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If a delicious, healthier, and cruelty-free version of all your favorite dairy products existed, would you switch?

A mama's love for her baby is a beautiful thing.

A mama’s love for her baby is a beautiful thing.

Of course!

Why would we eat something that’s bad for us and cruel to baby calves and their mothers for no reason?

Well, guess what!

There ARE delicious, healthier, and cruelty-free versions of all your favorite dairy products!

What do I mean by healthier? What about “Milk does a body good,” and all that calcium we need?!

Dairy is full of saturated fat and cholesterol, plus hormones and other contaminants. It’s been linked to everything from acne to cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and other nasty ailments that we certainly don’t want.

Click here for a great run down of all the health concerns about dairy for infants, children, and adults.

But there’s a plethora of non-dairy milks and products out there, some of which have MORE calcium than dairy milk, without all the bad stuff.

What do I mean by cruelty-free? Cows aren’t killed for their milk, right?

Cows have to have babies to produce milk (I had never stopped to think about that before I went vegan!).

Those babies have to be taken away almost immediately so they won’t drink the milk that we’re taking.

Here's a mom reaching to kiss her baby.

Here’s a mom reaching to kiss her baby.

If it’s a girl, she’ll grow up to be a dairy cow, who will be slaughtered when she’s “spent” like her mother.

If it’s a boy, he’ll be taken away and put in a veal crate where he can’t move until he’s about 4 months old, and then he’ll be slaughtered for veal.

It breaks my heart to think of a mother and a baby separated like that, no matter what the species.

But you know what the great news is?

We don’t have to support this. We don’t have to take the milk from baby cows for ourselves or our families because there are fantastic alternatives to ALL the dairy products we love – from milk to ice cream to yogurt and everything in between.

There are so many options, in fact, it can be a little overwhelming when you go to switch.

But I’m here to help you.

I’m going to share my favorite vegan dairy products with you. I encourage you to try these and others too. We all have different tastes after all, so try them out and find your own favorites!

Are you ready? Let’s ditch the dairy!

Milk

My favorite non-dairy milk is Almond Breeze almond milk. I’d say it’s similar to 1% in thickness, and it has a great taste. I pour it on cereal, drink it with cookies, and use it in recipes.

I also love soy milk (similar to 2% in terms of thickness) and Rice Dream rice milk (similar to skim). Make sure to get the “original” kind (but there are chocolate versions of all these that are great too!).

There are tons more options (oat milk, coconut milk, flax milk, and even hemp milk!), so experiment to see which you like best. Just look at all these options in Whole Foods!

Here are just a few in the refrigerated section.

Here are just a few in the refrigerated section.

And here are tons in the non-refrigerated section.

And here are tons in the non-refrigerated section.

Ice Cream!!!!

My favorite brand is So Delicious Purely Decadent. Mocha Almond Fudge and Pomegranate Chip are both amazing!

They have soy, coconut, and almond based ice creams in all sorts of flavors. Mint chocolate chip, chocolate peanut butter, Neapolitan, cookie avalanche, and more.

There are lots of different brands with all sorts of products including ice cream sandwiches, ice cream bars, etc. Again, Whole Foods has options for days!

photo(5)photo(12)photo(13)

Cream Cheese

I love bagels and cream cheese, and the brand I like the most is “Follow Your Heart.” I used about 5 tubs over Passover on matzah!

Here's the cream cheese in my fridge.

Here’s the cream cheese in my fridge.

Butter

Earth Balance Buttery Spread is absolutely amazing. You can’t tell a difference, and it comes in tubs or sticks for baking. They even have a soy free version. Anything you can do with butter, you can do with Earth Balance.

Just look at all these Earth Balance options!

Just look at all these Earth Balance options!

Sour Cream

I love Tofutti brand (out of Israel!). There are also really easy recipes to make your own sour cream out of cashews! Here’s one that I’ve used and loved (scroll down).

Here you can see the different vegan cream cheeses and sour creams.

Here you can see the different vegan cream cheeses and sour creams (and mayos above!).

Coffee Creamer

I love my So Delicious coconut coffee creamer in French Vanilla. They also have hazelnut and original.

Here it is in my fridge right now.

Here it is in my fridge right now.

Yogurt

There are so many kinds of yogurt with different bases: soy, almond, coconut. My favorite is the So Delicious Greek Style coconut milk yogurt. There’s vegan yogurt in every flavor you can think of.

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Cheese

OK, here’s the biggie. As you know, I was Miss Cheese (a self-proclaimed title). But I’ve found vegan cheeses that I love, and here they are!

Shreds: Daiya cheese shreds come in mozzarella, cheddar, and pepperjack flavors.  Mellow Mushroom even has Daiya as an option on most of their restaurants’ menus.

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To spread on crackers: Y’all. The Daiya Havarti wedge is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten! Go and get one right now!

I wanted to kiss the package, but I thought they'd kick me out of Whole Foods. :)

I wanted to kiss the package, but I thought they’d kick me out of Whole Foods. 🙂

For nachos: I make my own nacho cheese sauce that is scrum-diddly-yum! You can find the recipe for it in this blog post near the end.

Mmm, nachos.

Mmm, nachos.

To sprinkle on pasta: Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan “Parmesan” or you can make your own “Almesan” (recipe here) with 4 ingredients!

To make anything taste ‘cheesy:’ Just sprinkle some nutritional yeast in your grits, and voila, cheese grits! Or sprinkle it on popcorn or in a casserole to give it a cheesy, nutty flavor. Warning: This stuff is addictive (and good for you!). You can find it in the bulk section of most natural foods stores.

Here's nutritional yeast sprinkled (generously) on black beans and rice.

Here’s nutritional yeast sprinkled (generously) on black beans and rice.

Mac & Cheese: I make my own called “Mac Daddy” from Veganomicon usually (recipe here). It’s delicious and oh-so-satisfying. But they also have vegan boxed versions too (without the scary neon orange).

Here's the boxed version.

Here’s the boxed version. Yum, yum.

To put in your lasagna: I love this dreamy Cashew Ricotta, also from Veganomicon. In fact, I like to make the cashew ricotta and almesan for lasagna. Here’s a delicious recipe:

Veggie Lasagna

Ingredients:
– Lasagna Noodles
– 2 Jars of your favorite marinara sauce
– Fresh spinach, squash, zuchini, onion, eggplant and any other veggies you like (they can be raw; they’ll cook while the lasagna is baking)
– 1 batch of Cashew Ricotta
– 1 batch of Almesan

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 375. Cook the lasagna noodles. In a large baking dish, layer sauce, noodles, cashew ricotta, veggies, sauce, noodles, cashew ricotta, veggies, etc. until you get to the top. Top with Almesan and bake for 30 minutes covered. Then uncover it and bake for another 30 minutes. ENJOY the deliciousness!

photo(11)There are so many products to list that I’m leaving some things out, like whipped cream and ranch dressing, but there are vegan versions of these too!

Literally, every dairy product you could want has a delicious, healthier, and cruelty-free version.

So go on and schedule some time to spend at the grocery store picking out non-dairy products to try. I think you’ll fall in love like I did, and be healthier for it!

Ask me questions or let me know what you’ve tried in the comments below. I love to hear from you!

Sarah

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