Viva!, a campaign-driven non-profit working to abolish factory farming, has just launched their latest initiative, chooFree May. Similar to No Meat May, the month-long campaign encourages people to give up animal products, specifically dairy, for 31 days. Viva! Founder Juliet Gellatley said in a statement, “Going dairy-free is one of the most natural changes to your diet.” She continued, “We want to show the public just how simple, delicious and easy it is to try dairy-free. MooFree May will open people’s eyes to tasty dairy alternatives available whilst highlighting the brutal realities of the dairy industry.” With all of the phenomenal plant-based dairy alternatives on the market – from milk to cheese to ice cream – it’s true that ditching dairy can be “simple, delicious, and easy.” Here is our essential dairy-free product picks for MooFree May.
7 Essential Vegan Dairy Alternatives for MooFree May
Since Michael Phelps appeared in that almond milk commercial earlier this year, the public is becoming more accustomed to non-dairy milk. And it’s not just soy. There’s a market for almond, cashew, rice, coconut, flax, hemp, pea, oat, and even banana milk. In fact, for those who believe a vegan diet is limiting, there are far more options in plant-based milk than dairy milk. But which is the best? It really depends on personal preference and diet (obviously nut and soy allergies can dictate purchasing decisions) but there are a few milks that tend to work best with certain dishes.
When ordering an espresso drink with foam (latte, cappuccino, or macchiato), soy is the safest bet. This is because it foams easily. Most coffee shops in the US carry Pacifica brand. However, if your local shop uses Califia Farms Almond Milk Barista Blend, order the almond milk. This beverage foams beautifully and tastes incredible – no need to add a pump of vanilla syrup to a well-crafted latte. Finally, Oatly, a Swedish oat milk brand, is rapidly appearing in cafes across the US, Europe, and the UK. It is full-bodied and delicious, perfect for those with nut allergies.
For everyday milk to use on cereal or to drink by the glass, So Delicious Cashew Milk and Ripple (a pea-based milk) are stellar options. Both are mild yet delicious, creamy, and satisfying. It’s the perfect pairing for a classic vegan chocolate chip cookie or dunking a vegan Oreo.
“I’d go vegan but I can’t give up cheese.” That’s right up there with “Where do you get your protein?” To every person who has uttered the cheese comment, you don’t have to give up cheese. You just have to give up dairy-based cheese. Like vegan ice cream, what was once a subpar product has evolved drastically into a mainstream concept. From gourmet cheese to everyday shreds, quality vegan cheese isn’t just readily available in grocery stores; it has become a common item in restaurants as well.
For an artisan, cheese plate-style cheese, Miyoko’s brand is always a crowd pleaser. Her cheese wheels are luxuriously creamy and decadent with just the right amount of punch (as all good cheeses should be). Try the Smoked Farmhouse and Black Ash to start, or buy all ten for an epic cheese party. Miyoko’s is available in many stores across the US, as well as online. For those who live in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas, stop by a natural foods store for Yvonne’s Goatless Cheese with Cranberry and Dill. This is the gateway cheese. Bring it to a party, don’t tell anyone it’s vegan, and it will be gone before the fashionably late attendees arrive.
Artisan cheese is amazing, but let’s be real, few people treat themselves to a cheese plate every night. However, cheesy pizzas, burritos, and grilled sandwiches? Those are definitely in the daily rotation. For a melty, everyday cheese worthy of that Instagram cheese pull, go for Follow Your Heart or (yes, again) Miyoko’s. Follow Your Heart offers a variety of flavors and styles, from shreds to slices, that are perfect for grilled cheese, quesadillas, and stacked sandwiches. For the pizza lovers, look no further than Miyoko’s mozzarella. It’s melty, stretchy, savory, and most importantly, authentic.
3. Ice Cream
Vegan ice cream has boomed in the past few years. Not only are vegan companies churning out amazing products; corporate dairy brands are also scooping up sweet vegan versions of their customer favorites. To support a vegan brand, check out So Delicious and NadaMoo. So Delicious has ramped up its flavor lineup, offering both cashew, almond, soy, and coconut milk-based frozen desserts. Don’t get overwhelmed, just go for the cashew milk Snickerdoodle and the coconut milk Toasted Coconut Key Lime. If you like big chunks of cookie dough and bold flavors, these are your best bet. NadaMoo is another stellar vegan frozen dessert brand with a medley of flavors. They all taste divine, but where this Austin-based company really shines is the texture. Never icy, always rich and creamy. The company rolls out new flavors on the regular, but we’re fans of two of the originals: MMM…Maple Pecan and Lotta Mint Chip.
As lactose intolerance hits record numbers (approximately 75% of the world’s human population loses their ability to digest lactose after infancy), commercial ice cream brands are hopping on the vegan bandwagon, offering non-dairy versions of their best-sellers. Big brands such as Haagen Dazs, Halo Top, Breyers, McConnell’s, and Ben & Jerry’s all have multiple vegan flavors in both the supermarket and some scoop shops. To enjoy the low-calorie ice cream trend, Halo Top’s Dairy Free Peanut Butter Cup is the winner. Out with friends for ice cream? Stroll through a Ben & Jerry’s for a double scoop of the Non-Dairy Coconut Seven Layer Bar. Many Ben & Jerry vegan flavors are also available in supermarkets.
Some people are diehard yogurt fans. Thanks to the easily portable cups and the rise of the greek yogurt food trend, this dairy product has become a staple in the diets of busy moms, desk-chained office workers, and fitness professionals alike. Don’t freak out – you don’t have to give up your morning yogurt and granola to participate in MooFree May. Just swap it for one of the many vegan alternatives. Coconut milk-based varieties replicate the thick texture of Greek yogurt. A staple in the UK but new to the US markets, The Coconut Collaborative makes a quality product, both in plain and flavored varieties. For some omega-3s and probiotic punch, try Good Karma’s flax milk yogurts.
5. Whipped Cream
We’ve covered vegan ice cream, but is a sundae really complete without a dollop of whipped cream? A chilled can of coconut milk and powdered sugar can transform into a velvety dairy-free topping, but this method can be finicky, and who has time to think ahead and chill a can of coconut milk overnight? Whipped cream calls for spontaneity, which is where store-bought comes in. Keep a tub of So Delicious Coco Whip in your freezer, and elevate any dessert with this dairy-free delight. The product comes in regular and light, so go ahead and enjoy that generous slice of vegan pie.
6. Coffee Creamer
How many cups of perfectly good coffee have we ruined with non-dairy milk that curdles on contact? Good news – you don’t have to overcome your coffee addiction (or switch to black) to go dairy-free. Silk soy creamers never curdle. Get your phone ready to InstaStory that beautiful bloom that occurs when creamer hits your coffee, then swirl it to create the perfect milky beverage. The brand has recently debuted a new line of flavored almond milk creamers, but we can’t seem to stray from the Soy Vanilla.
7. Cream Cheese
Cream cheese can make or break a bagel. Whether you spread it on thin or slather on a good half inch of schmear, it’s important to have a quality spread. Try out Kite Hill’s almond-based cream cheeses in Plain, Chive, and Jalapeno to accompany a fresh bagel. Nut allergy? Daiya makes a coconut-based creamy spread in Plain, Chive and Onion, Garden Vegetable, and Strawberry. Now, the real question…to toast or not to toast?