Independent health store advice on dairy alternatives

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health store can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This month we speak to Julie Goodwin, owner of Natural Health in Hertford and Welwyn Garden City.

Here at the Natural Health Stores, I would definitely say that we have noticed a growing interest in dairy alternatives among our customers. We are finding that it is becoming much more mainstream. People seek out dairy-free products for ethical reasons – such as becoming vegan – but also for health reasons, for example due to dairy intolerances, skin problems or hormone issues. People with coeliac disease may also cut out dairy for a while after receiving their diagnosis until the gut has ‘healed’.

Dairy-free milk and cheese

We stock a wide range of dairy alternatives from milk, cheese and spreads to yogurts, chocolates, sweets and sauces. There are plenty of options available now to customers who want to avoid dairy. Our most popular milks are almond, oat and coconut. Coconut milk and oat milk work best for coffees and lattes. Oat milk doesn’t tend to curdle easily in hot drinks, which can sometimes be a problem with other types of dairy-free milk. Coconut is best for smoothies and sauces whereas cashew is particularly good for creams and desserts.

In terms of dairy-free cheeses, there has been a huge growth in variety over the past three to four years, giving customers a lot more choice. A lot of the products are much higher quality than previous ones. You can also get a lot of different textured cheese for different purposes such as goat’s cheese texture, feta, mozzarella, halloumi and so on. You can now get cheese made from soya, coconut oil and fermented cashew nuts.

Delicious desserts

Of course it’s not just milks and cheeses though. We also stock a range of coconut oil and olive oil spreads as opposed to normal dairy. We have an avocado mayonnaise which is extremely well received, as well as other non-dairy dressings such as vegan varieties of honey and mustard, blue cheese and ranch. Our dairy-free pestos are popular too.

Most of the chocolate that we stock is non-dairy and we also stock a vegan ‘chocolate’ spread which is made from hazelnuts and is very popular with our customers. Coconut cream and oat cream make delicious alternatives to traditional cream and are great for dessert recipes. Our coconut and soya-based yogurts sell well as do the non-dairy kefirs of which we have a huge range, including water-based and coconut varieties. We also have a wide range of non-dairy ice creams which are made from ingredients such as hazelnuts, cashew nuts and coconuts. Vegan varieties of marshmallows and fudge were recently introduced and are selling well, as are the vegan biscuits and raw energy bars that we stock. So, as you can see, there are plenty of dairy alternatives to be found in your local independent health store. Just ask us for advice and we’ll be happy to help!

Natural Health, Hertford and Welwyn Garden City

Julie Goodwin is the owner of two independent health food stores, both named Natural Health, with branches in Hertford and Welwyn Garden City. The Hertford store was opened 22 years ago and the Welwyn Garden City store has been established for 15 years. Both shops stock around 4,500 product lines including vitamins, minerals and supplements; gluten-free and dairy-free products; raw foods; healthy snacks and natural and organic body care items.

All staff are enrolled with the Health Food Institute Training School and the A.Vogel Training Scheme. One staff member practises crystal healing massage, another is a beauty therapist and another is a qualified nutritionist. A wide range of natural therapies is offered in the stores’ therapy rooms, ranging from acupuncture to reflexology and counselling.

To find out more, visit www.naturaltherapycentre.co.uk. Alternatively, call the Hertford store on 01992 550101 or the Welwyn Garden City store on 01707 392020.

Like them on Facebook www.facebook.com/NaturalHealthStoreUK or follow them on Twitter: @_NaturalHealth_ Instagram: naturalhealthherts

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