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Going dairy-free in a dairy world can be off-putting. However, don’t worry, the switch to a dairy-free lifestyle pays off in more ways than you can imagine. It is particularly intimidating if the switch is due to an allergy. Here are a few tips that will ease the transition, and nudge you towards a dairy-free lifestyle.
Choose whole foods and foods with labels since several food additives that contain dairy ingredients. Almost all highly processed foods will have a dairy ingredient, although it will look non-diary. The chances of hidden dairy in your food decrease if there are fewer ingredients in your food. Make this switch a chance to start incorporating healthy food options in your diet like fruits, lean meats, veggies, nuts, and whole grains.
Make sure that you always have a snack on hand to binge on when you are hungry particularly when you are out. A dairy-free lifestyle can make snacking difficult. That way you will always have something, be it a homemade cookie, protein bar, or mix nuts. It will ensure that you stick to your diet while you are out with friends, for instance, eating food that nourishes you while still enjoying the company of your friends.
Planning your meals ahead of time cannot be stressed enough. Making something at the last moment can get stress-free very quickly once you go dairy. Therefore, plan your meals throughout the week because I assure, you do not want to go through your pantry to find enough dairy-free ingredients to cook a decent meal with. Moreover, planning also stops you from consuming dairy so make a list and keep your pantry full of dairy ingredients.
You have to be skilled at reading labels once you embark on the dairy-free life. Keep in mind that milk, cheese, cream or butter is labeled on all products. However, most of the times food manufacturers hide the ingredients, therefore you will want to look for products labeled as “may contain”. This label means the product is processed in a place where milk products are also produced and there’s a chance for cross-contamination. It’s more important to read labels if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Nothing is worse than being at a restaurant and finding out that you probably have the choice of having one or two things on the menu, and you don’t like either of them. Therefore, it is wise to check the restaurant’s menu for its dairy-free options before you go. You will find their menus easily on the internet, either on their website or Facebook. Moreover, ask questions as to how the food is prepared. For instance, ask if the food is fried in butter, and ask them to fry it in oil instead.
Going on a dairy-free diet can feel very restricting; however, look at it as trying new things. There are so many vegan restaurants and foods that naturally do not contain dairy. Moreover, you will also find plenty of tempting dairy-free recipes on the internet. Cheese is one thing a lot of people say they can’t quit or miss. Therefore, don’t look out for alternatives and try out a lot of recipes without cheese until your taste buds have adjusted.
Once you decide to go down the dairy-free path, go cold turkey instead of slowly phasing out. Since the latter will only make you crave for dairy. The longer you keep eating dairy food in any form, the longer you will take to phase out of it. Cheating would dampen your efforts if your goal is a gluten-free lifestyle. Cheese, for instance, is very addictive, and people find it very hard to quit. However, there are plenty of non-diary cheese options to choose from.
Plant-based milk is a wonderful alternative for dairy milk. It is cruelty-free and better for the environment. Rice milk for one is perfect for people with allergies. Almond milk, for instance, is a perfect substitute for dairy milk; it contains all the essential vitamins and calcium like cow milk. Non-dairy milk is perfect for vegans, and for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
Hopefully, these tips would help the transition to a dairy-free lifestyle. Do you enjoy a dairy-free lifestyle? What worked for you when you decided to take the plunge? Share your experience and a few tips in the comments to help other fellows in their dairy-free journey.BACK