Dairy Free? You Might Actually Be Surprised if You Look

Dairy Free? You Might Actually Be Surprised if You Look
What does it mean to be dairy-free? Essentially, dairy is defined as milk from all mammals, including cows, sheep, goats, and camel. But we’re going to focus mainly on the most common type of dairy here in the U.S., which is cow's milk. Going dairy-free means eliminating anything made with milk, including cheese, butter, cream, and ice cream.

Why Go Dairy-Free?

Aside from the vegan diet-related reasons for avoiding dairy, the concern is that dairy from cow's milk is one of the 9 most common allergens. Most dairy today is highly processed and is produced from unhealthy cows that are exposed to growth hormones, growth factors, and fed a grain-based diet. As a result, there are many health issues associated with dairy.

Lactose intolerance, which affects approximately 70% of the population, is one of the most common. Lactose is the sugar found in milk. And lactase is an enzyme that your body produces in order to break down lactose. Someone with lactose intolerance has trouble producing lactase in order to properly break down lactose. Common symptoms for someone with lactose intolerance include bloating, stomach aches, gas, and other digestive related issues after consuming dairy. 

Another health issue associated with dairy is milk allergies. This is different from lactose intolerance. A milk allergy is when somebody is allergic to the proteins found in dairy. Two of the most common are casein and whey.

Regardless of an actual allergy, dairy typically creates an inflammatory response in the body and can have both immediate and long term health implications. For example, skin conditions ranging from face bumps to eczema are common among those who regularly consume dairy. Cow's milk has even been linked to diabetes, cognitive decline, and some cancers.

What’s the Difference Between Milk in the U.S. and Milk in Other Countries?

In other countries, different forms of dairy are much more common. Some of the other mammals that produce milk, like goats, camels, and sheep, are regular sources of dairy. Additionally, scientists in other countries have found ways to make dairy more tolerable. In New Zealand, for example, a scientist discovered that by breeding cows without the A1 beta-casein protein, people had fewer negative reactions and were able to better tolerate dairy. This is known as A2 milk, and it is now available in most health food stores. If consuming dairy, we recommend milk that is organic, raw, and unpasteurized.

Milk Substitutes for a Dairy-Free Diet

The great thing is that there are so many dairy alternatives available today. Some of the best options include almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, and cashew milk. Soy milk, another popular dairy substitute, is one we don't recommend for reasons outlined in one of our other blog posts. As always, try to go organic whenever possible, as non-organic dairy substitutes can also be problematic.

One of the features of our baking mixes is that they're all dairy-free. We avoid dairy in all of our baking and prefer organic almond or coconut milk in recipes that call for milk. Learn more about the dairy-free ingredients we use and get some great recipes — click here now to get started!

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