As previously mentioned on Face-ache the other day, we as a business have gone dairy-free. Here are some of the reasons why.
‘How Has Your Business Become Dairy-Free?’
I have found in recent years and increasingly that I am being asked for plant-based cakes, maybe one tier for a wedding cake ‘just in case’ or because they have guests or they themselves are dairy intolerant or plant-based. I am more than happy to bake vegan/gluten free combo as we have family and friends in both camps. For me, the whole thing about progressively answering and addressing dietary changes to my business is that more cake-lovers can be included, I want fewer folks excluded from celebrating with a bluddy great cake.
I decided that my business to was to become dairy-free after meeting with and discussing the dairy industry with vegans. Now, don’t sigh and scroll on… I also poo-pooed it to start with, having been a vegetarian for 30 odd years, my line was ‘if I couldn’t kill it, I couldn’t eat it’. I thought I was already giving props to animal welfare (yay, go me). Then looking closer at the economic side of farming, land clearing, rearing meat, air miles (think Amazonian forest and all of that hell hole) meats’ carbon footprint and all that, I thought I was on a winner with and oh-so-virtuous veggies. Then it all shifted a bit..
The reasons for not using dairy are, in fact, quite similar to the reasons people choose to become vegetarian: animal rights and welfare, environmental reasons, and health concerns.
Even though the animal is alive when it is milked, vegans cite that there is poor treatment of dairy cows, including steroid use and forced impregnation (see ‘Antibiotics’ below).
‘What Do You Use Instead of Butter?’
I have several tried and tested brands that I can rely on. Some really are better than others and it has come down to trial and error and my fam and friends eating a lot of cake! I have been really pleased with some of the results then carried on from test baking to actual weddings going out as I was still using the brand and it was all ready to go. Some of these real weddings that have received my plant-based offerings have sent me cards and emails with really, really lovely feedback (father of bride sent 3! – thank you S.R., I believe you!). Typically, my substitutes comprise of plant oils like sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, linseed oil and certified sustainable palm oil (RSPO), plant-based emulsifier (sunflower lecithin) and vinegar (I know, right!), coconut oil, etc. There really are some fabulous alternatives and some are right there on the shelves in the supermarket with no faffing about.
If, after reading this, you join us to go dairy-free it might be based on health. Dairy can negatively affect digestion and cholesterol and contain hormones or a protein that does not agree with them.
‘So, Is Plant-based Butter Healthier Than Dairy Butter?’
When comparing plant-based butter to dairy butter, both are a source of unnecessary saturated fat and calories. In this way, neither are healthy. Plant-based versions remain the better choice, however. This is due to the ethical and environmental issues surrounding dairy butter. Plus there’s the accepted 14 Allergens that all chefs in the UK abide by. I want to reduce risk in my baking as far as possible with dairy for starters – and there is rarely a time I use most of the other things in baking.
The only crabs in crab cakes shlous be these beauties
We’ll go a bit deeper here, stick with me ..
Calcium – Despite the hype, cow’s milk actually robs our bones of calcium. Animal proteins produce acid when they’re broken down, and calcium is an excellent acid neutralizer, in order to neutralize and flush out the acids, our bodies have to use the calcium that the milk contains as well as some from our own stores.
Health – as in big old dirty Cancers, Multiple Sclerosis, osteoarthritis (see calcium above) – Milk and cheese have been linked to an increased risk of developing prostate and ovarian and breast cancer, but dairy-free diets? They’ve been shown to slow its progress. We have friends who have, are ongoing and surviving cancers through a plant-based diet and haven’t looked back. I have a friend who will attest to taking up a plant-based diet who is thriving if you can with MS! As for asthma, my blue inhaler has taken a back seat, in fact, I couldn’t tell you the last time I used it since we ditched dairy! Dairy is a well-known mucus producer, think about making the change if you are prone to a wheeze to two.
Lactose intolerance –Lactose in cow’s milk can be difficult for people to digest, resulting in nausea, cramps, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Difficulty with dairy digestion can develop later in life and result in progressively worsening symptoms. If it ain’t from yo’ mama’s boob it ain’t yo’ milk. A different beast than lactose intolerance, milk allergies can cause potentially strong and dangerous reactions (usually in young children), such as vomiting or anaphylaxis
Cholesterol – A single serving of milk can contain as much as 24 mg of heart-harming cholesterol. No plant food contains any cholesterol whatsoever. Some of the fats added to butter subs that I use will be up to half that amount, I’ll take
Antibiotics – the most grim one. Cows are often pumped full of antibiotics to keep them alive and producing milk in filthy factory farm conditions. We can thank this rampant overuse of them for the surge in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. When humans are infected by these superbugs, antibiotics at best have decreased effectiveness and at worst are powerless.
‘Where can I find evidence that going dairy-free is progressive?
The internet is a double-edged sword, you’ll always find an argument online that supports your line of thinking. I’m not so fussed about negative feedback and currently, I’m really pleased with how well it has been received since I announced Buns of Fun Bakery had gone Dairy – Free. My business will always be my business and as a family, we are together on it.
If you want to watch some very interesting evidence-based programs, y’all can try them too (they are American, that was my best accent). Will & I watched ‘Forks over Knives’, 2011 on Netflix and although the documentary delivery seems a little dated it was actually quite shocking in that there is quite a lot of detail on dairy production practices. Previous to that we had watched ‘What the Health’ made in 2017 which had a profound effect. I challenge anyone who thinks they are an evolved Citizen of the World to not recoil when you see how your food is put before you. To give you an idea of how much we have changed as a family, Will is (WAS) a hardened omnivore and if he could have caught the ‘oink’ and eaten that between two slices of bread if he could have!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this and join us on our adventure into dairy-free and beyond. If you dare – come and join us on the vegan side….