May 23, 2010


Going Dairy Free

This weekend most of my family is participating in the Gluten-Free Challenge.  It’s going well.  I bought some Chex cereal for them to have for breakfast.  For lunches, they are enjoying calzones that I baked and froze the other week.  Dinners, of course, are gluten free anyway.


I have been on a gluten-free diet for over nine years, but I have a new challenge to face these days.  I am trying to eat dairy free.  I bought this thyroid bookrecently, and in addition to a gluten-free diet, the author also recommends a dairy free diet for most people with Hashimoto’s disease.  I have suspected dairy for some time, and I’m finally ready to give it a good try.  This is a hard one for me.  I’m not a milk drinker, but I use plenty of it in baking recipes. I am a cheese and butter eater.  I love cheese and butter.  I try to go easy on them because of their fat content, but the thought of giving them up for good is sad.

However, I know I can do this.  It’s been a week, and already I have found that it’s not as hard as I thought.  Last week I had pizza without cheese and really didn’t miss it that much.  I’m still very new at this, though, and I would love to get your help.  I know many of my readers are also dairy free, and I would love to hear from you.  What are your favorite substitutes?  What are your favorite web sites?  What are your favorite cookbooks?  Please leave a comment or send me an email

As for this blog, I’m not sure what this change means.  You will certainly be seeing some dairy free recipes, though some recipes with dairy will probably still show up.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Be sure to enter this week's giveaway!

Labels: ,

My favorite dairy substitutes are:
Milk- Pacific Naturals Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
Cheese- Daiya or Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet, Nutritional Yeast for Parm.
Ricotta- You can make it with Tofu. I have a recipe on my blog
Ice Cream- Coconut Milk Ice Cream!
Hi Linda, that's great that you've already been doing well this first week! I've been off dairy now for 7 months and I definitely feel the difference. I found that dairy was harder for me to remove than gluten because I used to be such a cheese addict. (And I hardly ate breads)

I rarely will use any substitute products. I do use unsweetened soy, rice, and almond milk, but I don't use any recipes with cheese (or I just omit it) and if they call for butter, I'll see how it turns out with oil instead. I also have tried a lot of recipes using tofu to create things like sour cream, creams for soups, and cheese affects.

I'm certainly no expert and haven't been doing this long, but I do have all dairy free recipes on my blog.

Best of luck to you Linda! I'll be excited to hear progress and updates. And know you're not alone :)

~Aubree Cherie
I've been dairy free for over a year and I can tell the biggest difference in my allergies and in how my body reacts to foods. My nose is hardly ever stuffy after I eat now that I don't eat any type of dairy! Really, to be honest with you, especially for cheese, I just have gotten used to not having it with things. Subs are great for pizza occasionally but for things like sandwiches, casseroles, etc... i just completely leave it off and honestly you can't even really tell the difference. You actually taste the food and not the cheese!

For a drinkable sub I use almond milk. To bake, I use almond milk in sweet recipes and I use hemp milk for savory recipes. Hemp milk makes a great "milk" gravy base.

Coconut milk ice cream & yogurt are also fantastic.

Coconut milk itself is also great in hot tea or coffee if you drink it as a sub for cream.

Just a few things that help me!

Also blanched almond flour/meal is a great sub for parmesan cheese. I love to sprinkle it on top of things!
I've been dairy free (or mostly) for years. So, I pretty much have that one down. Coconut milk is a great sub in many many things. It can work like cream in ganache. It can be whipped into frosting with some stabilizers added to it. It's great in Indian food, soups, ice cream, etc.

I also really like cashew "creams" for sour cream as a pizza topping. Some of the other home made nut cheeses are also good.

We don't do much soy in our house, so tofu subs are usually out for us.

Nutritional yeast is great.

Daiya cheese is the only soy free vegan gluten free "fake cheese" I've found that I like at all - it's good in small quantities.

You'll find you miss it less and less.

Oh - and coconut oil and palm shortening are both good subs for butter in baking.

