The arguments for ditching dairy are overwhelming. We know that milk is the perfect food for calves, but humans can easily thrive without it.
Despite this, the dairy industry still subjects cows to the psychological and physical distress that is an inevitable part of dairy farming. Calves are often torn from the warm and loving side of their mothers within just 24 hours of their birth. Male calves may be killed before being given a chance to live, all because they are of no value to the industry. Female calves will likely face the same bleak future as their mother.
This is a tough pill to swallow for most, especially when we are aware of just how unnecessary this pain and suffering is. All we need to do to stop this suffering is to stem the demand for dairy, the good news is, that's easy enough to do. If you're ready to take a stand and ditch the dairy, have a read through these five easy tips to see you through.
1. Don’t go it alone
You have probably often heard people say that their biggest reservation for going vegan is giving up dairy and the fear of missing out on milky coffees or cheesy pizzas, you might have even thought this yourself. Today, with the soaring popularity of veganism, we know that this fear is unfounded. The rise of veganism means you are able to tap into a pool of thousands of people who have already been where you are and have come out the other end. Sign up for Facebook support groups, attend vegan meet-ups or sign-up for a free service like our 30-Day Vegan Pledge, where you will get a daily dose of motivation directly to your inbox every morning. Having a support network, even if it is virtual, may provide the extra boost you need to succeed.
2. Experiment with alternatives
Dairy-free living offers a world full of possibilities! No longer are you stuck with the same old cow's milk every day – there are tons of plant-based milk alternatives to choose from! It will take a bit of time to find what works for you, but there are enough options for every mood and occasion. Perhaps you'll be a hazelnut milk hot chocolate person but stick to oat milk on your cereal. There are so many great products on the market now, you can stroll into a supermarket and pick up plant-based milk that comes skimmed, semi-skimmed or full fat, as well as exciting innovations like vegan iced coffees, that are just as creamy tasting as their animal-based competitors.
3. Learn how to replicate texture and tastes
Often it's not the dairy in its raw form that we crave, but the dishes that call for dairy as an ingredient. This is where people can get caught out too, they pay close attention to avoiding milk and cheese, but then overlook it as an ingredient in other dishes. But do not fear, it's easy to replicate the creaminess of certain dishes with plant-based food that are rich in fat, like cashews, bananas and avocados. Cheesy dips, creamy pasta and tempting ice-cream don't have to be off the menu. There are so many alternatives out there that are far kinder than dairy!
4. Make your own
Sometimes, the easiest way to get on-board with a big change is to fully immerse yourself in it. Making your own milk from nuts can be a rewarding experience and you are also more likely to appreciate the end product. It also opens up the option to tweak the recipe according to your taste buds. Fancy it a little sweeter? No problem! How about a cinnamon kick? Experiment away.
5. Give yourself time to adjust
Cutting out dairy may seem like quite an overwhelming life change. When it's done, you'll probably look back and realise just how easy living without dairy is, but it's hard to see that when you are at the starting point. The important thing is to give yourself time and don't beat yourself up if you don't get there right away. You might have slip-ups and make mistakes, but that is completely normal, the important thing is that you persevere. Keep yourself focused by watching documentaries and reading up about the truth behind the dairy industry, there are lots of great resources out there.
If you need extra motivation, just think that maybe next World Milk Day, you can celebrate the impact that your actions have had in lessening the demand for dairy and reducing the number of cows that will have to face the miserable fate of being a dairy cow.
Good luck on your journey of compassion!
The views expressed by bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.