When I was younger, I was lactose intolerant and over time, I slowly grew out of it. I was super thankful for that as I felt I was being deprived of every kid’s beloved Kraft macaroni and cheese. However, once I could eat cheese again, I was obsessed with cheese; macaroni and cheese, cheese and crackers, pizza, grilled cheese, nachos with extra cheese, ice cream, bagels with cream cheese, cheese on my salad, cheese on my eggs. Cheese, cheese, cheese. I mean saying I was obsessed might be an understatement. That was until I started having digestive issues again in my mid-twenties. With that being said, this is when I tried to take dairy out of my diet completely.
About seven years ago, my now husband decided to cut cheese out of his diet…cold turkey. I was shocked but when he told me the health benefits – I listened (of course, because he is super smart). My mind started to replay all the times I had felt awful after eating cheese and no joke, every time I ate any dairy products, I was in pain and my stomach was never happy with me. Never wanting to believe that the source of those issues was caused by my dairy intake, I just chalked it up to once again being lactose intolerant. I decided to take on the challenge and decided to eliminate as much dairy from my diet as I could (cutting cold turkey has not always gone well for me). The results were unbelievable! Not only did my stomach not hurt every time I ate but my overall health seemed to be better. I lost weight, my digestive problems went away, I felt more awake and I didn’t feel bloated all the time. Years later, I still think the same way. Disclaimer: I do dabble in some cheese items here and there but nothing like I use to.
With eliminating dairy from my diet, it was a struggle to find alternatives that tasted good. Over my years of being dairy free, I have discovered some great alternatives to dairy and wanted to share. The best part, you cannot even tell there is a difference and you don’t even miss it.
Whenever any recipes call for dairy or heavy cream, I replaced it with either one of the above products.
I don’t use a lot of butter, but these butter alternatives are so delicious. If cooking with it or using it as a spread on my muffin, it truly yields the same results.
OMG…I discovered these kinds of ravioli at my local Whole Foods and I cannot get enough of them. I was hesitant at first to give them a try but after my first bite, I have no regrets. The flavors are fantastic and very filling. I will add some chicken, shrimp or eat them on their own. Great option for those quick dinners.
I’m not a huge frozen pizza fan but when the time is not on my side, I like to have an easy, no mess option for lunch or dinner. I’ve tried other vegan pizzas, but they would taste like I was eating cardboard. These two options are flavorful. I’ve also used them for appetizers at parties and my guest didn’t know the difference.
You truly can’t tell the difference and you’re eating cheese without really eating cheese. We don’t use it all the time, but when we need to add some cheese to our meals, GO VEGGIE is our go to.
If you read my Healthy Eats of Philadelphia blog, the rutabaga cheese from those restaurants is by far the best cheese I have ever had. Hook it up to my veins!
I am a huge dessert person, and this was one thing I thought I would miss the most. But after finding the SO Delicious brand and finding a few gems with vegan options (cupcakes, cakes and cookies) I didn’t miss a thing. Mint Chip is by far my favorite! A perfect ending to my day…besides a glass of wine =). I don’t like to eat a ton of sugar and even these have a higher sugar intake than I would hope, still a great dairy-free option with a scope or two. Will try other brands/flavors soon.
When I travel, I love to find a great vegan bakery. If I am unsuccessful, I will find a local Whole Foods. Sometimes the sugar amount messes with my stomach, so I indulge in a few bites.
People ask me all the time if I miss dairy or they straight up think I am crazy for eliminating it from my diet altogether. But honestly, I enjoy it more than I thought I would. My body doesn’t seem to miss it and I don’t crave it as much. Again, there are times I will get my fix in but shortly after I always realize why I stopped eating it in the first place. One day I will learn.
Have you decided to eliminate dairy from your diet or do you want to? Tell me some of your favorite dairy-free products/brands so we can share with our audience.
Author: Julie Davis