A Celiac's Favorite Gluten Free Dairy Alternatives

Long time no talk! As those who follow me on Instagram know, this semester of grad school has been beating my butt, which is why I've been quiet on the blog for a little while. But now that things are slowing down a bit, I'm back and ready to share all my favorite stories about and tips for thriving with celiac disease. And today's post is for all my dairy free foodies! Because while I now can enjoy dairy in moderation, when I first diagnosed with celiac disease, I soon discovered that dairy was not my best friend. But here's the good news: nowadays, there are so many delicious dairy free alternatives out there, eating a scrumptious gluten and dairy free diet is 1000% possible.

A Celiac's Favorite Gluten Free Dairy Alternatives

I know that the transition to a dairy free diet (not to mention a gluten free and dairy free one) isn't as easy for everyone, though - and that finding the right brands makes a huge difference. So I thought I'd share a roundup of some of my favorite brands in four main categories: dairy free milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream. As always, this list is not exhaustive and I haven't tried every single dairy free brand out there, but I hope this (totally unsponsored, FYI!) list is good enough to give you some ideas of new, delicious dairy free brands to try!

Favorite Gluten Free, Dairy Free Milks:

1. Silk Almond milk and Cashew milk 

Creamy, no weird aftertaste and they come in a variety of flavors, such as sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, chocolate, etc. Silk also offers an Almond and Coconut milk blend, which I think is the best of both worlds if you're looking for a dairy free milk that's a little creamier (thank you, coconut) but not heavy in coconut taste. You can also find coconut milk, soy milk and dairy free milk with added protein from Silk, but I haven't tried them so I can't give an opinion about them, either way.

2. Mooala Banana Milk

If you love bananas, you can't go wrong with Moola's banana milk, which is actually made of ripe bananas, roasted sunflower seeds and cinnamon. Moola also sells almond milk and most recently, coconut oat milk, but banana milk is the only variety I've tried. Their chocolate banana milk is seriously one of the best chilled dairy free drinks I've ever tried, and banana milk is a delicious addition to any smoothie! (My fave kind of gluten and dairy free snack).

A Celiac's Favorite Gluten Free Dairy Alternatives

3. So Delicious Dairy Free Milks

Personally, So Delicious's coconut milks are my favorite, but they also offer newer lines of almond milk and cashew milk. Compared to Silk's dairy free milks, So Delicious offers shelf-stable milk varieties so that you can buy in bulk and not have to worry about fitting them into your fridge.

4. Hope and Sesame 

This is the most recent dairy free milk I've tried, thanks to a shipment being gifted to me for sampling in the last few weeks. The original version of this milk definitely has more sugar than I'm used to and more calories; however, it is also a lot higher in protein than most of the other alternatives I've listed here, thanks to sesame and pea protein concentrates. And the chocolate version? ADDICTIVE! If you're looking for a creamy dairy free milk that doesn't have coconut as a base, you might check out sesame milk instead.

A Celiac's Favorite Gluten Free Dairy Alternatives

5. Elmhurst 1925 

I actually won a package of Elmhurst 1925 milks on Instagram, and I was blown away by how many versions of dairy free milks they sell! Whether you're looking for dairy free milk made of hazelnuts or oats, they got it. Unfortunately, it looks like they're not selling their rice milk anymore, which was actually my favorite because it's one of the only dairy free milks that has not upset my mom's very sensitive stomach. However, all of Elmhurst 1925's milks contain six ingredients or less and no emulsifiers or added gums, so if you're still having trouble digesting other kinds of dairy free milk, this might be a helpful brand to try.

Favorite Gluten Free, Dairy Free Yogurts:

1. So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt

Hands down, So Delicious's coconut milk yogurt is the BEST all-around dairy free yogurt I've ever tried. In particular, I love their 24-ounce unsweetened vanilla yogurt. All their yogurt is certified gluten free and if flavored yogurt is your thang, they have a variety of flavored coconut yogurts. So Delicious also recently released certified gluten free oat-milk yogurt, but since I don't tolerate oats in large amounts, I haven't tried this new line.

2. Kite Hill Almond Milk Yogurt

Kite Hill offers two kinds of almond milk yogurt: regular and "Greek." Their regular almond milk yogurt comes in small 5.3 ounce cups or a larger 16 oz container, and my preferred flavor is the large unsweetened vanilla. Kite Hill's yogurt is definitely not as creamy as So Delicious's coconut-based alternative, but it has a good flavor and is relatively affordable. I think I actually prefer their Greek yogurt, which is high in vegan protein and super thick and creamy.   

A Celiac's Favorite Gluten Free Dairy Alternatives

3. Forager Cashew Milk Yogurt

To be totally honest, Forager's unsweetened yogurt tastes a little too sour, even for my non-sugary loving self. I'm including Forager on this list, though, because I haven't tried their flavored varieties and it is a pretty affordable option for those looking for almond-free and coconut-free vegan yogurt. 

4. Dahlicious Almond Milk Yogurt

If So Delicious is my favorite vegan yogurt of all time, Dahlicious comes in a very close second. I won a prize pack of Dahlicious's almond milk yogurt over a year ago, and I still remember how blown away I was by their creamy texture and sweet but not sugary flavors. Usually, I steer clear of any fruit-flavored yogurts because they taste way too sugary, but Dahlicious's yogurts proved to be the exception. While I enjoyed all the flavors, Mango proved to be a surprise winner. I haven't been able to find Dahlicious in any stores near me, but here's hoping that changes in the near future!

