Are you lactose intolerant or have you recently turned vegan? If your answer is “yes“ for any of these two questions, then you know it is not easy to eat and survive in a world filled with dairy products. If that’s the case, then do no worry. We will help you thrive on a dairy-free diet.
Let’s see how, shall we?
How To Thrive On A Dairy-Free Diet
Why Dairy-Free Food?
Everywhere we look, there is milk in virtually all the food items. So, what constitutes dairy products? Be it coffee or ice-creams, pizzas or pasta, anything that has milk or milk-based products come under the name “dairy products”.
These include food items containing cheese, yogurt, cream or butter. Dairy-free food includes grains like rice and wheat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and lentils.
Lactose is a sugar which is found in milk and many people are unable to digest it. Therefore, they are lactose intolerant. A few people also consider that consuming milk or milk products is unethical. According to them, only calves should be allowed to have the milk. That’s a reason why they turn vegan.
But milk has calcium and other important nutrients which we need for our bones and, basically, the well-being of our bodies. So, how do we fulfill these needs? No problem. We are here to give you 10 quick and cool tips not just to survive, but also to thrive on a dairy-free diet.
#1. Replace regular milk with soy or almond milk
We can replace milk with soy milk and almond milk without a problem. If you don’t like the taste of plain soy milk, flavored ones are available in your local supermarkets. However, you should check, first, the ingredients.
Almond milk is another great option if you are ok with making a little extra investment. It has a great taste.
#2. Include whole grains in your diet
Grains like wheat and rice are very nutritious. They contain carbohydrates, vitamins, and other micronutrients. You can make bread and pasta at home with wheat flour.
Rice is another versatile grain. You can make one pot meal such as pilaf with a lot of veggies and herbs. Enjoy it with some salad and mango salsa.
#3. Consume green vegetables
A great way to make up for the loss of calcium you get from milk, you must increase your intake of green and leafy vegetables. Greens like collard, kale, arugula, watercress are extremely rich in calcium.
They are rich in vitamins and fibers, too. You can make delicious salads, stir fried vegetables or green smoothies. Green vegetables are essential for a dairy-free diet.
#4. Eat fresh and dried fruits
If you have a sweet tooth (and I’m sure you do), then fruits are another tasty option for your dairy-free diet. They, too, contain calcium and other nutrients.
Fruits like oranges, tangerines, limes and blackcurrants or vegetables such as rhubarb can be used in juices and preserves, while fruits like figs, raisins and dates can be eaten dried as snacks.
#5. Have lentils and beans
Beans and lentils are a great source of proteins and are very easy to cook. They can be used in hot soups or gravies, or can be made as patties.
They can be had soaked and we can make sprout salads with a little lemon juice, cut onions, and spice it up with coriander. They are versatile and very healthy, too.
#6. Go nuts
Almonds, cashews, walnuts, and coconuts are extremely rich in calcium. You can have toasted almonds sprinkled on desserts and salads. Peanuts are another rich source of proteins to use in your dairy-free diet.
We can make coconut milk at home. Blend two cups of coconut with two cups of water. Then, sieve this mixture and your coconut milk is ready. This coconut milk can be used in various dishes, especially the yummy Thai curries.
#7. Replace butter with homemade spreads
If you are missing your morning buttered toast, don’t worry, we’ve got options. You can make sumptuous spreads at home. You can make hummus from chickpeas or guacamole from avocado.
If you feel like having some tangy, then salsa is another great substitute which you can use in sandwiches. These spreads are very simple to make, very healthy and extremely delightful for your dairy-free diet. You can make a batch of these spreads and store them in your refrigerator.
#8. Have vegan cheese
All over the world, cheese is consumed in various forms. One cannot imagine pizzas or pasta without cheese. But now, supermarkets have various substitutes of cheese (see tofu).
These are made out of soy milk. You can also find cream cheese at the market, which is made out of cashew milk and which makes a lovely cheesecake. Just try these versions of cheese.
#9. Dairy-free desserts
When people think of desserts, they think of cream or milk. But now, it is so easy to get desserts which are dairy-free. Many big brands have launched the dairy-free ice-cream, for example.
But, if you want homemade dairy-free ice-cream, it’s even better: mix coconut milk with vanilla, sugar and a little cornstarch. Heat the mixture slowly and then, once all ingredients are mixed, freeze it in the freezer. After 2 hours, churn it again and let it set for one more hour. Serve ice-cream with slices of your favorite fruits.
#10. Go dairy-free when eating out
You needn’t order salads every time you go out. No. Nowadays, if you are eating out, there are many options where you get dairy-free products so you don’t ruin your dairy-free diet.
Cuisines like Indian, Thai, Middle Eastern and Greek have lots of dairy-free foods and you can try them all. Just make sure to ask at the restaurant, first.
Thriving on a dairy-free diet is not very difficult nor boring. At the most, it provides you with options to replace the regular milk or cheese. There are lots of dairy-free foods available in the market and millions and millions of smacking recipes on the internet. All you need to do is go shopping for ingredients and start cooking.
Let us know if these tips helped you in creating your perfect dairy-free diet.