Whether to include dairy or not in our diets is a highly contentious issue and there are many arguments for and against it. We don’t use dairy foods in our recipes because for some people these can cause digestive upset and in some cases aggravate certain conditions. Personally, since reducing the amount of dairy in my diet I have experienced better digestion and seen positive changes in my skin. So even if you choose not to completely eliminate dairy foods from your diet, we recommend at least trying to go for dairy alternatives some of the time.
Although important for young children and women who are pregnant, dairy foods are not a necessary component of an adult diet. The main nutrient supplied by dairy foods is calcium, which is primarily associated with healthy bones – especially important for women who are at greater risk of poor bone health after the menopause. We all had the importance of a glass of milk a day drummed into as children for healthy teeth and bones! However calcium can be obtained from many other wonderful foods, such as fortified rice milk, green vegetables, tofu, almonds, dried fruit, sesame seeds and tahini, and pulses, all of which can easily be added to the diet and offer many other valuable nutrients.
It is best to choose fortified, plant-based milks that have a similar nutritional profile to cow’s milk to ensure you will still get all the nutrients you need. We like almond milk for baking and in smoothies, and rice milk with muesli and granola. Containing good natural fats, coconut milk is perfect for curries and soups as well as puddings.
And to bust a time-old myth, no eggs are not dairy. Dairy is a product of the mammary gland of mammals. Basically, it refers to milk and anything made from milk, so cheese, butter and yogurt. So don't be afraid to eat those eggs in the morning!