A Celiac's Favorite Gluten Free Dairy Alternatives
Via my Instagram stories...

Favorite Gluten Free, Dairy Free Cheese:

1. Daiya

Daiya is the first vegan cheese I've ever tried, and it has improved a lot since when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease and went dairy free over five years ago. Know this, though: people typically love or hate Daiya cheese since it does have a somewhat distinct flavor. Personally, I like Daiya cheese in small quantities like sprinkled on vegan pizza or used along with my homemade vegan cheese sauce in crockpot mac and cheese. However, I haven't actually had the chance to try their various pre-made mac and cheese blends or new nacho cheese sauce to test out their new cheese formation, so I'd be open to seeing how Daiya tastes more recently in large portions!

(FYI - Daiya does also offer various cheese sticks, yogurts, sliceable cheese, etc. - I just don't eat them regularly enough to offer a solid opinion!)

A Celiac's Favorite Gluten Free Dairy Alternatives

2. Follow Your Heart

Another brand of vegan cheese I've tried is Follow My Heart, and I'd put this brand right up with Daiya cheese in terms of their various options and the taste and melt factor. So if you try Daiya but don't like the flavor, I'd recommend checking out Follow Your Heart instead. Their sliced provolone cheese is actually the only vegan sliced cheese I've loved eating straight out of the package, cold and uncooked! Their dairy free parmesan cheese is also a big hit with me.

3. So Delicious 

My mom is not a huge fan of coconut, so I think everyone was impressed when this turned out to be her favorite dairy free cheese! So Delicious's vegan cheese comes in three varieties of shredded cheese (cheddar, cheddar jack and mozzarella) and is made of mainly coconut milk. I'll admit that the cheese does smell a lil' funky at first, but it melts well and last summer, I was addicted to using it and Elmhurst 1925 rice milk (plus some spices and gluten free all purpose flour) to make vegan queso.

A Celiac's Favorite Gluten Free Dairy Alternatives

Favorite Gluten and Dairy Free Ice Creams:

I have already written some extensive review of seven different gluten free dairy free ice cream brands here, but I'm including four of the brands I actually buy most below! Two are "regular" and two are "lower calorie" or "lighter" options.

1. So Delicious

Well, it's pretty obvious by now that So Delicious is one of my favorite and most versatile allergy-friendly brands...but their ice cream is too delicious (pun intended) to ignore. My personal favorite is their cashew-based ice creams, and even my gluten and dairy loving father is addicted to the Salted Caramel Cluster flavor. However, So Delicious also offer ice creams with bases made of coconut, oat milk, soy milk and almond milk.

2. Coconut Bliss

Coconut Bliss dairy free ice cream is the first coconut-based ice cream I ever had after my celiac disease diagnosis, and it's still one of my favorites. My go-to is their Dark Chocolate, but their Chocolate Walnut Brownie blew my mind last summer. If cookie ice cream sandwiches were your favorite dessert as a kid, you'll also love their gluten free and vegan ice cream cookie sandwiches.

A Celiac's Favorite Gluten Free Dairy Alternatives

3. Halo Top

Halo Top recently released dairy free pints that are a little higher in protein due to brown rice and pea protein, and they won me over pretty quickly as soon as I tasted the Sea Salt Caramel flavor. These ice creams can taste a little chalky from the protein powder, but they do get pretty dang creamy as long as you defrost them long enough, and I was very impressed by the amount of caramel in my favorite flavor! My second favorite flavor is probably the Vanilla Maple. If you do check out Halo Top, just make sure you read the ingredients for each flavor. Most are certified gluten free, but a few do contain gluten and indicate that. 

4. Arctic Zero

As anyone who follows me on Instagram knows, Arctic Zero is another brand of light gluten free and dairy free ice cream that is definitely on my favorites list. Like Halo Top, some of their dairy free flavors are certified gluten free while others contain gluten, so be sure to read your labels carefully. Leave out the pints for 20 minutes or so before eating to get the ultimate creaminess. My surprising favorite by far was Cookie Shake but I also really enjoyed Hint of Mint and Purely Chocolate.

A Celiac's Favorite Gluten Free Dairy Alternatives

What I Hope People Know About Eating Gluten Free and Dairy Free

The biggest thing I hope people know? That eating gluten free and dairy free CAN be delicious - and even easy, to a certain extent - once you find the right brands and products that fit your dietary needs and appeal to your individual taste buds. ;) Some people love Daiya; other people hate it. Some people love coconut milk ice cream while others always go for cashew-based.

Whatever gluten free dairy free alternatives you are looking for, though, there probably is a product out there for you - now, or hopefully coming in the near future! And I hope that this roundup of some of my favorites gives you some decent places to start.



What are your favorite gluten free and dairy free products or brands? Tell me in the comments!

Comments

  1. If you ever get a chance to try the Coconut Collaborative's dairy-free yogurt, take a taste! They sell it completely unsweetened and in lightly sweetened flavors. To me, this is the best recreation of dairy yogurt's taste and texture, and it doesn't have gums or anything else yucky. The possible downside is that it's relatively high in fat, but I think that makes it even better because it's so much like whole milk yogurt. I love their plain flavor, which is just coconut and nothing else, with fruit or used as a sour cream in savory dishes.

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  2. Thanks for trying all these. You're braver than me. I'd have nixed them for being either not organic or for not having a gluten free certification. You can always blend cashews (or whatever) with hot water and make your own milk. In the 1980s there were health food stores with booklets with recipes for it. I'm constantly amazed that it's a "product" now.

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