This is mostly a list of the alternatives I currently use one way or another. I’m hoping it to be a reference guide and will try to keep as many of the original things I used in place as my tastes change and progress and I find new alternatives.
This ultimately depends on what I am going to use the milk for. For a while I was using vanilla flavored vitamin enriched Rice Dream rice milk for everything but cooking and Silk plain soy milk for cooking; but I have recently found that I like the taste of almonds (I have never really been huge into nuts, couldn’t stand any except for peanuts and cashews; how our tastes change) and have switched to Silk Vanilla Almond Milk almost exclusively. Most dairy alternatives are soy based and while this isn’t a problem, too much soy in a diet can cause an increase in estrogen levels in the system and thank you, but I have enough estrogen already. Almond milk also tends to have a higher amount of calcium.
Originally I was told that I was lactose intolerant (found out the hard way that it is all parts of milk via a soy cheese based pizza that was full of casein). So, I started off using Smart Balance. I do not recommend this brand to people who have complete dairy allergies, it contains whey. The benefit to Smart Balance is it is now becoming visible at almost every grocer, even the local chains. And, there is a version of Smart Balance there are two blends that are completely dairy free – Light Buttery Spread with Flaxseed Oil and Light Omega-3 Buttery Spread. I will pick up a tub of these if I cannot find my favored choice Earth Balance. Earth Balance comes in a variety of blends all of which are Vegan (read dairy free) and non-GMO verified; one blend (Whipped) is certified Oraganic. The whipped is my favorite as it is the closest to the consistency of real butter when taking it out of the fridge. The main problem with dairy free butters is that they are very hard straight out of the fridge. You should probably take them out of the fridge about 15 mintues or so before you actually plan to use them or they will be difficult to spread. The whipped is more like five – ten.
Cheese is always touchy. Again, when this all started and I thought I was just lactose intolerant I was making do with Galaxy Foods veggie shreds and slices which were readily available at my local grocer. Their veggie shreds contain whey and casein, so if you’re completely avoiding dairy for whatever reason, I recommend their Vegan or Vegan rice shreds and slices. The vegan options weren’t as readily available as the veggie stuff at that the local grocer, but a few stores around that carry them. I used an off brand called Veganrella for mozzarella cheese blocks for a while until I discovered Daiya, which is fast becoming my diary free go to. I’ve only had their shreds, but I have found a store that’s pretty close to my new house that has wedges, slices, cream cheeses (and I’m hoping some pizza) alternatives. Unlike a lot of cheese alternatives I’ve found that Daiya melts a lot better and more consistently. The Galaxy Foods didn’t melt very well for me when I used the slices so grilled cheese alternative sandwiches were not very tasty. The Veganrella alternatives where not very firm, they were very squishy and un-cheese like. I only used those for cheese based sauces where I could melt it all down and not have the texture bother me too much.
I used to eat a Kashi pizza called the Sicilian Veggie pizza. I had a sauce that wasn’t you’re normal tomato sauce, no cheese and roasted veggies all over. It was their only pizza not covered in cheese and they stopped making it several years back, hence why I am not linking to it. At that point, I switched to Amy’s Kitchen Fire Roasted Veggie pizza (it was Amy’s soy cheese pizza that I realized I couldn’t have any milk products at all). It’s delicious and has been my go to for dairy free pizza for the last three years. The sauce is a mushroom based sauce, and the entire thing is pretty flavorful in terms of pizza for not having any cheese. I’m hoping to be able to switch it up a bit here soon, adventure time to a local store to check for the new Daiya pizzas; smothered in glorious dairy free cheeses. I’ve also made my own personal pizzas out of fresh-baked french bread cut into thin length-ways slices, covered in pasta sauce and my favorite toppings and baked until nice and crisp (I should probably post this recipe huh?).
Tufutti has been my go to since I moved to Cincinnati in terms of dairy free cream cheese. When I started looking for an alternative to make cheesecakes and veggie dips its the only thing I could find. I’ve pretty much had them all and they all are pretty tasty. But reviewing the Daiya site, I have noticed they are not offering cream cheese style spreads as well and I’m interested to try their Strawberry Spread on a bagel.
Yogurt alternatives have been hit and miss with me. Trader Joe’s yogurt was a big flop for me. Price wise, it’s amazing, but textually my mouth has something against it. I’m ok with the WholeSoy & Co. yogurt and I was completely infatuated with the Silk Live! (discontinued). I tried AlmondDream Yogurt, but that was completely disgusting, and now I am on to Silk Fruity and Creamy. I have posted extensively about my battles with yogurt alternatives, so I’ll not bore you with all those details and let you go and look at them yourself: Soy Yogurt, Trader Joe’s Review, WholeSoy & Co vs. Silk Live!, and Silk Fruity and Creamy Review.
I started off eating Kashi Waffles, but moved on quickly to Van’s Natural Foods waffles on the account there were more flavors and it’s usually pretty stocked at the local grocer. Kashi could be hit or miss sometimes. Both are good waffles.
Frozen Lunch Meals
It is really hard to find frozen, ready to cook single serving meals that are not dairy free. Granted, I haven’t done much looking, but even the looking that I’ve done it’s either beef and cheeseless or not beef and smothered in heaps of cheese (mind you I haven’t really looked in a whole foods store to see what they have to offer). Kashi does a few options that are pretty tasty. I’ll link you to them. I haven’t got to try the new Kashi Steam Meals Chicken and Chipotle BBQ yet, but I’ve had all the others and with the exception of the Kashi Frozen Entree Mayan Harvet Bake (texture of the plantain through me off) they are all pretty delicious. The others are Kashi Steam Meals Sesame Chicken, Kashi Steam Meals Roasted Garlic Chicken Fafalle and Kashi Frozen Entree Black Bean Mango
And now the big one! For a while I was completely stuck on Tofutti’s Totally Vanilla Cuties. I’ve always had a weakness for ice cream sandwiches and these were perfect. They nixed the caffeine from the chocolate cake breading and the ice cream was dairy free. But as I said, I’m trying to avoid a lot of soy in my diet so I’ve recently switched to Rice Dream Mint and Carob ice cream. For those that don’t know, carob is a vegan alternative to chocolate. Chemically, it is like chocolate except there is no caffeine and no dairy. I’ve used carob chips in backing before, and they are delicious in this ice cream. I also partake of So Delicious ice creams every now and again. They used to have a completely strawberry flavor that was so divine, but from looking at their product listing, I see why the stores stopped carrying it – they no longer make it. The creamy vanilla is delicious. I have not had many of the others due to the whole covered in chocolate and basted in caffeine thing.
Which brings me to chocolate. A lot of people ask me how, as a woman, I survive without chocolate. The simple answer is, I don’t. The complex answer is that I have found through trial and error that 100% dark chocolate in small quantities does not upset my stomach or cause a flare up. So every once in a while I will buy a bar of Chocolate Dream Pure Dark Chocolate bar and eat 1 small piece every couple of days. All of their chocolates are 100% dairy free. Now, I’ve never been one for dark chocolate, I find it to bitter; but their dark chocolate is creamy and somewhat sweeter than some of the dark chocolate I’ve had before.
That’s all I’ve got so far. I’ll add them as I come across them, or updated as I find new. Hope this reference is helpful.
As always, Enjoy!