Why are so many people around the world going dairy-free?
This is when you cannot tolerate the protein component of milk or digest the milk sugar, known as lactose. A dairy-free life means no cows’ milk or any other animal milks such as sheep, goats and buffalo etc. Dairy is made into obvious products like cheese and yogurt which can be easily avoided. However, dairy also occurs in many other foods as an ingredient, appearing as lactose or milk derived ingredients (whey, for example), and this can make things a little more difficult.
Any food can contain milk so it is essential to read the full ingredients list to check all manufactured products. Cases of dairy intolerance appear to be on the up, and symptoms can be anything from mild to severe. Nowadays manufacturers must declare allergens on the back of the packet, so this makes it a whole lot easier to know what’s inside.
So how much of this is about genetics?
Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. Lactose intolerance in adulthood is most prevalent in people of East Asian descent, affecting more than 90 percent of adults in some of these communities. Lactose intolerance is also very common in people of West African, Arab, Jewish, Greek, and Italian descent. The prevalence of lactose intolerance is lowest in populations with a long history of dependence on unfermented milk products as an important food source. For example, only about 5 percent of people of Northern European descent are lactose intolerant – The Genetics Home Reference Guide
What can I eat instead?
One of the main challenges for those living dairy-free is what foods can be substituted for milk, yogurt, butter and cheese, and how can favourite foods still be enjoyed?
The good news is that this challenge is pretty easy to overcome! There are plenty of plant milks on the market, for example, coconut, soya, almond, oat, rice and hemp. You can buy them off the shelf or you can keep the raw ingredients in the kitchen and make your own.
If you are looking for yogurt, butter and cheese there are lots of choices out there, and you’ll also discover alternatives like nut butters and tofu, and recipes for protein-rich burgers from seeds and nuts.
Initially it does take a bit of creativity and inspiration so we’ve got hundreds of delicious, nutrient-rich recipes to get you started.
In becoming vegan you choose to eliminate all animal products from your diet (and indeed life). Going vegan is becoming more and more popular, as increasing numbers of people recognise the benefits for health, for our planet, and for animals.
There are now 150,000 full-time vegans in the UK – so about one in 400 – according to The Vegan Society, and many are choosing to try vegan for Veganuary to find out what it’s all about. Why not sign up today?
Author: Indigo Herbs
Indigo Herbs‘ mission is to make Herbs and Superfoods available, affordable and accessible to all. For more information please visit their website today.