In this guide, we’re going to show you everything you need to know about shopping for gluten and dairy free products in Australia. It is unfortunate that gluten free and dairy free products are usually an afterthought to most supermarkets — hidden away in a corner. But at Terra Madre, dairy-free and gluten-free foods are a priority.
At Terra Madre, we consider ourselves to be more than an organic food retailer and wholesaler. We’re a health store. It’s why we also have a wellness clinic. Our real mission is to help our community be healthy and happy.
Dairy free: why you shouldn’t cry over spilt milk
What is dairy?
Dairy is food that is made from milk. Typical dairy foods are cheese, butter, yoghurt, cream, ice cream, and of course, milk. The key elements of milk are casein, whey, and lactose. You’ll have seen them listed on food labels. Casein and whey are proteins, while lactose is a type of sugar. A problem with lactose is the reason so many people seek dairy free foods.
Why do people eat dairy free products?
The main reason people eat dairy free products is that they’re lactose intolerant — their body cannot process the lactose present in dairy products.
Lactose intolerance is surprisingly common. Around 65% of people have a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. Symptoms include:
- Stomach cramps
- Problems urinating
- Loss of concentration
- Muscle and joint pain
- Mouth ulcers
The best way to cope with lactose intolerance is to completely remove dairy from your diet. By cutting out dairy, these problems can disappear. That is why so many people eat dairy free products.
While lactose intolerance is the primary reason people eat dairy free, many choose dairy free products for other reasons, including:
- To lose weight
- For clearer skin
- To help with thyroid issues
- Personal preference
What are dairy free alternatives?
There are many dairy free alternatives made without a trace of milk. They’re free from lactose, casein, and whey. They’re great alternatives for people who cannot (or choose not to) eat dairy.
If you’re avoiding dairy, it’s important to find dairy free alternatives to help replace the vitamins and minerals that you aren’t getting from milk (including calcium, iodine, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and zinc).
So what should I eat? Dairy free products include:
- Butter made from almonds, shea nuts, or coconuts
- Vegan cheese made from nuts
- Milk made from almonds, rice, or coconuts
- Yoghurt made from coconuts
- Ice cream made from coconut milk, almond milk, or cashew cream
How do you know a product is dairy free?
In Australia, if a product includes milk it must be declared on the label. So to ensure a product is dairy free, check the label for milk, lactose, casein, and whey. If it doesn't have those ingredients you can trust it is dairy free.
At Terra Madre, it’s even easier to find dairy free alternatives. In the Allergen/Dietary section on the product pages on our website, we clearly identify if a product is dairy free. Or, you can always check with one of our friendly team members in-store.
Gluten free: Why should you go against the grain?
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein. More specifically, it is a group of proteins found in different grains, including:
Naturally, you’ll find gluten in foods that use those grains as ingredients, such as:
Gluten helps bind ingredients together, like a glue. It’s what makes pizza dough stretchy. In fact, ‘gluten’ derives from the Latin word for ‘glue’.
But inside the digestive system of people with coeliac disease, this ‘glue’ can do some real damage.
Why do people eat gluten free products?
More and more people are eating gluten free products. A CSIRO studyfound that 1 in 10 Australians are restricting or completely removing gluten from their diet. Why?
As Coeliac Australia have identified, 1 in 70 Australians suffers from coeliac disease — meaning gluten triggers an immune response that harms their intestinal lining. The best treatment for coeliac disease is to completely remove gluten from your diet.
That makes sense. But you may have noticed the discrepancy. If only 1 in 70 Australians have coeliac disease, yet 1 in 10 are avoiding gluten, what’s going on?
Firstly, many Australians have coeliac disease but aren’t diagnosed. They may have found through self-experimentation they feel much better avoiding foods with gluten.
Secondly, many people have a gluten intolerance. While it may not be as serious as coeliac disease, they still suffer from symptoms of bloating, tiredness, abdominal pain, skin problems, and headaches.
What are gluten free alternatives?
There are many natural foods that don’t contain any gluten, like beans, vegetables, milk, nuts, and gluten free grains like rice and corn.
More to the point, there are also alternatives to popular foods that usually contain gluten, including:
- Gluten free pasta
- Gluten free chocolate
- Gluten free cereals
- Gluten free biscuits and snacks
- Gluten free pancakes
Despite eating gluten free, you are still spoiled for choice. For example, at Terra Madre our range of gluten free flour (that you could make pancakes, bread, or biscuits with) includes:
How do you know a product is gluten free?
In Australia, products must declare if they have gluten. You can check the label to see if a product contains gluten. And to claim a product is gluten free, it must have ‘undetectable’ levels of gluten.
Going organic: Why should you follow the force of nature?
People are going organic for the same reason they eat dairy free and gluten free: for the health benefits. So how is organic food healthier? Organic food has:
- Lower nitrate levels
- Higher levels of selenium
- Higher vitamin C levels
- Meat that is free from hormones and antibiotics
Is organic food expensive? It doesn't have to be. At Terra Madre, we’re a retailer and wholesaler. Because we buy direct and in bulk, you get affordable prices — and can afford to eat organic every day.
At Terra Madre, all of our dairy free and gluten free products are organic. So follow the force of nature; go against the grain and don’t cry over spilt milk.