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Top Ten: Substitutions to survive dairy and soy free

Cow_-_Flickr_-_USDAgovAs I recently mentioned, we’ve discovered that Ian has a bunch of severe food allergies, requiring me to cut all soy and dairy out of my own diet while we get things figured out. I won’t lie, this last month has been no picnic – no pun intended. Milk, coffee creamer, cheese, chocolate, sour cream, baked goods, and butter have all played feature roles in my life, as have tofu, bread, crackers, soy sauce, and a whole slew of items I never would’ve dreamed had soy in them.

But as with many challenges, I’m now on the other side of the soy/dairy free dilemma and am ready to share the fruits of my (frantic) labor with you. Whether you’re looking to limit your dairy and soy for lifestyle reasons (crazy) or you’ve been banned from it all like I was, the following ten items have provided adequate to excellent substitutions for everyday soy and dairy products, and have eased my pain considerably. Instead of the initial heart attack it’s feeling like more of a dull ache these days.

Top Ten: Substitutions to survive dairy and soy free

Milk – Almond milk, unsweetened or chocolate (I like Blue Diamond brand). Most of the flavors are too sweet for my taste. So Delicious Coconut milk and Rice Dream rice milk have been okay too, original flavor.

Creamer – as an avid coffee drinker, this one took a while to find but was of utmost urgency. I am happy to report (after many misses) that there is a decent substitute, So Delicious coconut creamer. But unsweetened only – I find their flavors waaayyyy too sweet.

Butter Earth Balance spread, dairy and soy free (the red container). It’s very tasty, but you’ll get fat eating this stuff (100 calories per TBSP, yikes!). Good thing there’s not much else to eat these days. Spectrum shortening is an excellent replacement when baking.

CookiesEnjoy Life has several tasty flavors like chocolate, chocolate chip and snickerdoodle as well as a decent soft cookie texture.

BreadFresh Direct pullman loaf, white. Also, many types of pita bread are dairy/soy free too.

Cheese – No. I mean, Daiya cheese shreds if you’re desperate but nothing comes close to real cheese that I’ve tried yet. I’ve actually been using avocado in many places I would use cheese – very tasty on sandwiches, crackers, salads. I miss pizza.

MayonnaiseGefen pure homogenized brand is quite good.

Crackers/ChipsSun Chips, Skinny Sticks (veggie tortilla and sweet potato flavors are awesome), Fritos, Garden of Eatin’ Blue Corn Chips, Good Health Avocado Oil Chips, nuts, nuts and more nuts.

YogurtSo Delicious brand, multiple flavors. Texture is okay, but in my picky opinion not amazing (a little jello-like).

Chocolate – Second in importance only to coffee creamer, I was relieved to find Enjoy Life chocolate bars, especially dark chocolate.

Do you have go-to soy and dairy free items in your life? I encourage you to add your favorite products in the comments section – the more options we all have the better! And keep an eye out for my Top Ten Easy Soy and Dairy Free recipes that don’t require a bunch of hard-to-find ingredients, are healthy, delicious and kid-friendly. Still working on that title…

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