Some people argue that reducing dairy in your diet can have a tremendous effect on how you feel. They argue that reducing dairy has benefits affecting anything from your digestive system to skin. However, at the same time dairy foods have numerous nutrients that are healthy for your body. You will have to see if the benefits of reducing dairy outweigh the benefits from the nutrients it contains.
Reducing dairy in your diet will have a number of benefits including a more stable and comfortable digestive system. It can help you with weight control and it can even be good for skin conditions such as acne.
Dairy Foods are Everywhere
It’s not an easy process for most people though. On a global scale, dairy is a staple of our diets. It’s something that a lot of people will have with every major meal. Milk in your cereal, butter on your bread, yoghurt, cream and of course, cheese.
Cheese is a food that comes in many different forms, can be incorporated into all kinds of different meals and dishes. It’s a huge part of every major Western cuisine. Saying goodbye to cheese is the most difficult part of this process for a lot of people, but you can do it.
Many restaurants have different diet programs. With vegetarian food you will never go wrong and accidentally consume a hidden dairy product. However, with other diets this is not necessarily the case. The Keto diet can be complete and not contain dairy foods but they are not must exclude foods. When visiting McDonalds and relying on their Keto Menu, avoid cheese. Or if you’re on a paleo diet, visiting Taco Bell for their Paleo style menu, it’s good to mention you avoid all things dairy.
If you’re serious about reducing dairy in your diet, then there are a few important steps you need to take. Let’s go through them:
Identify Nutrients You Will Lose
Though there are benefits to reducing dairy as we discussed above, there will also be a few potential health consequences, because dairy is a big source of a lot of healthy nutrients. We often take for granted how many nutrients we get from dairy.
For one thing, you are going to need to make sure you get your calcium elsewhere. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth and it’s long been associated with milk and cheese, so keep that in mind.
Dairy is also a good source of protein, and if you are reducing dairy as a part of much wider change to an entirely plant-based diet that can cause a problem. Many people get most of their protein from meat so its important to find other sources of protein. Getting enough protein is key to maximizing your fitness results.
You also need to consider probiotics. Probiotics are bacteria which serves a number of different functions in your body, mainly the regulation of your digestive system. Yoghurt is one of the best ways to get them into your system.
Yoghurt will be a no go in a dairy-reduced diet and so you will have to look elsewhere. A lot of people are lacking in this part of their diet anyway. Given this, it might be worth looking into some good probiotic supplements to improve your gut health without the need for dairy.
Source Your Calcium and Protein
Foods Rich in Calcium
So this brings us onto the kind of foods that you will need to eat to replace all these nutrients that you are losing. Surprisingly, in the case of calcium, you can actually get that from several different kinds of vegetables.
Think about your greens and beans. Look to the green and leafy kind of vegetables like kale, broccoli and brussel sprouts. All leafy vegetables have calcium, but there are some, such as spinach, through which it’s not as absorbable.
You will be able to absorb it from the others mentioned though, as you will from legumes. A plate of standard baked beans will have 100 milligrams of calcium. You can also get a good dose of calcium from chickpeas.
Foods Rich In Protein
Chickpeas have a good amount of protein and are a key ingredient in hummus. Replacing butter in your diet with hummus would be a great step to. I personally like humus on bread even more than butter so this is a healthy and tasty bonus. As for protein, you can also get that from chickpeas.
Another legume which is a game-changer for protein would be lentils. They are packed with protein and pretty easy to prepare. Lentils are amazing because not only are they massively nutritious, but they are also cheap and tasty. People can incorporate them into a wide variety of dishes that are delicious. There’s also wild oats and various nut-based products.
Think about having an oat-based breakfast and using something like almond milk instead of regular cow’s milk. Almond milk and other milk substitutes have come a long way in recent years as awareness of dairy related issues has increased.
Don’t Forget to Think About Taste
Aside from nutritional value, dairy also tastes really good, and that make it hard to give up. Dairy based foods are often very satiating. We should all be aiming for better health, but we should also be able to enjoy the things we eat.
This is why it’s important to not only be pragmatic and health-conscious when reducing dairy, but also keep your own personal tastes in mind. With plant-based diets becoming more and more popular, people are getting very creative.
If you are particularly attached to cheese as many people are, there are a number of different substitutes out there for you to try. There is something called Sheese which is dairy, lactose and gluten free and the company making it has thirty years of experience behind them to perfect it.
Sheese comes in slices, grated and as a creamy spread so no matter what the taste or texture of cheese you prefer, there seems to be a product which replicates it for you. If you’re missing your dairy-based desserts, there are a lot of brands of vegan ice cream out there. It is usually made from either almonds, soy or coconut milk.
And you could even make some of your own dairy-free products too if you wanted. Making your own nut-based milk or ice cream is something you could learn to do relatively easily online. It’s nice to feel like you have as much control over the food you’re eating as possible.
So again, the two most important things that you need to think about when getting rid of dairy are the nutrients and the taste that you will be sacrificing. As you can see, with a bit of research and a bit of creativity, there are a whole lot of ways for you to substitute those things and see a lot of health benefits without any loss of enjoyment.