Going Dairy Free!!!
This is something I get asked about very frequently because it can be challenging to go dairy free by choice. Many people think it’s IMPOSSIBLE but I promise it is not. I have been dairy free for three years and it has honestly changed my life for the better. I was really struggling freshman year of college with constant stomach issues. I took a food sensitivity test and dairy/gluten were number one (crazy but most people are sensitive to both gluten and dairy). When I found out I was heartbroken. I LOVE my ice cream and cheese, I never thought I could live a dairy free life and enjoy it. Now I have dairy in small amounts and moderation!
It’s crazy how eating things that are not meant for your body can impact how you feel so heavily. I put this under eco friendly because living a plant based diet does help the environment which I will go more in depth at the end.
I feel like going dairy free is very very intimidating because where do you start? It’s assumed you have to cut out everything but that is so false. There is a plant based alternative for almost everything you can think of. I have below some of my favorite dairy free items that are ALWAYS in my kitchen. You can even start small with switching to a couple dairy alternatives or cut it all out like I did! Also keep in mind once you start cutting out dairy you will adapt and learn to like the taste of dairy free things. It can be difficult at first especially when it comes to texture…
It can become very overwhelming at the grocery store when you don’t know where to begin. So here is a little dairy free best products run down from the girl who LOVES her dairy.
- Earth Balance Butter:
Okay this butter is my favorite dairy alternative because it taste so similar to real butter. I use butter for baking, toast and random things but this always fills my butter cravings. I highly recommend even just starting with this butter alternative because its so easy to incorporate in your diet. So yummy!
2. SILK Oat Yeah Creamer:
I love love my coffee in the morning and creamer is essential. Creamers are actually one of the easiest dairy swaps I have found. Personally I love most dairy free creamers but I found I like oat and soy based creamers the best! This oatmeal cookie flavor I literately searched weeks for. I saw it on an Instagram add then proceeded to call almost every grocery within 30 miles of me. I finally found it at Target and Sprouts. It’s honestly perfect for fall and is delicious!!
3. Forager Cashew Milk Yogurt:
Finding a diary free yogurt I actually like has been a struggle. I don’t love yogurt in general so whenever I would try it with soy or coconut based I would want to gag. This cashew milk based yogurt is the best one I have found. I love making yogurt parfaits with it because its so creamy and has a great texture. One thing with dairy free products is the texture tends to be wack, but this yogurts texture doesn’t bother me. The Vanilla Bean is by far my favorite flavor and is perfect to add to smoothies.
** Also since I was little I always used greek yogurt to substitute sour cream. The plain forager cashew yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream- I sound crazy but it is great!
4. DAIYA MAC AND CHEESE:
Wow. I could go on and on about how much this mac and cheese has changed my life. Again, dairy free cheese can sometimes taste weird. It took time to find products that didn’t smell like yak or taste horrible. This mac and cheese is my FAVORITE. It is my go to hangover meal or even anytime of day meal. I once made a whole thing for breakfast because it’s that good!! Another flavor of this I love is the Alfredo style. Personally the typical mac and cheese flavor doesn’t hit, at least for me so I recommend trying the four cheese or Alfredo first.
5. Enjoy Life Dairy Free Chocolate Chips:
So I love my chocolate and that was one thing I knew I could never ever give up. The Enjoy Life brand makes the best dairy free chocolate. These chocolate chips I use for everything from chocolate covered strawberries, cookies or making chocolate covered nuts. It has the same texture and melts like regular chocolate. A handful of them frozen is also a great late night snack! This brand has chocolate bars that are actually life changing.
6. Dairy Free Milks:
This is a hard topic because everyone has very different opinions on dairy free milks. I like soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, etc but all for different things. Like for example I hate almond milk in my coffee but love it in my cereal? I honestly don’t know why but the only way to find what you really like is to try everything! My favorite dairy free milks to add to coffee, tea, oatmeal are oat milk and macadamia milk.
Macadamia milk has been getting slept, seriously it is so good. I tried it for the first time a month ago and I have fallen in LOVE. I attached my favorite brands for reference but finding you favorite milk alternative takes time and taste testing. So next time your at Starbucks ask for soy or almond milk and start finding what you like!!
7. Immaculate Chocolate Chunk Cookies:
These. Honestly I bake these around twice a week because they truly are that good. When you need something sweet this is perfect!! These are also gluten free but I swear you cannot tell the difference! Also I could eat the whole container of cookie dough… its a problem. But definitely recommend if you have a strong sweet tooth like me. I feel like people think being dairy free means there’s no sweets but theres so many alternatives.
