Today is global #WorldMilkDay and with this in mind, I thought I’d write a bit more of a chatty post talking about a few of the dairy-related revelations I’ve made over the past few months. As a disclaimer – since there are some truly ludicrous claims being made in this industry right now (here’s one eye-gouging example) – by no means am I qualified to tell you whether I think milk is going to be detrimental in your diet or alternatively, make you feel like a goddess. This is merely my current attitude towards dairy products and a personal account of my experience with milk-free alternatives.

‘The dairy alternatives market will be worth 19.5 billion USD by 2020’

I was never the kid that asked for warm milk before bed; and I remember very clearly shoveling as many Cheerios into my cheeks as possible before my Mum insisted I ‘put some milk on it!’ Even as as an adult, I don’t have any milk in my coffee. When soy first graced the shelves, my Mum was quick to jump on the bandwagon – like mother like daughter it seems when it comes to trying out the latest nutritional fad. I however, was not so overwhelmed at this one and frequently turned my nose up at her soya milk cappuccinos.

Then, as I started teaching myself more about fitness and nutrition, my dairy intake went from almost null to BIG TIME when I began supplementing my diet with whey protein. When I was counting my macros, quite often I’d be having whey isolate protein in my zoats in the morning, then casein mixed with yogurt before bed. It was delicious; but it was a lot of dairy and god knows what else. It was during this time that my skin took a real turn for the worst and I felt increasingly more bloated. When I went away for the weekend and my diet wasn’t so heavily weighted towards dairy, I felt better. Indeed, cow’s milk has been linked to a number of health complaints that as of late, are being taken more and more seriously. For example, a calf is fed milk to help it grow, as ultimately it aids in the process of growth through multiplication of cells. For this reason, many cancer patients are being told to withdraw it from their diet. Also, did you know that it’s suspected that up to 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant? Don’t get me wrong, milk is packed full of nutrients and vitamins and I truly believe in the mantra everything in moderation. But right now, for environmental reasons as well as potential feel-good benefits, I’m making the effort to be a bit more cow’s-milk conscious.

What’s the alternative?

Nowadays, the supermarket shelves are a minefield of ‘free from’ products, which in part is amazing, however many are over-processed, fortified with sweeteners, and jam-packed with emulsifiers, gums, and other preservatives that have the propensity to disrupt the normal functioning of our digestive systems. Navigating these not-so ‘healthy’ alternatives to find anything recognisable on the ingredients label is HARD. I always reach for trusty Rude Health, the guys that for a number of years now have been producing delicious, dairy-free milk alternatives from organic and whole foods.

Rude Health Almond Milk or Cashew Milk

In my search for dairy-alternatives, I’ve said BYE FELICIA to the soy products in my fridge; the creamy taste of Alpro included. Soy is an enormously popular substitute, however it is high in phyto-oestrogens and as such, studies suggest that it can be detrimental to the hormone balance of women. Therefore, in large quantities it may affect breast cell multiplication, putting women at a greater risk of breast cancer. There is also evidence that it limits the absorption of major nutrients in the body such as iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc. So, what options are there for dairy-free yogurt, other than soy? WELL. There’s Coyo. Coyo is a gorgeous, rich and creamy yogurt made from coconuts. This makes it high in GOOD fats that can be easily broken down by the body to be used as energy, to keep the heart healthy, and to help boost our immune systems. My ultimate food crush right now is the Coyo Morello Cherry, which quite frankly is one of the most creamy and delicious thing you will ever put in your mouth. And it’s pink.

Coyo Morello Cherry Coconut Yoghurt

For me however, the biggest switch-up in my diet was always going to be whey protein. Many plant-based proteins contain soy, so I busied myself trying to find something pea or hemp based that tasted great too. A couple of weeks ago I came across Vivo Life Perform Raw Protein. It contains cold pressed hemp and pea proteins, plant based BCAA and all the nutritional benefits of maca powder, lacuma, turmeric root and pink Himalayan salt. I can’t believe it wasn’t on my radar sooner. Plus, the flavours are hella impressive; I’m currently indulging in Salted Maca Caramel, the main ingredient in my Salted Caramel Protein Puddings that everyone has been loving!

Vivo Life Perform Raw Plant Protein Salted Maca Caramel

Finally, I’m going to give a shout out to a slightly more indulgent dairy-free HERO. A number of years ago, when I was writing my dissertation, I would reward myself after completing each chapter with a Booja-Booja champagne chocolate truffle (LOL). But seriously, these are the best truffles I have ever had in my life and they’re dairy, gluten and soya free. Booja-Booja are now killing it, making all sorts of delicious products using whole and nutritious ingredients – including the magical ice cream below. You can thank me later!

Booja-Booja Caramel Pecan Praline Ice Cream

What’s your stance on dairy-free alternatives?