TROY LAWRENCE/THE VARSITY

More often than not, individuals seeking to make healthy lifestyle changes are bombarded with a plethora of new and trendy diets, many of which seem impossible to implement. However, with a little bit of help, some of these diets can be easily conquered.

With some celebrities and athletes swearing by the health benefits of a dairy-free diet, it is important to note that eliminating dairy products from one’s diet does not always result in significant health improvements. However, going dairy-free can help some people reduce bloating, lose weight, and gain clearer skin.

Here are some ways to go dairy-free.

First, it is important to compensate for the vitamins and nutrients that you will miss by eliminating dairy.

Many of us rely on dairy as our primary source of calcium, and so it is crucial to introduce alternatives into one’s diet. Just one cup of cooked collard greens contains 36 per cent of the required calcium intake for one day, and many milk alternatives, such as almond milk, can provide up to 45 per cent of a day’s calcium needs.

Dairy can also be a significant contributor to the daily value of protein for many people, and so it is important to make up for this loss with alternatives such as meat, beans, and nuts.

Second, stay true to your diet by carefully reading labels on food items.

Oftentimes, foods with dairy can be easily identified by looking for ingredients such as milk, butter, and cheese. However, dairy ingredients are sometimes hidden in less recognizable names, such as ghee and lactoglobulin. It is important to do your research so that you are able to recognize these ingredients. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to do a quick Google search.

Third, eat more whole foods.

Since there are hundreds of dairy additives, it is always safer to eat foods with less ingredients. Look for food items that are less processed.

Fourth, when dining out, choose restaurants that cook meals from scratch.

Many chain restaurants simply prepare pre-packaged food in the kitchen, and so they are unable to control what goes into your food. When dining at restaurants that cook meals entirely from scratch, you can let your server know to alert the chef that you don’t eat dairy.

Follow these helpful tips and you’ll have no problem adjusting to a dairy-free life.

Good luck!

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