It’s not always easy to get all of the nutrients found in dairy products because you have to consume so much in order to get the RDA your body requires. Fortified foods such as soymilk and cereals can be used as a supplement.
Besides allergies or similar health concerns, many people make a choice to stop eating dairy, whether it is to help lose weight, fight acne, irritable bowel syndrome, or simply to avoid specific antibiotics and hormones that are often administered to cattle.
Whatever the reason may be, it is crucial to ensure that you are still getting the nutrients you need which are easily found in dairy foods. These nutrients include protein, vitamin D and minerals including calcium and phosphorous. Milk may actually be the leading food source for these nutrients.
Dairy protein is a complete protein and it provides all of the essential amino acids necessary for good health and so a protein source must be utilised in order for adequate protein nutrition to occur in non-dairy consumers. Soy is similar to milk in that its protein source also contains all of the amino acids that are needed for human nutrition. Rice protein is another popular source for non-dairy consumers.
Whole foods are an important source of nutrition; especially for vegans because the nutrients found in whole foods are packaged with other enzymes and nutrients, they are more easily absorbed by the body.
Rich sources of calcium include leafy greens and broccoli, chia, flax, sesame and also quinoa. Beet greens, tomatoes and sweet potatoes are a good source of potassium typically found in dairy. Mushrooms are also the best vegetarian food source of vitamin D.
It’s not always easy to get all of the nutrients found in dairy products because you have to consume so much in order to get the RDA your body requires. Fortified foods such as soy-milk and cereals can be used as a supplement. This is especially relevant for vitamin B12 which is generally found in animal products, vitamin B12 can also be found in kale and nutritional yeast.
Almond and soy milks are probably of the most popular products on the vegan food market today, often coming in a variety of flavours with varying amounts of sweetener added to them.
Soy milk is often fortified with calcium, vitamins A and D and riboflavin, and packed with protein! Almond milk contains lots of Vitamin E - it provides about 50% of the daily value in one serving. However, it only has about 1/3 of the calories cow's milk unless fortified.
Oat milks and coconut milk which are made from oat groats, water and sometimes other grains and beans such as barley, brown rice and soy beans can be used as a milk alternative. Oat milks are rich in Fibre, Iron, Vitamin E and folic acid and are also low in calories, cholesterol and saturated fat.
Hemp milk may also be a good alternative for those allergic to soy, nuts and gluten. Hemp milk is made from hulled hemp seed, water and sweetener. It is full of fatty acid and protein, however is generally low in calcium unless fortified.
Fortified foods help with the absorption of vitamins as they are fat soluble so teaming up your fortified foods with vitamin-rich sources can help to maximise absorption.
Other vegan alternatives include dairy free cream cheese, ice cream, cream and yogurt. These products are usually pretty easy to find in the supermarket or it is possible for you to make them yourself!
Many vegans chose not to consume dairy and avoid foodstuffs that come from animals. This is often because dairy production relies on reproductive systems and the mothering of other animals. No matter the reasons for making the decision to be vegan, it is absolutely essential that you make sure you’re getting the correct nutrients from the alternatives you use, be sure to find something that is the closest nutritional profile to the dairy products.