Dairy – sometimes it feels like it’s everywhere!

Dairy is often the first thing people try to tackle when going vegan, and for great reason! Dairy is not designed for us to consume, it causes many of us health issues such as bloating and IBS… but there are so many delicious alternatives out there too, so it’s a great place to make a change. 

NB: for cheese cravings, head to the bottom of this post.

How Can I Ditch Dairy For Good?

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Don’t We Need Cow’s Milk For Calcium?

Thanks to clever marketing and ‘research’ paid for by the dairy industry, many people believe that we need to drink cows’ milk to get enough calcium into our diet. This is not true at all! Dairy can actually do more harm than good. High intake can increase the risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer. Plus, dairy products can be high in saturated fat as well as retinol (vitamin A), which at high levels can paradoxically weaken bones. Ironic!

Many independent studies have found no stand-out link between dairy, calcium and bones at all. One large-scale Harvard study followed 72,000 women for two decades and found no evidence that drinking milk can prevent bone fractures or osteoporosis, for example. 

How Can I Ditch Dairy For Good?

Dairy is not designed for humans. A mother cow produces it for her young, and just like human breast milk, it’s unique to the species and even the individual baby. A cow’s breastmilk is specially designed to grow a tiny calf into a huge cow, which is why 60% of people are lactose-intolerant – it simply wasn’t made for our bodies. It’s actually a little strange to drink the milk of another species, when most of us are weaned from our own mothers as children.

To briefly address the animal cruelty side, dairy is an extremely distressing process from start to finish. Female cows are forcibly impregnated on all but the smallest of farms, and kept in a perpetual state of pregnancy until they don’t produce enough milk to be seen as economically productive. They are then ‘disposed’ of. The resulting calf is either shot at birth or raised for cheap veal. Either way, mother and child are separated shortly after birth, and pine for each other. All so we can steal their milk. Sounds crazy, but there’s a whole industry trying to convince us that we need dairy. Marketing is really heavy around dairy!

The great thing is, there are so many foods out there containing the nutrients we get from dairy, but none of the side effects or cruelty.

So Where Do Vegans Get Calcium?

(the average adult should consume 1000mg calcium per day)

  • ½ cup firm tofu – 850mg
  • 1 cup almond milk – 516mg
  • ¼ cup whole sesame seeds – 280mg
  • 1 cup spinach – 245mg
  • 1 cup kidney or pinto beans – 145mg

NB: there are also many milks, cereals, breads and juices that are fortified with calcium, so you can grab extra this way. It will say on the label if they contain additional calcium, and how much. I also have a dedicated post on Basic Vegan Nutrition – so do check it out if you need more ideas!

As you can see, it’s really easy to get enough calcium in your diet as a vegan. But what about finding those dairy substitutes? 

How Can I Ditch Dairy For Good?

What Is Dairy?

Good question! Basically, it is any food made from the milk of mammals. Traditional dairy products include:

  • Milk from cows, goats etc
  • Cheese
  • Cream
  • Butter
  • Yoghurt
  • Ice-cream
  • Dairy chocolate
  • Snacks and processed foods that contain milk in the ingredients list
  • Whey, casein and lactose – all derived from dairy, and found in cheese and processed foods. Whey is particularly common in protein powders, but there are plenty of alternatives such as pea, soy, hemp.
  • Please note that Lacto-free brands such as Arla are NOT vegan. Watch out for them in the ‘free from’ fridge section.

NB: you may have seen the wording ‘may contain‘ eggs/milk etc underneath the ingredients list. This is simply a warning that the product was made in the same factory as other foods containing them. For example, if an item says ‘may contain milk’, it is still safe for vegans to eat (as long as the actual ingredients are ok!), but was present in the same factory.

How Do I Start Ditching Dairy?

If you’re new to dairy alternatives, think about where you consume dairy frequently. For many of us, it’s in tea and coffee, or cereal. Start buying cartons of plant-based milks and experiment with your drinks and breakfast. You can also begin by exploring the ‘free from’ refrigerator section of the supermarket, as that contains many kinds of vegan cheese, yoghurts and creams. Find a starting point that works for you. How Can I Ditch Dairy For Good?

Plant-based milk is full of calcium, other nutrients and it can be cheaper than dairy too. You can buy organic (YEP, ORGANIC) soy milk from Tesco for £1 per litre, or 59p for regular soya. Here’s a tip – grab it from the long-life section, by the tea and coffee, as it’s cheaper and lasts longer meaning you can buy in bulk. Don’t like soya? Next to it you’ll find almond, hemp, coconut, cashew and a load of other milks. If you’re an environmentalist, oat milk is one of the best for the planet. Grab one of each and see what you prefer. Start using it in your cereal, tea and baking. You’ll never look back once you find one you like – I promise!

Lastly, be kind to yourself. If you need to make small steps, that’s fine. You can replace one thing at a time if needed.

