- Lactose-Free and Nondairy Options
- Dairy alternatives for lactose intolerant people
- Almond Milk
- Coconut Milk
- Hemp Milk
- Soy Milk
- Ice cream alternative
- Butter alternative
- Cheese alternative
- Dairy-free: what you can and can’t eat
- Dairy-free foods to try
- Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives Are Experiencing A ‘Holy Cow!’ Moment
- What’s the Difference Between Ice Cream and Gelato? All Your Frozen Dessert Questions, Answered
- Lactose-Free vs. Dairy-Free
- What is lactose-free vs. dairy-free?
- Lactose free milk vs soy milk?
- What is lactose-free milk?
- How lactose-free milk is made
- 7 Plant-Based Dairy Substitutes for Baking and Beyond
Lactose-Free and Nondairy Options
Dairy products are high in calcium, protein, and other nutrients. You may still be able to get these nutrients from dairy if you’re lactose intolerant.
- On average, most lactose-intolerant people can tolerate about 1 cup (8 ounces) of milk, says David Goldstein, MD, a gastroenterologist in Emerson, N.J. Start by trying 1/2 cup of regular milk or less with a meal.
- Take lactase tablets or capsules before eating or drinking foods that have dairy products or milk.
- Drink and cook with lactose-free milk. It has added lactase to break down the lactose. It also has about the same nutrients as regular milk.
For nondairy milk, consider these options. They vary in nutrition, so before you buy, compare the labels next to cow’s milk. Choose one that is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients. Use unsweetened nondairy milk in savory dishes like mashed potatoes. You might like vanilla, chocolate, or other flavors for baking.
- Soy milk is the best source of protein of the nondairy options. It’s thicker than cow’s milk and slightly beige in color.
- Coconut milk is creamy like whole milk. It has little protein, though, and about the same saturated fat as whole milk — about 4 grams in a cup.
- Almond milk is also like cow’s milk in texture, though slightly beige in color. It tastes faintly like almonds. It may have more calcium than dairy milk, along with vitamins D and E. But an 8-ounce glass of almond milk has only about 1 gram of protein.
- Rice milk is white, like cow’s milk, and thinner and sweeter than almond milk. It doesn’t work as well as thicker milks in sauces and puddings. It is low in protein, like almond milk. But you can find it fortified with calcium.
- Hemp milk is thick and sometimes a little grainy. It is made of hemp seeds, which are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It also has protein but falls short in calcium.
If you have stomach symptoms while using any non-dairy options, the problem may be guar gum. It’s often added for thickness, says Sonya Angelone, RDN, a dietitian in San Francisco and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “This can affect some people adversely, and they experience gas just like they might with lactose.”
Dairy alternatives for lactose intolerant people
Lactose intolerance affects nearly 65% of people in the world today.
Research indicates that all humans were lactose intolerant after weaning but over time our genetics evolved and adapted as formerly nomadic people turned to agriculture and began to live off the land in a new way. As milk was drunk regularly, over time the intolerance diminished, while those who were still nomadic can be seen today to continue to have issues with the digestion of milk.
Due to this fact, dairy products should mostly be avoided as the sugar lactose is active in them. And it may not necessarily be a lactose intolerance. You will find that when you do your DNAFit test, you may be lactose tolerant but still have trouble digesting milk. This offers a new complex perspective whereby you may have developed secondary lactose intolerance, which has no genetic component, or a milk or dairy allergy to something else that makes up the products you’re consuming, be it butter, cheese, ice cream or milk itself.
And yet, many of us would still like to consume milk in some shape or form. Not only do dairy products add a lot to our daily meals, but they are also high in calcium and contain vitamin D, both of which are crucial for staying healthy. Therefore, what are the dairy alternatives when you are lactose intolerant?
Below you’ll find a few alternatives:
Almond milk has the look and feel of milk, although it has a nuttier taste, of course. It may contain less protein than regular milk, but it is still high in the nutrients calcium, fiber and vitamin D.
Great for breakfast cereal or a milkshake with a nutty taste
Coconut milk is also popular and is more similar to full cream milk as it is denser than regular milk and full bodied.
It may not be high in protein, but it contains a high amount of saturated fat, which should be avoided or limited depending on your genetic sensitivity and if you are looking to lose weight
This milk comes from hemp seeds, which may explain people who drink it describe it as being thicker and grittier than the real thing.
