My Favorite Dairy-Free Options

dairy-free options
I’ve been dairy-free for a few years now and although my reason was for my own health, many nursing moms make the adjustment for the health of their babies or to help their older kids feel better. While I’ll save the impacts of consuming dairy for a future post, I wanted to share my favorite dairy-free substitutions that will help ease your transition to living without cheese and milk! Most of these can be found in your local health food store.

As always, you’ll want to check the label for hidden sources of milk and look at the allergen statement to see if it says “Contains: Milk”. Depending on how strict you need to be with your elimination, you can experiment with different dairy ingredients and your side effects after consuming them. Just know it can take around 6 weeks for dairy sugars and proteins to be out of your system once eliminated.
almond milk
After being allergy tested a few years back and doing some trial and error eating of my own, I know my problem isn’t so much with lactose (a milk sugar) as it is with casein (a milk protein) and the varying amount of it. I have figured out through trial and error that I still can’t eat products higher up the dairy ladder which contains more protein, like milk, ice cream, yogurt, and cheese. Dairy products that contain barely any protein, such as butter and cream, only have traces of casein. I’ve found I can tolerate butter in almost any amount, small amounts of creamy dressing, crackers and chips with cheese flavoring, and baked dairy.

My Favorite Dairy-Free Alternatives (an incomplete list!)

Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk or Target brand milk
Kite Hill Cream Cheese Spread
Ghee (clarified butter)
Forager Dairy-Free Yogurt Unsweetened Plain (I like to add a splash of maple syrup, cinnamon, and fruit)
So Delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl
Nada Moo! Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream
Tessemae’s Creamy Ranch dressing
Melt Organic Buttery Spreads
Rudi’s Breads
Little Northern Bakehouse Breads
Siete Tortillas
Trader Joe’s Nutritional Yeast (for cheesy flavor – great sprinkled on popcorn!)
Native Forest Organic Canned Coconut Milk (BPA-free lining)
Coconut Manna diluted with water (cheaper than canned coconut milk)
Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
Enjoy Life cookies and snack bars
Chick Fil A fries
Chipotle
Kind Bars
Lara Bars

 

You’ll notice absent from this list is cheese. I haven’t found Daiya or other vegan cheeses to be worth eating regularly. They’re great on a pizza once in a blue moon, but I don’t like the texture or fillers in most of them and therefore can’t recommend any with confidence. Definitely worth trying though to see how you like them.

 

 

And here’s a go-to recipe of for pesto that we put on pretty much anything: grilled chicken, shrimp, pork. Great over zoodles or pasta and sautéed veggies.

 

Print Recipe
Dairy-Free Pesto
This is a great alternative to traditional Pesto, which includes dairy.
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except for oil in a small food processor
  2. Slowly drizzle in the oil while blending until a smooth paste has formed. Add oil until your desired consistency
  3. Slowly drizzle in the oil while blending until a smooth paste has formed. Add oil until your desired consistency
  4. Transfer to a stove top pan over medium heat until warmed
  5. Serve immediately
Recipe Notes

We actually omit the garlic bc Jon thinks it's a vile weed ;) , but I think we’re in the minority so feel free to add it to your taste! This pesto is great drizzled over grilled chicken or shrimp with zoodles or pasta.

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Going dairy-free isn’t so bad once you get used to it. I thought I could never live without my beloved cheeeese but then I would be sacrificing my health for a food group and that just seemed silly. Food doesn’t have to have power over you if you don’t let it!

Have you made the transition to life without dairy? How’s that going for you? Please add any of your favorites in the comments!