As a nutritionist, one of the questions I am asked most frequently is “Should I go dairy free?” The short answer is, while no one diet is suitable for every person, many people benefit from removing milk and milk products from their diet.
For many, cow’s milk is one of the earliest foods that are given to us as children. For this reason, many people associate milk with comfort. However, almost half of the world’s population is intolerant to lactose, or milk sugar. Other components of milk that may be problematic include the milk proteins lactalbumin and casein. No matter which constituent of milk causes the issue, dairy intolerance can cause a whole host of health problems including, but not limited to, abdominal pain, acne, bloating, congestion, ear infections, eczema, diarrhea, hives, inflammation, itchy skin, joint or muscle pain, low mood, rashes, and weight gain.
There are several ways to test for dairy intolerance. My preferred assessment tool is a modified elimination diet which involves completely eliminating dairy for a period of four to six weeks. At the end of this period I work with my clients in a slow reintroduction while carefully monitoring symptoms. Should any negative symptoms arrive, it is an indication that dairy is problematic and that it may benefit from being eliminated.
Fortunately, removing dairy from the diet can be quite manageable. Swapping out regularly consumed dairy products with delicious and healthy dairy free options, knowing which foods most commonly contain dairy, and having a list of names that dairy goes by will make the transition easier. Consider scheduling an appointment with a holistic nutritionist who can guide you through the process, customize recommendations to your specific needs, and create meal plans which reflect dietary restrictions.
The most preferred dairy free alternative is almond milk. This can easily be purchased in the natural health section of your grocery store. However, many people are unaware that home-made almond milk is easy to make, delicious and does not contain any of the thickeners or preservatives typically added to commercial almond milk. Here is a recipe to get you started!
Home Made Almond Milk
1 cup raw almonds
2 cups water
Optional: honey, maple syrup, one pitted date, cinnamon, vanilla
- Place almonds in a bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak overnight.
- Drain and rinse the almonds.
- Place almonds in a high-speed blender. Add 2 cups pure water and any other desired ingredients.
- Blend on highest speed for two minutes.
- Pour the mixture into a nut milk bag.
- Press all the almond milk from the almond meal. Set meal aside.
- Refrigerate almond milk. Use up within 4 days.
- Spread almond meal over a pan lined with parchment paper. Bake on lowest temperature of your oven for 2-3 hours until completely dry. Add to baking!
Julia is a graduate of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Julia’s services emphasize the importance of whole, live and natural foods. Striving to make healthy eating accessible and enjoyable, she believes that food can be both nutritious and delicious! As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, she understands the unique needs of each client and works with them to develop and implement a healthy eating plan individualized to their needs.
Julia strives to empower her clients through education, inspire them to make better food choices, and live healthier and more vibrant lives.
Julia’s special interests include digestive support, weight loss, skin health, blood sugar support, fertility nutrition, prenatal, postnatal and pediatric nutrition.
Call: 613-820-4200 to book an appointment with Julia.