Hi guys! I recently started an elimination diet which partially consists of me cutting dairy and it actually hasn’t been the worst thing! I can’t lie, at first I was a little overwhelmed by the thought of going dairy-free, mainly because there’s pretty much some form of dairy in what seems like everything but it’s definitely not impossible to exclude!
When you think dairy you automatically think milk which I of course love having in my lattes but unfortunately, the hormones found in milk have been linked to premature aging and inflammation of the skin which I obviously want no parts of so I decided to experiment with this elimination diet to see if living a dairy-free lifestyle would improve skin conditions as well as bloating and fatigue.
Now finding a plant-based milk that I enjoyed in my coffee was not hard at all (s/o oat milk!) but my real dilemma? Removing cheese from my diet! I freakin’ love cheese and incorporate it into almost all of my recipes so this is definitely where I have struggled but like I said it’s not impossible and it’s very much about self-discipline.
When going dairy-free it’s important to find alternative foods that can help you meet your nutrient needs. For example, women need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day, so if we’re ditchin’ the cow milk that means we need to include other calcium-rich foods into our diet such as plant-based milk (cashew, coconut, almond, etc.) leafy greens, fatty fish and beans! To make up the protein we’re missing out on from eliminating cow milk and cheese, you can try other protein sources such as greek yogurt and almonds!
Finding substitutes is not the hard part…the real test is when you dine out! Nobody wants to be the annoying person at dinner asking the waiter to make sure your meal is completely dairy-free, yes that includes making sure your dish isn’t cooked with any butter and with coconut/olive oil instead. The upside to this is that I find myself wanting to just stay in and cook that way I don’t have to feel like a hassle at the restaurant, plus I have peace of mind knowing exactly what is going into my body and my wallet doesn’t take a hit! #winning
Luckily, I’ve noticed a difference in my body by giving this whole dairy-free thing a try-I’ve had zero problems with digestion which means less bloating and as of now my skin has been on its best behavior so for the moment I can say eliminating dairy has been worth it! I can’t promise that I’ll totally stop eating cheese forever BUT I at least know that I have the will power to go a few days without eating it and that there are some pretty good dairy-free calcium/protein sources out there!
If you’re thinking about cutting dairy from your diet as well but have no idea where to start, I’ve listed a few of my favorite replacements below! Baby steps people..you can do it!
I can handle eliminating cheese but avocado?I would have had to draw the line there! Fortunately for us, this super food is a great alternative for source cream & mayonnaise. You can make all sorts of spreads and dips and even a chocolate mousse with avocados! YUMMY!
As I mentioned before, coconut oil is an ideal substitute for butter! It has anti-microbial properties, it helps with the absorption of other nutrients, aids in weight loss and improves brain function!
For my cheese lovers, nutritional yeast is a must! You can use it to make vegan parmesan cheese by mixing it with almonds and a little bit olive oil and it’s a great source of vitamin B12!
Plant Based Milks
The first thing you will probably replace on your dairy-free journey is cow milk. Don’t worry, with a variety of options, this will be the easy part! You have everything from almond, coconut, cashew, rice and oat milk, my personal favorites are oat and coconut! Find your preferred taste and enjoy your daily cup of coffee in the morning!
Saying bye bye to dairy usually means cutting ice cream right? Wrong! Have you guys ever heard of “nice cream?” It’s basically ice cream made with one ingredient…frozen bananas! All you need is a blender and you’re ready to enjoy the healthiest ice cream you’ve ever had! If this alternative sounds a little boring to you, you can also blend frozen bananas with a bit of peanut (or almond) butter along with some maple syrup and you’ve got a tasty treat to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Going dairy-free aint so bad y’all, it’s all about being diligent and listening to your body! If you have any other food alternatives for dairy you enjoy, please share them with me in the comments below!!