Deciding to go dairy-free is no easy task. You would never believe how much you rely on the dairy industry for your everyday cooking. Everyone who knows their way around the kitchen understands how easy it is to thicken a sauce using cream or increase flavour and richness by adding a good dollop of butter. Whoever invented the term “it’s better with feta” wasn’t lying.
I’ve been aware of the health benefits of eliminating dairy from your diet for years, but only recently, as a show of support to my lactose-intolerant fiancé, did I finally take the plunge and go completely dairy-free. You will never know the change it has on your body until you try it for yourself. After three weeks, I completely forgot about my new lifestyle choice and ordered a flat white to go, forgetting to ask for almond milk. I was halfway through a rather delicious coffee when I realised what I’d done and figured, “What’s one small coffee going to do?” Well, about ten minutes later, my stomach was so sore that I thought I was going to pass out and the rest of the day I felt uncomfortable and rather sick. If THAT reaction from my body wasn’t enough to confirm this was a life choice, not a diet fad, then I don’t know what is.
Have a look at some of these fascinating dairy facts and you might want to reconsider keeping it in your everyday diet:
- Humans only started drinking milk after the agricultural revolution in the 18th century. Our digestive systems have had to evolve to try and digest dairy.
- 75% of the world’s population is unable to digest dairy, making them lactose intolerant to some degree, and some believe this is evidence that it is not natural for adults to consume milk.
- Milk is HIGH in sugar carbohydrates. Yes, lactose means sugar and the more fat they extract from the milk the more sugar it has! Don’t believe me? Next time you are at the shops have a look at the back of the milk labels; fat free and low fat milk will have more sugar per 100ml than their full cream counterpart. 2% milk has about 12g sugar per 250ml, the amount used in a cappuccino. That’s three teaspoons of sugar… BEFORE you’ve added your own sweetener to your cup of coffee.
- We absorb TWICE the amount of calcium by eating greens like kale and broccoli, plus they add much more nutritional value to your diet than milk does. Debunks the myth that milk is a must for calcium.
- Hormones – yes, if you start thinking about your food you start to realise certain scary truths. Dairy cows are kept on hormones pretty much their entire lives. Their bodies need to be in pregnancy mode to produce milk, which results in you consuming high amounts of estrogen and progesterone every tie you enjoy a meal or drink that includes dairy.
- Cancer – In 2006, Harvard researchers published the results of a study that looked at 100,000 women aged 26 to 46. Those who had the highest intake of meat and dairy products also had the highest risk of breast cancer
These few scary facts highlight just how much there is to learn about our modern-day diets, and believe me, once you’ve done a little research, you’ll think twice about your morning café latte.
Almond Breeze has made the decision to switch to a dairy alternative so much easier for me. Their affordable 1L Unsweetened Almond Milk is permanently stocked at home and I always make sure I carry the handy 250ml cartons for when I need a coffee fix and I am somewhere that doesn’t offer milk alternatives.
In my day-to-day cooking, I have found the switch to using Almond Breeze really easy and have had very few recipes fail on me due to the substitution of milk products for Almond Breeze. The thing to keep in mind is that it cannot always be a straight swap, and certain recipes call for different Almond Breeze products and certain recipes call for a few tips and tricks to keep it delicious!
Here are a few tips to start substituting milk out of your everyday life and start introducing Almond Breeze as a staple in your kitchen:
- You can substitute exact quantities of milk for Almond Breeze in most recipes. Best to use the Unsweetened Almond Breeze for savoury dishes and Original Almond Breeze for baking, as it has a sweeter taste. The Barista Blend variant is perfect to have with your coffee as it froths really well.
- To make buttermilk, add one table spoon of lemon juice to one cup of Unsweetened Almond Breeze and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Use Original Almond Breeze, plus your favourite flavouring or spice (cinnamon, strawberry, vanilla) with gelatin for a great dairy-free panna cotte.
- Almond Breeze blended with seasonal fruit and seeds makes for a quick, delicious smoothie.
- Add Almond Breeze Barista Blend to cooked potatoes to make a creamy mash.
- Substitute Almond Breeze Barista Blend for milk when making the base of your favourite sauce, add fried mushrooms, pepper or garlic and serve over steak, chicken or fish.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment, your options are endless with Almond Breeze.
Why don’t you try this delicious Dairy Free Sauce
¼ cup olive or canola oil
1 cup diced mushrooms OR 2 spoons ground black pepper OR 1 spoon crushed garlic
2 T. white flour
2 ½ cups Unsweetened Almond Breeze / Almond Breeze Barista Blend
Salt and Pepper, to taste
In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the oil.
For mushroom sauce: fry mushrooms until edges start to brown
For pepper sauce: Add black pepper and fry until fragrant, add 1 more spoon olive oil and mix
For garlic sauce: Add garlic and fry for 1 minute
Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wire whisk for 1-2 minutes, or until the flour smells slightly toasted but is not burning.
Whisking constantly, add the Almond Breeze, carefully pouring down the side of the saucepan. Your sauce will start to bubble slightly, and it is important to continue to stir well at this point to prevent your sauce from forming clumps of flour or burning.
Turn down the heat if it bubbles too much.
Cook until desired thickness, add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot over your favourite meat, chicken or fish dish.