The good thing though is that the seeds are high in protein and omega 3 fatty acids, so the nutritional content of this milk is to be desired.
Probably the most commonly known one, it is very high in protein and a vegan option that contains many other nutrients such as potassium
Ice cream alternative
You can go for a lactose free variant, but it is also possible to make ice cream by blending bananas and berries as well as substituting sherbet.
When cooking, choose to use olive oil and spread peanut butter or avocado on your toast in the morning. You can use coconut oil in baked goods.
Cheese already has a significantly reduced amount of lactose that some people who are lactose intolerant can still digest.
However, if you still find that eating fermented cheese with a lower lactose profile doesn’t work for you then you can purchase lactose-free cheeses. The fact is that nothing truly replaces cheese when you think of pizza and toasted sandwiches, but at least there is an alternative for everyone to enjoy.
These cheeses are made from what the milk alternatives are made from as well.
Thus, if you still crave milk but your body can’t handle it there are a number of alternatives that are relatively available that are both nutritious and imitate milk so that you aren’t left craving it.
Dairy-free: what you can and can’t eat
Dairy-free foods to try
Dairy substitutes are widely available, here’s a selection of what you’ll find and how to cook with them.
Soya milk is widely available and comes in sweetened and flavoured varieties. Most are a good substitute for cows’ milk in cooking, but occasionally curdle when added to hot drinks, although barista-style versions are available and are more resilient to heat. Bear in mind that children with a cow’s milk protein allergy are more likely to be allergic to soya (particularly under six months of age). Soya-based cheeses are getting better and dairy-free alternatives to mozzarella, Parmesan, blue cheeses and Cheddar are all available. Soya cream is a good substitute for single cream; if well chilled it will whip. Good commercially-made soya ice cream is widely available.
Nut milks such as almond, hazelnut and cashew, can taste quite sweet. These are good for cereals, coffee and desserts (rice pudding is very good with almond mil). It is even possible to make almond milk at home. Be aware that nut milks contain less protein than nuts or soya milk. Cashew cheese and ice creams do contain the whole nut, which means they have all the protein.
Coconut milk is available tinned and in cartons and is an excellent alternative to cows’ milk for most cooked dishes, provided you like its quite strong coconut flavour. It is particularly good in curries, such as Thai green curry. Some tinned coconut milks, when chilled overnight, will separate into a watery liquid and a thick solid that can be whipped to make a delicious alternative to whipped cream. Coconut butter is ground coconut paste, rather like peanut butter, that can stand in for a dairy spread. Coconut oil is an excellent alternative to butter for baking, as the coconut flavour is less pronounced. It can also be used as a spread. Coconut yoghurt is also popular.
Oat milk has a slightly porridge-like flavour as it is a blend of oats and water, and contains a moderate amount of protein and carbohydrate. It’s excellent for cereals and savoury dishes, but quite strongly flavoured for desserts. Barista-style versions are more resilient to heat and creamier in texture and so are great in hot drinks.
Rice milk is a blend of rice and water, making it higher in carbohydrate than other milks and quite sweet. It lacks protein, but is a good substitute in pancakes, some desserts and sweet drinks.
Vegan cheeses and lactose-free cheeses are available, many made with coconut oil. Softer vegan cheeses such as cream cheese may be made with cashew nuts.
Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives Are Experiencing A ‘Holy Cow!’ Moment
A decade ago (even more recently in some places), coffee shops had, at most, one non-dairy milk alternative, and it was usually soy. Other alternatives existed, but if you wanted them, you probably had to haul to the nearest health food store.
Things have certainly changed. Nowadays, a trendy coffee shop might offer soy, rice, oat, almond, or coconut milks – or a choice of the above. You can even get almond milk at Dunkin’ Donuts (alongside a Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich), which proudly brands itself as the everyman’s coffee chain.
The global dairy alternative market was estimated at a value of $11.9 billion as of 2017, and its rapid growth has gotten the attention of those in the food industry, as has its profitability – plant-based dairy alternatives are displaying 6% better returns than traditional dairy products. Consumers are driving this trend: In Britain, for example, 25% of people are choosing plant based milks – with figures being as high as 33% for the young adults market (16-24 year olds).
Meanwhile, dairy milk consumption has been on the decline for decades, with each generation drinking less milk than its predecessor. Part of the cause for this, as some, like Sarah Baird at Eater has proposed, is due to changes in culinary tastes. We’re eating food from far more diverse origins than what our grandparents grew up eating, and milk just doesn’t really go as well with it.