8. Katz Chocolate Covered Donuts:
Going off of about how important it is to satisfy your sweet tooth – these donuts are amazing! I bought them randomly one time because I hadn’t had a donut in over a year and wow. This is just another example of truly how many alternatives there are!!!
Now that I have given some of my favorite products I wanted to touch how this impacts the environment. I did not choose to be dairy free solely off of helping the planet but the research I have done makes me never want to go back! Again I’m not saying if you eat dairy you’re a terrible person but I just wanna share this information. Being educated is super important!!!
What many don’t realize is that the beef and diary industry contributes to a large amount of greenhouse gases released into the environment. Greenhouse gas emissions are a huge element that contribute to climate change. Beef and Dairy cattle release the largest emissions compared to other animals. Something important to keep in mind is aiming to eat a sustainable diet. I had never heard that term until recently. Eating a sustainable diet basically means eating foods that don’t leave a negative impact on the environment. Plant based diets are encouraged because they help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If the world continues to move towards plant based diets it is estimated that it would reduce greenhouse emission by 49%. This would also reduce land use by 76%. These stats are big.
I am not vegetarian and I am not telling anyone how to eat. I just wanted to share some information because these things are not always talked about. There is also so many crazy things behind the dairy industry that are completely disgusting. I have seen many disturbing documentaries that try to scare you to become vegetarian or dairy free. I only recommend watching if you truly want to be educated because I could have gone without seeing some of the clips. I wanted it to be my choice and it is!
A common mindset is “well the meat is already there so I am going to eat it”. But to break that down, if you chose a different meat alternative then someone else can have the meat which will indirectly cause less meat consumption. It is very controversial and again I am not vegetarian but when there is a plant based option I do take it over meat. Not only does it makes me feel better but also contributes to living a sustainable diet! This is something to keep in mind when grocery shopping or ordering at a restaurant!
I will continue to upload my favorite dairy free products as I find them!! Hopefully this helps you transition to a dairy free lifestyle. DM me on Instagram or tag me if you try any of these products!!
I have attached my amazon link where all of these products are saved so you can easily order and try at any time!!!
Amazon Account: https://www.amazon.com/ideas/amzn1.account.AEGKOQGLOYQADWPYCDJFVKC7CTNA/YZ9EVVPUTPIU?type=explore
Maria CranstonSeptember 24, 2020 at 8:30 pm
These are amazing tips!! I have wanted to go dairy-free for the longest time, but I didn’t know where to start. Thank you so much Erin!!
Erin ThumannSeptember 24, 2020 at 8:42 pm
Of course! It’s hard at first but I promise these grocery items are the BEST!!
Trish CummingsSeptember 24, 2020 at 8:48 pm
Love all of these!! When I first started eating GF and DF, there was very very little to choose from. Mostly weird stuff and very hard to find. I about died when I saw the oat milk ice cream in the freezer section this spring! So good. Looking forward to more flavors but pretty psyched to have vanilla!!
Erin ThumannSeptember 24, 2020 at 8:52 pm
The oat milk ice cream is so so yummy!!! My all time favorite is the dairy free peanut butter Ben and Jerry’s from this summer!!:)
Alexis HillSeptember 24, 2020 at 8:56 pm
I struggle with stomach issues too! Now I’m interested in taking a food allergy test! Did you do an at home one or did you go to an allergist?
Erin ThumannSeptember 24, 2020 at 9:20 pm
I took one at home! It was a blood test that looked for levels of intolerance. Honestly I highly recommend!!
kaylaSeptember 24, 2020 at 9:14 pm
oatmeal cookie oat milk >>>>
VinetaSeptember 24, 2020 at 9:27 pm
Yumm I’ve been wanting to go DF for a while to see if it would improve my skin but also like you I find it really hard to give up cheese and ice cream! Oat milk is my personal fav milk alternative and I can confirm that the Califia Farms barista oat milk is bombbb. Califia Farms products are the best honestly (especially their seasonal pumpkin & peppermint drinks)!! You should definitely keep us updated if you find a sliced or shredded cheese alternative you love because I’m on the hunt for some!
Lane KapsalisSeptember 25, 2020 at 5:31 am
I’ve been wanting to go dairy free for such a long time but have personally been scared. I loved the food recommendations you gave and would love another post on it!!! 🙂 I’m gonna try all of these.
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