The Problem with Dairy-free Cheeses
If you are dairy intolerant or vegan and have not dived into the world of dairy-free cheese you are missing out. Finding the best vegan cheese on the market was the single biggest element that made my gluten-free and dairy-free lifestyle feel somewhat normal. It stopped being a medical necessity for casein, lactose, and gluten intolerance and became a diet that I started to customize and become more and more creative with.
Dairy-free Cheese & Health Issues
Lactose Intolerance Treatment
If all you are looking for is basic lactose intolerance treatment then you may have already found the multitude of lactose-free real cheeses like Allegra, as well as tried some of the best soy cheeses and other non-dairy cheese products out there today.
Some of you may categorize yourselves as suffering from “milk intolerance” since that is what gives you problems, while cheese and yogurt, for example, are more tolerable. The amount of lactose sugar in the dairy product, and the speed at which it is digested can both factors in the determining what lactose intolerance treatment is the right one for you based upon the symptoms you experience such as stomach pain and bloating, gas and heartburn symptoms.
Often, a lactase supplement life Lactaid, taken before consuming anything with lactose in it can be a sufficient step to minimize lactose intolerance symptoms to the point that you may not need any extreme dairy-free diet plan like the rest of us who must observe strictly vegan dairy alternatives or gluten-free and soy-free dairy alternatives.
Soy Cheese and Soy Allergy Symptoms
Many people who suffer from an intolerance to certain types of protein life gluten (a wheat, rye, and bar and barley protein) and/or casein (a milk protein) may also develop a food sensitivity or protein intolerance to soy. When people refer to “soy allergy symptoms” some of them will really be talking about soy protein intolerance.
If your gluten or dairy intolerance resolved itself when you went on a proper elimination diet and then transitioned into a healthy dairy free diet plan, but now you are getting IBS or other digestive symptoms returning and you do not know why, it could be the soy protein. Soy protein can contain molecules that are difficult to digest for some people who have other auto-immune responses to certain types of protein. Just keep in mind that if your reaction is to soy cheese only, then there is a better chance that it is not the soy, but another dairy intolerance issue.
When Symptom-free Means Casein-Free
Many people who suffer from dairy intolerance are not lactose intolerant, but casein intolerant. Moreover, the soy cheeses you will find of the market that often advertise as “milk-free” and “non-dairy” usually do contain this dairy protein. This can and will make you very sick, even in trace amounts if you are casein intolerant. So beware of even well-meaning but tricky labels like “organic non-dairy cheese.”
You should even be vigilant with products like “vegan soy-free cheese” since you should watch out for contaminated factory equipment and trace amounts of dairy protein. Much of how well you need to screen these vegan dairy alternatives will depend upon the degree of your dairy intolerance. If it is merely a dairy sensitivity, perhaps you can contemplate a more inclusive approach to your diet. Beware of future changes to your health, however. Sometimes protein intolerance is like a set of dominoes. Over the years more and more can fall.
Dairy-free Cheese Nutritional Issues
Dairy-free and Vegan Protein Supplements?
When we eliminate both dairy and soy from our diet, we put ourselves at risk of serious nutritional imbalance. A lot of the protein in our diet may be removed when we switch to vegan soy-free cheese and other vegan dairy alternatives. My casein-free, vegan soy-free cheese of choice is Daiya. I feel it is far superior to others such as Sheese vegan cheese. I am still looking to compare Galaxy vegan cheese, so drop me a line if you have any feedback about how you like them, and how these two brands compare for you.
In any event, I generally recommend adding a vegan supplement like Vega whole food supplement first thing in the morning. I try to follow the 30/30 rule, which means that I try to consume 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. Half of that is a shake, and half I will eat in a whole grain and veggie mix.
A vegan protein supplement smoothie will also help solve the other problem of removing dairy from your diet. Getting your daily calcium. You should find that taking your calcium in veggies like broccoli, as well as in shake form gives you a much better and easier to digest, more bio-available form of calcium than in dairy products, particularly for people with problem/damaged digestion from dairy sensitivity, gluten intolerance or casein and soy intolerance.
Dairy-free Cheese Recipe Issues
There are lots of other practical issues with vegan dairy substitutes and vegan food products that we add to our dairy-free diet plans such as texture, taste, and “meltability” but I will leave most of those issues (many of which I have covered a lot already in the past) for specific product review and recipe articles that call or dairy-free cheese.