And for all the other uses we normally have for dairy, the plant-based alternatives are swooping in. Apart from changing tastes and consumers’ willingness to try new foods, there are a couple of major reasons for this swap: ethics and nutrition.
Modern research has cast serious doubts on the health halo once held by milk. After years of ad campaigns teaching the public that milk builds strong bones, a more recent long-term study has suggested that high levels of milk consumption actually increase rates of bone fracture and mortality. The Harvard University T. Chan School of Public Health reports that various components of dairy may be responsible for higher rates of ovarian and prostate cancers. The high saturated fat content of dairy can raise levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and may put people at greater risk of heart disease.
And of course, lactose intolerance is responsible for immediate drawbacks to dairy consumption in a huge portion of the population – the U.S. National Library of Medicine estimates that 65% of people are unable or less able to digest lactose after infancy, and that percentage is higher among some minority racial and ethnic groups.
One area where the benefits of ditching dairy have proven to be especially beneficial is in the world of professional sports. ‘Milk results in mucus production, which can inhibit our breathing and cause inflammation, leading to prolonged recovery cycles,’ explains 2012 Olympic silver medalist Dotsie Bausch, who runs the nonprofit Switch4Good, an advocacy organization working to mainstream plant-based fuel as an alternative to dairy. ‘By consuming dairy products as a means of recovery fuel,’ she continues, ‘an athlete’s acute inflammation and oxidative stress can become chronic, leading to prolonged recovery, muscle fatigue, damage to our cells, and risk for chronic diseases.’ So on top of the countless ethical problems inherent in milk, unless you are a baby cow, dairy may not be a health food.
For those merely trying to watch their weight, swapping dairy for its plant-based alternatives can be an easy way to cut back on calories. A typical cup of unsweetened almond milk contains about 30 calories, whereas a cup of skim milk has almost three times that, at 86 calories. That amount can add up when you consider all the milk you put in your coffee, breakfast cereal, and dinner recipes.
But in addition to the real and potential health drawbacks of dairy consumption, ethical and environmental concerns are playing a greater role than ever in the way people feed themselves. Documentaries like Eating Animals and news media are making people more and more aware that the idyllic image of peaceful dairy cows living happy lives on wide-open, rolling pastures is seldom the reality. Animal cruelty on factory farms consists of such horrific processes as tail docking, constant impregnation, and indoor confinement. Not to mention the fact that male calves of dairy cows are slaughtered for veal, and the overworked heifers are usually slaughtered around 5 years of age, just a quarter of their natural 20-year lifespan – a real concern for vegetarians who abstain from meat, but not dairy.
And on top of worrying about standard industry practices, cases of illegal abuse come up in the news cycle periodically, the most recent example being Indiana dairy producer Fair Oaks Farms. Undercover footage captured at the farm depicted employees throwing, dragging, and stomping on live cows, among other abuses. And the market responded: the Fairlife dairy brand, which is supplied by Fair Oaks, has been pulled from shelves in some stores around the Midwest in response to consumer outrage about the investigation’s discoveries.
There’s one more reason people are jumping ship from dairy to plant-based alternatives. In the face of the climate crisis, it can’t be ignored that the impact of animal agriculture raises a number of issues for sustainability. Considering the fact that meat and dairy together use 83% of the world’s farmland and produce 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions while supplying only 18% of calories and 37% of protein consumed by humans, a group of researchers at Oxford concluded last year that ‘A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,’ as lead researcher Joseph Poore told The Guardian. The study even found that the most sustainable meat and dairy operations still had a bigger environmental impact than the least sustainable vegetable and cereal operations.
So with all of these factors in concert, dairy milk is taking the hit – and trying to strike back. The Dairy Farmers of America reported in drop in sales of over $1 billion from 2017 to 2018. The dairy industry seems to be perceiving this reality with some amount of panic, if their snarky ad campaigns and attempts to ban dairy alternatives from calling their products ‘milk’ and ‘butter’ are any indication.
It’s no wonder that with the increasing popularity of non-dairy milk products and the significant drawbacks of industrial animal agriculture, entrepreneurs are putting their money on various new alternatives. Oat milk brand Oatly, a favorite of baristas for its ability to foam similarly to dairy milk, famously encountered a shortage when demand began to exceed supply, leading the brand to construct a new factory in New Jersey (but not before fans started selling each other cartons for $200 a pop on Amazon). As reported by Deena Shanker and Niclas Rolander in Bloomberg, Oatly’s sales were about $110 million in 2018, up from $68 million a year earlier, and expect double that, about $230 million, for 2019.
