By Dhriti Udeshi,
Nutrition Consultant & Fitness Trainer
Following a dairy-free lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular. Although low-carb dairy products provide health benefits and can be included on keto diets, some people do best with minimal dairy, and others must avoid it altogether.
Most people associate going on a low carb lifestyle with increase in dairy consumption as cheese, butter, cream and greek yogurt are staples. However, they don’t have to be if you plan on going dairy free (by choice or otherwise). Now going dairy free makes sense in certain cases like;
- Dairy Allergy – Symptoms of dairy allergies include rash, hives, swollen lips, digestive distress, and in severe cases, anaphylactic shock. Obviously, people with dairy protein allergies must avoid dairy altogether.
- Lactose Intolerance – Unlike allergies to dairy protein, lactose intolerance is the inability to properly digest and absorb lactose, the sugar found in dairy.
People with lactose intolerance don’t produce the enzyme lactase, which breaks lactose into smaller sugar units that can be absorbed. Without lactase, lactose passes into the colon, where it typically causes bloating, gas, pain, and diarrhea within minutes to an hour after consumption.
- Persistent Acne – Dairy may increase your susceptibility to acne breakouts, although this seems to vary from person to person.
You may also wish to go dairy free for a period of time and then slowly introduce few sources back as the symptoms reduce. You really have to play it by the ear and experience it for yourself. YOU ARE YOUR OWN BEST JUDGE 🙂
Either way, don’t be disheartened if you need to go off dairy and wish to continue a low carb lifestyle.
So how does one go about a dairy free low carb lifestyle? Lets take it one step at a time.
- Get Plenty of High-Calcium Foods
Dairy is rich in calcium, but there are plenty of other low-carb foods that are great sources as well such as almond milk fortified with calcium, sardines, salmon, sesame seeds, spinach, broccoli and kale.
- Use Dairy free substitutes – the flavor won’t be identical to your favorite dairy products; however, they are all tasty, healthy options that you’ll quickly learn to love. Swap;
- butter for ghee or coconut oil,
- cream for coconut milk,
- cheese for dairy free cheese,
- parmesan for nutritional yeast and
- milk for nut or seed milk.
(NOTE: Ghee is clarified butter, which has had casein and lactose removed. Although most people can tolerate ghee, some people need to avoid it altogether.)
- Watch out for hidden carbs – For instance, almond and other non-dairy milks often contain syrup or other sweeteners.
Some also contain additional ingredients, such as rice milk, soy milk and thickeners. Fortunately, there are many unsweetened types available as well.
- Have Dairy-Free Snacks on Hand
Most people find that they don’t get hungry between meals when following a keto or low-carb way of eating. However, some snacks to keep at hand are; nuts and seeds, coconut chips, avocado hummus and kale chips.
As you can see, it is really not that difficult to maintain a low carb lifestyle even if you choose to go dairy free!