Top 5 Dairy-Free Alternatives
Written by: Ellie Messler
Before I had my first child, I had a idyllic picture of what it was going to be like. It involved a lot of smiles, play time, and naps. But unfortunately, this isn’t exactly an accurate description for me and many others who have a newborn with food allergies or intolerances.
My sweet little boy spent the first couple months of his life continually crying, mostly without relief. Thankfully, a wise doctor informed us that he likely had a dairy allergy or intolerance, and by cutting these foods completely out of his diet, his issues should resolve.
As a breastfeeding mother, I promptly eliminated all dairy from my life, and I found myself quickly downtrodden and hungry. Many of the staple foods I ate every day included some dairy, and I just simply did not know what to eat. No longer could I snack on cheese sticks and yogurt, eat a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, or sit down to some cheesy comfort food in the evening.
And I know I wasn’t the only one struggling, because food allergies have become increasingly prevalent in the last 20 years, which means people all over are trying to find alternatives to foods they once loved.
I am over a year into my strict dairy-free lifestyle and I’ve found that I can live this way without missing all of the foods I once used to enjoy! If you are in the beginning stages of cutting out dairy due to either an allergy, intolerance, or just preference, let me help you by sharing my top five dairy-free alternatives that I have come to love.
1. Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter
This is by far the best dairy-free butter option I have tried. It reminds me the most of real butter, which I used to use liberally, so I was very thankful to find this alternative. You can use it just as you would use butter that contains dairy – to cook, to bake, on toast, etc.
2. Annie’s Vegan Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese has always been a major comfort food for me, and giving it up was difficult. I tried a few vegan alternatives and let’s just say I was not impressed. But once I found Annie’s, I was hooked! It has great flavor and really reminds me of regular mac and cheese. I use cashew milk and Miyoko’s butter when I make it, and the result is creamy goodness.
3. Kite Hill Cream Cheese
Bagel lovers, this is for you. Kite Hill cream cheese very closely mimics regular cream cheese but it is completely dairy-free! And not only can you spread it on a warm toasted bagel, you can also use it to make creamy pastas. It is a definite staple in my diet.
4. Daiya Cheddar Cheese Shreds
Now, let me start by saying, vegan cheese just isn’t the same as real cheese. So before you try this suggestion, just go into it knowing it’s not going to be quite the same. I think of it as an acquired taste. But, the Daiya shreds are a great alternative to typical cheese! I use them to make quesadillas, homemade pizza, lasagna, or any other food that I would typically use shredded cheese for.
5. Kite Hill Yogurt
This is a delicious alternative to dairy-containing yogurts! It’s very yummy mixed with some granola and fresh fruit. Great for snacking or breakfast.
This just skims the surface of all the many options for those of us who need to avoid dairy. We truly do live in a day and age where grocery stores and restaurants alike are becoming more and more accommodating to food allergies, and we don’t have to miss out on the nutritional and social benefits of eating a good meal with those we love.
I hope you will find that living with allergies and intolerances doesn’t have to mean eating boring and bland food! Stop by Pomegranate Market to check out all the variety of products suited for people living with many different allergies.