for those of you who also have dairy/casein allergies or issues, or anyone considering a vegan lifestyle, here are some basics that may help to get you started…
(and all of the items below are gluten-free as well, though you should always double-check before purchasing or consuming)
butter/ shortening substitutes:
Earth Balance. no need for any more~ it’s great and barely noticeable that it’s a substitute. it’s available at Whole Foods, co-ops, and Trader Joes (though I heard rumor TJ’s may not carry them anymore)
rice milk: cheapest at Whole Foods or Trader Joes, but available at co-ops and regular grocery stores as well. (my fav for cereal, plus everything’s made of soy, so it’s a nice break)
almond milk: a matter of preference, I know a lot of people who prefer this to rice milk
soy milk: best for baking or mashed potatoes (the regular, not vanilla flavored) because it’s thicker
hemp milk: I haven’t tried it yet, but heard its thicker and good for baking as well.
coconut milk: another great substitute for thicker things, including ice cream.
speaking of ice cream:
Good Karma Rice Divine brand “ice cream” is SO good, and you can’t tell the difference
Madwoman Foods, near 46th and Nicollet makes their own coconut ice cream and sells by the scoop or in freezer containers.
I’ve always thought that the book Lick It by Cathe Olson looks great if you want to try making it yourself.
chocolate chips: Food For Life brand has allergen-free chocolate chips. Whole Foods brand vegan chocolate chips are also dairy-free. Trader Joes also makes vegan chocolate chips, which I believe are made of dark chocolate.
Pizza Luce~ I believe that both their gluten-free and their regular pizza crusts are gluten-free (double-check to be sure), and they have two vegan “cheese” alternatives~ soy cheese (really good, I can never get it to melt like they can, especially good at the St Paul Selby Ave location), or “rinotta” which is made of nuts.
the cheese substitute they use is Follow Your Heart, Vegan Gourmet line. this is the one that Pizza Luce uses. many dairy-free cheeses still contain casein, which is a milk protein. this one is casein-free and completely vegan. it melts best if you microwave it for at least a portion of the cooking time.
if you’re vegan or have egg allergies, you can substitute an egg with either use 1 Tbl ground flaxseed to 3 Tbl water (which will make a goopy substance) or Egg Replacer (by Ener-g brand), depending on the function of the egg. a combination of both substitutes may be necessary.
Ecopolitan is a raw food restaurant, which is completely vegan, and very tasty! Pure Market Express is a new raw food place in town that makes raw food meals and are available for sale at several local co-ops, though not at Whole Foods yet. they also have delivery plans for a 7-state are ($10 fee), and will provide up to an entire week’s meals.
a great website with casein-free (and gluten-free) recipes, which could come in handy, and includes making your own dairy-free yogurt (and from that, cream cheese), dairy-free caramel, a vegan alfredo sauce, etc. is Angela’s Kitchen.
you might also enjoy the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, which has a lot of allergen-free recipes, and many Asian, Indian, and other ethnic recipes as well.
hopefully this helps people get a jump-start on a dairy-free or vegan diet. it’s usually quite easy to make a recipe vegan with the Earth Balance “butter” and milk substitutes. if going completely vegan, the eggs can be a bit trickier, but once you get used to baking egg-free, it should get easier.