Califia Farms was originally a juice brand but has since expanded into selling plant milks, yogurts, creamers, and other products made from a variety of different plant sources. They’re hedging their bets on consumer interest in ethical choice in an even bigger way – sustainability is one of the company’s lead talking points, and its marketing materials boast of the company’s efforts to go the extra mile in producing their plant milks (particularly almond, a high-irrigation crop) more sustainably. In doing so, they’re reaching not just the plant-curious consumer, but the ones with significant environmental literacy who are thinking carefully about the supply chain of their food.
Macadamia nut-based milk producer milkadamia, which is celebrating World Plant Milk Day on August 22nd with its special ’14 Reasons Why Moo Is Moot’ social media campaign, is yet another one of the latest entries into the fast-growing plant-based milk category. CEO of milkadamia Jim Richards recently said that ‘We’ve positioned our product to be very palatable to dairy milk drinkers.’
But for those who really, really don’t want to let go of the original, Berkely-based food tech startup Perfect Day has developed a microbe-derived milk simulacrum that can be cultured into various dairy products like yogurts and cheeses – and the company has raised over $60 million so far from investors. Last month, the company released a limited supply of its new vegan ice-cream, but sold out almost immediately (despite the fact three pints cost a whopping $60).
From high tech startups like these to the plethora of new and old plant-based dairy brands you can already find on shelves, the numbers are behind non-dairy products. It’s an exciting market that investors and entrepreneurs are eager to get in on, and so far, they’re just trailing consumer interest and milking it for all it is worth.
What’s the Difference Between Ice Cream and Gelato? All Your Frozen Dessert Questions, Answered
Institute of Culinary Education
The Institute of Culinary Education is one of the largest culinary schools in the world, offering both professional and recreational programs in New York City. Here, Chef Jenny McCoy, chef instructor in their School of Pastry & Baking Arts gives PEOPLE her insight into the world of frozen desserts.
Now that we’re officially in the heat of summer, all I can think about are frozen desserts. Ice cream, gelato, sherbet, soft serve, sorbet…there’s an explosion of frozen options available in my neighborhood alone. From a Häagen-Dazs pint at the corner deli to pretzel waffle cones piled with fresh mint ice cream– the popularity of frozen treats is nothing new. In the midst of the current “frozen renaissance,” here are a few scoops of history and science to enlighten your ice cream escapades this summer.
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American Ice Cream History
President George Washington spent about $200 for ice cream in the summer of 1790, according to the records of a shopkeeper in Manhattan. Today, that would be equivalent to about $5,000 in ice cream purchases. President Thomas Jefferson loved ice cream so much that he would adapt ice cream recipes brought back from France. One of these creations is said to have been an 18-step procedure for something similar to a Baked Alaska. His personal recipe for vanilla ice cream is even in the Library of Congress! Would Washington and Jefferson rise from the grave for a scoop of chocolate-chile from NYC’s il Laboratorio del Gelato? I think so.
What is the difference between ice cream and gelato?
Speaking of il Laboratorio, on a recent visit to the shop with my ICE pastry students—which involved sampling 16 different flavors of gelato—the topic of the difference between gelato and ice cream came up. Many of us think gelato is just the Italian word for ice cream—and it is, but there’s more to it.
Gelato has a richer texture than standard ice cream and not because it’s made with richer ingredients. Rather than cream and egg yolks, it’s made with regular milk. That doesn’t seem to make sense until you consider what happens to gelato during the churning process. Consider a glass of milk versus a bowl of whipped cream. When you blow bubbles in a glass of milk, they pop fairly quickly. However, whipped cream holds its light and fluffy shape for hours at a time. Unlike the less fatty milk, the fat in cream allows it to hold air. In short, when a gelato base is churned, it doesn’t have much air whipped into it. This gives it a very dense texture, which has a richer mouth feel.
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American ice cream, on the other hand, is usually made with more cream than milk. Because of the higher fat content in cream, up to 50% of the volume of ice cream consists of air that has been churned into it. The next time you buy a scoop of ice cream, just think—50% of what you’re buying is air. The air whipped into gelato or ice cream is called the overrun. Gelato has almost no overrun and ice cream can have up to 100% overrun.
