B&P, Nutrition

Dairy Free Options

Being an LC I often see mamas begging for dairy free recommendations because they or their pediatrician has diagnosed their baby with a dairy allergy.

Let me start with, more often than not this is a misdiagnosis. Having a grumpy gassy baby does not equate dairy allergy. I also want to remind doctors get only about 20 hours of nutrition education in their entire four years+ of schooling and zero hours of lactation. Furthermore their “nutrition education” isn’t even focused on “what’s healthy?” or “how food can prevent disease.” It’s just the basic nonsense we learned in elementary health class.
As a vegan and having a certification in plant based nutrition, I encourage people to go dairy free and I love seeing it! However, when that change comes from misinformation and potentially ending a breastfeeding journey, that’s when I get upset and I don’t support it.
Should humans drink the breast milk of another species? Absolutely not, it’s directly linked to cancer, directly and substantially damages the environment, and enslaves and harms another sentient being. All of those, I’m adamantly against.

However, if a mom is told, “you have to cut dairy to keep breastfeeding,” and she decides to stop breastfeeding and use formula instead, that family’s dairy consumption just doubled because now she’s using dairy formula, most likely, on top of her own dairy consumption.
“But wait if her baby has a dairy allergy she won’t use dairy formula!” Aha, you caught that too! You’d be surprised about how often I see a mama being told her baby has a dairy allergy and to use formula. Zero specification of soy formula. I’ve even seen pedis specifically say a brand of formula that is dairy based.
I will always put the health of baby over anything and there is plenty of studies and information showing that breast milk is the absolute best for baby and that formula comes no where close to breast milk and furthermore comes with its own slew of health implications. If that means I support a mama breastfeeding her baby whilst consuming dairy, then that’s what that means.

Here’s what I want to offer in this post, first of all gassy grumpy babies are normal. Period end of story. Spit up is normal. Can these things be a sign of something else? Heck ya, mainly oral ties that need to be removed. Do those things directly indicate an allergy? Absolutely not. Period.
Secondly, whether you’re a mama who does genuinely need to give up dairy to continue breastfeeding, or you’re just someone looking to give up dairy but needs non dairy recs, this blog post is for you!

Dairy in food is hidden with many different names unfortunately.
Here’s a list from google of different names for dairy you’ll need to look for.

You’ll also, obviously avoid dairy in cooked products too like cakes and bread.

What are some dairy free milks? There are quite a few options! Soy milk, pea milk, cashew milk, oat milk, rice milk, hemp milk, flax milk etc.
I generally say to avoid rice milk because it’s really nutritionally void.
Silk brand has a many different varieties of plant based milk!

They also have specific coffee creamers as you can see above! Though my husband has had no issues using regular Silk soy milk in his coffee. We use the red container above.

And NO, soy products WILL NOT alter your estrogen levels negatively, and it WILL NOT turn your little boys into girls. This is completely unfounded and just fear tactics paid for by the meat and dairy industries, who ironically use 80-90% of all US soy production to feed their livestock (so youre still getting soy whilst they say “soy is bad”). It also has an undertone of racism towards Asian people as a large amount of their diet consists of soy and has for centuries if not longer and their men are some of the healthiest in the world and their fertility is just fine.

Ripple is probably one of my favourite plant based milks! It has a plain enough taste that it doesn’t alter foods taste. I like to use it when I make mashed potatoes and mac and cheese because I find other milks, like Silk, have a sweet flavour, even when using the regular soy milk.

Another one of our favourite milks is Good Karma. We buy their chocolate milk for the kiddos. It’s flax based so it has a lot of great omegas! Silk’s chocolate milk is good too, very very creamy and sweet though.

Now onto cheeses. Something people feel like they can’t live without. You can. Trust me! You’re not the first person to think that 😉

Firstly I encourage you to try your hand at making some cheeses! You can find recipes on my blog for some cheeses!

