Why no dairy?

In October 2015, I made the decision to go dairy free. This was a decision that was informed and encouraged by my vegan friends, mother and doctor.

Towards the end of my teenage years, my skin was in constant breakout, I was noticing the bloat in my body after consuming dairy and I was awfully unhappy. Everyone whom indulges in late night chocolate will know the pain staking thought that happens when you look in the mirror the next morning to find your soft and pure skin, covered by chocolate revenge.

I approached a doctor and was placed on the typical acne medication that every 14 year old pubescent boy is put on. Although this made it easier to manage, it did not completely clear the mess that I saw on my face.

I approached my vegan friends who I knew could help me with this transition but could also show me different types of foods that act as replacements for calcium. The biggest criticism that I have received is ‘you’re going to become calcium deficient’, ‘you’re still growing and your bones need the calcium’. We’ve been told since a young age that calcium, especially milk is essential for building strong bones, but there is a way to still receive the correct amount of calcium without consuming dairy.

My mum was the first line of approach, with all her health food knowledge over the years, she told me that in order to maintain my calcium levels, I needed to eat more ‘leafy greens’. I took this advice but also sought out websites dedicated to healthy lifestyles and the population that can’t eat dairy. Alisa Fleming, is the founder of GoDairyFree.org  and has a website dedicated to helping you maintain your dairy free lifestyle. The website ranges from recipes of dairy free food through to population suggestions to substitute well-loved dairy items such as cheese and chocolate.

The Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of sciences in 1998 set out an adequate intake of calcium for different ages groups. For myself as an active 20 year old woman, it’s recommended that I consume 1000mg of calcium a day. In support of this intake, Alisa has created a chart that helps you source a wide variety of food types that act as supplements. These supplements can be easily slipped into your daily diet, replacing the calcium intake that you would receive through milk or other dairy products.