It’s dairy free so it’s healthy, right?


About a year ago my mum commented on how many recipes she was finding containing coconut oil. ‘Is it really that good for you?’ she asked me. My life at that time was a blur of nappies and playgroups, so I really hadn’t taken much notice to the ‘food revolution’ that had been taking place. The revolution which had meant that my own mother who has happily drank milk her whole life with no adverse side-effects and stocks no less than 6 different types of cheese in her fridge had inadvertently started embarking on a dairy free baking spree.

So what was my answer? Well ‘yes’ I said, it’s very healthy for people with a dairy allergy. Why are you using it?! But as I came gradually out of the abyss of nights with 5hrs broken sleep, and Mumsnet being my only reading material, I also found what a massive following the free-from movement had. Then my own friends started cutting out the white stuff for the sake of their own bloated tummies and their poor newborn babies with green frothy poo’s. And so those people with lactose (milk sugar) intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, and breastfeeding mums whose babies have milk protein or lactose allergy or intolerance could now finally feel comfortable speaking openly about the nasty side effects many suffer from ingesting too much dairy. Not just that but they now had a plethora of recipes to choose from to help ease their symptoms. 

However there has also been a huge swathe of young health conscious social media addicts that have been caught up in all this. Those who have never had any negative symptom associated with ingesting dairy going the whole hog & totally cutting it out. Many believe they are helping to prevent disease and that it is just not natural to eat dairy. And others I fear are just following a trend, and trying to mirror the intake of the svelte lifestyle guru’s out there on the net. Even the most educated of my friends are shocked when I tell them almond milk is no more nutritious than cows milk. This is dangerous. Dairy is a major food group and when cut out could lead to inadequate calcium intake leading to brittle bones. If you think you may be intolerant to dairy you should see your GP to obtain a referral to see a dietitian who will help balance your diet. see the advice at Allergy UK 

My personal opinion is to celebrate the dairy free recipes that work. Modify them to suit the contents of your pantry or your tolerance. I will often use recipes including coconut oil and just substitute butter as I luckily have no intolerance to dairy. If you are able to there are advantages to using butter over coconut oil. Butter is 50% saturated fat, the ‘bad fat’ that is thought to increase cholesterol compared to 87% saturated fat in coconut oil. It also has more healthy mono-unsaturated fat at 20%, compared to 6% in coconut oil.

But these free from recipes – thank you Deliciously Ella – are there for when we do need to cater for ourselves or our friends feeding their colicky baby, or with irritable bowel or genuine milk allergy or intolerance. Get baking!

Oat & banana choc chip cookies
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  1. 3 large ripe bananas
  2. 4 tablespoons almond butter or peanut butter
  3. 1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter
  4. 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  5. 1 1/2 mugs oats (180g)
  6. bananas
  7. 100g dark (at least 70% cocoa, the darker the better) chocolate, cut into small chunks
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C, (fan 180)
  2. Mash bananas with a fork until smooth
  3. add nut butter, oil or butter and maple syrup to the bananas and mix
  4. add oats and chocolate chunks
  5. line a baking tray with baking paper, and scoop tablespoons of the mixture onto the tray
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes
  7. Remove when cookies become brown and leave to cool for 5 minutes
Adapted from Deliciously Ella
Adapted from Deliciously Ella
Nom Nom Nerd
Front of pack nutrition labelling :

Nutrient per 100g %RI per 71g serving %RI
Energy kJ 1247 14% 882 10%
Energy kcal 298 14% 211 10%
Fat 12g 17% 9g 12% Med
Saturated Fat 4.9g 24% 3.5g 17% Med
Total Sugars 18g 20% 13g 14% Med
Salt 0.10g 1% 0.00g 0% Low
Protein 7.7g __ 5.4g