I’ve been gluten-free and dairy-free for about 8 years, and if you ask me which one I miss more, hands down the answer is dairy. The gluten-free “movement”, if you want to call it that, has been around for at least a decade now, and in that time has ballooned to a huge industry, with new gluten-free substitutes emerging every time I visit the grocery store. Each year, gluten-free bread, pasta, pizza dough, and sweets get better and better, so much so that many of them are pretty close to the real thing.
However dairy is a bit different. I’ve had a harder time finding good dairy substitutes that come close to the real thing. And I find that it’s far less common for restaurants to have dairy-free alternatives than gluten-free alternatives. Even if I do order a vegan pizza or mac & cheese at one of my favorite vegan restaurants, they’re good, but nothing close to the real thing. So my expectations have to shift. I look now for an overall yummy dish that is gluten and dairy-free and don’t try to draw comparisons to the “real thing”.
But don’t lose hope – the market for dairy-free and vegan alternatives is growing and improving quickly. Of course there are a ton of dairy-free milks – we’re not just stuck with soy milk anymore, there are many more that offer different nutritional profiles. There are also some really amazing tasty alternatives for ice cream and butter. The one that I’ve had the hardest time finding a good alternative for is cheese. That being said, I tasted some pretty good alternatives at Expowest this year, so hopefully that field will continue to develop and we’ll soon have a mozzarella cheese that oozes and melts like the real thing.
Read my piece for mindbodygreen on my favorite dairy alternatives here. Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments below!