There is no doubt that Dairy is probably one of the most widely used food groups of them all. For this reason, it is not always easy to be dairy free since we enjoy pretty much every dairy product with most of our food & drink – being a big part of families’ daily activities.
From cheeses to cakes, mayonnaise to mustard, milk, butter, various creams to ice creams and the list goes on. Used in baking, breakfasts, condiments, drinks and everything in between, as well as being delicious they are all important sources of calcium, vitamins A & D, protein and fat; so what happens if our body starts to hate what we love? Should you be dairy free?
Symptoms may vary between individuals. However, there are some predominant signs that you may need to keep an eye out for. If eating dairy products causes any of the following, you might need to start cutting some out. But don’t worry, we will talk about what you can replace them with too!
Signs you might be Dairy Free – the classic symptoms:
- Diarrhoea lasting more than 5 days or after consumption of dairy products
- Vomiting, fever & feeling nauseas
- Black & tarry stools or pain when moving bowels
- Unexplained tiredness
- Stomach pain, cramping & bloating which worsens when you eat dairy products
Symptoms will more often than not appear very quickly (within 2 to 3 hours) after consuming lactose. However, this does depend on how much you eat. Sometimes symptoms can present themselves the next morning if you had a few too many cheese & biscuits the night before, especially the symptoms such as an upset stomach, gas, bloating & diarrhoea. On the other hand, due to there being varying degrees of lactose intolerance, some people can tolerate small amounts of lactose without having any major symptoms that cause a lot of discomfort. It could be the case that you can digest hard cheese & yogurt more easily than other dairy products, if that is your situation then at least you won’t have to break up with ALL dairy products completely! **Phew**
Have no fear, replacements are here:
- There are always things that can replace dairy-full foods if your body rejects the real stuff, since you still need to be getting all the sources of calcium & vitamins that you need to stay healthy. For most people, dairy is the primary source of calcium, but now you can start getting acquainted with calcium-rich foods such as kale & broccoli, sardines & even almonds; all working to keep your bones, teeth & muscles on top form.
- Believe it or not you can also find calcium-fortified orange juice, nut & grain milk which offer all of the similar key nutrients as dairy milk. Soya milk & coconut milk (even tastes & smells far better than ordinary milk, result!) are perfect alternatives for pouring on your breakfast & into your coffee/tea etc.
- Instead of cream-based products there’s always Raw Coconut Goodness which melts in your mouth and offers all the fibre & protein you need through pure, whole coconut nutrition. It’s so versatile you can use it in your cooking & baking in place of many dairy heavy dishes such as ice-creams, dressings, curries, smoothies, dips & most importantly… Pina Coladas! There’s even Pasta Sauces that you can indulge in. You don’t have to miss out on all the good stuff.
- Chocolate, what about chocolate I hear you ask? There are many alternatives if you’re feeling like a little treat but don’t want a bloated or upset stomach. Try Plamil Dairy Free as a delicious alternative. Just to add to the excitement, you don’t have to say no to Peanut Butter on toast either!
- As well as finding calcium in various foods, Vitamin D is just as important. Working together as a team vitamin D absorbs calcium, transporting it to your bones. We all know sunlight helps the body naturally synthesise Vitamin D, but if the weather has been lacking a bit of sunshine then find dietary sources of Vitamin D in oily fish, eggs, liver & also fortified cereals.
Yes, there are dairy free benefits too:
- Millions of people have stated that their acne “vanished” when they went completely dairy-free. Even cutting down on dairy products can help with any minor symptoms.
- The actual reason is unknown; but it could be the sensitivity to dairy that causes inflammation. Even the hormones in milk can act as an irritant to the skin.
- It has gone so far for Dermatologists to recommend a dairy-free diet as an initial step in treating acne.
- Obviously the most predominant symptoms of lactose intolerance are the stomach cramps, gas, bloating & diarrhoea and so going dairy-free means that you lower the risk of this happening on a regular basis – leading to healthier digestion and feeling much better in yourself in general
- Dairy is also thought to be a key trigger in Irritable Bowel Syndrome & other digestive conditions. Maybe because of the fact that as we grow up & are weaned off of our mother’s milk, we naturally begin to lose lactase, since we no longer need the ability to digest it, leading to certain intolerances.
- Dairy foods are higher in sugar than you may think. When you want to lose weight you want to normalize and regulate insulin. But the sugar in dairy actually elevates insulin levels, making it more difficult to do so. Cutting down or removing dairy from your diet completely, could therefore contribute to weight loss
- Because of lactose intolerance, the gut irritations that are associated with it may be a factor that prevents weight loss due to bloating etc.
- Also the fact that most of the naughty, treat foods are dairy (and extremely moreish) such as; cheese, chocolate, ice-cream, yogurts, butter and the like, means that weight loss can become very difficult. All is well & good enjoying treats as part of a healthy, balanced diet, but if your body is rejecting them it may be best to cut down or out!
The road to a dairy-free diet will be long & difficult sometimes, but in time it will all become second nature to you. You just have to ensure that you read labels carefully and you’ll be feeling healthier, happier & probably more human again in no time! For more Dairy-Free products to delight in, click here.