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How to Cut Dairy Out of Your Diet


There are many reasons people may choose to cut dairy from their diet. Some do it because they’re following a new diet, some for weight loss, women might do it when breastfeeding, and others because they have a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance. 

Even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, you may have considered going dairy-free if you have general digestive trouble or a sensitive stomach. Milk can stimulate stomach acid production, which may lead to more irritation in the digestive system. 

But cutting out dairy is hard to do! Cutting dairy out of your diet means eliminating a lot of foods, such as milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and a lot more. It can make cooking and baking difficult, and you may find yourself wondering if you’ll still enjoy many of your favorite meals or treats. 

The good news is that it is possible to cut dairy and still enjoy most of the same recipes you did before. You need to make a few substitutions.

How to Cut Dairy Out of Your Diet

First, don’t panic. Remember that there are a lot of great dairy substitutes. 

Chances are good that your local grocery store has milk alternatives such as soy or rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, oat milk, and hemp milk. 

Look for ice creams and yogurts made with nut or coconut milk – you’ll find there are more options than you may think!

For cooking and baking, coconut oil makes a great dairy-free butter substitute (you can sub it in 1:1 in most recipes). Lard, vegan butter, olive oil, vegetable shortening, or vegetable oil can also do the trick.

Cheese is a hard one for many people, but rest assured that dairy-free cheeses are out there! There are vegan cheeses made from soy protein, vegetable oils, nutritional yeast, nuts, tapioca flour, and more.

Some popular dairy-free cheese brands and products include Treeline’s Herb-Garlic French-Style Soft Cheese; Follow Your Heart’s Cheddar Shreds; Kite Hill’s Ricotta (and their chive cream cheese); and Daiya’s Mozzarella.

Dairy-Free Nutrients You Need

Dairy is an excellent source of calcium and protein. For that reason, a big concern many people have when they cut dairy out of their diet is wondering how they’ll still get the calcium and protein they need.

Thankfully, there are plenty of foods that are high in both protein and calcium that you can incorporate into your dairy-free diet. Some great options include:

  • Fortified milk substitutes like almond or soy
  • Leafy green vegetables; collard greens that have 36% of the calcium you need for the day per cup.
  • Broccoli.
  • Tofu.
  • Beans and peas (including chickpeas, lentils, and soybeans). 
  • Seeds and nuts.
  • Fish like salmon and sardines contain 15% of your daily recommended calcium intake.
  • Nuts (such as almonds, cashews, and peanuts).
  • Whole grains like wild rice, oat, and buckwheat.

Another way to make sure that you still get enough protein each day is by supplementing with dairy-free protein powders. Check out some of the dairy-free protein products below that we love.

Functional Plant Protein from Klaire Labs

Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Plant Protein from Klaire Labs combines USA-grown, sustainable pea protein with microbiome-nourishing prebiotics and antioxidants. This great-tasting, bioavailable, and easy-to-digest protein formulation is USDA Organic, 100% dairy-free, and non-GMO.

Protein and Greens from Vega

Vanilla Protein & Greens by Vega supports optimal health with plant-based protein, greens, and added papaya extract. This vanilla flavored mix helps you get your daily greens and protein.

Raw Organic Plant-Based Protein by VegiDay

Raw Organic Plant-Based Protein from VegiDay is a powdered supplement that offers protein to support muscle health and promote a healthy weight. You can find it in chocolate, vanilla, or unflavored varieties.

Dynamic Daily Meal by NutriDyn

Dynamic Daily Meal from NutriDyn is a delicious protein drink formula to promote healthy body composition, muscle protein synthesis, healthy metabolic and vascular function, and overall health and well-being.

What tips or tricks do you have for how to cut dairy out of your diet?