Tips for a dairy free diet from Healthy Diet and Nutrition for Women
If you must use cow’s milk cheese in cooking, decrease the amount in the recipe by three-fourths so that it becomes a flavoring or garnish rather than a major source of fat and protein. For example, use one teaspoon of parmesan cheese to top a casserole instead of one-half cup.
Use soy cheese in food preparation and cooking. Soy cheese is an excellent substitute for cow’s milk cheese. It is lower in fat and salt, and the fat it does contain isn’t saturated. In addition, many women are lactose intolerant and may have difficulty digesting cow’s milk-based cheese. Health food stores offer many brands of soy cheese that come in a variety of flavors, such as mozzarella, cheddar, American, and jack. The quality of these products continues to improve. You can enjoy soy cheese as a perfect cheese substitute in sandwiches, salads, pizzas, lasagnas, and casseroles. In some recipes, you can replace cheese with soft tofu. I have done this often with lasagna, layering the lasagna noodles with tofu and topping it with melted soy cheese for a delicious dish. The tofu, which is bland, takes on the taste of the tomato sauce.
I recommend that you replace cow’s milk and yogurt as part of your regular diet and in recipes. For cow’s milk, substitute soy milk, rice milk, nut milk, flaxseed milk, hemp milk, coconut milk or grain milk. Nondairy milks are available at all health food stores, as well as in most supermarkets. They are available in unsweetened, vanilla and flavored versions. Many nondairy types of milk can be used for drinking, cooking, or baking.
For cow’s milk-based yogurt, substitute soy yogurt. There are several excellent brands of soy yogurt currently available in the health food stores. They are available in plain, vanilla, and various fruit flavors. Another benefit is that these products tend to be cultured with live acidophilus, which is beneficial for the digestive tract. The taste is excellent and similar to cow’s milk yogurt. I have found soy yogurt to be an excellent substitute in both cooking and baking.
Substitute flaxseed oil for butter. Flaxseed oil is the best substitute for butter that I’ve found. It is a rich, golden oil that looks and tastes quite a bit like butter. It is delicious on anything you’d normally top with butter—toast, rice, popcorn, steamed vegetables, or potatoes. Flaxseed oil is extremely high in essential fatty acids—the type of fat that is very healthy for a woman’s body. Essential fatty acids improve vitality, enhance circulation, and help promote healthy hormonal function. Flaxseed oil is quite perishable, however, because it is sensitive to heat and light. For that reason, don’t cook with it—cook the food first and add the flaxseed oil before serving. Also, keep it refrigerated even before opening it. Because flaxseed oil has so many health benefits, I highly recommend its use. You can find it in most health food stores.