How to go Dairy Free and What you can eat Instead

What is the problem with dairy?

The sugar found in dairy items is called lactose. Some people lack the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose. This can result in gastrointestinal disturbances such as diarrhea, flatulence and abdominal discomfort. This is usually an instant response and people who are lactose intolerant are usually aware.

The protein found in dairy, Casein, can also cause problems in those with compromised digestion if it is not digested properly.

In others, consumption of too much dairy products can result in excessive mucus production and nasal congestion.

Dairy also contains growth factors which can contribute to inflammatory conditions within the body.

What to look out for:

As well as avoiding dairy products, it is also important to look out for the following ingredients on labels:

  • Caseinate
  • Whey
  • Lactalbumin sodium caseinate lactose
  • Cream
  • Non-fat milk solids

Quick reference table.

Avoid Replacements
All Cheese Look out for vegan cheese or recipes which use cashew nuts to make cheese.
Yoghurt Replace with coconut yoghurts
Milk Replacements include almond, risk, hazelnut, hemp, and oat milks.

Kefir is becoming more popular and widely available and is suitable for those following a dairy free diet as the lactose in kefir has been pre-digested due to the fermentation method used and so does not require further digestion. Therefore, those unable to digest lactose properly can have Kefir products.

Butter and margarine Use a small amount of olive oil on bread instead of butter or coconut oil for cooking
Baked goods Look for specific dairy free or try making your own using coconut oil instead of butter.
Processed foods and sauces Ensure to read labels for traces of milk, cook fresh food from scratch where possible.
Some protein powders or vitamins may use whey or excipients from dairy sources Check all labels to ensure they’re dairy free.


Cashew Cheese recipe:


  • I cup of cashews soaked overnight or for at least 2 hours. Drain and rinse before using
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (available from health food stores)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup of water but more as needed




  1. Place all ingredients, except for the water, into a food processor and pulse to form a coarse, wet meal using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Turn the motor on and gently drizzle in the water for 10 seconds then stopping to scrape down the bowl again.
  3. Continue with the motor running for 1-2 minutes until the cashew cheese is smooth and thick, adding more water as you go if required.
  4. The texture should resemble hummus. Serve as you wish.
  5. This mixture can be stored in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 6 days.


Matlejan, G. (2015) ‘The World’s Healthiest Foods’ GMF Publishing.
Weatherby, D. (2004) ‘Signs and symptoms analysis from a functional perspective’ Bear Mountain publishing. (accessed 28th October 2016)