With people becoming more and more aware of the environment, we're seeing a rise in dairy-free diets, as well as vegetarian and vegan diets. There's also a case of many people just wanting to try new options- new research shows that 31m people in the UK are keen to drop dairy from their diet, but only 12% of people actually attempt to switch to a dairy-free diet, believing that it's too difficult or they won't be able to able to find a balanced diet without dairy. Alongside that of course is growing awareness of lactose intolerance. Ten years ago, the awareness around intolerances wasn't as high as it is today but people are much more aware of intolerances now. I've seen a rise in lactose intolerant clients who are realising there are dietary solutions to their discomfort. The benefits of going dairy-free are different for everyone but if you do have a diagnosed intolerance, people tend to find that their skin feels better and they are less bloated.
The demand for dairy-free diets is undoubtedly rising, but it is really important to ensure you maintain a balanced diet when cutting out a food group. If you are considering going dairy-free for the long-term, it's always a good idea to seek advice from a registered nutritionist to ensure sure your diet remains balanced and you are not losing out on any vital vitamins and nutrients. Fortunately, many dairy-free brands and plant-based products are ensuring that dairy-free products are fortified with the nutrients found in dairy. Brands are offering the right guidance for a balanced diet when making a lifestyle change to go dairy-free. I've recently worked with plant-based milk alternative brand Dream to create the '21 Day Challenge' meal plan which will ensure you are getting vital nutrients and a balanced diet. The meal plan aims to show how easy it is to go diary-free without missing out on anything you would get from dairy.
Often a common concern when replacing dairy with plant-based milk alternatives is the lack of protein. However, I have designed this menu with Dream to ensure it is nutritionally balanced and you will get a sufficient amount of protein across the day. The menu will enable you to nourish your body with lots of variety from vegetables to protein, get lots of healthy fats in your diet and ensure you feel energised and healthy without compromising on taste. As well as fortified plant-based alternatives to milk, there are plenty of other sources of nutrients, such as kale and broccoli, which are great sources of calcium.
Eating on the go is often when you have to be most mindful so be prepared and always have some snacks in your handbag. Things like a piece of fruit or some almonds are great to keep you satisfied between meals. Most of the time it is just a case of being organised. Spend an extra half hour at the weekend and cook some things in advance in Tupperware to combat those craving moments. For those hard-to-cut dairy products like cheese, there are great plant-based swaps you can make, such as swap mozzarella for grilled tofu, swap butter for avocado, swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate (check it's dairy free though), or swap parmesan for nutritional yeast.
If you are interested in trying a dairy-free lifestyle, visit www.mydairyfreedream.com/21daychallenge to download your Dream Challenge pack. The pack contains a balanced meal plan for plant based milk alternative brand Dream's 21 Day Challenge, making it easy to cut dairy from your diet.