Good luck!
Linda, I've been trying to be dairy free too, and it's been a struggle. Like you, I love cheese and find it very hard to give up. I suspect it will make a big difference though, so I'm planning on giving it a try for real. But in the meantime, there's a delicious looking recipe for vegan mac and cheese here:
Giving up dairy is not easy, but it's well worth it! I've written about the challenges I've faced with it in a few posts on my new blog:

But if you're just looking for a few product suggestions, I use Earth Balance buttery spread, Daiya cheese (a new one--delicious!), Living Harvest Tempt and Organic Rice Divine (ice cream), Silk soy milk, and Whole Soy & Co yogurt (amazing taste!).

Hope that helps, and I wouldn't be surprised if you start feeling a lot better with the dairy out of your system...
I went gluten and dairy free at the same time - yikes. The only thing I really miss is blue cheese - although there is actually a soy-based bleu that isn't too bad.

In my coffee, I use Trader Joe's unsweetened vanilla or plain rice milk, or the unsweetened soy. Almond Breeze chocolate is really yummy, and makes great hot cocoa.

Coconut milk is one of my favorite things. It separates, so you can skim the fat off the top for heavy cream, or shake it up for light cream. I've used it to make Irish Cream :) and fantastic pumpkin pie.

For smoothies, take raw cashews (best if you can pre-soak) and blitz them with water or OJ, makes a creamy smoothie without any processed subs. Raw cashews can also be used for cream sauce (I made a pretty good alfredo pasta!).

Larry & Luna's Coconut Bliss is awesome ice cream, so is Purely Decadent (also coconut) or any of the soy ones I've tried.

I don't do a lot of cheese subs but the Amy's Rice Mac & dairy-free cheese is made with Daiya and it's excellent (for an occasional nutritional splurge..)

Alisa at GoDairyFree has an excellent website, and a great book too.

mostly I just sub extra virgin olive oil and/or palm shortning for butter in most savory recipes, and coconut oil, neutral oil like canola, or palm shortning in sweets. Sometimes Earth Balance.

Chocoate is tricky if you're going 100%, bc it's almost always made on shared equipment, but Enjoy Life chips are pretty good. I thought Tropical Source was pretty waxy...

The few recipes on my blog are dairy-free, but it's pretty sparse :) Best of luck!
I thought that I would have a difficult time giving up dairy, but it has been easier than giving up gluten quite honestly. I use rice milk for my cereal and a lot of my baking mainly because I can get a case of it at Costco for a really good price.
I found that there are several semi-sweet chocolates out there that are dairy free (Guittard, Ghirardelli, and Kroger brands)
I don't miss having cheese on my pizza or other baked goods. I usually put a lot more veggies and sauce on than I use to.
I drink a lot of water instead of milk.
I have found that going dairy free I don't consume as many calories as I use to. I don't put cheese on my taco, but I don't really compensate for those calories anywhere else. It has been pretty good for my figure!
Good luck with your dairy free adventure.
I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Linda, I no longer use many substitutes, but these are the ones I still buy regularly:

Almond Breeze Unsweetened (Vanilla and Chocolate Unsweet are quite good)
So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage
Earth Balance Soy-Free

I also did a post for the GF Challenge that includes links to favorite recipes sent in by bloggers (all GF/DF) -

