almesan, almond, alternative, baby, butter, calcium, cancer, cardiovascular disease, cashew ricotta, cheese, cheesy, coconut, coffee creamer, cow, cream cheese, cruelty free, dairy, Daiya, Earth Balance, Follow Your Heart, Greek yogurt, grocery store, havarti, healthier, ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, milk, nachos, nutritional yeast, osteoporosis, parmesan, ranch dressing, So Delicious, soy, Tofutti, veal, vegan, whipped cream, Whole Foods, yogurt
If a delicious, healthier, and cruelty-free version of all your favorite dairy products existed, would you switch?
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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).
I love my So Delicious coconut coffee creamer in French Vanilla. They also have hazelnut and original.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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:
– 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
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!
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!
Yay! I need to try the boxed version and you Veganomicon version. I’m pretty hooked on Vegan Yum Yum’s cheez sauce. The you tube video is very moving. It’s easy to think dairy is cruelty free because it doesn’t require the death of the cow to make, but she will eventually be killed, and maybe being having a lifetime of babies ripped from you before you can nurse them is worse than death.
I agree! I can’t imagine what the mama cows must go through. I will have to try the Vegan Yum Yum cheez sauce! Thanks!
This is so thorough and detailed. Thank you so much for this post!
Thanks, Reina! Glad you found it helpful!
Love this post… I can personally vouch for the lasagne recipe – Delicious!!!!
Thanks, Maria! It was fun making lasagne together!
Kelly @ Vegan Iowan said:
I didn’t know there was vegan boxed mac’n’cheese – aaamazing! Sometimes you just crave the box version (and/or are feeling lazy or nostalgic for childhood).
Yep, it’s a super quick meal that’s so yummy, and you’re exactly right – nostalgic!
Yay!!! I love this post! It is wonderful!
I want to suggest everyone eat Amande cultured almond milk yogurt! It is AMAZING! My favorite is coconut! It has actual pieces of coconut in it! Also, Whole Soy & Co. has the most dairy yogurt-like consistency of them all! But don’t let the texture keep you from trying every single one of them!
Also, since my beautiful sister and author of this blog turned me on to Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Parmesan, I haven’t been able to part from it. Seriously. I have separation anxiety over a vegan parmesan… I have a problem. But, in my defense, it is pretty much one of the greatest discoveries of my vegan life!
Thanks for the yogurt info, Bec! I’ll try the Amande brand for sure. And I’m glad you love the vegan Parmesan. I knew you would! 🙂
Excellent overview of why we we shouldn’t consume dairy. I was wondering what your thoughts are on non-gmo vs gmo almond milk or coconut milk?
Thanks, Jim! I prefer to buy non-GMO products whenever possible. I worry about GMO safety and their effects on farmers. Here’s a brief overview of the issues from The Non-GMO Project: http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/
Pingback: Vegans Scream for Ice Cream |
I’m about to go dairy-free so this was very helpful, thank you! Unfortunately I pretty much never get to go to a Whole Foods. I’m living in SC this summer so am buying groceries at Publix (which likely does have most of these – next time I go I’m going to start picking things to try) buuut usually I live in Mississippi and have the choice of Kroger or Walmart. 😦 Hopefully I will still find some things there!
Thanks for your comment, Jodie! I’m so glad you found it helpful. It’s totally possible to find vegan items at ‘normal’ grocery stores. It might not be as huge a selection, but you’ll find staples for sure. I mean, I found Earth Balance butter at a Wal-Mart in Galax, VA. If I can find vegan food there, we can find it anywhere! Best of luck on your dairy-free adventure! Let me know how it goes and if you have any questions! To compassionate eating!
Pingback: Liberty and Justice for All |
Stacy Shepanek said:
I love this post, Sarah! Here’s my favorite Mac N “Cheese” recipe to help out!!
Super easy and my non-vegan family and friends LOVE IT!
14-16 oz pasta
1 tbsp earth balance (or homemade palm-oil-free vegan butter)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1.5 cups Daiya – cheddar
1.5 cups Daiya – mozzarella (I like Trader Joes Vegan Mozzarella better in this)
2 cups soy milk
black pepper to taste
garlic to taste
Cook pasta according to package. Preheat oven to 350.
Meanwhile, prepare the cheese sauce. In a small pot, melt the butter. Once melted, add the nutritional yeast, pepper, garlic and soy milk. Add the Daiya and stir until melted. Combine the pasta and cheese sauce. Pour into a casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs and bake for 20 mins.
That sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe, Stacy!
Pingback: A Nice Little Side Effect (Vegan Weight Loss) |
Pingback: A Yum-tastic Vegan Birthday |
Pingback: Media Mania (A Vegan Resource Round-Up) |
Pingback: A Visit to Farm Sanctuary |
Pingback: Vegan in Telluride |
Pingback: Happy Animal Videos |