients are added to just about everything these days. It's added to most bread, sauces and dressings, soups and stews, and even things like flavored nuts. Those wasabi almonds you love probably have dairy in the mix. If you want to go dairy free, you can follow these 8 healthy ways to go dairy free.

1. Embrace Milk Alternatives

Homemade nut milk, like almond milk, is a wonderful substitution for dairy milk in most recipes. It's great in coffee, on cereal, in overnight oats or oatmeal, or just plain on its own. If you have to purchase nut milk, just be sure it doesn't contain carrageenan, as it's been shown to irritate the lining of the gut and may cause inflammation. It's also best to choose the unsweetened varieties to keep your sugar consumption low. If you're allergic to nuts, try hemp seed or pumpkin seed milk. Both are delicious.

Coconut milk is another wonderful alternative. The canned varieties tend to be purer and have fewer additives than the cartons you'll find in the regular milk section. Cashew cream is also a wonderful dairy-free staple for thickening sauces and other dishes.

2. Avoid Cooking Your Food With Dairy

Instead of utilizing dairy products during cooking, opt for alternative ingredients. There are many creative and great tasting alternatives that you can cook with to keep your meals interesting. Avoiding dairy in these recipes will not only help you adhere to a dairy-free diet but will also make sure that you lower your intake of “bad” types of fat.

3. Stock Your Pantry with Dairy-Free Ingredient Staples

It's important after finding out what does contain dairy to find out the alternatives and dairy-free substitutes that work instead. After you’ve stocked your kitchen with dairy-free pantry staples, learning to prepare your favorite recipes will be a breeze. Find a local grocery or market near you or an online distributor that carries the products you like and keep a small store on hand, so you’ll always have plenty of lactose-free options for you and your family.

4. Eat More Of The Whole Foods

There are hundreds of food additives that contain dairy ingredients, choose whole foods and foods with short labels. The fewer ingredients, the less likely there is hidden dairy in your food. Because things like fast food are so highly processed, almost every menu item will contain a dairy derivative (even though it appears to contain no dairy).

5. Find People Who Are On A Dairy-Free Diet

One the easiest ways to feel like you're not the weird person who has to change their diet is to surround yourself with others who have done the same. Picking up a few cookbooks that specialized in gluten-free dairy-free cooking, as well as websites with plenty of recipes and resources will help you to feel at home with the new lifestyle change that you are about to make.

6. Learn The Names Of Dairy-Derived Ingredients On Nutrition Labels

There are so many foods that contain “hidden” dairy products that reading labels can be a frustrating, though important task to get used to. However, once you’ve learned what to look for, it will get easier. People who are new to the dairy-free diet would ask for “tricks" when reading labels, they should look for products labeled “vegan,” “dairy-free” or “pareve” as these will contain no dairy ingredients, whereas products labeled “non-dairy” often still contain milk proteins or other dairy-derived ingredients.

7. Choose Vegan Food, Even If You're Not Vegan

You don't have to be a full-time vegan, but choosing vegan options will guarantee no dairy in your food. Look for vegan recipes and foods labeled vegan at the grocery store. You can even choose a vegan dish and add your choice of a lean protein, like fish or chicken. That, of course, isn't vegan, but you can be certain it's dairy-free.

8. Embrace Healthy Alternatives To Gluten And Dairy

There are plenty of ways to embrace healthy alternatives to gluten and dairy like many popular diets have already. Seek out vegan versions of foods with dairy – they often use nuts and seeds for the creamy flavor a lot of us are after with cheese or cream and paleo versions of recipes you love as this diet is inherently gluten-free and dairy-free.

Conclusion

Starting a dairy-free diet is not easy. You need to have discipline and proper knowledge on how to switch to a dairy-free diet. In this post, I shared with you 8 healthy ways to go dairy free.




Jenna Crawford

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