So whether you are vegan or lactose-intolerant finding good dairy-free alternatives can be a little overwhelming sometimes. There are a copious amount of options depending on your taste preference and what you’re looking for specifically so I will do my best to cover as many as I can. I am going to break it down by categories to hopefully help facilitate if you are looking for something specific. Keep in mind as well, that even if you aren’t vegan or lactose intolerant, going dairy-free will help you feel less bloated and it will improve your skin by helping clear up acne, as well as reduce eczema and rosacea outbreaks; so something to consider if you’re struggling with any of those. Though it won’t be the complete solution, it may be helpful.
Luckily now we live in a world where there are more options for dairy-free milks than there are dairy milks. I definitely have never craved milk and studies have shown we technically don’t need it after infancy, which is why it is very common for most adults to be lactose intolerant. If you enjoy milk with your cereal or coffee then there are other options for you. But first, I would strongly recommend you don’t choose soy as an option. Though it is dairy-free, soy is extremely high in phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that look like estrogen to the body. There is still currently a lot of back and forth between how it may harm us but why take the risk when there are plenty of other options. In addition, soy milk has been proven to be mostly genetically modified by the US Department of Agriculture, it contains high levels of phytic acid (which reduces the absorption of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc), contains synthetic vitamin A and the list goes on and on. So, instead I would suggest trying out some of these Dairy-Free milks:
- Almond milk
- Coconut milk
- Oat milk
- Hemp milk
Regardless of the choice, however, you still want to make sure you are reading the labels and not getting dairy-free milk with too much sugar or salt. I don’t think I can ever stress enough how important it is to read labels. And if you can make your own dairy-free milk, then that of course would be the absolute best option because then you’ll know exactly what is going into your belly.
Oh cheese, my biggest weakness because I love mac n cheese. I do try and eat more plant-based meals but I am not vegan (yet) – I am, however, lactose intolerant and always have to have my lactose pills nearby for my mac n cheese…then my rosacea flares and remember why I try and stay away in the first place. A mac n cheese substitute I would recommend trying is: combine garlic, turmeric, salt, nutritional yeast, cashews, and water. Blend them all together and pour it over your cooked pasta and it makes a super easy and yummy mac n cheese alternative. I haven’t tried too many vegan cheeses but I have tried and always hear great things about Daiya – their cheddar “cheese” melts very nicely and tastes just like cheese. If you were looking for some spicy flavors such as a pepper jack cheese then I would recommend you check out Go Veggie which is lactose and soy free.
Most things you’d typically use butter with you can easily substitute it with anything coconut based. Making your own is actually way simple and even if you aren’t vegan, consider this a much healthier alternative as well. For the recipe, click here for A Virtual Vegan’s blog post on it. There’s a video and then below is the full recipe.
Yogurt is something that is actually important for us to eat because it contains live and active cultures, or probiotics, which help our digestive tract and can also get rid of harmful microorganisms that can cause intestinal infections. Of course, not all yogurts are good for us. In fact, most of the ones we see in groceries stores are full of preservatives and sugar, which don’t help us at all. Just like the butter, my suggestion would be to make your own. Or better yet, switch over to Kefir. Kefir is similar to yogurt but with so many more benefits and can be made dairy-free. It contains beneficial yeast; more powerful probiotics compared to yogurt, and it is filled with vitamins and minerals that are super beneficial to our health when consumed regularly.
I’m actually very fortunate my aunt makes her own Kefir with almond milk. She just adds fresh organic strawberries for some flavor and it is my most favorite thing in the world! For this, however, you do need your own cultures to let grow and develop to then complete the process and get all those health benefits. They multiply very easily and quickly so maybe ask around and see if anyone you know makes their own. Otherwise Cultures for Health does sell them and the process itself is pretty easy. If you decide to buy your own, again, be sure to read the labels so you aren’t consuming something with artificial sugars.
For proteins, my biggest recommendation is to choose wholesome, plant-based proteins. A huge misconception is that you can’t get protein without meat when in reality plants give us the greatest resources for protein. Here is a list of proteins and the amount they have per serving, which I had also mentioned in my last post.
- Sesame seeds (1 oz=6.5 grams)
- Hemp seeds (1 oz=11 grams)
- Walnuts (1/4 cup=5 grams)
- Cashews (1 oz=4.4 grams)
- Almonds (2 tbsp=4 grams)
- Pistachios (1 oz=5.8 grams)
- Peanuts (1 oz=6.5 grams)
- Nut Butters (2 tbsp=8.10 grams)
- Avocado (1 medium sized=10)
- Broccoli (1 cup=5 grams)
- Alfalfa sprouts (3.5 oz=4 grams)
- Spinach (1 cup=5 grams)
- Kale (2 cups=5 grams)
- Sweet potato (1 cup=5 grams)
- Lentils (1 cup= 18 grams)
- Beans (1 cup=13-15 grams)
- Chickpeas (1 cup=39 grams)
- Quinoa (1 cup=9 grams)
- Oatmeal (1 cup= 6 grams)
- Non-dairy milks such as almond, hemp, or coconut (1 cup=9 grams)
On the go, two of my favorite options are Ripple’s Chocolate Milk – which is the only vegan milk I have tried that tastes just like my favorite childhood chocolate milk except it is completely plant-based – and the Vega Protein+ Shake which is also made with plant ingredients and contains 20g of protein per serving.
I remember when I was younger and discovered I was lactose-intolerant I was so saddened by the fact that I could only have water-based ice cream which of course isn’t the same. Now, thankfully, we have so many different options! There are coconut-based ice creams and almond based ice creams. Once again, my suggestion is to try and make your own and play around with ingredients. If you live or ever visit Southern California, be sure to visit Hug Life in Garden Grove. They have dairy-free ice creams and shakes and they’re so creamy and absolutely delicious!
I hope this helped break down at least all the major dairy alternatives for you all. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to comment or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all for stopping by!