Does it seem like everyone is hating on dairy these days? Perhaps being one of the top food sensitivities has something to do with it or the fact that an estimated 70% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. Even though I consistently see it as a common food sensitivity while working with digestively challenged clients I personally don’t think dairy is evil. Some ancient cultures ate (and still eat) an abundance of dairy in the form of raw unpasteurized milk, yogurt, kefir and cheese with no health issues.
So the answer to the question: ‘is dairy right for me’ is it depends… Do you have an inflammatory response when you eat it? Unsure? Check out my blog post: The Surprising Signs of Food Sensitivities for more clarity.
Do you feel like dairy may be an issue for you but are terrified to give up your beloved cheese and milk? See below for some satisfying ways to fill the dairy void…
1. Nut/Seed Milks
Almond milk, hemp milk, cashew milk, etc are all amazing alternatives to dairy milk. As with any packaged product in the grocery stores, always double check the ingredients list to ensure there is no added refined sugar or ingredients you cannot pronounce. Or make your own! Hemp milk is one of the easiest to make (1 cup water + ¼ cup hemp seeds and blend!)
2. Nut/seed butters
Pumpkin, sunflower, almond, hazelnut and cashew are great options to have on whole grain breads, apple slices, topped on oatmeal or whipped into sauces as a thickener. Tahini (sesame seed paste) is excellent for adding to a salad dressing to make it more ‘creamy’. Ps: ¼ cup of sesame seeds contains more calcium than 1 cup of milk!
A big way to stay satisfied without dairy is to ensure you are replacing it with good quality fats. Fats are essential for every single one of our body’s cells (especially brain cells) and are a precursor for our sex and stress hormones. Avocados can go in almost anything… smoothies to make them thick and creamy, sandwiches and salads in place of cheese and guacamole for dips.
4. Coconut Products
Besides all its amazing health benefits (antiviral, anti-fungal and antimicrobial just to name a few) coconut is a yummy easy stand in for dairy. Cold pressed coconut oil remains stable at high heat for cooking and baking as a substitute for butter. Because butter does not contain milk proteins people may find they can tolerate grass-fed butter/ghee even with a dairy sensitivity, allergy or intolerance. Coconut milk is quite easy to find or make yourself with this recipe and even coconut yogurt is making an appearance in the grocery stores these days!
5. Bean Dips/Spreads
Hummus and other bean dips are great additions to the diet. One of my favorite, easy, go to lunches is egg salad made with hummus instead of mayo or as a veggie dip substitute to the typical ranch and cheese dips found in the grocery store which are full of not only diary but sugar and other unpronounceable additives. The word ‘natural’ does not necessarily mean the