Despite the economic benefits of selling ice cream, many chefs—like me—prefer gelato. However, that doesn’t mean it’s more popular with the masses. For instance, just take a stroll down the ice cream aisle of your grocery store and notice how many more types of ice cream you’ll find than flavors of gelato.
Because gelato has less fat than ice cream, the flavors of gelato are typically stronger. When fat coats the tongue, it interferes with your taste buds’ ability to truly taste the flavor of your ice cream. So, as a chef, if I want to add a bold punch of flavor, gelato is a great vehicle. Also, gelato is traditionally made with natural ingredients like fresh strawberry puree, whereas strawberry ice cream is often made with a combination of artificial strawberry flavor and real strawberries.
Image zoom Institute of Culinary Education
What about the different styles of American ice cream?
Have you ever looked closely at the label on your favorite ice cream? U.S. law classifies ice creams by their percentage of milk fat content.
Super Premium has the most fat—between 14% and 18%—and can have as low as 20% overrun. This is because it is traditionally made with more cream or in the French style of ice cream—custard made with egg yolks. You’re most likely to find this style in small, handmade batches at a local ice cream shop or a high-end restaurant.
Premium usually has 11% to 15% fat and around 60% to 90% overrun. Examples of premium ice cream are the more expensive gourmet or specialty pints found in your grocery store. (By the way, the pint, quart or gallon-sized containers of ice cream are called “hard-packed” ice cream.)
Regular ice cream is much less dense. It has 10% to 11% fat and a lot more air, upwards of 90% to 100% overrun. These are the basic flavors made by larger manufacturers, such as chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and mint chocolate chip.
Economy contains exactly 10% fat, which is the minimum USDA standard, and has 95% to 100% overrun. Anything with less than 10% fat cannot be considered ice cream without being labeled “light.” Essentially, this is the least expensive variety of ice cream available and typically the least flavorful.
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How about frozen custard, Philly-style and soft serve?
Frozen custard, sometimes called French-style ice cream, is made of a cooked custard base that incorporates eggs. It is significantly richer than ice creams made without eggs, which is also reflected in its premium price.
Philadelphia-style ice cream is made without eggs, which is the standard or regular ice cream in certain regions of the U.S.
Soft serve is molecularly similar to regular ice cream, but is served at a higher temperature that allows it to be extruded into a soft swirl, and gives it a lighter, softer texture. Soft serve also has a lower fat content but a much higher overrun, which explains its super light and creamy texture. Fun fact: its warmer temperature allows your taste buds to taste the ice cream better.
So Where Do Sorbet and Sherbet Come In?
Sorbet is made from water and fruit puree or juice. It contains no milk, cream or eggs, and is one of the oldest forms of frozen desserts. Records of frozen sorbet-like desserts date back to the ancient Romans and Chinese, where they were made with snow, fresh fruit pulp and sweetened with honey.
Sherbet is not quite ice cream and not quite sorbet. It is made with fruit and water, but also has the addition of dairy—usually milk or buttermilk. This gives it a slightly creamier texture than sorbet, as well as a lighter, pastel color. By law, sherbet must contain less than 2% fat.
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Let’s Not Forget About Frozen Yogurt
With shops found all over the country, frozen yogurt is America’s extremely popular attempt at making ice cream healthier. However, the marketing is quite misleading. While yogurt is certainly healthier than cream, the sweeteners added to frozen yogurt often cancel out the health benefits. In fact, the healthy bacteria found in yogurt is killed when frozen, eliminating the probiotic benefits you would normally obtain from eating yogurt. One item worth noting is that yogurt has a higher freezing and melting point than milk. So on an extremely hot day, yogurt will melt quicker than ice cream—another reason to opt for a rich scoop of gelato.
Lactose-Free vs. Dairy-Free
What is lactose-free vs. dairy-free?
If you’re overwhelmed by all the options in the milk aisle, you’re in good company. We’ll help you sort out what the terms mean and how to decide what to drink.
The main difference is that lactose-free products are made from real dairy, while dairy-free products contain no dairy at all. Dairy-free products are made from plants, such as nuts or grains. Neither lactose-free products nor dairy-free products contain lactose.
For example: Lactose-free products include LACTAID® milk and LACTAID® ice cream.
Dairy-free products include soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk.
Lactose intolerant? Don’t ditch the dairy
If you’re lactose intolerant, you might think it’s time to say goodbye to dairy – but there are plenty of good reasons to keep it in your diet. Here are a few:
- LACTAID® lactose-free milk is made from 100% real dairy, just without the lactose – and includes all the natural vitamins and nutrients that come with it.
