This is the question I asked myself. I kept reading about the problems with dairy. And since I had tested sensitive to it in my food sensitivity test, I knew I should try eliminating it … but I didn’t want to. In fact, it took me months to finally just decide to do it.
Along the way, I learned a lot that convinced me. And if you’re reading this, you are likely doing some research and considering going dairy-free too. Maybe you have negative symptoms that you think could be related to your dairy intake? Or maybe you are wondering what all the hype is about and wonder what difference it would make to have less of it.
Either way, dairy is not an essential nutrient. In fact, Canada’s Food Guide just removed it as a food group! And, there are lots of things you can have as a substitute for milk, yogurt, butter, cheese, and dairy filled desserts that are satisfying and delicious!
While you can find lots of dairy-free substitutes in the grocery store, make sure to read your labels! Some contain too much sugar, or other ingredients you don’t want.
Homemade is always best (and easier than you think!). Here are some simple ways to make delicious dairy-free substitutes right in your own kitchen as well as some store bought alternatives. And where applicable, I have linked to ingredients and tools that I use.
Here is a recipe that I use often because it takes only 2 minutes. If you want to make a “cream” instead of “milk”, just cut the water in half for a thicker consistency.
STORE BOUGHT OPTION: There are lots of unsweetened coconut, almond and cashew milks available. For a thicker milk, choose canned coconut milk.
With the right yogurt starter probiotic culture, you can make yogurt out of any dairy-free milk. The one that I have fermented into yogurt is coconut milk. But you can use almond milk or other nut or seed milk.
The trick here is with the fermentation. Follow the instructions on the label of the yogurt starter culture (this is my favourite brand), and enjoy delicious dairy-free yogurt in a few days.
STORE BOUGHT OPTION: There are many brands of unsweetened coconut yogurt.
Nut and seed butter is a fabulous substitute for regular butter. Plus, they have fibre, protein, and other nutrients that regular butter doesn’t have. Another option is ghee (clarified butter). I love the taste of ghee and since it has the milk proteins removed, it is considered to be dairy free.
Have you tried coconut oil to replace butter? It’s a good option and is also great for cooking and baking. You can even use it for popping corn in a pot on your stove.
Nutritional yeast in a wooden bowl, copy space, white background, copy space. Healthy vegan food concept.
If you haven’t tried nutritional yeast, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much it tastes like grated parmesan. Plus, as a bonus, it contains some B vitamins as well.
It’s a salty, cheesy, flaky powder that you can use wherever you want to add a pop of savoury flavour to any dish.
Here are some of the recipes where I use nutritional yeast
Did you know you can make a delicious and thick pudding without dairy? And ice cream without the cream? Yes, you can and they are amazing!
Here are some recipes that I use and love:
You can make a chocolate pudding with avocado. Take one whole avocado and blend it up with ¼ cup cocoa powder, ¼ cup dairy-free milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and honey or maple syrup to taste. Then add dairy-free milk to thin if desired.
While I once felt that going diary free would be difficult, I have now realized that dairy-free is easy! You just need to be willing to try. Making delicious dairy-free yogurt, milk, butter, parmesan, and even pudding and ice cream is simple.
Are you going to buy alternatives at the store or try any of these recipes? Do you have a great recipe to share as well? Let us know in our community group here: Making Healthy Eating Easy