This post is sponsored by Vega, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own based on my truthful experience.
Whether you’re vegan, have a dairy allergy or are simply trying to avoid lactose, this guide will help you find the best dairy alternatives.
I remember when I found out I was lactose-intolerant. I’d been dealing with stomach issues for years: constant bloat, discomfort and distention. I went to three different gastroenterologists and they all told me the same thing: you’re just stressed.
I was fourteen.
I was good at school, I had friends, I was starting to make my own money through babysitting. I wasn’t stressed at all. In fact, the only thing causing stress on my life was the constant discomfort in my belly.
This went on for years. Finally, I was fed up with the pain and basically forced a gastro to run some food allergy tests. Turns out, my issues weren’t stress related, they were food related. I was allergic to wheat, peanuts, soy, corn and on top of all that, I was severely lactose-intolerant. Fun times.
At first, it seemed like my world was ending. I walked around like a mopey Eeyore thinking I couldn’t eat anything ever again, but as I’m sure you know from the number of recipes I post on this blog, that’s not true at all! I’ve learned to embrace my food allergies, and over the past decade, I’ve discovered all the great things I can eat instead of wheat, peanuts, soy, corn and dairy.
Finding the best dairy alternatives was one of the first skills I mastered as a foodie with food allergies, so today I thought I’d share some of my favorite dairy alternatives with you!
THE BEST DAIRY ALTERNATIVES FOR MILK
When I first started dealing with my lactose-intolerance, there weren’t nearly as many milk alternatives as there are now. At least, they weren’t popular. Now, you’d be hard pressed to find a coffee shop that didn’t offer some form of milk alternate. Unsweetened almond milk is my personal favorite, but I also enjoy cashew milk, rice milk and coconut milk, which is fattier like whole milk. I haven’t gotten to try hemp or oat milk yet, but I’ve heard great things about those, as well.
THE BEST DAIRY ALTERNATIVES FOR CREAM
Full fat coconut milk is bomb because it’s thick and fatty, just like cream. If you’re adding “cream” to a beverage or dessert recipe, go for coconut milk. However, if you’re in need of a cream alternative for something like a soup or sauce, cashew cream might be your best bet. Cashew cream is simply cashews blended with water and salt. It makes a nice, thick consistency just like cream and doesn’t have a too much of a nutty flavor.
THE BEST DAIRY ALTERNATIVES FOR BUTTER
If you want a dairy-free butter for something like bread rolls, margarine is the way to go. For cooking, you can sub another fat, such olive oil or coconut oil, and can use shea or cocoa butter in baking recipes.
THE BEST DAIRY ALTERNATIVES FOR CHEESE
There are a lot of dairy-free cheeses out there these days, but two of my favorite cheese alternatives are cashew cheese (similar to cashew cream) and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast can be sprinkled on or in any recipe to give it a nice cheesy flavor. Try it on some roasted kale chips or in a baked potato soup!
THE BEST DAIRY ALTERNATIVES FOR YOGURT
There are plenty of dairy-free yogurt brands out there but finding one that was soy-free and corn free (a lot have corn starch to prevent caking) proved difficult. I added to the difficulty by demanding my dairy-free yogurt also contain protein, like dairy-laden Greek yogurt does. A protein-rich yogurt will help me fuel my muscles after a tough workout and keep me fuller longer. I had pretty much given up finding the unicorn that is protein-rich, dairy-free yogurt until recently when one of my favorite allergy-friendly brands came to the rescue. I’m taking about the always amazing Vega!
Vega recently launched Vega™ Protein Cashewmilk Yogurt Alternative. This new yogurt alternative is made with real, plant-based food ingredients and has 13 grams of protein. YES! This is exactly what I’ve been craving.
Vega Protein Cashewmilk Yogurt Alternative has the highest protein per serving of any plant-based yogurt alternative on the market. It also has 7 grams of sugar, is a good source of magnesium, zinc and iron, contains prebiotic and probiotics and of course, it’s DELICIOUS!
It currently comes in four flavors: vanilla, blueberry, raspberry and strawberry (learn more about them here). Raspberry is my jam. I like to toss in a few fresh razzies because, why not? Hello perfect post-workout snack!
THE BEST DAIRY ALTERNATIVES FOR ICE CREAM
I was SO sad to give up ice cream, but there are plenty of delicious dairy-free ice cream alternatives available now. I think coconut-milk based ice cream tastes the most like the real stuff, but I won’t say no to a delicious bowl of “nice cream” made with frozen bananas.
THE BEST DAIRY ALTERNATIVES FOR WHIPPED CREAM
You can buy pre-made dairy-free whipped cream at pretty much any specialty food store but making your own is easier and cheaper! All you need is chilled coconut cream, vanilla extract, sugar and a good stand mixer.
I hope you found this guide to the best dairy alternatives helpful! Now go enjoy that dairy-free living.
What are your favorite dairy alternatives?