In my last post (which hopefully brought you here) I talked about my thoughts on the dairy industry – reasons I and others choose not to support it. It is my hope that something I wrote resonates with you and you’re now even more curious about how to eat less or no dairy. Well today is your lucky day! There just so happens to be a parallel universe thriving alongside the greedy dairy market and I’m here to tell you all about its phenomena.
Before I share some knowledge of this wonderful world, I want to point out that if you want to really stop eating dairy it’s important to start reading labels. Labels play a crucial role in any health-conscious decision making telling us basically everything we need to know about the product we’re planning to ingest. It won’t take too long for you to realize that milk or a milk product (whey, casein) is often found under ingredients in SO MANY products. Generally easy to spot, they’re frequently bold. For some products just swap out one brand or flavor for another with no milk. But to some, unfortunately you’re just gonna have to say “sayonara!” and seek out a substitute. Usually it’s pretty obvious when a product has dairy in it, so you won’t be totally blind-sided by these instances at least.
For standard dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.), vegans and other dairy-free eaters live in another reality. The following compilation should help cure you of the addiction to these foods from which you’re probably suffering.
Milk. Milk was never a drink of choice in my life so switching to a nut milk was really easy. Poured over a bowl of cereal, added to a smoothie, or served with a freshly baked cookie the difference between this and cow’s milk is hard to notice. There are plenty of choices in flavor too – almond or cashew, sweetened or unsweetened, vanilla or original. Silk is my go-to brand but Almond Breeze also exists where Silk doesn’t. And don’t worry about missing out on the decadent flavor of chocolate milk. Almond milk of the chocolate variety can be found in cartons or individual boxes (say helloooo to your new favorite lunchtime snack!). If you have an allergy or just don’t preference nuts, soy milk and coconut milk are other great options too.
Yogurt. Silk is also notorious for their dairy-free yogurt which comes in a variety of flavors from Vanilla (my favorite with granola) to Blueberry to Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond. It’s either a soy or almond yogurt depending on the flavor, but you can be sure the little cup will have at least 5 grams of protein. Add in a scoop of granola with 10 grams of protein and that’s a pretty solid snack or even a mild breakfast. So Delicious! also makes a yogurt alternative from coconut milk. Not high in protein like Silk, it’s a little less appealing as a healthy snack. However, the original unsweetened makes a quality sour cream substitute on vegan tacos or enchiladas!
Icecream. If you’re like me and got passed a giant sweet-tooth in your genes, you know that saying no to ice cream is a challenging task. Naturally when I discovered So Delicious! made a coconut milk ice cream, I just about died. Chocolate, Mint Chip, Mocha Almond Fudge – honestly that’s all I need but there are so many more flavors on top of those! It wouldn’t be right of me to not include Ben & Jerry – the ice cream gurus – in this post either. Their dairy-free line is also to die for. PB & Cookie is all I’m gonna say… and now I’m gonna go eat some.
Cheese. Last but certainly not least, there exists substitutes for cheese! Everyone can calm down now because you don’t have to go through withdrawals. Daiya and Follow Your Heart are popular brands commonly found at your neighborhood grocery store (Publix) and Walmart (whaaaat?! Even Walmart has vegan options?? Yes. Yes they do). Personal preference here would be FYH (FYH ftw!). This company knows what they’re doing when it comes to mimicking cheese from Pepper Jack to Gouda to Fiesta Blend. However Daiya definitely gets the job done if FYH isn’t available. That being said, homemade is always the best option! Tofu makes a wonderful transition to cheese if you have the right ingredients to add. Shmeds and I have a couple recipes for you here.
Of course I couldn’t possibly cover every single dairy replacement, so keep in mind that there are way more brands than I mentioned and numerous other dairy-free products as well. Like if you can’t live without coffee cream, pizza, cheese cake, or fudgsicles – the dairy-free Goddesses got you. Seriously I wasn’t kidding when I said there’s an entire parallel universe of these alternatives.
My goal in writing this is for you and everyone reading to indulge in these products in order to slowly cut back your dairy intake. Just give one or two a try. This change doesn’t have to be overnight. As I’ve said before, veganism is a transition – slow progress is still progress. No doubt these alternatives are delicious, but I don’t buy them nearly as often as I did last year (my first vegan year). I don’t crave real dairy or real cheese anymore, and it’s a great feeling! I’m free of my cheese addiction! But even so, there are some infrequent days I just want a little extra flavor on top of my spaghetti – and when I do FYH has got my back with some dairy-free Parmesan.
Much Love & Many Nomz!