Nutrition, Recipes

5 Favorite Dairy-free Alternatives

Hello, world!

As you may know, I have lots of food allergies, with my biggest one being dairy! That means no milk, butter, cream, etc etc. One distinction I want to make right off the bat though: lactose intolerance and dairy allergies are NOT the same! Lactose intolerance means you can’t properly digest lactose (milk sugar), whereas an allergy means you have an immune response to any part of milk (whether it has lactose or not) and can be a lethal response (anaphylaxis).

I’ve had this allergy my entire life, but some people might develop it later in life, or have decided to cut out dairy for nutritional reasons. Whatever the reason, there are LOTS of alternatives for milk in cooking, baking, and more. Reading labels and ingredients is key here, because there are some very surprising foods that contain milk (such as McDonald’s french fries). Lookout for things like butter, non-fat milk, whey, casein, or the dreaded “may contain milk” or “manufactured in a facility that also processes milk”. The easiest way to know if something is dairy-free? When it’s vegan!

If you’re just getting started on a dairy-free life, or want to find a new alternative, here are my top 5 dairy-free alternatives that are versatile in their uses and fairly easy to find!

  1. Silk milk
    My family always uses Silk for things from cereal to baking. Silk comes in a variety of forms (soy, coconut, almond, cashew) and flavors (unsweetened, original, light, vanilla, etc). It substitutes perfectly in baking/cooking for regular milk and has the best taste from other brands.
  2. Earth Balance butter
    I recently started using Earth Balance instead of other brands, and I’ve fallen in love. Not only does it come in either a tub or a stick, it also doesn’t have as much water in it, therefore it doesn’t sputter and spatter as much when in a hot pan. (I found other brands of milk-free butter have a high water ratio, therefore it spatters a lot as if you’re cooking bacon)
  3. Daiya cheese
    Oh Daiya, there is nothing else like you! My whole life I wanted to eat cheese, but the alternatives always tasted like cheap lipstick. Daiya is the first and only cheese I’ve found that actually melts and stretches, and tastes good! When I make pizza with this, normal cheese-lovers always devour it.
  4. Tofutti sour cream and cream cheese
    Tofutti is another favorite brand of mine. It started with eating their ice cream sandwiches for breakfast as a kid (while my parents were still asleep, lol). They have a great sour cream that makes fajitas and tacos 100% better, and also does well in baking. Their cream cheese + some jam makes the perfect topping for a bagel too!
  5. So Delicious ice cream
    So Delicious is another versatile brand- they have milks, yogurts, ice creams, and more! But here, I’ll focus on their ice cream. They have lots of different formulations (soy, coconut, almond, etc etc) and so many flavors! Not to mention the flavors are so rich and creamy despite not having any cow’s milk. Favorite flavor: mocha fudge!

Of course there are TONS more brands and options out there, but these are my favorites! In the coming weeks, I’ll post some recipes (including my famous pizza) that use the alternatives I mentioned.

What’s your absolute favorite dairy-free food or brand? Tell me in the comments!

Peace and love!

Health Challenge

No Dairy February Challenge!

Hello, world!

It’s a new month, and a new year thanks to the Chinese zodiac (year of the horse!), which means it’s the perfect time to make some changes! Guess what that means… it’s Health Challenge time! I’m pretty excited about this one- No Dairy February! You heard me right, no dairy.

What does dairy entail? Well that’s a fabulous question! Dairy means pretty much anything that is made from cow’s milk, including milk, butter, buttermilk, evaporated milk, skim milk, margarine, cream, cream cheese, cheese, sour cream, whey, lactose, casein, and so on. I think you get the picture- dairy is a big category, and perhaps bigger than you thought! For example, did you know McDonald’s french fries contain milk? Or even many taco seasoning packets? It’s absolutely crazy some of the things that contain milk!

Now if you’ve read my blog before, you know that I like to research and explain things! Why am I declaring February as anti-dairy month? Many reasons. Of course, there is a good and bad side to everything. Milk is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D, which are the building blocks of your bones and teeth. Think of vitamin D as an escort- it helps the calcium get absorbed so that it may strengthen your bones like bricks for a house. Milk also provides potassium, an electrolyte. However, milk is relatively high in calories (over 130 calories for 1 glass of 2% milk!), contains unhealthy fats, and is specifically formulated for cows. Think about it- have you ever seen a baby kangaroo get milk from a koala? Each animal makes its own unique milk to help it grow, so why do we drink a cow’s milk?

So why not partake in a health experiment? See what going dairy-free can do for you- you’ll drink less calories if you replace that milk in your cereal for light soy or almond milk, and consume fewer calories and fat if you say hold to the cheese and sour cream on your burrito. Cutting out dairy could give you more energy and make your body goals easier to attain! It’s not nearly as hard as you think- the major grocery stores and health markets (such as Publix and Whole Foods) all carry dairy alternatives! Here is a list of my favorites:

  • Soy/almond milk: Silk
  • Butter: Smartbalance Light or Organic
  • Cheese: Daiya
  • Sour Cream: Tofutti Sour Supreme
  • Cream Cheese: Tofutti
  • Icecream: So Delicious or Tofutti
  • Creamer: Silk
  • Chocolate: Enjoy Life
  • Frozen meals: Amy’s

Also, So Delicious has an AWESOME free online cookbook filled with dairy free recipes of your favorites! You can check it out here: http://www.sodeliciousdairyfree.com/files/2013_CookBook_Email.pdf

Since I am allergic to milk, clearly No Dairy February is a given for me, so I will partake in a separate challenge, which you all will try later! I will not eat processed foods! My favorite little guilty snack of tortilla chips will have to be replaced by fruits and vegetables, and my morning cereal will be replaced by steel cut oats! Like I said, you all will get to try this one later! πŸ˜‰

Are you going to make the pledge towards No Dairy February? Comment below any thoughts, successes, recipes, or ideas you may have!

Peace and love!