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A guide to dairy alternatives

Food allergies affect millions of people around the world. Milk is a leading source of food-related irritation. People with milk or dairy allergies experience symptoms because their immune systems react as though these foods and beverages are dangerous invaders. Symptoms of dairy allergies can include upset stomach, vomiting, bloody stools, hives, and general feelings of malaise. Dairy allergies also can cause anaphylaxis, a severe, life-threatening reaction. As delicious as dairy products can be, people with dairy allergies have to avoid milk, cheese and yogurt, among other foods. Fortunately for allergy sufferers, a variety of foods and beverages can be easily substituted for dairy products. Non-dairy alternatives for milk abound. Some alternatives to cow’s milk are rice, almond, coconut, oat, and hemp seed milk. Dairy-based yogurts come in a variety of flavours. So, too, do dairy alternatives. Many alternatives are made from the same ingredients as milk alternatives. Ice cream: Silky, creamy ice cream is a treat on a hot day. For people with dairy allergies, coconut-based ice creams can serve as an alternative to traditional ice cream. Cheeses can be hard, grated, spreadable, and soft. Substituting for cheese in a non-dairy diet can be challenging. Nutritional yeast can make foods more flavourful and can be sprinkled on like parmesan cheese. Many non-dairy butters are made from vegetable oils or coconut. Margarines and other butter alternatives are readily available in the dairy aisle. Many people must avoid dairy due to allergies or other health-related reasons. Fortunately, stores are stocked with many items that can easily replace dairy in recipes or as stand-alone foods and beverages.

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