Dairy Free Diet

Dairy Free Diet

A dairy free diet contains no milk, butter, sour cream, ice cream, cheese, including cream cheese and cottage cheese, whey, casein, or foods prepared with any of these ingredients.

Milk Allergy

The most common reason people follow a dairy free diet is due to allergies. Milk allergy is an immune system response to milk protein. In individuals with milk allergy, the body identifies the protein as foreign. In an effort to protect itself, the body tries to guard itself from the foreign substance and attacks it. This causes the allergic reaction which can include but not be limited to the following symptoms:

  • Skin rashes
  • Hives
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Breathing problems
  • Anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction rarely triggered by consumption of dairy products)

Lactose Intolerance

The second most common reason people follow a dairy free diet is due to lactose intolerance. People who are lactose intolerant are sensitive to milk sugar which is known as lactose. Because of this, people with this condition must also avoid dairy products, although trace elements of milk may be tolerated my most individuals. Common gastrointestinal symptoms associated with this condition include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Flatulence
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal distention
  • Nausea

Cow's Milk Debate

A third reason people eat a dairy free diet is because they don't want to take in the measurable quantities of herbicides, pesticides, dioxins, antibiotics, blood, pus, feces, bacteria and viruses found in cows milk. These concerns are not raised only by a fanatical few. When asked if children should drink cow's milk, the Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine, headed by Dr. Neil Barnard, cautioned against giving children pasteurized homogenized cow's milk, as it is associated with:

  • Juvenile diabetes
  • Allergies
  • Mucus conditions

Milk and Dairy Substitutes

At first eating dairy free might raise nutritional concerns and even seem impossible, but today it is easier than ever with the aid of lactose free diet plans and a multitude of non-dairy products.

Milk Substitutes:

Cheese Substitutes:

These cheese copycats may not melt or taste exactly the way dairy cheese does because they do not contain the same amount of fat. With a little experience, you'll be able adjust your recipes to incorporate non-dairy cheeses and enjoy all your favorite dishes again.

Dairy Free Ice Cream

Balanced Nutrition Without Dairy

It's easy to see that eliminating dairy from your diet will cut down on saturated fat, but what about other nutritional considerations like calcium? It will take a little bit of retraining of the way you think, but nature can provide all the nutrients you need. In the book Rawsome by Brigitte Mars she states, "Kale and collards are rich in iron, potassium, sulfur, beta-carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, chlorophyll, and calcium-in fact, 1 cup of kale or collard greens has more calcium than 1 cup of milk." The truth is, if you're looking for non-dairy calcium, sources here are a few more:

  • Figs
  • Tofu
  • Raisins
  • Oranges
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Legumes
  • Acorn Squash
  • Raw carrots
  • Beet Greens
  • Molasses

Helpful Links for More Information on Dairy Free Diets

For more nutritional information, recipes and tips on how to live dairy free, the following links can help:

Dairy Free Diet