Would you like to know how to specifically get rid of those cheese cravings? I have a fantastic video right here – give it a watch and let me know if it was useful!

If you found this post useful, but feel like you need personal motivation, accountability to keep you on track, expert one-to-one advice regarding specifics – consider Vegan Coaching! It saves time, effort, research and is a great way to reach your goals more quickly.

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How Can I Ditch Dairy For Good?

 

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  • Last night we watched The Game Changers film. 
It follows a number of athletes and shares their personal experiences with a plant based diet, referencing the science and research behind these benefits. 
Although most of us here aren’t professional athletes, there was a lot of think about in the program about how a plant based lifestyle can benefit us. It also challenged the long held myths that meat is manly and gives you a sporting edge. 
It touched on:
Sports fatigue and endurance.
Reaching milestones more quickly. 
Reversing disease.
Reducing the chances of certain diseases.
Improving general health such as a healthy weight and energy levels. 
Improving erections in men.
And more! 
As a ‘regular’ person, moving to a healthy vegan diet with mainly whole foods, game me a range of benefits. I was less tired, had more energy, lost 28lb, Better digestion, clearer skin, mental clarity. 
Have you seen this documentary? What benefits interest you?
  • With veganism becoming more popular, the supermarkets are really taking notice this year. 
There are some diverse and interesting offerings out there for Christmas!
Here's a round-up of the savoury options I've spotted so far: ⭐️Tesco - 
Sweet Potato and Red Cabbage Christmas Log.
Mushroom & Meat Free Stuffing Lattice.
Stuffed Half Butternut Squash.
Carrot Tarte Tatins.
Butternut, Mushroom and Chestnut Wreath. ⭐️Sainsburys - 
Linda McCartney Vegetarian Cranberry & Turkey Plait.
Linda McCartney's Vegetarian Beef Roast with Red Wine & Shallot Glaze.
Vegan Butternut Squash and Chickpea Wellington. ⭐️Asda - 
Vegan Chickpea & Cranberry Wellington.
Vegan Cocktail Sausages.
Vegan Wellington with a Rich Red Wine Gravy.
Mushroom & Lentil Nut Roast.
Chestnut and Cranberry Vegan Stuffing Balls.
Rainbow Vegetable Filo Tarts. ⭐️Morrisons - 
Creamy Mushroom Wellington.
Mexican Style Vegetable Tartlets.
Layered Vegetable Tart. ⭐️Marks and Spencer - 
Butternut, Almond & Pecan Nut Roast with a Red Wine & Thyme Gravy.
Festive Roast.
Root Vegetable Tarte Tatin.
And for those of you who prefer to make your own, I'll be back with some of my favourite recipes!
What are you planning to try?
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One of the most vital things for my postnatal recovery has been the support of my husband. 
Being there to talk to, make meals (like this indulgent Richmond sausage sandwich with bacon bits), research solutions and all the rest. 💚💚
It made me think about how support is key when embarking on the vegan journey too. It’s a whole lifestyle change, and having someone to talk to, share stories with and provide encouragement is a game changer!
It could look like:
👍Friends or Family
👍Online groups
👍Group programs 👍Following positive and inspiring social media accounts 👍Going to vegan events
👍Meeting fellow vegans in your area
👍Having a vegan mentor or coach
👍Going vegan as a family together
Do you have any of this support? I’d love to know!
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We’ve been lucky with food so far! Everything at the hospital was clearly labelled, plus there was a Subway and cafe on site that Ben would go to for me. At home we’ve had amazing help from family. On the menu we’ve had chkn curry, cheese and potato pie, homemade sausage rolls, salads and tofu quiche. 💚💚
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  • Sorry for the radio silence...
She’s finally here!
Ava Hallow Malkin. 💖💖💖
Born 2 days ago on Halloween, 12 days late just like her sister was, and with a big personality and head of hair. 🌸🌸🌸
Still in hospital after her dramatic arrival but we are doing so well.
Normal Learner Vegan to resume shortly. 🥰✊
  • A Quick Tip For Staying Vegan In The Long Term...⁠
⁠
Reduce temptation!⁠
Self-awareness is really important. We all have weaknesses, but if we know what they are, we can mitigate against them. Mine’s chocolate, so I always have a bar of my favourite Vego hidden away for desperate times. ⁠
🍫🍫⁠
Some good ways of avoiding temptation are - ⁠
⁠
🎉Skipping the meat and dairy aisles⁠
when food shopping (or shopping online)⁠
🎉Pre-ordering vegan food at restaurants⁠
🎉Getting rid of all non-vegan food in the house⁠
🎉Binning takeaway menus that have no vegan options⁠
🎉Think about situations that you’re likely to fall off the⁠
vegan wagon and plan for them.⁠
⁠
What tempts you?⁠
⁠
PS. If you havent grabbed my 'Easy Being Vegan' pack yet - do it now! There are 8 action points for you to take to stay vegan in the long term - ⁠
LINK IN BIO.⁠
.⁠
.⁠
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