Creamy cheese that can be used for nachos, mac and cheese, baked potatoes and even cheddar broccoli soup.

Parmesan cheese for pasta toppings or even veggie toppings!

Ricotta cheese for pasta dishes like lasagna!

If you’re looking for sliced cheese and shredded cheese there are options for that too!

Chao, Violife, Follow Your Heart, Daiya, and Miyokos are just some of the brands you’ll find.
For me, Chao, Violife, and Follow Your Heart are the best. Daiya has a very strong flavour that is difficult to get past especially when you’re just starting out being dairy free. I dont recommend Daiya for beginners.

Start with Chao or Violife for your first cheese! We’ve been vegan for about 4 years now and still don’t use Daiya cheese. The only time we have that cheese is when we make their mac and cheese or their pizzas. Violife is probably my fave! Follow Your Heart has a great melty mozzarella.

Now onto yogurts, cream cheeses, mayos, and sour creams.

There are so many dairy free yogurts on the market and in my experience the flavoured ones are all basically the same taste. Obviously there will be slight differences depending on the base (soy, coconut, cashew, Etc) and company recipe, but I haven’t found them to vary that much.
For me personally I just buy whatever is available at my store. That’s how similar they are to me. I will say “So Delicious” raspberry is probably my absolute favourite dairy free yogurt. My son really likes the Silk ones. He calls them “nut yogurt” but he’ll eat anything.

When it comes to sour cream I sort of make my own and have found it to work well. I know that sounds like a lot of work, but it really isn’t.
I get Cashewgurt unflavoured yogurt, add lemon and a bit of salt and done. It tastes like sour cream to me! Tofutti is the only other brand I’ve tried, and I will be honest—it’s awful. Avoid!
Other brands I haven’t tried, but trust enough to taste good based off of their other products would be Follow Your Heart and Kite Hill.

Mayos are generally easy to find. We use Hellmann’s vegan mayo and it taste exactly like animal-based mayo. Follow Your Heart has a vegan mayo as well though I haven’t tried it.

Cream cheese, the brands is go with are Kite Hill, it’s probably the best chive cream cheese I’ve ever tasted. Another good brand I’ve personally tried is Spero! They have tons of flavours, even a sweet dessert type of cream cheese! Spero is DELICIOUS!

Salad dressings.. if you’re like me and really only enjoy creamy dressings you might thank you can never have a salad again but there are dairy free creamy salad dressing’s on the market as well as plenty of dairy free recipes you can find online to make your own creamy salad dressing. There are also plenty of dairy free dressings that arent a creamy ranch like base. Things like vinaigrettes, infused oils, tahini, miso, or hummus based etc! Just make sure to check the ingredients because some dressings have milk or cheese in them even if you wouldn’t expect them to.

Ice creams are something you’re probably going to have the easiest time finding. The ice cream industry has realized a lot of people are going dairy free by choice or by necessity and so they have created plenty of dairy free ice cream options that taste delicious. Ben & Jerry’s is one of the biggest namebrands that has plenty of dairy free ice cream varieties. So Delicious is a brand we get often and is really good too!
Not ice cream, but Daiya has incredible cheese cakes if you’re a cheese cake person.

I want to talk about “accidentally vegan” options. These are just foods you see at the store that you might never think are vegan but they are! I won’t go into every name brand that is accidentally vegan, but I hope this encourages you to still check labels of your favourite foods and maybe you’ll be surprised!

Some of Marie Callendar’s frozen pies are vegan, aka dairy free. The Apple pie and cherry pie are two I know for a fact are vegan, others might be too.

Oreos are dairy free!

There are plenty of dairy free options for anyone choosing to or needing to go dairy free.
Being without the breast milk of another species isn’t life ending for you, nor is it difficult to do. It takes patience and commitment, that’s all.

Let me know if you have any questions about going dairy free, dairy and breastfeeding, or even why dairy is unnecessary and extremely unhealthy for humans, especially children!


LC and certified plant based nutrition

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