Dairy Free Guidelines
Avoiding milk, creams and cheeses can be truly beneficial when it comes to reaping the benefits of a dairy-free diet, although dairy proteins are present in much more than meets the eye!
Look for both obvious and not-so obvious sources of dairy if you’re avoiding it.
For instance, certain brands of tuna fish and alternative cheese products can include a dairy protein called casein.
Dairy and its derivatives can be found in foods like packaged lunch meats, mayonnaise and potato chips.
Dairy components can also be found in pharmaceutical drugs, vitamins, skin lotions, soaps and more!
Be sure to do your research on all the products you use.
Primary Sources of Dairy
- Milk (in any form, including whole, lowfat, lactose-free and skim or nonfat milks; acidophilus milk; buttermilk; cream and half-and-half; condensed and evaporated milks; goat’s and sheep’s milks; milk proteins; milk solids; malted milk and milk fat)
- Butter (including butter fat, butter oil an artificial butter flavor) and some brands of margarine
- Custards, puddings and nougat
- Cream cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Sour cream
- Ice cream, gelato, sherbet and ice milk
Hidden Sources of Dairy
This is not an exhaustive list, but if you’re eating dairy free, avoid products with these ingredients:
- Caseinates (in the form of calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium and ammonium)
- Rennet casein
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to avoiding dairy is lack of calcium intake. Fortunately, there are many non-dairy sources of calcium!
Currently, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for calcium ranges from 800mg to 1200mg per day. If dairy is the standard, one cup of milk, for example, contains 300mg of calcium.
Chia seeds 300 mg per 1.5 ounces serving
Collard greens 210 mg per ½ cup serving
Kale 205 mg per ½ cup serving
Bok Choy 190 mg per ½ cup serving
Figs 135mg per 5 fig serving
White Beans 120 mg per ½ cup serving
Turnip Greens 104 mg per ½ cup serving
Spinach 99 mg per ½ cup serving
Almonds 93 mg per ¼ cup serving
Sesame Seeds 51 mg per 1 tablespoon serving
Another fun fact when it comes to calcium- consuming more calcium does not directly correlate with stronger bones. Its absorption of that calcium that truly matters! When one cup of milk is consumed, approximately 32% of the calcium is absorbed. Compare this to the calcium absorption from leafy green vegetables, such as bok choy, that produce a 40-70% absorption rate!