Beginning a vegan diet can be extremely challenging for most. Letting go of meats can be still easier for some, but completely cutting out animal products can be difficult for most- dairy included. Dairy is in most of the foods that we eat- from cheese, sour cream, salad dressing, yogurt, ice cream, milk and many more. How should you start with ditching dairy and finding healthy alternatives for them? Let us try finding out.
Identify What You Like
Before you take the plunge, sit down and decide the dairy foods that you would like. Making a list of the dairy foods that you like will help you find an alternative vegan meal to substitute them. While there are some who like their cream cheese and ice-cream, there is another bunch that enjoys Greek yogurt and milk. Keeping a log of the things you like, will give you an idea on how to best substitute them. This food log must be maintained by you. It will act as a quick reference for the dairy alternative.
Keeping this log active will also let you look back on the progress of weaning off of these previously favored dairy foods. Documenting these changes will make you feel encouraged and satisfied on the progress you have made so far.
Replace The Richness That Dairy Foods Give
When dairy is used, it often enhances the texture and richness of the dishes. Rather than finding just an alternative to the milk substitute, place attention on how that dairy product is used in the recipe and what aspect of the recipe does it elevate or alter.
Creaminess is often obtained by adding butter, cream and cheese. Most of the creamy dishes like creamed soup, cheese sauces and so on, all have these. To replicate that texture, you can make use of pureed tofu, pureed potatoes, soaked cashews, etc. These will come close to re-creating the savory flavor that dairy foods brought in.
Richness is added in by the fatty flavor in the dairy products. When parmesan cheese is sprinkled over your white sauce pasta or sour cream is mixed in with a dollop of mashed potatoes, it is the richness of the dairy that elevates the flavor. Replace these with avocado or hummus; you can use a spread of hummus on the sandwich or pizza, rather than cheese.
It goes without saying that, it won’t be at the same level of flavor but you will be gaining from healthy eating in the long run.