If you’re reading this, you may be considering going dairy-free.
Whether you can’t consume it due to an intolerance, have been told to eliminate dairy, choose not to, or want to reduce your consumption, the transition can be really simple and can easily be made right in your kitchen.
Regardless, your decision to transition away from dairy does not have to be a difficult process. In order to transition into a dairy-free lifestyle, you need to become an ingredient detective and know what to look for.
Here are some dairy products to avoid:
- All milk products, butter, ice cream, whey, etc.
- Cheeses, hard and soft cheeses (i.e. cream cheese and cottage cheese)
- Sour cream, kefir, and yogurt
To avoid dairy, look for foods labeled vegan or dairy-free. Read your labels so you can avoid anything that includes these dairy-derived ingredients:
- Anything with milk, including milk solids, DMS, milk powder
- Butter, butter solids, butter flavor
- Casein, Caseinates
- Lactalbumin, lactic yeast, lactitol monohydrate
Dairy may be hiding under things like “flavoring,” investigate the label to see what processed ingredients may be hiding in the place of milk. Some contain way too much sugar and other ingredients you may not want to eat or drink. I highly recommend using natural, clean, and simple substitutes instead.
The great news is there are plenty of natural, non-dairy substitutes you can use or make yourself.
Try these dairy-free substitutions:
- Milk for drinking, cooking, and baking
Use unsweetened almond, cashew, coconut, or hemp milk
Look for almond or coconut milk yogurt
Smashed avocado, olive oil, or coconut oil or butter
Use nutritional yeast; with a natural cheese taste, this works beautifully to put on baked potatoes, dress up air-popped popcorn, or sprinkle on vegetables. Cashews make a great “cream” sauce.
- Ice cream (sugar, dairy, and even gluten)
Freeze a banana, add it to a blender, with a splash of almond milk, blend until smooth, and refreeze. It tastes just like ice cream!
I’ve put together some simple recipes to make delicious dairy-free foods right in your kitchen.
Delicious Dairy-Free Milk
You can make milk out of just about any nut, seed, or grains like rice, oats, or quinoa. All you need is a high-powered blender, some water, and cheesecloth to filter out any remaining bits (optional).
You can add a pinch of cinnamon, cardamom, or vanilla extract to flavor. Sweeten your milk with soaked dates, maple syrup, or honey.
To make simple dairy-free milk, soak a half-cup of almonds, cashews, or even hemp seeds for a few hours. Soaking is optional – it makes the blending process easier and the milk creamier. Drain the soaking water, rinse, and add to a blender with two cups of fresh water. Blend on high until smooth (about one minute). Add flavorings, if desired. Then strain through a nut milk bag, fine mesh strainer, or a few layers of cheesecloth (this is optional).
For dairy-free cream, blend your nuts, seeds, or grains with one cup of water instead of two for a thicker, creamier, dairy-free milk.
Delicious Dairy-Free Yogurt
With the right yogurt starter and probiotic culture, you can make yogurt out of any dairy-free milk. The most common one to ferment into yogurt is coconut milk. You can also use almond milk, nut, or seed milk.
The trick here is with the fermentation. Follow the instructions on the label of the yogurt starter culture, and enjoy delicious dairy-free yogurt in a few days.
Delicious Dairy-Free Butter Alternatives
Nut and seed butter is a fabulous substitute for dairy butter. Plus, they have the bonus of containing fiber, protein, and other nutrients that real butter doesn’t have.
Have you tried coconut oil? It’s a great dairy-free substitute for butter. You can fry with it and even bake with it. Coconut butter is thicker than the oil and makes for a great spread.
Delicious Dairy-Free Parmesan
Have you tried nutritional yeast? You will be pleasantly surprised at how much it tastes like grated Parmesan. Plus, it contains some B vitamins.
It’s a salty, cheesy, flaky powder that you can use wherever you want to add a pop of savory flavor to any dish. It’s fabulous on popcorn and green veggies!
Delicious Dairy-Free Puddings
Did you know you can make a delicious and thick pudding without dairy? Yup! The plant kingdom has some natural thickeners that are full of fiber.
You can use avocado to make pudding. Take one whole avocado, blend with ¼ cup raw cacao powder, ¼ cup dairy-free milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and honey or maple syrup to taste. Add dairy-free milk to thin, if desired.
For chocolate chia pudding, use ⅓ cup chia seeds and place in the food processor with 1.5 cups dairy-free milk. Wait for 5-10 minutes until the seeds soak up the liquid. Add ¼ cup cacao powder, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and honey or maple syrup to taste. Blend into a smooth pudding.
Delicious Dairy-Free Ice Cream
Frozen bananas make for a delicious “ice cream” dessert.
Recipe: Chocolate Almond ‘’Ice Cream”
2 bananas, chopped and frozen
1 tbsp raw cacao powder, unsweetened
2 tbsp almond butter, unsweetened
- Add bananas to a food processor. Pulse or lightly blend until almost smooth.
- Add raw cacao powder and nut butter. Pulse or lightly blend until mixed.
- Serve immediately & enjoy!
Tip: Try a different nut or seed butter. Or instead of cacao powder or seed butter, use just the bananas with a ½ cup of frozen berries. Be creative!
See, going dairy-free is easy! Which recipe are you going to try? Please share it with us in the comments section below!
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