So, you've decided to lay off the dairy. Or maybe you want to see what else is out there. What do you do? There are a lot of non-dairy alternatives to choose from. Just make sure that what you buy says rennet-free, lactose-free, whey-free, casein-free as these are all derived from milk. Also make sure that if the cheese has lactic acid in it, it specifically says "non-dairy lactic acid". Many cheeses made from soy, rice, and almond will say lactose-free but still contain casein and lactic acid derived from milk.
Lactose is milk sugar, rennet is a complex enzyme (a group of digestive enzymes) that is used to make cheese, and whey & casein are milk protiens. It is produced in mammilian stomachs. Lactic acid is milk acid and it is used in cheeses and sour cream, butter milk, and yogurt.
The products below are things that I have used in the past or use on a regular basis. Really, it's all about trial and error. Should you try and decide it's not for you and you want to continue to use dairy, I strongly reccommend switching to organic dairy as much as possible. The safety standards are held higher and there are no chemicals given to the animals and there are no pesticides in their feed.
CHEESE: Unfortunately, the vegan cheese alternatives aren't the greatest. There are 2 main brands that I have found.
The first brand, which is a mozzerella alternative, is called Veganrella. I do have to warn that it has gluten in it so if you are gluten-free you may not want to eat this. It's not so great plain but I used it on a pizza and it was OK melted. It does melt pretty good but it's gooey so youdon't need a lot.
The second brand of vegan cheese is called The Vegan Gourmet. They have 3 flavors, cheddar, monteray jack, and jalepeno. The texture of all 3 is very similar to tofu. The package says it melts. It does, but not that good. Quite honestly, I did not like the cheddar. The flavor was not cheddar-like in any way. The other 2 are ok. The jalepeno is really good melted for nachos.
MILK: There are a lot of milk options out there. You can choose from soy, rice, almond, hemp and combos of some of these. There are many brands of each. They come sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla flavored, and chocolate flavored. They all can be used in place of regular milk in cooking and baking.
My personal favorite is hemp milk. I get a lot of odd looks and comments when I mention that I drink hemp milk and eat hemp seeds. Yes, it is in the same family as marajuanna but it is a different plant. It's missing the THC which is what produces the "high" you get from smoking or eating marajuanna. I use the brand called Living Harvest. It is the less-grassiest tasting. Hemp milk is probably the healthiest of the lot of milk alternatives. It is chock full of Omegas which are very good for your heart.
YOGURT: The main non-dairy yogurt is soy yogurt. Turtle Hill makes one called Soy Delicious. There are several different flavors and they contain yogurt bacterias. Turtle Hill also makes a coconut milk yogurt called So Delicious that is really good.
SOUR CREAM & CREAM CHEESE: Both of these have a vegan alternative. Tofutti makes them. They aren't too bad. I've made dips, beef stroganoff and many other things with the sour cream and no one has been able to tell the difference. The cream cheese is an aquired taste. I chop up onions, celery, and red bell peppers and mix them in and it makes it taste a lot better. There is also another brand of vegan sour cream called Follow Your Heart which is pretty good.
ICE CREAM: Ice cream is a favorite treat for many. There are a lot of different vegan ice creams. My current fav is the So Delicious coconut milk ice cream made by Turtle Hill. Turtle Hill also makes other vegan ice creams that are not coconut milk based that are delish! There are several flavors and they are all pretty tastey. Temptation makes a fabulous vegan ice cream and they have a mix that you can make at home.
I think I've covered all the main milk products. Should you choose to try any of them, I hope you enjoy!
- I started this blog to keep track of my kitchen creations. I love cooking and eating. In 2008 I was diagnosed with RA. Food started becoming a huge problem. I needed to find a better way to eat the flavors I love. All the recipes I create are driven by my desire to eat good food that won't create extra pain and inflammation in my internal ecosystem. While the recipes are wholesome, the language is not. I swear. I use the word 'fuck'. A lot! I make no apologies for that. It's just a fair warning. I'm raw and real. Happy cooking! Even happier eating! Cheers! Angie