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Got Indigestion? Go Dairy Free

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I recently learned about a woman who was just told – by a health care professional – that she has a “sensitivity” to dairy. “Millie” is about forty and has consumed dairy products her entire life. My reaction? A huge smile engulfed my face and I thought “lucky Millie.”

I don’t know Millie, but I see myself in her – a younger me – and so many others who sadly will never be told they have a “sensitivity” to the most damaging “food” item they ingest. If they only knew how much they could benefit by entirely eliminating dairy from their diet!

I’ve read a lot about the dangers of dairy, but nothing is more persuasive than firsthand experience. For many years, I suffered with gastrointestinal problems, bloating and pain. I underwent numerous medical tests and experimented with a variety of prescription medications and probiotics. Despite the many “specialists” I saw, not one ever told me to eliminate dairy or even considered that it might be the source of my health problems.

Millie is lucky. She may not realize it, but someone just saved her a great deal of time, money, energy and pain. Based on the advice of a caring professional, Millie will stop ingesting dairy in its many forms including milk, cream cheese, sour cream, ice cream, mayonnaise and cheese. All of these foods are available dairy-free and are tasty and healthier than the dairy version.

Millie thinks it will be hard to stop consuming diary. It is true that Millie will need to read labels more carefully in order to avoid dairy. But I think she will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to ditch dairy and how much easier it gets every day as more and more amazing dairy-free products and replacements enter the marketplace. I wish just one of the professionals I saw told me what Millie just learned.

If Millie is anything like me it may take awhile for her body to rid itself of the toxins she spent years accumulating through the dairy products she ingested. But, after awhile, Millie will notice differences. Her skin will begin to change in wonderful ways. Her energy level will increase and, perhaps most importantly, her digestion will be better than it has been in years.

I’m happy for Millie. Happy because she will finally remove from her diet the single worst carcinogen in it. Happy because she will soon experience the many benefits of a dairy-free diet. Happy because one more person finally knows the truth. She is truly lucky.

For more information on the dangers of dairy and how to eliminate it from your diet visit:

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/prostate-cancer-and-organic-milk-vs-almond-milk

http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/health-concerns-about-dairy-products

http://www.veganseatwhat.com/#!dairy-replacement-chart/cid

http://www.godairyfree.org/dairy-substitutes/how-to-substitute-butter

http://vegan.com/dairy-free/

http://www.notmilk.com/zerodairy.html

http://freefromharm.org/farm-animal-welfare/what-about-humanely-raised-milk-and-dairy-products/

A great reference book for every diary-free kitchen is The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman (Fair Winds Press, 2011). There are also several amazing books on making plant-based cheese including Artisan Vegan Cheese, Miyoko Schinner (Book Publishing company, 2012) and The Ultimate UnCheese Cookbook, Joanne Stephaniak (Book Publishing Company, 2003). Finally, there are many great tasting commercial alternatives to diary. Try several brands to see which you prefer or, make your own replacements. I’m including a few recipes to get you started.


Not-So Cheese Sauce

This recipe from Vitamix uses raw and unsalted almonds as the base. Soak the almonds in water for several hours or overnight, then rinse and drain prior to making the recipe if you are not using a high speed blender.

  • 2/3 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 oz. jar pimentos
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 4 T nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for three to five minutes or until the mixture is very creamy. Keeps refrigerated in covered glass jar about five days.


Sour Cream

Adapted from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions.

  • ½ cup raw cashews (soak overnight then rinse and drain prior to using)
  • 1 package firm water packed tofu, drained (14 to 16 oz. package)
  • 2 T white wine vinegar
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T sweet white miso
  • 2 T almond or walnut oil

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed for several minutes or until the mixture is very smooth. Transfer to a covered glass container and refrigerate for up to a week. Use as you would dairy sour cream.


Herb Ricotta Cheese

This recipe is from Sarah Comerchero. If you prefer a plain ricotta simply omit the herbs. This nut cheese is great for making stuffed shells, lasagna or serving as a dip with veggies and crackers.

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight then rinsed and drained if you are not using a high speed blender)
  • ½ cup macadamia nuts
  • 2 T pine nuts
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • basil, dill, oregano and parsley to taste
  • ½ cup water (if needed add a tablespoon more)
  • ½ tsp. salt

Blend all ingredients together until the mixture is very smooth. Add additional water, if necessary, to desired consistency.


Nutty Whipped Topping

This tasty recipe, from Rebecca, is one of my favorite creamy dairy-free toppings. Try it on fruit, desserts and even to top off hot beverages. Please use raw and unsalted nuts and again, soak them if you are not using a high speed blender.

  • ¾ cup cashews
  • ½ cup macadamia nuts
  • 2 T agave syrup
  • ½ cup water
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 T cocoa powder (optional – for chocolate whipped topping)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth. The mixture will appear thin, but thickens once refrigerated. Transfer to a covered glass container. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving, or if possible, overnight.

Happy, healthy dairy-free eating,

Kris received her JD/MBA degress from the University of Denver in 1989. Believing so strongly in the benefits of plant-based/vegan diets — for human health, the environment and factory-farmed animals she started VegansEatWhat.com in 2013.  Kris is married with one son and lives in Colorado.  She can be reached at kris@veganseatwhat.com

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Author: Kris Giovanini

Kris is a former attorney and long time vegetarian/vegan who was healed of severe digestive problems after eliminating all dairy from her diet. Says Kris "if I can make great vegan food, anyone can"! Kris devotes her time to promoting vegan/plant-based diets and can be reached at kris@veganseatwhat.com.