Cheese is the toughest for most people, and the alternatives aren't often up to par (they are okay, but many cheese lovers report that even Daiya just doesn't make the grade). I usually recommend going cold turkey on the no cheese for at least a month, including subs. The cravings then have a chance to subside. I use other flavorful ingredients, like olives (various types), nuts, specialty oils and vinegars, and an extra pinch of salt to fulfill the taste void.
Linda, I too have just embarked on a dairy-free "adventure" (also corn-free) in an attempt to figure out whether either is contributing to my lingering digestive issues. I'm excited about what others have suggested. I love using coconut milk as a sub in baking or for anything calling for cream. However, if I'm baking something savory, I'll use unsweetened almond milk. I use coconut oil as a sub for butter a lot (or canola or olive oil, depending on whether I'm needing softened or cold "butter" or a liquid fat). I just purchased an organic 100% palm shortening to use instead of butter - we'll see how that goes. FYI, I made your hot pockets for the first time, and I changed up the recipe to be dairy-free. I subbed olive oil for the butter, and used almond milk for the milk. I stuffed it with ground beef (seasoned as you did yours), and put cheese inside for the hubby. For mine, I put just a bit of coconut cream and stirred it in, and added a pinch of cinnamon. It was really darn tasty. I bet the pastry would be even better with shortening rather than olive oil (Olive oil gave it a distinct flavor) but it was still quite good. I even loved it the next day reheated in the microwave!
For baking I usually use Almond milk, though if I want something with a little more fat I use Soy (I think the Silk brand is the best). For really high fat applications try coconut milk. Earth balance makes a good butter substitute.
Hi Linda!

With so many delicious dairy-free alternatives, it's never been easier to live dairy free. I've been doing it for more than a decade, and these are some of my favorite dairy-free foods:

Earth Balance Buttery Spread
Soyatoo Whipped Cream Topping
Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Vegan Gourmet Cream Cheese and Sour Cream Alternatives
Daiya Vegan Cheeses
So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverages
So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt and Kefir

Hope that helps!
This is also a challenge I have started myself. It's hard enough going GF, so going dairy-free seemed almost impossible. You are right, it's not as hard as you think! Question-how do you have pizze without cheese? But, I have seen great benefits.
Becca ~ I simply skipped the cheese layer on part of the pizza. I put the toppings directly on the pizza sauce and baked it.
I've been DF for awhile. Honestly, it was harder for me than going GF.

I didn't like any milk subs when I first kicked the dairy, so I really only used it for baking. But a few months ago, I discovered homemade almond milk. I dunno if I've forgotten how much I loved milk, but this stuff seems way better than the store-bought subs. I use it for everything! There's a recipe on my blog.

I used to do a lot with coconut milk (Luna and Larry's ice cream rocks!!) but don't tolerate coconut well, so there goes that one too :(

I like Enjoy Life chocolate chips a lot! They are great!

Cheese has been the tough one for me as well. Every few months I'll cheat and buy a wedge of something great and European at the health food store, but then I regret it. I haven't been able to find a good sub for cheese either. Mostly I try and cook without it. This has been the hardest part for me though, but I'm sure I'm healthier for it.

Hope you find the transition smooth, and can't wait to see what creations you come up with!
Oh, I just remembered one thing I learned early on - Butter contains moisture as well as fat (I want to say 20% water?) so you may need to sub liquid for part of it, esp. if butter is a major ingredient. Alisa has great info on subs at

Also, you can't go wrong with recipes from Karina the Gluten Free Goddess.

As for pizza, I love roasted veggies and/or sauteed greens as a topping (on a quick socca crust). You get a little fat from the oil, and they have a concentrated flavor, so you really don't miss cheese. A little prosciutto, bacon or maybe olives... yum. It's not exactly pizza, maybe, but it does the trick.

Love the idea to use almond meal as parm.. interesting! Maybe when I finally get around to making almond milk homemade again (not that it's difficult), that's what I can use the leftover pulp for.
Linda, I was dairy free for 2 years and my son still is. Feel free to visit my blog for suggestions :)
I've been gluten-free for going on 11 years now. It was hard. But gluten-free living is much easier today than it was 11 years ago. There are more subs, more food options, more awareness. For my children's sake (they are gluten-free too), I'm so grateful the world is different for them.

I still struggle with going dairy-free, so reading all these suggestions are helpful to me as well. I DESPERATELY miss cheese. I can't find any subs that are near what I'd like because I am also soy-intolerant. :-(

Coconut Bliss is AWESOME! So Delicious coconut milk rocks as well.

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]