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Dairy Alternatives

Ingredients to look for when reading labels: milk, non-fat dried milk, buttermilk, evaporated milk, half and half, lactaid milk, ice cream, milk chocolate, sour cream, yogurt, butter, whey, casein, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and all other cheeses.

Butter: Earth Balance is the only non hydrogenated completely dairy free butter substitute. There are some other non hydrogenated margarine at the grocery store, but they contain whey or casein. Earth Balance is available at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts and Fresh and Easy.

Milk: There are numerous milk alternatives; rice, almond, soy, oat, and potato. Your best bet is to try them all to find the one that you like best. Rice and soy milk tend to handle heating better than the almond or potato. The most important thing to look for when purchasing milk alternatives is fortification. Buy a milk alternative that is fortified with Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D. Milk alternatives are found at health food stores as well as regular grocery stores.

Cheese: Unfortunately there are not many good alternatives. Most soy or rice cheeses contain casein and/or whey. The ones that do not contain these ingredients tend to have hydrogenated oils. The cheese alternatives that do not contain these ingredients, from my experience, do not taste too good. But feel free to try them. Nutritional/Brewer’s yeast is something that can used to add a cheesy taste to food; like over pasta with tomato sauce. It is full of B vitamins. Nutritional/brewer’s yeast can be found at health food stores as well as regular grocery stores.

Yogurt: There are some pretty tasty soy yogurts, just be sure to read the label for added sugar. Some of the flavored soy yogurt can be pretty high in sugar. I usually buy the plain soy yogurt and add some fresh or frozen fruit and nuts to it. Silk, Whole Soy, Fresh and Easy all make very good tasting soy yogurts. The Silk and Whole Soy yogurts are available at Whole Foods, and Sprouts.

Chocolate: Most good quality dark chocolate will not contain dairy products. As for chocolate chips; most store brands will not add dairy to their chocolate chips, but read the label. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Sprouts also carry dairy free chocolate chips.

Ice cream: There are soy and rice based non dairy ice creams. One of my favorites is made by Soy Decadence; they make flavors like cookies n’ cream, and chocolate peanut butter. These are found at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Fresh and Easy and many grocery stores. There are also many non dairy sorbets; you just have to read the label.

Cookies: There are many dairy free cookies. Newman’s, Haines, and Back to Nature are just a couple brands that make dairy free cookies. Sprouts, Whole Foods, Trader Joes and many larger grocery stores will carry dairy free cookies. Be sure to read the label and look for butter, whey, and milk solids.

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