Living Dairy-Free

June is a month-long celebration of our local dairy farmers and producers. If you’re anything like me though, it’s a month-long reminder of all of the delicious foods that everyone but me gets to enjoy. Living a dairy-free life is tough anywhere, but in Wisconsin, it’s especially challenging; we didn’t get the nickname cheeseheads for nothing, after all!

Some people eliminate dairy by choice, some are allergic, and some of us are lactose intolerant. This means that our bodies no longer produce enough lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose into an absorbable form. After realizing I could no longer handle dairy at age 20, I did research and learned that about 44% of Americans are lactose intolerant. The most common form of it comes with age. Our bodies naturally produce lactase as infants to digest breast milk, but after age 5, that production slows naturally.

The good news is that there are a lot of dairy-free alternatives to your favorite products and ingredients. After a lot of time spent in the kitchen over the past 7 years, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, the products that are similar to their dairy counterparts, and which are…not my favorite. Here are a few tips and favorites products of mine.

Recommended Dairy-Free Alternatives

Native Forest Full-Fat Coconut Milk: A can will replace heavy cream in any recipe, making it great in soups, pasta sauces, crockpot meals, and more!

CHAO Cheese: It makes fantastic grilled cheese sandwiches, is tasty on its own, and melts perfectly.

Tofutti Sour Cream & Cream Cheese: These are a perfect combo for dips and spreads without the dairy.

Oat Milk: This is the most versatile dairy-free milk. It works well in all types of recipes and has a neutral flavor so it’s tasty on its own.

Coolhaus Dairy-Free Ice Cream: It tastes exactly the same as dairy ice cream—a life-changing discovery of mine I have to share with my fellow ice cream lovers!

Shop for These Dairy-Free Products & More Online Now

I’d love to tell you about all of the other discoveries and products I’ve found throughout the years! Just flag me down next time you’re in the co-op.

This article was originally published in the June/July 2020 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.

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