Growing up, we were constantly told to drink milk for strong bones and how vital dairy products are for a healthy diet. However, in 2021 the picture is very different. It’s fairly common to hear about friends/family members being dairy free and seeing all the alternative milk options at the grocery store. You can easily spend hours browsing the different non-dairy options at Whole Foods, from oat milk to dairy free cheese...the options are endless.
While there is conflicting research on dairy, let’s weigh the pros and cons and you can see if dairy or non-dairy products are right for you:
Dairy foods do play a huge nutritional role in bone health and muscle growth. It’s a great source of protein and provides other vital nutrients as well. People who consume dairy can have a lower chance of heart disease and stroke. On the flip side, diary can cause inflammation (aka bloating) and agitate skin conditions.
The closest thing to cow’s milk is soy milk when it comes to nutrition. It’s packed with key nutrients and contains zero saturated fats. Oat milk is another great option filled with fiber and protein. One thing that is important to note is if you don’t plan your non-dairy diet carefully you can easily miss out on key nutrients your body needs. Over indulging in non-dairy products can be just as harmful and a high intake can cause inflammation. Dairy free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “healthier”.
When it comes to deciding if non-dairy is right for you, my main tip would be to listen to your body. Try a non-dairy diet for a few weeks and see how you feel. I personally feel less bloated and my skin is on point when I go dairy free. Make small changes in your diet and see how it impacts your body. Make sure to not skimp out on Vitamin D, portobello mushrooms, salmon and eggs are a great source!