So, ya finally got the memo: dairy is pretty gross, and inflammatory for most people. Aside from the actual milking practices of cows, which are deplorable, dairy simply isn’t a health food. Granted, you’ll see it all over people’s #ketoforlife posts. And yes, they might lose tons of weight eating cheesy egg scrambles and heavy whipping cream lattes, but dairy as a food group does little for optimal health. However, dairy tends to be a comfort food. The 131 Method is all about ADDING good foods and not banishing every single thing you like. So, that’s why we tasted, tested and curated our favorite dairy substitute products for you. There’s nothing worse than dropping $5-$8 on a pricey new plant-based dairy substitute only to find out it tastes like cardboard. Let us save you the hassle, and money! Give our top-rated dairy substitute products a try in this video, and if you have a little time, make some of our recipes!
Oh! And just because a product says “vegan” or “plant-based” doesn’t mean it’s healthier than regular dairy. In fact, you must read your labels to ensure products don’t add inflammatory ingredients to the product. Common additives include: canola oil, xanthan gum and carrageenan. Other things you might see? Potato starch, gellen gum, agar and locust bean gum. These are not on our worrisome list. Steer clear of soy-based cheeses.
By the way…we bring you these alternatives because we love them. No affiliate links here:)
The Research on Cow’s Milk Says…
Drinking too much milk is bad for your health
- Several studies prove that milk consumption contributes to acne (1, 2).
- Drinking too much milk increases the risk of ovarian and prostate cancer (3).
- There is no scientific evidence that high bone density equates to milk consumption in women (4).
Top Dairy Products and How to Sub Them
Most of us drank cow’s milk as kids. Between the ad campaigns and “the need for calcium,” practically every doctor recommended it for healthy kids. What we know now, however, is that dairy is not the best way to get usable calcium. And most people are lactose intolerant. Guess what?! Many non-dairy milks provide the same, or MORE calcium than cow’s milk (without the added hormones and cow puss- GROSS!). Our favorite brands (without all the carrageenan) include:
- Milkadamia– Our fave boxed milk version. No cardboard taste here. Super smooth and slightly sweet. It subs super well for milk, in recipes and in coffee.
- Califia Farms milks– Our favorite milk in the fridge section. SOOOO creamy and rich tasting. The toasted coconut flavor is amazing!
- Organic canned coconut milk-Not the best as a milk sub, but great for recipes calling for cream. Use in your coffee as a rich creamer.
- Coconut milk powder– Check our blog article on why we LOVE this option!
- Almond milk creamer-Another one by Califia. This one comes in a box for the java lovers.
- Almond milk-This brand is easy to find on store shelves, so we wanted to add it. Taste-wise it’s a 3 out of 5. But we like the price and ease of finding it.
Recipes to try:
- Tiger Nut Milk
- Pumpkin Spice Creamer-Move over Starbucks! Our healthy recipe will blow your mind
- Coconut Milk (Inside the 131 Method Program)
- Hemp Milk (Inside the 131 Method Program)
It’s tough to get the exact same melty goodness out of plant-based dairy substitutes, but these come the closest!
- Miyokos mozzarella-Pretty darned close to the real thing in terms of flavor. The gooey cheese factor isn’t there, but we liked it on pizza and a healthy low-carb grilled cheese.
- Miyokos semi soft chive-Totally spreadable and yummy for crackers or cut veggies.
- Violife feta- (They have others, but we only tried this one). While it won’t pass for real feta (there’s no salty, sour bite to it), it has a nice texture and flavor.
- Kite Hill cream cheese-We figured we’d include this one because of its popularity. There’s a slightly unpleasant taste hard to describe, but the consistency is spot on. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We are kinda torn on this one.
- Treeline Cheeses-Perhaps the very best ingredients list to date! So clean (no gums or fillers)! A little pricey, but very worth it. Lots of great flavors from which to choose too!
- Flavor God Cheese Flavored Seasoning– Perfect for shaking or adding a little Parmesan-type flavor to meals.
Recipes to try:
- Veggie Cheese– Made with vegetables and gelatin! So tasty, easy and grate-able/ melty!
- Buffalo Dip-We used sweet potato and coconut milk for this yummy cheese snack
- Vegan Alfredo- (Inside the 131 Method Program)
- Cheese Sauce- For spaghetti squash with cheese sauce recipe (Inside the 131 Method Program)
3. Ice Cream
Honestly, most “healthy,” low-carb ice creams sans dairy taste mediocre at best. If they taste great, there’s usually a drawback like too much sugar, or, the dreaded thickeners. The label we like the best is below (but we’d rather steer you to making your own using coconut milk, avocado, or, frozen fruit). Check the 131 Method program (if you’re a member of the online community) for our ice cream recipes.
Recipes to try:
Leave us some comments below. Which products are your favorites that we haven’t mentioned?
I agree on the Kite hill cream cheese. It’s great as a sub in recipes, but not so great on it’s own. Definitely won’t fool any toddlers. 🙂
Totally agree! I have heard the Kit Hill Ricotta is really good. Have you tried it? Apparently mixing it with a red sauce makes for a great faux vodka sauce.