What is a Dairy-Free Diet?
A dairy-free diet prohibits all foods containing dairy and/or dairy products.
Is a Dairy-Free Diet Healthy?
There are many reasons you may want to consider going on a dairy-free diet. Including:
1. You have a Dairy Allergy: Dairy allergies are becoming more common. Those with a dairy allergy experience an immune response with severe or life-threatening symptoms even when they consume dairy traces. If you have an allergy, you must eliminate all dairy products from your diet.
2. You have a Dairy Intolerance: Nowadays, it seems as if everyone is lactose intolerant and experiencing digestive discomfort, such as bloating and diarrhea, upon eating dairy. Lactose intolerance occurs when the enzyme that digests lactose, “lactase,” is not functioning correctly. Removing dairy products from your diet can give your “lactase” enzyme a break and prevent you from experiencing uncomfortable symptoms.
3. You have a Leaky Gut: Dairy can cause inflammation. Dairy is highly processed and contains additives that can influence harmful bacteria to take over your digestive system and cause digestive problems, like a leaky gut.
4. You have Acne: If your body dislikes dairy, it is likely causing some inflammation in your body, which can cause acne.
5. You want to Lose Weight: Dairy products are typically high in fat. Fat provides 9 calories of energy per gram. Reducing the amount of fat in your diet can help you lose weight.
What can You Eat on a Dairy-Free Diet?
Foods that are Safe to Eat:
- Beverages: Dairy-free fresh/frozen/canned juices, coffee/tea, soy instant formula, soybean milk, nut-milks
- Bread & Cereals: Dairy-free bread, pancakes, muffin, donuts, bread rolls, Rye-krisp, cereals.
- Desserts: Dairy-free gelatins, angel/sponge cakes, cookies, pie crusts, puddings, meringues.
- Fats: Dairy-free margarine, butter, and salad dressings. Animal and vegetable fats and oils, and coconut cream.
- Fruit, Vegetables, Legumes & Pulses: All fruit, vegetables, legumes and pulses served without dairy products.
- Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs: All except those prepared with dairy products or batters.
- Potatoes, Rice, Pasta: Any made without dairy products.
- Soups: Any made without dairy products.
- Sweets: sugar, honey, molasses, syrup, jams, jellies, preserves, hard candies, marmalades, dairy-free commercial candies.
- Miscellaneous: Dairy-free gravies, sauces, condiments (Yes, Mayo is Dairy-free), flavourings, spices, nuts, pickles, and butterless popcorn.
Foods that are not safe to eat:
- Beverages: all beverages with dairy products (Milk, skim milk, buttermilk, cream, evaporated milk, condensed milk, whey, caseinate, casein, skim milk solids, lactalbumin, dry milk solids, lactose, non-fat dairy)
- Bread & Cereals: all bread, pancakes, muffin, donuts, bread rolls, Rye-krisp, cereals with dairy products
- Cheese: all cheese products, including those made with soy.
- Desserts: Any cake, cookie, pie crust, or prepared mixes made or brushed with dairy products. Bavarian creams/blancmange, nougat, pudding, yogurt, custards, junkets, mousse, ice cream, or sherbert.
- Fats: Most butter and margarine. Curds Salad dressings with dairy products, cream, butter, margarine, or cheese. Sour cream.
- Fruit, Vegetables, Legumes & Pulses: All fruit, vegetables, legumes and pulses served/prepared with dairy products.
- Meat, Fish, Poultry, and Eggs: Commercially prepared meats containing dairy products, such as bologna, wieners, sausages, fritters, meatloaves or creamed dishes.
- Potatoes, Rice, Pasta: Scalloped or mashed potatoes made with dairy products. Pasta with dairy products or a cream-based sauce.
- Soups: Canned or dehydrated soups containing dairy-products. Cream soups, bisques and chowders made with dairy products.
- Sweets: Candies, toffee, creamy candies, chocolate made with dairy products.
- Miscellaneous: Gravies or sauces (such as Caramel) made with dairy products.
Can You Still Eat out at Restaurants if You’re Dairy-free?
Yes! But there are some things you might want to avoid. Always ask your server if you have questions.
Avoid: hamburger patties (bread-crumbs may have dairy products), battered food, luncheon meats, hotdogs, sausages, sauteed and fried foods, sauces, gravies, and salad dressings (unless they are dairy-free), soups, cream-based sauces (like for pasta), and most desserts.
Choose: Plain meats without breading/batters, oil and vinegar salad dressings, foods with easily identifiable ingredients (i.e. you have no questions about how it was made, like a salad).
Ask your server about:
Bread -- some recipes include dairy.
Vegetables -- Vegetables are often cooked in butter.
Desserts -- Don’t lose hope; there are plenty of desserts without dairy!
Cross-contamination: If you have a severe dairy allergy, or are passionate about the dairy-free lifestyle, inform your server about your concern of cross-contamination.
Tips for Going Dairy-Free
1. Learn about food! Learn the ingredients of the foods you most enjoy; This will make your life easier when eating out.
2. Take 1 Step at a Time: Depending on who you are, you might be able to quit dairy cold turkey. However, most of the population has likely been eating dairy for a very long time, and we always seem to want what we can’t have. Try cutting out one dairy product at a time. Next thing you know, you’re entirely dairy-free.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes: Sometimes, you might accidentally consume dairy products, but don’t blame yourself. Dairy is everywhere. Learn from your mistakes and seek medical attention if necessary.
4. Consider Taking a Calcium Supplement: The primary nutrient that you get from dairy is calcium. Calcium is essential for building and maintaining strong bones. Although you can get calcium from many non-dairy products like broccoli, you might need a little extra reinforcement.
Our Favourite Dairy-Free Products & Meal Recommendations:
Make a delicious “cheese sauce” using Bob’s Red Mill’s Nutritional Yeast.
Bake yourself a treat with Simple Mills Grain-Free Almond Flour Baking Mix. Sharing is optional!
Become a cookie monster with Simple Mills Grain-Free Crunchy Cookies!
Make a coconut curry chicken with Yair’s Thai Coconut Curry sauce! It’s Paleo, Whole30 Approved, Vegan, Ketogenic, Non-GMO, Gluten-Free!
Spice up your pasta night with Primal Kitchen's Dairy-Free Vodka Sauce!
Have an unreal snack with Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems!