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Sep 18, 2006 12:22 AM

Tell me about good dairy-free alternatives...

I have to be on a dairy-free diet because I'm breastfeeding and my daughter seems to be allergic to the milk proteins that come through my milk. So now I need to find a way to replace the dairy products in my diet, preferably with calcium-enriched substitutes.

I don't like soy milk but have to drink it, so I could use some recommendations for good brands that won't make me feel like I am choking it down.

For a butter replacement, I've tried "Organic Earth Balance" (whipped) and it's surprisingly not too bad. I plan to do my holiday baking with butter-flavored Crisco.

I went to an ice cream festival this weekend and although it killed me to bypass all the great ice cream, I tried "Soy Delicious" ( ) chocolate and vanilla flavors. The chocolate isn't half bad. I wasn't nuts about the vanilla. If I can find it locally, some of the other flavors look worth trying.

I picked up a few soy yogurts, haven't tried them yet but will post back with results when I do.

I've heard there aren't any non-dairy cheeses worth trying but would love to hear otherwise.

I need to ask my doctor if it's just cow milk proteins that are a problem because if goat's milk or sheep's milk cheeses are allowed I will be SO happy.

Please share any recommendations for dairy product alternatives or any other dairy-free tips. Thanks!

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    1. i would reccomend toffuti ice cream for a great non-dairy ice cream

      2 Replies
      1. re: chai18

        Yes! Tofutti is way better than So Delicious (the chalkiness of So Delicious really grosses me out). Tofutti is more creamy. However, I often have a hard time finding good flavours (but I live in Canada so that might be why). My favourite flavour so far is Better Pecan. Vanilla with a swirl of butterscotch and pecans strewn throughout.

        They also have ice cream sandwiches that are pretty yummy too.

        1. re: christinea

          I had chocolate covered wild berry-flavored Tofutti bars recently that were outrageous! If you can find them, buy them!

      2. We buy So Delicious - we prefer the cookies n' cream, butter pecan, and mint.

        The Turtle Mountain company also offers the Purely Decadent pints - favorites in my household include the cherry nirvana, cookie avalanche (like cookies n' cream), mint chip, mocha almond fudge, raspberry.

        The lil buddies sandwich ice creams are sweet, too -- I actually prefer them over toffuti ones, which I find a little bit

        There are other soy ice creams, most of which are available at Whole Foods. They will have an entire section dedicated to the products.

        Oh, I've also tried goat's milk ice cream (available in the same section). It's horrible! Dry and cakey. :P

        In terms of soymilk, we've found the Silk No Sugar Added is the best -- it's smooth and rich-tasting, but without the unnecessary sugar. Once in a while, we cheat and buy the regular or even the vanilla -- a little too sweet.

        Also, I bought these cookies from Alternative Foods, Inc. - they're vegan, without the hydrogenated oil and dairy-free. I got them at Whole Foods - the lemon poppyseed, pb, and mac chip are some of the selections. They don't taste dairy-free at all!

        Good luck!

        1. Chris, I do hope you get permission to use goat milk products. I have always enjoyed the flavor. Limster recommended LaLoo goat milk ice cream a while ago, and I recall some folks saying it was sort of "goaty", but good. Here's a store locator:

          1. I haven't had real milk in over 2 years after I started researching 'whats really in milk', I at first switched to soy, which I like, Silk mostly, but if you like milk, which I did, it's quite a bit heavier, if its the actual flavor, try Very Vanilla by Silk, it's very similar to a milkshake. I have also tried Rice Dream rice milk which, to me, is much more like the consistency of real milk but it tastes a bit flour like, it all depends what mood Im in.

            - I eat the same butter, I find it just as pleasing as real butter and I use it w/ everything. No cooking catastrophes as yet.

            - For cheese I like Soya Kaas, the monterey jack being my favorite, it has the same consistency as real cheese and melts nicely.

            - Soy Delicious 'ice cream' to me is horrible, it tastes like a funky, watery choc. sorbet. I find that tofutti is MUCH MUCH better, its real soft and creamy, and they also make these little tofutti ice cream sandwiches that are very tasty. Tofutti has quite a bit of sugar in it tho.

            - Soy yogurt is a little tricky, with Stoneyfield being the worst to me, my current favorite is Silk, Vanilla, it has great texture and a unique, vanilla taste.

            I went from meat & potatos, taco bell kind of eater to strict vegan and now a sensible organic/vegetarian type. (???) Anyhow, most of these things have very similiar texture and flavor. (Which seems to be the biggest issue amongst people...)

            Good luck!

            1 Reply
            1. re: andlulu

              I like Vitasoy Light Original soymilk best. Almond milk is awesome, too. I personally can't stand rice milk - too watery and sweet.

              For ice cream, I say skip the soy/rice stuff and find yourself a good sorbet. Check the label, though, because some might not be entirely dairy-free.

              Soy cheese slices (ie, imitation processed cheese) is actually not bad, if only for grilled cheese sandwiches.

              The only tasty soygurt I've ever found was from a local brand in Ottawa, sold at the New Edinburgh Loeb. But you can make a nice alternative (albeit without the probiotics) by puréeing silken tofu and flavouring to taste.