How to Be Dairy-Free While on Keto

Keto diets have become some of the most popular diets to follow in the last few years, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to follow them the same way. With massive successes and the diversity of keto diets that become available, people are learning about the ways they can use these diets to lose weight, but what if they can’t, or they choose not to ingest dairy?

Many keto diets rely heavily on dairy to make up many of the calories that are lost during the bulk of the diet. If you’ve been thinking about doing keto, but don’t want to ingest dairy, allow our functional medicine Burbank doctors at Functional Medicine Los Angeles to share some information about how to be dairy-free while on keto.

Why Becoming Dairy-Free Can Be a Challenge

One of the things that makes going without dairy so difficult is that so many people on the keto diet consume it, where they are eating cheese and butter regularly. This makes it hard to compare your keto diet to that of your friends who might be able to eat all the dairy they want.

As functional medicine Los Angeles providers, we have listed reasons it can be a bit of a challenge while doing keto:

Many Keto Recipes Use Cheese

Another area where you find some difficulties getting away from dairy comes in the form of those who have been charged with creating the many delicious and filling foods that you find on Keto meal idea lists and websites. These recipes are full of cheese and milk to get to some type of texture. When you’re first starting to quit cheese, the last thing you want to do is read 10 pages of foods that are stuffed with cheese. For those who are just beginning, seeing this kind of thing can cause a lot of feelings of frustration and make them feel like they won’t be able to stay true to the diet.

– You’ll Have to Get Fat Somewhere Else

Fats are important for energy, but if you’ve been used to ingesting the fats that are found in dairy, then you’ll find that you will need to find different ways to make up those lost calories. This could be tough for people who are picky eaters, as well as those who stick to specific foods when they eat.

At some point, the calorie loss might have to be addressed, and if you have been doing Keto in the hopes of getting a more cut, lean physique, then you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. Eating less fat can cause your body to store more fat and metabolize muscle instead of the fats that you’ve already stored.

Finding Protein Sources

You also need to get your protein elsewhere. Many people on the keto diet get their protein from animal products, including meat and dairy. If you don’t eat any dairy, then you will need to focus on getting it from meat and vegetable sources.

> Dairy Foods to Avoid

It’s not always easy to remember which foods will contain dairy when you’re out and about shopping and putting your meals together, so it would be a good idea to include a few items that you should stay away from if you’re looking to do a dairy-free diet. Luckily, because you’re planning to do a keto diet there won’t be as many things that you have to worry about because the diet has already gotten rid of most of the things that don’t support the dietary choice you’ve made.

– Half and Half

If you’re a coffee drinker who loves half and half, that’ll probably be a little bit of a sadness to see the half and half go, but you have a great alternative to half and half in the form of almond milk. Almond milk is another extremely versatile food because you can drink it or use it to replace milk in foods that you love to eat. Our functional medicine Studio City experts recommend using coconut milk in place of half and half.

– Butter

This might be the most tragic loss to any diet on this list. Butter can make all kinds of foods taste amazing, but it won’t serve you to be eating it during the time you are trying to control your eating habits. Modern butter can be said to be a byproduct of milk production in that it comes from the churning of milk. This substance is collected and packaged before being sold.  It tastes great and makes plain toast taste amazing, but with a dairy-free diet, you’ve got to learn how to let the butter go.

That would be the end if not for the invention of some relatively impressive brands of vegan butter. That way you can get the taste you love without abandoning your health goals or the accepted forms of animal oppression that are an unpleasant part of the production of animal-based goods.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you are only allergic to lactose, you might be able to get by with grass-fed butter, eaten in smaller amounts.

– Heavy Whipping Cream

This is very clearly a dairy product, but again, you can get a substitute that you will be pleased with. Cream is used in a lot of things because of its heavier frothier texture. That makes it a great additive for drinks, desserts, and other fun foods. It’s also the main source of butter, but it seems like it would be cruel to put a homemade butter recipe into an article about avoiding dairy.