- Most almond milk contains only 2% real almonds – the rest is water, sugar, and additives. Each serving contains only 1 gram of protein, compared to 8 grams of protein per serving of LACTAID® milk.
- Most soy milk is sweetened with sugar. Vitamins, minerals, and thickeners are added during the processing phase. LACTAID® milk is real dairy, with naturally-occurring calcium and other vitamins. It contains no thickeners.
A nutritional powerhouse
Did you know that real milk and dairy products can help keep you healthy? Along with a healthy diet and exercise, they can help:
- Keep bones and teeth strong. The calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium in real dairy is good for bones and teeth, protecting against tooth decay and diseases like osteoporosis later in life.
- The American Diabetes Association®* recommends eating a healthy diet* with a wide variety of foods including non-fat dairy products.
*The links provided herein are for convenience only. No sponsorship or endorsement for or by any third party is implied
Dairy without the discomfort
It’s easy to keep dairy in your diet with LACTAID® products and dietary supplements. Now you can enjoy the delicious taste of the milk products you love, without feeling badly later.
Lactose free milk vs soy milk?
So I have this thing called endometriosis and people always freak out about soy with that, too, because it’s known that estrogen sort of drives the disorder.
So i ended up doing a fuck-ton of research into it. Why? Because it mattered to me, and I wasn’t about to take some half-assed mom blog about the “endo diet” written with no sources as fact. Gimme that google scholar. Anyway, I discovered soy milk has different estronogenic effects in ~30-50% of the population because of different bacterial flora in the gut. For some people, one phytoestrogen found in soy, known as daidzein, gets broken down into equol, which has greater estronogenic effects. So for those people, soy makes a bigger difference… technically. It’s hard to tell. Not all soy is equal in what xenohormones it has, because the strain and source varies. Other research has shown that genistein, another phytoestrogen in soy, doesn’t have an effect on hormones when eaten, only if it’s injected, and done soy at a higher dose than you’d probably reasonably eat in a week. Finally, it’s hard to determine how much of an end result with hormones you get from average amounts of soy because researchers can mostly only determine certain phytohormones effects in isolation in the lab. For all we know, they can mostly cancel eachothers effects out in the body. For all we know, they cause a hormone change equal to yawning.
While some with endometriosis choose to avoid soy entirely for fear it will make the disease worse, the irony is that some rather large studies on japanese women discovered soy consumption correlated with a lower chance of being diagnosed with the disorder, and less severe cases when it was diagnosed. I found that interesting. Part of this may be that phytoestrogens, contrary to popular misconception, don’t always act as estrogen in the body. Sometimes they block receptors instead of straight-up binding to them. In theory, this action as an “anti-estrogen” of sorts would be beneficial to those predisposed to endometriosis. It also may be indirectly related to what they’re not eating. Like they may be eating less red meat, and that may matter more than the increased amount of soy they are eating, even if it’s technically endo-promoting.
You also have to put it in context. For myself and many other women with endo or a family history of it, we may worry more about plant or animal hormone sources. Soy gets some weird bad rep for xenohormones, wheras many other vegetables with similar amount of such phytoestrogens don’t. I think part of it is because in western culture, at least, soy is seen as something “exotic,” so somehow it’s either the new superfood to cure all your peri-menopausal or menopausal woes, or under scrutiny because OMG it’s china and china makes toys with lead paint. The thing is, many foods can have effects on hormones. And that’s not necessarily bad, either! Humans evolved eating plants and animals for quiet a while, and many, many, many, of them can and do influence the endocrine system. And hormones change so much without any plant sources, anyway.
TL;DR: Don’t freak out about soy. It has an undeserved reputation wheras many other plants can have effects on hormones and it’s not neccessarily a bad thing, anyway. The hormonal effects (if there are any) may even be beneficial.
What is lactose-free milk?
But what is lactose-free milk? Is it healthy for you? What are the benefits of lactose-free milk? Are there any drawbacks to drinking it? Can you make lactose-free milk at home?
Lactose is a sugar found in dairy milk. A certain amount occurs naturally in cow’s milk. It can also be found, in smaller traces, in goat’s milk and sheep’s milk. To put it simply, lactose free-milk is milk without lactose.
