Self-optimisation is a hot topic. Yoga for your mind, spin class for your body, enhanced sleep for your creativity; we’re all seeing what changes we can make to get the most out of ourselves.
But new things don’t need to be huge. Walking a touch further than normal and bringing a packed lunch to work can be little choices that have an accumulative impact.
With this in mind, we at HuffPost partnered with Arla Lactofree to enlist six of the UK’s most exciting food bloggers to participate in a two-week challenge to replace their usual dairy products with the Lactofree range.
All products are real dairy, minus the lactose – a natural sugar in milk which can cause digestive issues for people with an intolerance.
Why did we do this? It’s thought that up to 15 per cent of the UK population are lactose intolerant* – many of them unknowingly – so we wanted to show how easy it is to find out if the pesky sugar could be causing you digestive woes.
The bloggers discovered the milks, yoghurts, cheeses and spreadable in the range and are now ready to report back. Remember, if you’re affected by digestive discomfort after eating or drinking dairy products, it might be time to try your own #LactofreeChallenge.
From cooking to drinking and baking with the products, here’s what the first three we’ll focus in on found.
1. Giulia Mule of Mondomulia
“I’m from Rome, where dairy foods are eaten all through the day. When I was growing up, breakfast would be a glass of milk with biscuits, lunch would be a pasta dish with a sauce that often contained cream (and was finished with Parmesan) and cakes in the afternoon would be made with yoghurt and butter. These days, my job as a food blogger and photographer is amazing – but it means that I often don’t eat in a very balanced way. When I’m at home, I always try and eat relatively healthily, to compensate. Taking part in the Arla #LactofreeChallenge has been an interesting way to try think about how I cook and use dairy products, by trying something new.
The range is made without the sugar lactose, meaning that it’s digestible for people who suffer with a lactose intolerance, but still has all of the same nutritional benefits of traditional dairy. Swapping out my normal dairy for the milks, cheeses, spread and yoghurts, I found that there was no taste difference, from the milk in my tea to the butter on my toast. I had friends to stay while I was doing the challenge, and they didn’t notice, either.
I especially loved the mature cheddar cheese, both the block and the ready grated one, it had a good bite and I’m sprinkling it on pasta bakes in place of Parmesan – it works a treat. It was also delicious in a courgette and carrot risotto I made, along with a dash of the cream. Next up? A cake with an icing made with the soft white cheese. Yum.”
2. Julia Frey of Vikalinka
“Non-traditional dairy has always been on my radar. My son, who is now 12, was born with a milk allergy, which caused a huge reaction in him. As he got older, he was able to tolerate things like cheese and yoghurt. I was really excited to try the Arla #LactofreeChallenge because of him. So the whole family began replacing our typical dairy products with the Arla Lactofree range. Interestingly, my son’s skin, which is often quite red and bumpy, began to clear up.
While my daughter and husband didn’t feel any difference in terms of their digestive health, I found that I’ve had far less cramping and stomach pain while participating in the challenge. I’d definitely recommend the range to anyone who thinks that they might be lactose intolerant or is dealing with tummy troubles, as the range tastes the exact same as the dairy products we typically use. The strawberry yoghurts are especially lovely. When cooking with the products, like cream in a sauce, recipes worked out just as well as they do using the non lactose-free stuff.”
Dominic Franks of Belleau Kitchen
“I had heard of lactose free dairy before the challenge. Having never struggled with dairy, however, I hadn’t massively registered it.
Because I hadn’t really examined Arla Lactofree before, I was actually so surprised when I tried eating the range – I had a little bite of the mature cheese and was like: “Oh my God – it tastes the same.”
My partner and I have been using the products all day, from the milk in our morning teas and coffee, to a dash of cream in our omelettes with the cheese, the soft white cheese on crackers – I’m also going to try it stirred into a risotto with broccoli and peas.”