While I can’t say I’ve been strict on my vegan diet since Veganuary, I most definitely found some dang good dairy-free substitutes along the way. This is huge coming from my cheese-loving, butter-loving self. As more research comes out, dairy might just not be that beneficial to our bodies after all. GASP. I know.
Dr. Hyman came out with an interesting list of the reasons you should avoid dairy at all costs. I love following Dr. Hyman because he is a practicing physician that is focused on using food as medicine to support longevity, energy, mental clarity, happiness and much more. Here’s what he had to say about dairy:
- Milk does not reduce your risk of fractures.
- Less dairy actually leads to better bones.
- Calcium isn’t as bone-protective as we thought.
- Calcium and dairy consumption may increase your risk of cancer.
- Not everyone can properly digest dairy – in fact, 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant.
Again, I haven’t been super strict on avoiding dairy completely (love me some queso) but I have limited it significantly from what I was consuming. The big thing to remember is that some dairy-free foods can have other ingredients in them that aren’t so great, like carrageenan. Check out the post I wrote a few months ago on ingredients to avoid. Here are some of my absolute favorite dairy-free substitutes and you can’t even tell they’re not the real thing!
I’ve used this vegan butter to completely replace regular butter. It even works well in cooking! I also love the story behind Miyokos. You can check it out on their website.
We love dipping chips or crackers in this cream cheese or spreading it on a bagel. I could probably eat this by the spoonful.
There’s a theme here. You can’t go wrong with Miyokos. I usually shred this and put it on a salad. I have yet to try it in a veggie lasagna but I’m guessing it would be delish!
This queso. WOW. Funny story, at the beginning of the quarantine, lock-down craziness, this queso was gone everywhere. Apparently it’s survival food to some (OK maybe just me), but we seriously couldn’t find it anywhere for over a month. Don’t worry, it’s back now. They have a family size container at Costco and small options at Target and Sprouts. It’s the bomb-diggity.
Out of all the dairy-free yogurt options out there, this has to be my favorite (and it’s also soy-free, woot woot!). There are a ton of flavors by my go-tos are blueberry, key lime, and vanilla. If you’re wanting an option lower in sugar, they do have an unsweetened vanilla that comes in a big container. I’ll sometimes get this and add my own sweetener to it along with fresh fruit.
Theses last all of one day our house. But for real. Dipped Salted Caramel Cashew Milk. The literal bee’s knees. You guys, I’m telling you you won’t miss dairy ice cream once you make the switch (and you’ll feel better afterwards!).
Follow Your Heart Gouda
Anyone who knows me knows I love a good grilled cheese sandwich. We live off grilled cheese and macaroni 50% of the time. We’ve been putting this gouda on our grilled cheese sandwiches lately, along with homemade pesto, and it’s so rich and creamy. Bonus points if you find a dairy-free tomato soup recipe to send me! Also, I haven’t tried a ton of other products from Follow Your Heart so let me know if you find some other good ones!
Oatly Ice Cream
My most recent dairy-free discovery was Oatly ice cream. I already loved Oatly milk but I had no idea they made ice cream too! Mix the Strawberry and Coffee flavors and your heart will be happy.
Oatly Chocolate Milk
Last but not least, Oatly Chocolate Milk. YUM. I may or may not have drank it straight out of the carton.
Like all things, it’s a work in-progress and sometimes it’s trial and error. I’ve had some dairy-free substitutes that were absolutely disgusting. Overall, it’s been pretty easy to replace a lot of the dairy I was consuming with plant-based products and my body feels better, which is the main thing. There are so many more options out there now that weren’t there even just 5 years ago. It’s fun venturing out and trying new things!
I’d love to hear some of the dairy-free products you’ve tired and loved!