How lactose-free milk is made
Lactose-free milk can be a bit of a misnomer because in some cases, lactose isn’t actually removed from the milk. Instead, manufacturers add an enzyme called lactase during processing. Once ingested, it helps your digestive system break down the lactose. You can buy lactose-free whole milk, skim milk, cream, and other varieties.
The above method is the most common way of producing lactose-free milk. Other methods include removing lactose by passing the milk over lactase, or mechanically separating lactose from milk. The more complicated the manufacturing process, the more expensive the product will be for the consumer.
If you want to learn how to make lactose-free milk at home, for a fraction of the cost, then you’re in luck. Even though the commercial process for removing lactose is factory-dependent and requires special machinery, you can achieve the same results by using a lactase supplement.
Lactase enzyme supplements are available in liquid or capsule form from most health food stores. Add the required amount by following the directions on the label, then wait approximately 24 hours. Your lactose-free milk will be ready to go!
7 Plant-Based Dairy Substitutes for Baking and Beyond
Going dairy-free can change not only your diet, but also your life. People who stop eating products made from cow’s milk report having more energy and better digestion. That’s not surprising: an estimated 65 percent of all people struggle to digest lactose. For vegans (and people who are concerned about the environmental impact of the massive dairy industry), eliminating dairy is a moral necessity.
Most dairy products now have dairy-free alternatives that you can make or buy. Sour cream, cream cheese and yogurt can all be made with soy or nut milks. In most cases, you can use a one-to-one ratio when making these substitutions; for instance, use one cup of almond milk in place of one cup of cow’s milk. Check out our list of plant-based dairy substitutes for 7 common dairy products:
Dietitians tend to favor soy milk as an alternative to cow’s milk because its protein content is close to that of cow’s milk, and most brands are fortified with calcium and vitamins. Use unsweetened, organic soy milk in both savory and sweet recipes.
You can also find a number of milks made from nuts and seeds, including almond, cashew, hemp and flax. Read labels carefully – some varieties are packed with sugar and have very little protein. You can easily make your own dairy-free milk to avoid sugar and additives. Rice milk is best for people who have allergies to soy and nuts, but it doesn’t have much nutritional value.
These milk substitutes have varying effects on recipes. For instance, rice milk may be too thin for creamy dishes, and hemp milk has a strong flavor that overpowers delicate dishes. It may take some experimentation to find the right milk for your favorite recipes.
In baked recipes, use coconut oil in place of butter. It’s slightly higher in calories and saturated fats than butter, but won’t negatively affect the texture of your baked goods. You can also substitute mashed avocado for butter, but you need to increase the wet ingredients to compensate for the fact that avocado doesn’t melt. In cooking, substitute coconut or olive oil for butter.
Nuts have a rich, creamy texture, so it makes sense to use them as the base for dairy-free cheese. Make your own vegan cheese out of cashews, nutritional yeast and seasonings, or buy dairy-free cheese made from a base of nuts, coconut or flour. If you’re looking for a cheese with chewier consistency, like cottage or ricotta, use crumbled tofu instead.
These cheeses don’t have the same flavor or meltability as dairy varieties. The calorie and fat content of vegan cheese varies widely, but they’re not dramatically healthier than dairy cheese, and they tend to have much less protein.
4. Ice Cream
If you’re fond of making your own ice cream, you can churn out a batch made with coconut milk that has a creamy texture similar to ice cream made with cow’s milk. You can also find a variety of dairy-free ice creams for sale that are made with a variety of milk substitutes. Soy and coconut versions tend to most closely mimic the flavor and texture of traditional ice cream.
If you’re not a big fan of coconut, but want something creamy, you can easily make your own banana nice cream. Just blend some frozen bananas and you’re done!
5. Whipped Cream
Whipped coconut cream has a similar texture to whipped cream. Refrigerate a can of coconut milk and carefully scoop out just the solids. Whip the solids with sugar and vanilla, just like you make whipped cream, until the mixture is fluffy.
6. Condensed Milk
Condensed milk is an indulgent sweet treat on desserts or in an icy drink. Luckily, you can make a dairy-free version with two ingredients: full fat coconut milk and maple syrup. Tasty and vegan!
Lots of dairy-free yogurts are now made with soy or nuts. Silken tofu is a great alternative too, especially for soup recipes that call for a scoop of sour cream or plain yogurt for thickness and creaminess. Just puree some tofu and stir it in.
You can also make your own yogurt with coconut milk and probiotics!
Check out our list of natural sugar substitutes.