No pizza or grilled cheese? No ice cream? No thanks!
But wait.. Whether you think you are intolerant to dairy or not there are so many other potential benefits to cutting it out of your diet or at least cutting back when you get the option.
Keep reading to find out more about why to consider cutting the cheese (haha) out & my favorite, delicious, dairy free alternatives that I’ve discovered through the years.
**Disclaimer: Food alternatives list starts where the pictures begin**
WHY go dairy free?
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “About 75% of the worlds population, including 25% of those in the U.S., lose their lactase enzymes after weaning” aka cannot digest or tolerate milk/dairy products after becoming a toddler. Virtually all infants and young children have this lactase enzyme for obvious reasons, but as people mature, more and more become intolerant to dairy in some form.
Aside from that 25%, there are an even higher number of people reportedly having some kind of negative effects from dairy. Most commonly, hormonal imbalance, indigestion and acne.
Cutting dairy out of your diet has been shown to aid in:
– healthy weightloss
– clearing up your skin
– better digestion
– balancing out your hormones
– giving you more energy
– clearing up sinus congestion
If you still aren’t convinced, maybe these people who are cooler than me will help you reconsider..
Tons of celebrities like, supermodel Gisele Bündchen, Kourtney Kardashian, Beyonce, Megan Fox & Jessica Alba, to name a few, have ditched the dairy and can’t stop talking about the results.
In an interview with Stylecaster Megan Fox told them “I’m not eating dairy; that’s my biggest secret. It’s really hard on your hormones, and it’s not good. … If you want to gain weight, eat dairy. If you don’t, don’t eat it.” This just may be a celeb trend we all want to jump on!
How to go dairy free?
Start out gradually. Don’t try and cut every dairy item in your fridge out today. Maybe start by replacing cow’s milk with Almond or Coconut milk. Cut the cheesy pizza or pasta back to once a week. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
The easiest thing for me to do in my day to day life so that I won’t crave dairy (especially cheese) is to find and create amazing dairy free recipes. Dairy alternatives like the ones I am going to share with you are good on occasion, but you don’t want to rely on them or eat them every single meal. Or else yes, you will start to just want the real thing. Plus, just because it’s dairy free doesn’t always mean it’s super healthy.. cough cough dairy free ice cream.
Pro Tip: Type in “Dairy Free Recipes” or “Vegan/Paleo Recipes” on Pinterest & get cookin! Since this is a pretty hot topic at the moment there are tons to choose from.
And now.. The best dairy free alternatives I’ve found & where to buy them (clink link below pictures to shop!)
My favorite alternatives are almond milk and coconut milk. Make sure you buy the kind that is unsweetened, they offer vanilla flavored unsweetened as well!
Available at Target, most regular grocery stores
The hardest to say goodbye to.. and probably the hardest to re-create well. Here are my favorite vegan, dairy free cheeses (and trust there are many horrible ones out there). This first cheese melts like real cheese and taste great on a burger or grilled “cheese”. The second is great for a “cheese” and meat spread with crackers.
No online link but can be bought at Whole Foods or Central Market
They have come out with a bunch of good flavors in coconut & almond milk creamers so that your coffee can still be as creamy and delicious as it always has been. My favorite are the caramel & vanilla.
available at Target, Tom Thumb and Whole Foods
To me, this is the best thing on the dairy free market!! The ice creams they are putting out right now just keep getting better. Even Ben & Jerry’s recently came out with a dairy free version of some of their top selling flavors. I’m not going to put pictures of all the ice creams, instead I will list my top brands and flavors.
All listed ice creams are available at Whole Foods and Central Market, most can also be found at Target, Walmart and Publix.
#1 BEST – NadaMoo! (made from coconut milk)
1) MMM..Maple Pecan
2) The Rockiest Road
3) Cookies & Cream
#2 – Almond Dream (made with almond milk)
1) Cappucino Swirl
3) Praline Crunch
#3 – So Delicious
1) Dark Chocolate Truffle (Cashew Milk)
2) Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl (Coconut Milk)
Swap out for coconut oil or olive oil. “Earth balance” is also a good vegan butter alternative
The only dairy free yogurt I have ever found is this one. If you like yogurt it’s a pretty good match.
<– Available at Target, Walmart, Publix, Whole Foods and Central Market
MAC & CHEESE AND PIZZA
Ok, so they haven’t mastered this category yet. But with dairy free on the rise in food and health trends I think we will get a few better options in the coming years. For now these are the best I have found and honestly I really like the way these taste or I wouldn’t share them! But don’t expect them to taste 100% like the real deal.
*Daiya is on sale at central market right now* & both also available at Whole Foods & Target
Sometimes no cheese is better than fake cheese. Trust me on this one guys, it has a great flavor and is also gluten free!
Available at Tom Thumb, Central Market, Whole Foods, Publix & Target
SAUCES & DRESSINGS
These pasta sauces and salad dressings really knock it out of the park! Not only are they dairy free but they’re also gluten free and SO good, yay!
available at Whole Foods & Central Market
*Alfredo artichoke sauce is my personal favorite*
– Ranch and Caesar dressing are great!
*add a squeeze of lime to the ranch to make it tangy & even better*
This brand also makes a good dairy free, vegan Mayo
Available at Whole Foods and online
Last but not least..CHOCOLATE
<– Chocaholics buy this now!! This brand “Primal Chocolate” has lots of really good organic chocolate, all sweetened by natural coconut sugar, but the Sea Salt & Almond flavor is the only one that is dairy free!
Available online and at Whole Foods!
Let me know what your favorite dairy free snacks and alternatives are in the comments below. Happy snacking 🙂