People have been consuming milk from animals for thousands of years. Around the world, about six billion people consumed approximately 190 million tons of milk in 2020. India led the way with 81 million tons, while countries like North Korea and Indonesia don’t typically drink milk.
According to the international magazine dedicated to animal feeds, Feed Additive:
81% of world milk production is cow milk, 15% buffalo milk, and 4% goat, sheep, and camel milk.
With so much dairy being produced and consumed around the world, you might wonder why someone would consider giving up dairy for alternative options. The health benefits of that choice have been outlined in several of our articles. Milk, especially cows’ milk, often causes an increase in mucus, upset stomach and GI issues, and inflammation which can be anything from aches and pains to respiratory issues or various skin conditions like acne, rosacea, and eczema. In fact, dairy is one of the top allergies we see in our clinics. Whatever a person’s reason for giving up dairy, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Many people, especially in the U.S. have been brought up to believe that there is a lot of nutritional benefit to dairy. Consider calcium. We’ve all heard that we need to drink milk for strong teeth and bones. Would it surprise you that you can get great, nutrient-dense, calcium from sources like:
- Chia Seeds
- Brazil Nuts
- Butternut Squash
- Green Beans
These food choices offer a whole lot more than simple calcium. The additional nutrition from these sources add a huge benefit over a glass of milk. The key is making sure you get what your body needs while giving up dairy.
Avoid Hidden Dairy
While drinking a glass of milk is an obvious form of diary consumption, you may be surprised to find out all the ways dairy can be hidden in other foods you might not guess. If you’re giving up dairy, you want to be sure to cut out all dairy! You’ll want to read labels carefully so as to avoid some of these alternative names:
- Casein or caseinate
- Whey or whey protein isolate/concentrate
- Natural milk flavor or natural butter flavor
- DMS (dry milk solids)
- Lactate solids
- Lactyc yeast
What About Protein?
Many people have increased their protein intake in recent years. This healthy choice can also be supplemented while still giving up dairy. Some of our favorites are from sources like good, clean, organic:
- Bone broth powders
- Wild-caught salmon
- Grass-fed beef
- Brussles sprouts
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
But, What About…
There are some times when giving up dairy is a bit hard, especially in some recipes. Consider the many plant-based alternatives that are on the market. The vast selection offers so many alternatives that it becomes easier to avoid allergies and still have choices. Whether it’s a splash in your coffee, a cream cheese substitute to make a dip, or an alternative to butter, plant-based options make it easier in your quest in giving up dairy.
Consider nutritious options from almonds, oats, coconut, hemp, and various flavors. It may take a few attempts to find the flavor and brand that works best for you. Be sure to read the labels; some brands add additional ingredients that you may also be avoiding.
Proceed With Thought!
It may be tempting to switch everything over to processed dairy alternatives, but that isn’t the best answer either. There are times when omitting a food altogether may be a better choice than finding an alternative to substitute.
Whole, clean, foods are always a better alternative. Before reaching for a processed butter alternative, could you substitute with a wholesome olive oil? What about substituting canned coconut cream for the splash in your coffee? Consider a frozen, mashed banana over ice cream.
Giving up Dairy Isn’t Giving Up Life
Giving up dairy doesn’t have to mean giving up all of life’s joys. When you consider the many health benefits of giving up dairy, you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel and the bigger selection of foods you’ll have to choose from. You may also be surprised to find a few new foods you like!
To help you along on your journey, we’ve put together a huge selection of recipes that will offer some of the great flavors you may think you’ll miss! From breakfast recipes to coffee alternatives, dips to desserts, snacks, and condiments, we’ve got you covered! Check us out on social media where we frequently post easy swaps, new recipes, and our favorite brands.
Giving up dairy doesn’t have to be a struggle. However, you’ll do much better if you know what else you may need to avoid. Getting your allergies tested will set you up for greater success in your health journey. Reach out to a Wellness Way clinic to find out more.