07 Aug Delicious Dairy-Free Alternatives
Whether due to an intolerance or allergy, the choice to follow a vegan diet, or the want to reduce environmental impact, the number of people choosing to go dairy-free has risen dramatically. To meet this demand, the range of non-dairy milks has never been greater. Derived from grains and legumes, each type of milk alternative comes with its own benefits. However, some milks may have hidden pitfalls, such as additives or greater ‘food miles’. Given the myriad of dairy-free options, how do you choose the right one for your needs? To help you make an informed choice, read on for details about the most common dairy-free alternatives and how to navigate your way through their ingredients
Dairy Free Milk Options
When it comes to dairy-free milk options (aka ‘mylk’), there are several popular types you will see on the supermarket shelves. Below are some of the benefits of each, to help you decide on the right option for you:
- Oat: A source of blood sugar-balancing and gut health-promoting fibre.
- Rice: A low allergen option with a mild taste.
- Soy: High in protein, soy has received bad press in the past due to its purported capacity to increase oestrogen levels (not true!). To learn what soy actually does, and how it can be of benefit, click here.
- Coconut: A creamier and fuller option, coconut milk is rich in satiating and energy-stabilising good fats.
- Almond: A well-balanced and tasty option, almonds provide healthy proportions of protein, fibre and fats.
The Label Reveals All
Once you have made up your mind which type of milk to use, review the ingredient panel of each brand critically to ensure you are purchasing the healthiest, most cost-effective and environmentally mindful option for you. Things to look for include:
- Ingredient content. An almond milk that contains 1% almonds will taste weaker and more watery than one containing 10% almonds. As most non-dairy milks contain a high water content, ensure value for money by choosing the option with the highest amount of the non-dairy base (e.g. nut, seed or grain) you can find.
- Additives, preservatives and flavours. Milks may contain additives to adjust their flavour, texture or thickness, and include food acids, gum, thickeners, mineral salts, stabilisers and emulsifiers. While several of these may be considered safe, others have unknown safety profiles. Some additives are highly processed or artificial and have the capacity to trigger inflammation. They also need to be detoxified from the body, increasing the burden on detoxifying organs such as the liver. Rather than trying to determine which additives are safe and which are not, the simplest option is to avoid products that contain additives altogether and stick to real food ingredients.
- Organic vs non-organic. Some nuts and grains are exposed to a large number of herbicides and pesticides during farming, and low levels of exposure to these chemicals over a long period have been linked to serious diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and cancer. Additionally, pesticides increase the burden on your detoxification systems, so choose an organic option to reduce your exposure.
- Sweeteners. Many non-dairy options often contain a sweetener (such rice syrup), which is additional sugar your body simply does not require. Maintain control over your sugar intake by picking an unsweetened option.
- Fats. Omega-6 fatty acids found in vegetable, nut and seed oils, are a common addition to packaged foods, with non-dairy milk products no exception, containing oils such as sunflower oil. Consuming too many omega-6 fats in relation to omega-3 fats (found in fish) can lead to inflammation and damage in the body. As our diets are commonly deficient in omega-3 fats and too high in omega-6, it is best to avoid milks with added omega-6.
- Locality. Nuts and grains are often grown overseas, creating a large amount of ‘food miles’ (and hence carbon emissions) on their way to your nearest store. As dairy milk is often locally sourced, look for an alternative made from Australian-grown ingredients to ensure that going dairy-free does not increase your environmental impact.
If a milk does come with some or all of the above issues, I would recommend avoiding it.
Naturopathy Can Help With the following childhood conditions
Fiona provides tailored health plans based on a multitude of factors relevant to your child’s symptomology (how they are feeling), pathology (how their body is responding), plus dietary and lifestyle factors.
- Digestive complaints – constipation, diarrhoea, loose stools, pain or bloating
- Allergies and allergic conditions – such as asthma, eczema or hayfever
- Poor Immunity – recurring colds or ear infections
- Skin Conditions – rashes, eczema, acne, pimples or allergic reactions
- Moods – anxiety, depression or mood swings
- Food Intolerances – identifying food reactions
- Food Allergies – identifying food reactions
- Growth and development issues – fussy eaters or nutritional malabsorption
- Behavioural challenges – ADHD or others Energy – poor energy or chronic fatigue
- Picky Eaters – fussy eaters
- Sleep – trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
What happens in a consultation
During your consultation, Fiona will seek information about your pregnancy, birth and post birth experiences. This will provide an integrated view to give a full picture of the foundations of your child’s health status. You can expect to leave your consultation with a thorough understanding of the potential contributing factors of the presenting symptoms. Fiona will provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan that incorporates possible herbal/nutritional medicine, dietary/lifestyle recommendations, recipes and handouts. Plus an overview of the consultation so you feel empowered to care for your child’s wellbeing with Fiona’s guidance. At The Children’s Naturopath, Fiona Stock an expert in childhood health, she understands children’s needs and considers working with kids and teens to be an absolute joy. She finds that children typically respond to naturopathic treatment very well – bouncing back to good health in no time. And she treasures the opportunity she has to teach kids about their bodies and engage them in their health journey, setting them up with strong foundations and knowledge for life.
Meet Fiona Stock
Fiona is skilled at getting to the heart of childhood health challenges – helping to initiate lasting change.
Fiona treats the following conditions:
- ✅Poor Immunity
- ✅Poor Focus & Concentration
- ✅ Behavioural Problems
- ✅ ADHD
- ✅ Depression
- ✅ Anxiety
- ✅ Food Allergies
- ✅ Food Intolerances
- ✅ Constipation
- ✅ Diarrhoea
- ✅ Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- ✅ Tummy Pain
- ✅ Eczema
- ✅ Asthma
- ✅ Obesity
- ✅ Auto-Immune Disease
- ✅ Recurring Infections
- ✅ Fussy Eaters
- ✅ Sleep Issues
- ✅ Plus many more…