Dairy free is becoming a much more popular diet trend amongst people, next to gluten free and sugar free. Personally, I have always been dairy free when it comes to my milk choices, admittedly, more for taste reasons than health!
Since becoming more health conscious I often opt for health benefits over taste, so I wanted to find out if I should start to include some cow’s milk into my diet, though I am still at the conclusion that milk is for baby cow’s.
Dairy isn’t actually an essential food group, there are numerous amounts of people who cannot eat/drink dairy due to adverse reactions, and suffer absolutely no health consequences.
In a world where people are confused by the mixed health messages and clever marketing, stats show that people are more likely to opt for semi skimmed, skimmed, low or no fat milk (thinking that’s the healthier option) – but this essentially removes all of the protein, vitamin D and carbohydrates from the milk, which is the nutritious parts!
Pasteurisation (which is done to kill the bacteria) destroys the beneficial lactobacillus bacteria, as well as the vitamins and most of the natural enzymes. It reduces the levels of B vitamins in products by 10-15%, and sterilised milk products lose between 35-95% of all its B vitamins.
If lactose which is digested by lactase (we produce less lactase as we get older), it passes to the bowel where bacteria ferment it to carbon dioxide and lactic acid – the result is bloating, gas, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.
So it turns out I can stick to what I like and not have to worry about missing out on any essential nutrients – and for all those worrying about calcium and bone health, the majority of dairy free options actually contain more calcium, as well as many vegetables.
My number one alternative would have to be coconut milk (coconut anything!) – it is highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1,B3, B5, B6, and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.