If you are in the decision making phase of whether to start with plant-based eating or not, one obvious obstacle that many of you might have come across is the lack of dairy. Dairy products have been an essential part of many of our diets and are considered as standard, a staple part of the diet. Dairy means milk, salad dressings, ice cream, sour cream, yogurt, cheese, and so on. It comes with no surprise that the above-mentioned items are very much a part of the diets of many people.
Your choice when it comes to dairy foodstuffs is to completely avoid them, as they are considered as an animal product. Finding alternatives to take their place is the best possible solution to this. We shall be taking a look through what are the plant-based foods that you can use as a viable replacement for dairy. Read on…
Identify What It Is That You Like
This might seem counterintuitive, but the first step is to find out what are the dairy foods that you relish. Once you have got these figured out, the next step is to find plant-based options for the foods that you like. Some people like Greek yogurt and sour cream, while others may like their share of ice cream as the week ends.
Keep a log of the dairy foods that you like the most. The logs can help you in two ways. First, it acts as a quick reference guide for selecting an alternative. Secondly, it helps you check your progress as you wean off of your dairy foods. This will give you a boost in encouragement and easy documentation of the changes that you made.
Change Up The Texture And Richness
When you make use of dairy in traditional cooking, you are using it to make a creamier, smoother texture and enhance the richness. Rather than finding a replacement, place your efforts on figuring out how the cream has been used. Here are some of the ways that dairy has been used in traditional recipes:
Dairy products are often used to enhance the richness of the dishes and add fatty, rich flavor to them. This is what happens when you sprinkle shredded parmesan cheese atop your pasta or baked potatoes. Find ingredients that you can use to replace them, and add them to your plant-based recipes.
You can make use of nutritional yeast flakes such as hemp hearts as a substitute for parmesan. Instead of sour cream, you can make use of avocado and hummus. Rather than using cheese on pizzas and sandwiches, you can spread hummus onto them.
Cheese, butter, and cream are all added to increase the taste and make dishes savory and rich. They are used in creamed soups, cheese sauces, and mashed potatoes. You can begin to replace the creamy texture by making use of cashews that are finely ground to a paste, or pureed tofu, beans, mashed potatoes, and yam. All of them will help in enhancing the creaminess of the dish.
The Umami Flavour
The umami flavor is the fifth flavor that many of you might have tasted but not realized. It is felt in aged cheeses. Glutamate is an ingredient known to give aged cheese its unique taste. These are found in plant-based foods such as fermented foods, tamari or soy sauce, nutritional yeast, and mushrooms. Adding any of these ingredients in your dish can help you in making up for the lost umami flavor, without having to add in the dairy.
Sweet Creamy Treats
Apart from the conventional savory foods, dairy also shows itself in many sweet desserts such as milkshakes, ice creams, frosting, yogurt parfait, and fudge sauce. Surprisingly, nowadays we have plenty of vegan alternatives and options to choose from. You can make use of frozen bananas that can be finely pureed to get a fine consistency. Frozen fruits and almonds can be blended to get a smoothie bowl, of sorts. You may make use of chia seeds, cashews, dates, and plant-based milk that can all be combined to get a creamy sauce that you can use in chai pudding parfaits, and frostings.
When you are starting with plant-based eating, it may be comforting to find plenty of vegan alternatives and options in supermarkets. However, take the time to take a good look at the product label. Many of these ready-to-use substitutes have refined oils, emulsifiers, artificial flavors, and processed thickeners. All of the healthy eating you are doing can all be reversed if you end up stocking up your body with this garbage. Read the labels and avoid processed ingredients. Remember, it is not only about finding a replacement but about finding a replacement for the creaminess and texture that you crave.
There are plenty more for you to look at, and in time you can incorporate these plant-based ingredients into your diet, with the dairy going out!