Dairy-Free December


If your clients are suffering from digestive issues (i.e. gas and bloating after they eat), inflammation (excess phlegm or acne), and/or skin issues (like eczema), it could be because their bodies aren’t too happy with dairy. If you’re working with them to reduce their intake or avoid it all together, they might feel as though it’s impossible to do so throughout the busy holiday month of December. Not only is it a month dominated by holiday cheer, eggnog, and butter cookies, it is also the time of year, weather-wise, for hot creamy soups, hot chocolate with warm milk, and steaming oatmeal swimming in milk or cream. Going dairy-free may seem like a challenge for your clients, but not to worry—we’ve got them (and you) covered!

Going dairy-free has never been easier. The main reason is the wide range of dairy-free beverages now available in traditional grocery as well as natural food stores. Although soy and rice beverages have been around for many years, they now share shelf and dairy case space with hemp, potato, almond, coconut, cashew, hazelnut, flax, walnut, macadamia, and oat beverages.

Most of these products come in various flavors: sweetened or unsweetened, low-fat, no-fat, and/or fortified with nutrients like calcium or protein. Another great feature of dairy-free beverages is that they can often be made at home—no cow necessary!

When choosing a dairy-free beverage, how your clients will use it is an important consideration. The good news is that these beverages can be substituted one-for-one in recipes. My favorite non-dairy beverage is coconut milk because it can be used for almost everything including coffee, baking, and cereal. If you aren’t a fan of coconut (it does have a coconut flavor), almond and cashew are also delicious.
Soy beverages tend to have a stronger taste and so may not be best for delicate desserts, while the nut beverages may be the perfect substitute because they are naturally slightly sweet. Rice beverages are not as thick as soy beverages and have a mild sweetness, which makes them better for desserts, cereals, or smoothies.

It wouldn’t be the holiday season without some type of nog. Try this dairy-free version at home:

  • Two 10-oz packages low-fat or silken organic tofu
  • 16 oz low-fat vanilla almond or rice milk
  • 2 Tbs vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • Rum, brandy, or fruit juice to personal taste
  • Nutmeg for topping

Combine all ingredients (except nutmeg) in a blender and process thoroughly. Chill and dust with nutmeg before serving.

When preparing recipes that call for milk (such as salad dressings, cream sauces, mashed potatoes, or cream soups), a dairy-free beverage can be substituted. Unsweetened hemp, flax, oat, or potato beverages are good alternatives. In recipes that call for buttermilk, an alternative can be made by adding one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to one cup of rice or other beverage.

You can also make a non-dairy whip cream using coconut fat. It is so easy to make and is decadent and delicious! I recently did a Facebook Live and topped this non-dairy version on homemade granola. You can watch it here. Yum!

Dairy-free December is a good time to start exploring milk alternatives. Since there are at least 12 dairy-free beverage options, there are enough to last an entire year!

Have a happy & safe holiday season!