Some people read the title of this article and probably said, “How and why would I ever give up dairy?” Giving up some of your favorite foods like ice cream or cheese may seem impossible; it may not even seem necessary. Would it seem necessary if you were told that giving up dairy could lead to clearer skin, fewer allergy symptoms, and an easier time losing weight? Those are some great reasons to go dairy-free!
Some people are intolerant to dairy and they don’t even know it. They just pass off the signs of being lactose intolerant as normal bodily things that happen. You may not realize it, but dairy is in more foods than you think. Studies show that it is addictive and because of how widely it is used in the food industry, you keep coming back for it without knowing it. Dairy can be in most packaged foods that may not seem like they contain milk, butter, or cheese. These foods can include:
- Chewing gum
- Salad dressings
- Crackers or chips
- Meats (canned or processed meats, including deli meats)
And the following ingredients have milk in them, so look out if you see these names on the label:
- Artificial butter or cheese flavor
- Lactose, lactoglobulin, lactoferrin, lactulose
- Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
Know The Enemy
Dairy products are sneaky and confusing because of how they can be in things that seemingly shouldn’t contain dairy. It takes time and lots of focus to know the enemy in its many forms. Become knowledgeable on the many names of dairy to successfully go dairy-free. Always look for “contains milk” on the product.
Go Cold Turkey And Try Not To Cheat
Don’t phase out the dairy products you consume. Eliminating dairy products one by one will only prolong the process, and it can even make you crave other unhealthy foods. Once you decide to go dairy-free, do it! While it is possible that you’ll find yourself snacking on a piece of cheese or taking a couple bites of ice cream during the process, don’t let this derail your efforts. Get back on track and try to keep these items out of your house, so you don’t go crawling back to them.
Embrace Nut & Seed Milks
We have to say this as a disclaimer: try to make your own nut or seed milks at all times. A lot of bottled nut or seed milks can have hidden sweeteners or processed ingredients that can irritate the intestines. If you can’t make your own or don’t have time, get the organic, unsweetened varieties without added flavors. If you are allergic to nuts and seeds, try coconut milk, but make sure you opt for the BPA-free cans with no additives. Avoid dairy replacements as well. You don’t need soy-based cheeses because they aren’t conducive to your overall health.
Eat More Whole Foods
There are too many food additives that contain dairy products, which is why it is optimal to choose whole foods. The less ingredients something has, the better. Foods with short ingredient lists can still contain dairy derivatives, though, so try to opt for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Keep Snacks On Hand
When you make a big dietary change, a common side effect is hunger. When you don’t have healthy snacks at the ready, your hunger can dictate your food choices, which can derail your diet. Try to keep an assortment of fruit or vegetable sticks, trail mix, homemade energy bars, or baked kale chips. Check out our snacks section for recipe ideas.