Dairy free diet

I have opted for an initial trial of a dairy free diet. I have in the past suffered with sinus problems and always seem to have a blocked nose. I have always suffered from headaches and have mentioned elsewhere on these forums i have had a non stop headache for the past week at least.

does anyone have any experiences of a dairy free diet and if it improved their health at all? do you have any advice on not missing out on vital nutritional elements, eg calcium.

thanks everyone.


  • Hi MRT,
    I've been following a (mostly) dairy free diet for quite a while because I suffer with IBS and I find dairy is a trigger. I use soy milk for cereal (I find Alpro Light the nicest) and switched to herbal tea because I couldn't drink tea without milk and it just doesn't work with soy! I use the soy milk with added calcium but I also take a multivitamin which has calcium in it. I've tried a variety of dairy free cheeses, ice-cream etc - some are OK but some are pretty horrible. I haven't found a decent hard cheese substitute but the soy cream cheeses are quite nice.

    Health-wise, I always suffered with a lot of headaches and I still do but I definitely find I have a lot less digestive problems when I manage to avoid dairy.
  • I've avoided dairy for the majority of my adult life for various health reasons.

  • Hi tweety

    Sorry to hear about your headaches.

    I've had eczema/asthma and a whole variety of nasal breathing problems since I was about 5 years old when I developed asthma. Around the same time I started to naturally dislike milk, custard and a lot of the dairy products that I've loved until that age. Just stopped eating them.

    However, as a student and in my early twenties when I was learning to feed myself I'd eat a lot of chocolate ice cream and things with dairy in them crept back in. I tried giving them up dairy products 7 years ago to see if it would help as I has a near constant blocked nose and moderate eczema again. Haven't looked back. I definately feel there is a lot less...errrrh, mucus in my system and can breathe a lot better through my nose which is much clearer in general. Seemed to be the raw dairy that made things worst whereas i can eat things like scones that might have cooked egg in the mixture, for example. I haven't suffered from not eating dairy due to exercise and eating other calcium rich foods which were given to me as a child. No rickets or osteoporosis.

    I eat a lot of probiotic soya yoghurt for calcium and drink hot chocolate with soya milk (unsugared variety) as a treat. Also lots of dark green veg such as broccoli is a good source of calcium. Things like sardines (in a tomato sauce if you don't like them on their own) are good. I still don't drink any type of milk - soya,rice or otherwise as I just dislike them so intensely.

    Also, and I may have my facts wrong here, I'm dubious about calcium supplements. I read in a few places that artificial calcium is much harder to digest for the body and that over a prolonged period of time calcium pills may (allegedly!) contribute to gallstones if you're susceptible. I think they recommend doing things like ensuring you take them after food and not on an empty stomach etc but might be worth researching.

    I'd just say try it and see how you feel. If it's not for you and you don't feel better, start to include things again. if it works, make a real effort to ensure you're getting all the correct vitamins and minerals.

    Good luck and hope you feel better soon.

  • You can manage very nicely without dairy. Why are humans drinking another mammal's lactations after they are supposed to have been weened?

    Getting calcium isn't usually the problem, it's in lots of foods, especially green leafy stuff, tahini (sesame), oranges, figs etc. The problem with most people on a Western diet is keeping it in their system. Eating too much protein, especially animal protein, acidifies the blood, and the body uses calcium to try to balance the pH. This means that most people leach calcium out of their bones and excrete it. Osteoporosis is highest, ironically, in countries where dairy consumption is highest (e.g. Scandanavia). It's almost unknown where diary is never, or hardly ever, used (e.g. rural China).

    Give up dairy and enjoy improved health.
  • SticklessStickless ✭✭✭
    I did dairy free for a while (a year or so). I liked rice milk much better than soy, but nothing worked in tea. I like lemon in tea, but weaker tea, and with sugar.

    You might try dairy free for two or three weeks. It should show improvement in that sort of time, if it is going to be of any use.

    You may also find that trouble is in proportion to the amount you eat. So you may get away with milk in tea if you cut out the cheese and yoghurt.

    Re calcium. You might be able to get a bone density done, as a baseline, if you explain to GP that you are worried about it.

    I was a bit hit and miss with supplements, though I think in general I eat pretty sensibly.

  • thank you all so much for your advice, hints and experiences.

    i am going to try it initially for 2-3 weeks but i am already realising that after 3 days, i am eating healthier already. i'm eating a lot more fruit and haven't had a bag of crisps since tuesday, which for me is unheard of (all the crisps in the house have milk/cheese protein in them.) i love the alpro soya fruit yoghurts but am no so keen on the soya milk, but i shall try the unsweetened variety next time and also try rice and oat milk.

    i have bought myself a copy of a book called healthy dairy free eating which i am looking forward to trying out. had a browse through waterstones and whsmiths today. call me silly, but quite a few of the recipes, particularly the desserts, had egg in them and i thought egg was a dairy product?

    is it me or has my continual headache finally got to my brain?
  • Tweety I wouldn't classify eggs as a dairy product. But would the following:

    Butter Oil
    Butter Milk
    Vegetable Fat
    Hydrolysed Casein
    Evaporated Milk
    Condensed Milk
    Dried Milk
    Cream Curd
    Milk Solids
    Hydrolysed Whey
    Whey Syrup Sweetener

    dairy is often hidden in alot of processed foods so read all food labels.
  • i got all excited last night when i thought i could have a custard cream but on close reading of the label, realised they had dried whey in them. cue much laughter from my husband. i consoled myself with a nice bowl of chocolate soy ice cream.
  • custard creams have milk in, but choc bourbons hardly ever do :)
  • ooh, thanks duck. hope you are well.

    eating out is a bit of a pain but i know that i will get more used to it. took me ages to find something to eat out in town today that didn't have butter or mayonnaise in.

    head still constantly throbbing but only a faint throbbing now instead of as if someone has hit me round the head. my mum has heard from a friend who went dairy free after sinus problems and reaped benefits from it.
  • Had terrible mange a few years ago, cut out dairy and wheat for about a month and realised I craved pizza and similar - very often it's the stuff you crave that is the problem.
    Then split up with then partner - mange disappeared - funny that.

    However these days am still careful, take lactase supplement if I know I can't avoid cow milk, sheep and goat much easier to tolerate, butter and yoghurt were never much of a problem but goats milk yoghurt is so much nicer. Also use soya milk for smoothies etc.
    The good news is Roquefort is made from ewes milk
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