Plant-Based Swaps for Dairy-Based Products

This week I attended a class and we, as attendees, were instructed to consume 4 servings of dairy each and every day. Yes – FOUR! HOLY COW! ??? I’ll note that this wasn’t a class focused on nutrition and it wasn’t led by someone with a background in nutrition. The instructor was simply relaying the standard information.

What I found most interesting about this was what came after the recommendation. Multiple people shared that either they, or someone in their family, can’t tolerate dairy. Why is something that is so often not tolerated promoted so heavily?

Time and time again I get to work with people who experience pretty awesome benefits when they get rid of the dairy. Some of the most typical changes that I’ve seen are improvement in GI function (ie – getting rid of constipation or indigestion or having more regular bowel movements), clearing up skin issues, less congestion, and alleviation of joint pain. It’s pretty exciting to see people make such progress by swapping out just one type of food!


Plant-Based Swaps for Dairy-Based Products


When I say JUST, I completely recognize that going from a dairy-life to a non-dairy life can be a challenge. For some, this might be done within a week. For many, this takes time and must be accomplished step-by-step.

To support you wherever you might be on your journey, check out these tips that we’ve found most helpful when it comes to replacing dairy.

  1. Start with the milk – Considering the MANY options of plant-based milks, this is an easy place to start. In the non-dairy section or cereal isle you’ll find almond, cashew, oat, macadamia, soy, hemp and more. Try them all and pick your favorite, or go with a different one each week. Most often we enjoy milk over granola, use it to make delicious Nice Cream, add it to smoothies and use it for baking. While you can find non-dairy milk at nearly any grocery store these days, another option is a product we recently discovered called JOI (*note this is an affiliate link). This is a shelf-stable nutbase with no additives. Simply blend with water and you’ve got milk!
  2. Ice cream – If this sweet, creamy, dairy-based treat is holding you back – no worries – there’s other delicious options! Frozen bananas and non-dairy milk can be used to make Nice Cream in minutes! There are TONS of flavor options: Blueberry Cinnamon, Mango, Cookie Dough, Mint Matcha, Mocha.. or create your own concoction. We recommend peeling over-ripe bananas and storing them in the freezer so you can make a delicious, creamy dessert anytime! Also – a food processor (*note this is an affiliate link) is a must-have.
  3. Yogurt – This is a simple one as most stores carry non-dairy yogurt. Be sure to reach for options with little or no added sugar. Also, if a recipe calls for yogurt, a great substitute is soft tofu.
  4. Cheese – In my experience, this is the dairy product that people struggle with the most. As Dr. Barnard shares in The Cheese Trap, the salty, fatty combination in cheese makes it truly addicting. If kicking cheese to the curb seems impossible, I recommend reading this book as it can be a real eye-opener. Nutritional yeast is great to keep on-hand for adding a cheese-like flavor. Some recipe where it really shines include Rosemary Stuffed Mushrooms, The Creamiest Mac N Cheese and Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip. The ultimate cheese-replacement is our Better than Cheese Queso. Pour it on tacos, burgers, pizza, burritos, veggies, etc. and your won’t even miss the cheese!

What are your go-to tips for swapping out the dairy? We’d love to hear! Feel free to share in the comments section. ?


*We are a participant in affiliate programs, designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to the supplier website. We use all products and ingredients that we link to and recommend them because we believe they are a good choice for you.

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