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Educational Tip

Dairy Free Diet

By Gali Health in partnership with @plentyandwellwithnat, medically reviewed by Kate Schlag, RD

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A style of eating that eliminates dairy from the diet but still includes other animal products such as eggs and meat.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Let’s Eat
  2. Foods to Steer Clear Of
  3. Dairy-Free Mint Chip Banana Ice Cream
  4. Flare Friendly Foods
  5. Common Swaps
  6. Weekly Tip
  7. Research

LET’S EAT!

The dairy-free diet allows all foods except dairy products, including milk, cheese, creamer, ice cream, yogurt, butter, and others. Thankfully, there are many dairy-free alternatives on the market today!

STEER CLEAR OF

  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Creamer / Cream
  • Custard
  • Curds
  • Ice cream
  • Kefir
  • Milk/milk powders
  • Whipping cream
  • Whey protein
  • Yogurt

Make sure to check the labels of baked goods, candies, snack bars, etc. for dairy. Many may have milk powder, butter, milk, etc. as an ingredient.

DAIRY-FREE MINT-CHIP BANANA ICE CREAM

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 medium avocado
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 3/4 tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (can sub for other plant-based “milk”)
  • 3 Tbsp almond butter (can sub for other nut butter)
  • Optional Topping: more cacao nibs

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor (if your blender isn’t very strong) and blend until smooth.
  2. Place in a container and freeze for about 30 minutes or until the mixture hardens a bit (but not all the way).
  3. Serve with more cacao nibs on top and enjoy!

FLARE FRIENDLY FOODS

Rice cakes with avocado

Scrambled eggs

Steamed sweet potatoes

Smoothies

Other steamed and pureed veggies that your stomach can handle well

Oatmeal with banana slices

White rice with boiled chicken

COMMON SWAPS

Yogurt: almond, soy, coconut, or cashew-based yogurts

Butter: nut or soy-based butters

Cream cheese: nut or soy-based cream cheeses

Cheese: nut or soy-based cheeses

Milk: almond, oat, cashew, hemp, soy, hazelnut, etc. milk options

Ice cream: thankfully, so many dairy-free ice cream options are now available at the store and even in many ice cream shops

Whipping cream: you can buy coconut-based whipped cream at many stores, or you can try making your own

WEEKLY TIP

A phrase to remember during your entire chronic illness journey, but especially when it comes to lifestyle and dietary changes is: “My new life isn’t bad, it’s just different.” Struggling to change your lifestyle and eating habits is normal. Try to change your mindset to see these changes as simply being “different,” instead of labeling them as “bad.”

RESEARCH

Regardless of the presence of an IBD diagnosis, people may react negatively to dairy and dairy products for a variety of reasons, including a dairy allergy, lactose intolerance, milk intolerance, or sensitivity to dairy products.

Still, it’s possible that individuals diagnosed with IBD are more likely to experience negative effects – either in terms of worsened symptoms, increased inflammation, or both – from consuming dairy. For example, a 2014 study found that individuals with IBD were significantly more likely to have a dairy allergy, as determined by serum levels of dairy antibodies, than those without IBD.

In addition, a 2011 study found that the incidence of patients with IBD and lactose sensitivity is significantly high, at 70%; because of these results, researchers acknowledge that future studies should investigate whether lactose sensitivity is a cause or consequence of IBD.

Some researchers postulate that milk affects the microbiome in a way that promotes inflammation: in a 2012 study, researchers used mice who were genetically engineered to display the pathogenesis of IBD. They were fed either milk fat, lard, or sunflower oil; mice who were fed the milk fat showed rapidly reproducing amounts of the bacteria Bilophila wadsworthia, which produces substances that irritate the gut and trigger inflammation. Study author Eugene Chang hypothesized that a triggering event may cause the rapid reproduction of Bilophila wadsworthia, triggering the onset of IBD, which is then sustained by other factors; however, such an association should be investigated in humans as well.

Despite these findings, other studies have found either no association between dairy and IBD risk or prevalence or, in some cases, a protective effect. A 2017 study found that whey protein from cheese reduced inflammatory gene expression and protected against diarrhea in rats with induced colitis.

Researchers theorize that the specific amino acids found in whey protein, including cysteine and threonine, stimulate intestinal mucin synthesis and improve the microflora, which provides a protective effect. As with other studies, further research should be done with humans to investigate this relationship.

For more information and tips on living with inflammatory bowel disease from the medical and patient communities, download the Gali friend for IBD mobile app and she will create a personalized feed of articles just for you!

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