Are you lactose intolerant, do you suffer from a milk allergy, would you like to avoid dairy products due to a change in diet, or are you a vegan who does not consume animal products out of conviction? So whatever your reasons for wanting to avoid dairy, the first thing you need to know is which products contain milk – and there are more than you think! In addition, you also need to think about what calcium-rich alternatives are available.
It’s not enough just to stop drinking milk. Milk is a component of many different foods and is a flavor carrier. Therefore, you must always read the ingredients carefully. Most dairy products also explicitly list “milk” as an ingredient. For allergy reasons alone, products that contain milk must also list it as an ingredient. If it is not listed, it usually does not contain any milk. You should also look for casein and whey. Both ingredients come from the cow and are contained in many foods. Whey is found in everything from muscle-building supplements to chicken broth.
This is usually the hardest part as most of us enjoy a variety of dairy products. They are simply part of our everyday life. Here are a few of the most common dairy- and cream-based products: Milk (whole, semi-skimmed, condensed, etc.) Whipped cream Custard Coffee cream Cream sauces and soups Ice cream and sorbets (some sorbets contain no milk) Yoghurts Some types of mayonnaise, mustard and other condiments Non-dairy coffee creamer. Casein is an animal product and therefore unsuitable for vegans.
If butter or margarine has been used to manufacture a commercial product, this must also be stated as an ingredient. Butter is curdled and processed milk. Some nutritionists are of the opinion that butter is the most harmless form of dairy product for those who are allergic or lactose intolerant. Most people who suffer from it have problems with the proteins found in milk. Humans are designed to survive on their mother’s milk, not the milk of other mammals. Since butter is 80 to 82 percent fat and relatively low in protein, it’s mostly tolerable even for those who have problems with dairy products. There are special kinds of margarine for vegans that are made without animal additives.
Cheese is definitely a dairy product. Therefore, you will probably have to do without the obligatory slice of cheese when smearing your bread. Pizza, burritos, tacos, and casseroles often contain cheese as well. You should also avoid consuming cheese-based dips. If you are in a restaurant, it is better to ask if a dish contains cheese. Mature cheeses usually contain less lactose, while soft cheeses are richer. Spreadable cheese is also full of lactose.
Most baked goods contain milk. Unfortunately, this also includes cakes, muffins, cookies, and donuts, unless baked with soy, rice, or other alternatives. Some breads are baked with mono and diglycerides or lecithin – these are vegan and contain no milk as an additive. As a rule, these products are also advertised as a vegan.
Milk, cheese and ice cream are also available in non-dairy versions. These are based on soy, rice, almond milk, hemp seeds and oats and are therefore suitable alternatives. Many discounters are adapting to the growing group of vegans by gradually expanding their vegan range. For recipes that call for milk, you can use soy milk instead. Soy milk contains about the same amount of protein as cow’s milk. For lighter yogurt variations, you can use nut-based milks (such as cashews or almonds). Hemp milk is applicable to cheesy dishes. Hemp products maintain a consistency comparable to many types of cheese. Sunflower milk is also on the rise but has not really gained a foothold as an alternative on the market.
There are many ways to avoid butter. There are dairy-free kinds of margarine. Olive oil is also suitable for frying instead of butter. Some resourceful cooks even puree apples and use the must for frying. Applesauce and coconut oil for cooking add a little more sweetness to the dish than butter, meaning you’ll need to add less sugar to your cookies and other baked goods. If you’re lactose intolerant but don’t want to miss out on the taste of butter, you could try making ghee. Ghee is a refined butter, which is usually completely free of casein and lactose.
There are many types of non-dairy ice cream. This is based on soy, coconut or rice and is available in a wide variety of shapes and flavors. They also contain no additives that have anything to do with milk. So you won’t find any milk chocolate in it. Instead, they come with nuts and fruits.
Most people who switch to a vegan or at least a dairy-free diet have one complaint about missing yogurt. Its smooth, creamy flavor is difficult to replicate without dairy. However, as with the ice cream, there are also alternatives made from soy and rice for the yogurt and these are delicious too. Many of them are also rich in vitamins B and E as well as fiber, potassium and antioxidants.
Since many dishes contain cheese in some way—sliced, melted, etc.—you’ll need to find alternatives that suit your taste. You could swap out the parmesan on salads and pasta for nutritional yeast, which is rich in B vitamins and tastes amazing. Sliced smoked tofu has a texture comparable to mozzarella and provolone and tastes great on sandwiches, crackers, and just as a snack. Soy or rice-based cheeses come in a variety of flavors, such as cheddar, mozzarella, or provolone. But be careful – even vegetarian brands can contain dairy products, for example in the form of casein. Those with a rather weak lactose intolerance can often fall back on cheese made from sheep’s or goat’s milk. Many people who try tofu for the first time claim that it is quite tasteless and rubbery. But like most dishes, tofu is all about how it’s prepared. Try different tofu, prepare it differently, or season it differently. If you give it a chance, it will only taste better to you.
Calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth and ensures healthy muscles and nerve cells. However, many people get most of their calcium from dairy products. Luckily, however, there are nut and grain milk that are fortified with plenty of calcium to be just as nutritious as cow’s milk. There is also orange juice, which is additionally provided with calcium. This is also a good time to introduce yourself to other foods rich in calcium, such as kale, collards, bok choy, broccoli, sardines, and almonds.
A milk allergy is fundamentally different from lactose intolerance. Allergy causes histamine reactions in the body that can be potentially fatal, while lactose intolerance simply means the body cannot digest lactose, which is uncomfortable but not dangerous. Some of us who are lactose intolerant can tolerate cheese (especially aged cheese), yogurt, or small amounts of cooked or baked dairy products. There are over-the-counter enzymes that can help to some extent. Everyone’s reaction is different, so experiment with dairy products carefully, keeping the above guidelines in mind.