Lactose is a sugar found in dairy products and for many people it causes gas, bloating, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems. This is because they lack the enzyme lactase, which helps break down and digest lactose.
Although it is possible to get all nutrients found in dairy products from other foods, calcium and vitamin D deficiencies can be a concern, since many people do rely on dairy for these two nutrients.
Calcium: Signs of deficiency include bone density loss and muscle spasms. Green leafy veggies, almonds, tofu, tahini and sardines with the bones are all good sources of dietary calcium. If you aren’t getting enough of these, then supplement with additional calcium. On average most people should aim for about 1000mg of calcium intake per day.
Vitamin D: Signs of deficiency include muscle pain and weakness, bone disease, increased risk of certain cancers and autoimmune diseases, and a lowered immune system. Skin exposure to sunshine for 15 or 20 minutes each day, especially in the summer months when the sun is stronger, can help your body manufacture the vitamin D it needs, but you can also look for fortified beverages and oily fish. Taking a supplement of at least 1000IU per day is good insurance that you are getting what you need.