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Dairy Free Living

Dairy Free Living


Food intolerances can have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing. Symptoms may take hours or even days to appear, making it very difficult to pin-point the problem food. Some people may suspect there is a food intolerance, others just simply feel exhausted, flat, depressed and bloated with no idea why or what to do about it. 


If you've reached this page then you now have some answers to where your symptoms are coming from and have been advised your body is currently reacting to dairy products. This may be a challenge for some to come to terms with, it is often our favourite foods that we react to most. However remember that these changes are temporary, we need to repair your digestive system and re-balance your immune system, which we can do throughout the recovery program. This is done by first removing your problem foods, then we work on restoring health and aiming to reverse your intolerances by working on the underlying factors causing these reactions.


Milk is an important source of protein, calcium and vitamins including A, D & B complex. If you are giving up cow’s milk, it is important that these nutrients are obtained from alternative food sources.

B Vitamins are found in abundance in leafy greens and whole grains. Vitamin A can be obtained in betacarotene form from carrots, pumpkin, leafy greens, blueberries and capsicum. Vitamin D we mostly get from the sun, however you can also find some in certain mushrooms, and in egg yolks. 


Please note:

  • It is not possible to detect lactose intolerance via blood test - our test detects Dairy Intolerance, which is a reaction to the dairy proteins. Lactose is simply the sugar in dairy products, lactose free dairy still contains dairy proteins. 

  • Unfortunately Goat, Sheep and Buffalo products also contain the same proteins (Casein and Whey) as cows milk. Therefore if you have had a moderate or severe reaction to dairy then you should avoid these foods too.





Foods to avoid

Dairy is found in many foods such as:

  • Milk, milk shakes

  • Cheese

  • Butter, spreads

  • Whey Protein, Protein shakes, bars and balls

  • Custards, puddings, sauces, yoghurt, fromage frais, ice-cream, cream

  • Baked goods (cakes, doughnuts, waffles, scones, biscuits, pancakes)

  • Instant mashed potato, creamed soup, ready meals, processed meats and sausages, gravy

  • Chips, ready made snacks, chocolate, confectionery

  • Bread, pizza

  • Chocolate, confectionary

  • Ready meals

  • Processed meats, sausages

  • Soups

What to look for (and avoid) on food ingredient labels:

  • Butter, butter oil

  • Casein, caseinate, calcium caseinate

  • Cheese

  • Cream, light cream

  • Demineralised whey

  • Beta-lactoglobulin

  • Alpha-lactalbumin

  • Fat replacement

  • Non-fat milk

  • Milk powder, skimmed milk powder

  • Milk solids, non-fat milk solids

  • Whey, sweet whey powder, whey protein isolate, hydrolysed whey protein.

Note: Dairy/cow’s milk may be hidden in many foods and so it is important to always read the food ingredient labels carefully before purchase.


You can maintain a rich intake of protein, calcium and vitamins A, D and B complex by consuming a variety of other foods such as soy, cod liver oil, sardines, whitebait, salmon (with small bones), nuts, red meat, fresh fruit and vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables such as spring greens, watercress, spinach and broccoli), rhubarb, figs, mushroom, oranges, apricots, prunes, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, lentils and legumes.


Useful tips for substituting dairy-free products in recipes:

  • Grate soy hard cheeses on the fine part of the grater for a better melt. Most dairy free cheeses taste better when melted than when raw. Primal Kitchen makes a great dairy free cheese range including a cheddar style and a parmesan - all made from cashews. Botanical Cuisines make an exceptional cashew cheese with truffle oil that tastes like heaven. 

  • Use plain dairy-free yoghurts such as coconut milk yoghurt to make curries, raita, stroganoffs, creamy sauces and dips. I recommend Nudie coconut yoghurt, CoYo and Nakula - all of which you'll find in supermarkets. Nakula tastes similar to mascerpone and makes for a great dessert. 

  • Use soft dairy-free cheese such as cashew cheese and sour cream in dips, cheesecakes and other savoury and sweet sauces

  • Tofu is a mild-tasting product made from soy beans. There are different types and the firm sort are best for savoury dishes such as quiches, whilst the softer, silken tofu works better in desserts such as mousses and cheesecakes.

Tips for eating out in Sydney on a dairy free diet:

  • Any vegan or paleo restaurant or cafe is always going to be safe bet as these dietary philosophies are 100% dairy free. 

  • Most Thai cuisine, with the exception of desserts and teas which use condensed milk, is dairy free. They tend to use a coconut milk base. 

  • Some indian food is dairy free, with the exception of the Ghee base. However, as Ghee is clarified (meaning that all proteins are removed) it is a safe bet for those with intolerance to dairy. Some curries however use a yoghurt base or include Paneer - an Indian cottage cheese. This would not be a suitable option on a dairy free diet.

  • We are lucky enough to live in a time where a plant based diet is thriving, and therefore there are lots of options popping up for those who need to exclude dairy or other animal products. In Sydney we have Soul Burger in Glebe, which offers plant based burgers and chips - including cheese burgers and loaded fries, that are 100% dairy free. There is also The Green Lion in Rozelle which offers great vegan pizzas - try the piri piri chicken, you won't believe your taste buds! For super-healthy options, we have Verd at Barangaroo and Surry Hills, which offers delicious healthy bowls, desserts, breakfasts and smoothies that are free of dairy, eggs and all other animal products.

  • Ask for sauces or dressings to be placed on the side just in case. Also don't be afraid to ask if something is dairy free, or if it can be modified - gone are the days where these questions were perceived unusual or annoying. And remember, by asking the question yourself, you make it easier for the next person who is struggling with the same thing. 

Follow my instagram page for regular updates on allergy-friendly cafes and menu options.

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