I will be posting how to’s on the blog and the first one I want to post about it how to go dairy free. I get asked all the time how to go dairy free?? Where to start? What does dairy include? What are good substitutes?
I have been on and off dairy free pretty much my whole life. I was a colicky baby and they didn’t find out the cause was from dairy until I was tested I believe around age 4. Since then I have gone off and on of it. My first son was super colicky and while nursing him I went dairy free then later came to find out he has a dairy allergy.
First off lets get on the same page and list dairy products….anything that is made with cows milk…..milk, buttermilk, cheese, butter, yogurt, greek yogurt, ice cream, soft serve yogurt, sherbert, milk chocolate, cream cheese, cottage cheese, whipping cream, sour cream, casein, whey. Eggs are not dairy!:)
Here is a list of some of my favorite substitutes. I love to use unsweetened coconut milk in baking as well as coconut oil to bake with as well.
Almond milk- This has a nutty flavor which I don’t mind. This is what we use in cereal and oatmeal. Good monounsaturated fats in it and lower in calories…The chocolate version is our absolute favorite!!!
Coconut milk- A lot creamier than most non dairy milks, I use it in all my baking as a milk substitute.
I have tried the other ones oat hemp soy etc but almond and coconut are our top picks
Coconut yogurt- This is our favorite, they make a greek style now that is creamier and super yummy!
Almond yogurt- Its ok but a little thin for my preference.
Daiya cheese- This is usually what most restaurants use as a cheese replacement. It seems to melt the best but I don’t love the flavor but it doesnt contain soy so I use this if I am craving cheese.
Nutritional yeast- It gives things a cheesy flavor, they are flaky things that you can sprinkle on top of things like pizza and such. I also use it in recipes to get it a cheesy flavor like a vegan mac n cheese or in pasta. It is a good source of vitamin B12 which is great for vegans and vegetarians who don’t get B12 from meat.
Coconut milk in a can- This is a great substitute to use to make ice cream or whip cream etc.
Cashew cream- I love using this to make things like soups. It has a creamy texture yet surprisingly doesn’t alter the flavor of things.
Earth Balance- This brand is the best I have found that you can substitute for straight butter. They sell it in sticks or tubs.
Vegan Shortening- I love to use this in some of my baked goods. I use the earth balance brand. You can also use a palm shortening
Coconut oil- This is my personal favorite substitute. You don’t have to worry about other ingredients hiding in it and it adds a nice taste to things. I use it in baking or to top my veggies off with it. I spread it on toast or rolls. It may seem a little coco-nutty for you at first but I promise you will get used to it and actually prefer it. My husband actually loves when I roast veggies with this!
Most grocery stores now have lots of dairy free kinds…mainly made from coconut or almond milk. Both are super yummy in my opinion:) Be careful of added ingredients and sugars we don’t need though. You can also make your own…cheaper, cleaner and easy too!
Sorbet is dairy free not to be confused with sherbet:)
Frozen bananas thrown into a food processor make a great creamy substitute for ice cream. You can add cacao powder or nut butters for extra flavors!
I think going simple at the beginning is the easiest way to start. Try dishes that don’t have any dairy in them first before complicating things and trying all these substitutes. You will get used to not having dairy in your diet. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen. Just be patient. The dairy free milks will start to taste better if you don’t like them at the beginning. Hope this helps some people figure out where to start when cutting out dairy.