My Favorite Dairy Substitutes

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I don’t eat dairy.  I haven’t eaten dairy since I was about 17 years old.

{Thats 10 years}

I can’t digest it and it totally wreaks havoc on my digestive system- I’ll spare you the gritty details, but it is not good.

It has been SO long since I have eaten dairy that I don’t really miss it at this point…but sometimes I feel left out when it comes to trying certain foods.  I mean, I can’t eat pizza or get an ice cream cone….which sort of sucks, but like I said, I am used to it now.  I deal.  I endure the looks of “oh no, I’m so sorry you can’t try this!”

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But in the past few years, going dairy free has caught on- it has become “popular”.  People are finally realizing that dairy just doesn’t agree with them- even if that means they cut it out on most occasions but still eat it sometimes (I know a lot of people who live like this!)

So should you go dairy free?  Obviously, I am a huge proponent of a dairy free diet, for SO many reasons.  But I also know that every one is different…you need to weigh the pros and cons for yourself and really test whether dairy bothers you as much as it bothers me.  Lets start with this: what dairy is known to do to your body?

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Dairy products are known to cause the following problems inside your body:

Chronic Inflammation

Aging (related to wrinkles etc)

Skin Woes (think breakouts, redness and blotchy patches)

Digestive Problems 

These are the main ones.  Some research shows some more serious long term effects of eating dairy, but I won’t get into those because I don’t think there is enough research to prove anything.

Skin issues and constant bloating/stomach issues are a huge reason a lot of people stop eating dairy products.  So if you struggle from tummy issues or skin woes, it may benefit you to try cutting out dairy (or limiting it at first) to see what happens.

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An important part of cutting something out of your diet is finding great substitution foods, so you don’t feel deprived and like you’re missing out.  I have found some pretty amazing alternatives over the years that I LOVE and rely on daily, especially when cooking at home!  I don’t like sacrificing flavor for my diet, so I experiment and find new ways to make certain foods.

Milk:

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Almond milk is my favorite.  I have tried others like rice, soy and coconut milk, but almond milk is still my favorite.  It is so low calorie and filled with calcium and it is damn delicious.  It is thicker and creamier than skim milk AND half the calories per cup!  I use it in my cereal, my coffee and in all recipes that require milk- it is a super simple substitution for every day cooking!

Butter:

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Earth Balance vegan butter is my favorite for baking, cooking and spreading.  It melts, cooks and bakes just like butter does.  I use this in every baked good and no one can tell!  I spread it on toast and use it in dinner dishes to add a little buttery richness, sans dairy.

Ice Cream:

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So Delicious coconut milk ice cream is amazing- so rich and creamy.  I also make my own banana faux-yo at home- it is healthy and super easy to whip up…that recipe coming soon!

I also rely on sorbets when I am out and craving a little something cold and sweet.  Most fro-yo places have at least one sorbet option, and that’s what I go with to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Cheese:

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This is the one thing I don’t really mess with.  I have tried some vegan cheeses and I just don’t like them.  I usually just cut it out from a recipe.  The one thing I like to add to foods to give it a cheesy taste is Nutritional Yeast.  Sounds weird, but a sprinkle of this stuff adds a major kick of cheesy, buttery savory goodness to food…so it’s perfect in a sauce that would normally require parmesan or on a chicken dish that usually has cheese on it.

Cream-Based Sauces:

I love a creamy sauce like a dressing or a Crema.  Most call for cream, yogurt or sour cream…so instead I use coconut cream.  It’s the coconut milk that comes in a can- the full fat, thick kind.  It is high in calories though (higher than the sour cream or yogurt alternative) so I use these sauces sparingly on my food when I make them.  I also love to mix avocado with coconut milk to make an avocado crema (SO GOOD, I could literally put it on anything)- that recipe coming soon too!

SO…try out going dairy-free…see if you feel any different.  It could help with a lot of digestive issues!

Do you have any other favorite dairy-free substitutes?  I love hearing about new things so share away!

XO Katrina

 

4 Responses
  • Elle
    September 15, 2016

    This is a great list and I will seek these products out! I love the taste of dairy but I am always trying to “cut back” on it (cheese is the hardest part because I crave it a lot!)

    Other dairy-free substitutes—yes—Three Little Birds’ vegan ice cream is amazing! They sell the pints at some of the stores near where I live (Brooklyn). I’m sure you can find it when you’re in Manhattan as well. They have an online shop link as well, so it looks like shipping is sometimes available.

    http://www.3littlebirdsnyc.com/ingredients.html

    • Elle
      September 15, 2016

      This is a great list and I will seek these products out! I love the taste of dairy but I am always trying to “cut back” on it (cheese is the hardest part because I crave it a lot!)

      Other dairy-free substitutes—yes—Three Little Birds’ vegan ice cream is amazing! They sell the pints at some of the stores near where I live (Brooklyn). I’m sure you can find it when you’re in Manhattan as well. They have an online shop link as well, so it looks like shipping is sometimes available.

      http://www.3littlebirdsnyc.com/ingredients.html

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