Due to USDA’s now out-of-date food pyramid, many of us grew up thinking milk and dairy products were a necessary part of a balanced and healthy diet. While dairy items do offer some nutrients, such as calcium and protein, dairy has many drawbacks. Dairy products can be difficult to digest, raise cholesterol, increase inflammation, and contribute to weight gain. Unfortunately, consuming dairy is also associated with increased cancer risk.
As a result, many people have wisely opted to adopt a dairy-free diet. You'll enjoy numerous health benefits and many may find that their food allergies or sensitivities improve or even disappear altogether.
Six changes you can make to your favorite foods to get started on your dairy-free diet:
1. Smoothie Heaven
Swap out cow’s milk for a dairy-free alternative, such as unsweetened almond, coconut, or oat milk. In place of yogurt, add coconut cream or avocado for a rich, creamy texture that adds a boost of healthy fat. Raw almond, hazelnut, peanut or sunflower butters are another great way to replace cow’s milk yogurt in your smoothies. And wow, what a great, full-bodied taste.
2. Cheese-less Sandwiches with Delicious Cashew Sauce
Instead of adding cheese to your sandwich, add flavor with avocado or raw veggie slices, hummus, or roasted vegetables. To kick things up a notch, try horseradish sauce or wasabi. If you want to get creative in the kitchen, soak some raw cashews and blend them with nutritional yeast to make a tasty and nutritious spread.
3. Desserts with Pure Perfection
Luckily, dairy-free ice cream and desserts are now a commonplace on grocery store shelves and freezers. Reach for your favorite products that substitute dairy for alternative milks, like almond milk or coconut milk. For a quick treat without added sugar, blend a few frozen organic strawberries with an unsweetened dairy-alternative, such as coconut milk. Yum!
4. Pizza with pizzaz
Did you think that a pizza wouldn’t be the same without ooey-gooey melted cheese on top?
Don’t fret - you don’t need to say goodbye! You can choose from a wide variety of dairy-free cheeses that will make your pizza taste quite delicious, if not even better! And try adding a spoonful of pesto as a great alternative with some distinctive flavor.
5. Dairy-Free Yogurt - simply awesome!
Rich, creamy dairy-free yogurt is another food that has become increasingly popular in recent years. And no wonder - it tastes great! Many popular brands of yogurt are now making alternative yogurts using creamy almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk.
6. Coffee and Tea – Without Creamers
Now you can kick out the cow’s milk or creamer from your coffee or tea. You’ll love the nutritious creamy richness of adding one of these instead: oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, rice milk, cashew milk. For even more added flavor, spice up your coffee with a dash of cardamom, cinnamon, or nutmeg. Yum!
Remember, you don’t have to go dairy-free overnight. Start by making small but delicious changes and before you know it, you’ll be 100% dairy-free! Please enjoy all the wonderful body upgrades when you dump the dairy: less mucus in the morning, better joint flexibility, and oh my ... are those jeans a little looser now? You can thank me later! ;)