Dairy is one of the most common gut disruptors. At birth, the human body produces the digestive enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose (the sugar in dairy products). As we age, lactase levels decline. The majority of adults actually do not carry sufficient lactase levels to digest dairy. Other individuals may be sensitive to the large molecule due to a weakened gut barrier. And sometimes this sensitivity extends to casein, the protein in dairy.
Our gut lining is just one cell thick, and when it is hit with insults, such as low fiber & artificial sweeteners, the barrier can break down and become sensitive to molecules it would not previously have been. When you are experiencing an upset stomach, a large glass of dairy milk is probably the last thing that you are craving!
These gut-friendly recipes are some of my favorites substitutes for their traditional dairy and gluten-rich counterparts.
Creamy Vegan Garlic Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
This dish includes shallots & garlic, prebiotics ready to feed healthy gut bacteria. Instead of dairy cheese, a blend of almond milk, flour, and nutritional yeast forms the sauce. Nutritional yeast is one of the few vitamin B12 sources for vegans. The almond milk can easily be replaced with alternative milks and the authors have successfully replaced the flour with cornstarch for a gluten-free version.
Best Vegan Pizza by Love & Lemons
At first glance, this pizza may look like a vibrant corn salad. The dish is packed with a variety of fiber-rich vegetables drizzled in cashew cream. If you have never tried a cashew cream, I encourage you to make this dish just for that! The variety of vegetables provides a mixture of insoluble and soluble fibers. This combination encourages both physical movement through our gut as well as fuel for the microbiome.