– Soft Cheeses, Yogurt, and other Spreadable

It should go without saying that cheese is out of this diet no matter what kind of texture it gives the food you’re planning to eat. Anything made with dairy, which includes yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, etc., is completely out of the question for now.

> Getting Your Protein Without Dairy

The focus that keto diets place on the food you eat can be very enlightening, but if your diet is anything like that of most people, you’ll probably discover that it’s difficult to match the levels of protein previously found in your diet without eating any dairy products like cheese.

That means that you’ll have to find foods that contain enough protein to fill the space left when you remove dairy from your list of foods you’ll be eating. The biggest change that you’ll experience here, is in how you make choices about what you eat. Eating will take some careful planning if you want to stay healthy and functioning at your best. Be sure to ditch anything that lists casein as an ingredient.

– Protein Alternatives

With a certain amount of research, one thing you’ll find is that there are a decent number of sources of protein that you probably haven’t considered. Foods like eggs, poultry, fish, nuts, and seeds are all very high in protein. Some people have a habit of adding eggs to the daily section of the food pyramid, but because eggs don’t have anything remotely milk-based in them, they get a complete keto-certified pass.

Chicken and turkey are also great sources of protein, and you can often find the leanest versions of those birds at the store. Fish contains a healthy amount of protein, and it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids as well. Lastly, seeds are a great source of protein. Seeds come preloaded with all sorts of great nutrients as well. Seeds need that protein content so that they can become a full-grown plant.

If you need quick energy that is very efficient, then you can try grabbing a handful of some seeds, or mix them into something that you can drink. Seeds are also pretty versatile bits of nutrients because they can be used to make bread and baked, they can be eaten plain or roasted, or they can even be soaked and turned into a gel that you can use instead of proteins that come from farm animals.

– Dairy Substitutes

There was a time before the 1990s when quitting dairy would have made things a lot harder for people. Today, advancements in food processing and packaging have given people the ability to create and distribute satisfying, tasty alternatives to dairy foods. There are already quite a few options available on the market. Many of them are sold in regular grocery stores, so you won’t even need to take a trip to any specialty stores.

Just be sure to check the ingredient labels so that you know what you’re eating.

Aside from these types of options, you also have some of the more natural substitutes like almond milk, nutritional yeast, and so forth. If you get adventurous enough, you might find that there are a lot of dairy-free items that you can use to avoid cravings and stick to the diet that you’ve committed to.

> Dairy-Free Ideas for Keto Meals

The internet has helped to increase the popularity of many of these diets so much that you will probably have few problems finding foods that you can eat while you’re on your diet. It just takes some careful study, a watchful eye, and an execution of a plan. In the next few paragraphs, our Los Angeles functional medicine doctors will give you a few ideas on what kinds of meals you can try.

– Keto BBQ Pizza

Keto-friendly pizzas have been getting more popular as well. Pizza is a beloved food that can put an end to your efforts in just a few minutes, but the newest recipes call for some different ingredients. All you need is a good low-carb choice for your crust, which is usually cauliflower or coconut flour. The cheese you use should be vegan, and you can pick up a recipe for vegan BBQ sauce.

– Bacon Brussels Sprouts w/ Garlic

Brussels sprouts can be made into some pretty awesome foods that are simple and tasty. Since they are kind of like little cabbages, they make great vegetation for a meal. The added combination of the bacon and garlic with the sprouts might make you a trendy person to invite to a potluck.

– Vegetarian Red Coconut Curry

If you’ve been gearing up to do a low-carb, dairy-free diet, you can try exploring more foods from Asian countries. They tend to use cheese a lot less in their foods, and many meals will even be vegan. In less than 30 minutes you can whip up an awesomely flavorful dish that will leave you satisfied.

Some Tips

When you need to get rid of butter, you can always switch out those things in the ingredient list for something like coconut oil, olive oil, or even avocado oil. These plant fats will help to give the flavor of your food quite a boost. If you’re making a sauce that should be slightly savory, you can choose between the normal olive oil option or a combination of the oils.

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