Over the years, companies have realized that people with dairy and soy allergies still want and crave the foods they had to give up. First, the dairy-free milks became increasingly easy to find. I've tried most of them by this point: soy, rice, almond, coconut (in that order). Hemp, flax, and sunflower milks are still unknown to me, but maybe someday I'll give them a shot. I want to give you a really quick run down of my experiences with non-dairy milk and the variety of options available.
I was pro-soy when I first became dairy-free and I now have an entirely different opinion which would require at least an entire post on the subject. For now, let's just say I'm not a fan of soy for many reasons. The taste of soy milk is pretty similar to cow's milk from what I remember.
Rice milk is incredibly runny and doesn't taste a thing like milk. It is like drinking water with a splash of milk. Yuck! Also, right now rice products are under scrutiny for containing high levels of arsenic so do your research prior to purchasing rice milk to make sure your brand of choice isn't implicated in the scandal.
Almond milk quickly became my dairy-free milk of choice. It is thicker and creamier than rice milk, but not quite as thick as coconut or cow's milk, however. The flavor is slightly nutty, but not strong, and I have found that it compliments everything from cereal to smoothies. When I went cane sugar-free six years ago, I was pleased to discover that most brands offer unsweetened almond milk varieties as well. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk is amazing too! I recommend the Whole Foods' 365 brand unsweetened and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I've found it has the best flavor of all the brands I've tried and is organic.
Coconut milk is a close second to almond milk with a creamy, fresh taste. There is something about the flavor or texture though that always seems a little funky to me. I haven't figured out what exactly that is, but it isn't a big enough deal to ban the beverage altogether.
I would never trade my almond milk...(here comes the dreaded but), but lately my sensitive tummy has been just that- sensitive. So I've switched over to coconut milk for the time being. Hopefully not forever, because nothing beats the flavor of good almond milk, but for now, coconut will do. <UPDATE: I wrote this post prior to meal planning, ended up skipping Whole Foods this week, and Publix only carries Almond Milk...so I'm giving it another try. Fingers crossed. I'm really excited!>
There is are two great brands of coconut milk ice cream that are also cane sugar-free, So Delicious and Luna and Larry's Coconut Bliss. Whole Foods has also started carrying a cashew ice cream that comes in several flavors, including pistachio!
I can also eat yogurt, thanks to Armande yogurt made with almond milk and fruit-juice sweetened. I wish my local Whole Foods had the large containers, but no such luck. Anyway, as you can see, there really is no reason for dairy-free individuals to not enjoy delicious alternatives (which I now think taste a million times better than the originals).
And thanks to the amazing people at Nourishing Meals, I was also able to eat a gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free "cheesecake" for Easter! It was amazing, rich, creamy, decadent. Even my dairy-eating mother loved it! The ingredient list was simple, it was a relatively uncomplicated recipe. I guess a little disclaimer is in order though, because it didn't really taste like cheesecake. It was its own thing with its own flavor. I highly recommend it. These cheesecake bites are easily one of my favorite desserts to make. Any dessert that is healthy, full of whole foods, and has great texture and flavor is a winner in my book. Head on over to Nourishing Meals and check it out!
|The crazy photo I snapped after taking a bite and realizing this was the last one...oops!|