How I Went Dairy Free + 21 Dairy Alternatives & Recipes

natural wellness Mar 23, 2021
dairy free alternative milk on wooden table

Giving up dairy was hard at first, but it was important to regain my health.
Now I'm dairy free, healthier, and enjoying delicious dairy alternatives and dairy free recipes.

Table of Contents
Dairy labeling
Finding dairy alternatives
What dairy free foods are high in calcium?
Eggshell calcium powder
Are eggs considered a dairy product?
More dairy free recipes


I went dairy free over 4 years ago because I was having multiple health problems, and IgG allergy testing showed that I had an intolerance to dairy. Giving up dairy was hard at first, but I felt it was important to do whatever was necessary to regain my health. 

My doctor told me that I had a true dairy allergy and not lactose intolerance which meant I needed to avoid all dairy. I couldn’t have:  

  • butter
  • buttermilk
  • cheese
  • cream
  • cream cheese
  • ice cream
  • pudding
  • whipped cream
  • whipped topping
  • yogurt
  • many ingredients in processed food including: calcium caseinate, casein, potassium caseinate, whey protein concentrate and more!

While it was overwhelming at first, I realized I had two choices:

    1. Find a product in the grocery store with no dairy ingredients
    2. Make a substitute myself

In the process, I found multiple ways to replace dairy and some favorite new recipes I can't wait to share with you. . .


Dairy labeling

It's getting easier to find dairy alternatives in the grocery store because allergen labeling laws now require companies to state if their product contains milk.

Some product labels also note if the product was 'made on shared equipment' or 'may contain milk'. This often means that the product doesn’t have a dairy ingredient, but that there may be very small trace amounts of milk because the product was made on the same equipment as milk-containing products.  

People who have mild to moderate reactions to dairy can often have these products. But, of course, if you have severe to life-threatening reactions, it's important to contact the company and find out what the ingredients are and what processes are used in the manufacturing.


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Finding dairy alternatives

Even though there are dairy alternatives in the grocery store, many of the ingredients are less than stellar. So, when my dairy free journey began, I tried to focus on cooking basic, healthy meals that were naturally dairy free instead of buying products from the grocery store.

I would use a healthy fat to cook my protein.

I gave up cereal (I believe cereal is unhealthy anyway), and started eating eggs or leftovers. The healthiest breakfasts include high quality protein anyway! 

Later on I researched ways to replace milk, cheese, and butter.

Here are some good dairy alternatives, both homemade and store-bought.

  •  Make homemade coconut milk from water and shredded coconut.

  • Coconut milk powder (just mix with water) is also available from Wildly Organics, one of the companies Paula lists on her favorites page.

  • Almond milk is available in many stores (beware that some of the ingredients are not the healthiest) or you can make your own almond milk.

  • Use beef tallow or coconut oil instead of butter. Coconut oil is a good option for baking, and beef tallow is excellent for cooking and sautéing. 

  • Cheese is a harder thing to replace. Many brands are not going to taste like cheese. I have gone without cheese personally. If you’re looking for a good brand, Daiya brand mozzarella usually gets good taste reviews. (Unlike many other non-dairy cheeses).

  • Many grocery stores carry the So Delicious brand. They make lots of dairy free products including dairy free ice cream, yogurt, and whipped cream. Many of their products do contain processing ingredients like guar gum, xantham gum, and locust bean gum. These ingredients seem to be safe for most people. However, be aware that the gums might aggravate those with digestive problems.

  • If you need some buttermilk for a recipe, pour 1 Tablespoon lemon juice in a measuring cup and add enough dairy free milk to make 1 cup. Coconut or almond milk can work well for this.

Looking for a delicious dairy free ice cream?
Download our Berry Blast Ice Cream recipe below!



What dairy free foods are high in calcium?

We'll get to some great recipes in a moment, but first let's address the often asked question about calcium.

If you've ever seen the commercials where celebrities smile at the camera with a milk mustache, you might suddenly panic and worry that if you can't have dairy you'll be deficient in calcium.

But calcium isn't found only in milk or dairy products. Calcium is also found in dark green vegetables such as:

  • broccoli
  • bok choy leaves
  • kale
  • spinach

As well as fish with soft bones that are eaten, such as:

  • canned salmon
  • sardines
  • anchovy


Eggshell calcium powder

Another great way to get calcium is with eggshell powder. Calcium carbonate comprises more than 90% (by weight) of an eggshell. (Source.)

Making your own eggshell powder is easy:

Step 1. Collect - Keep your eggshells as you use them. You can rinse them off, store them in a bag, and put them in the freezer until you have 15-20 shells. 

Step 2. Sterilize - When you're ready to make eggshell powder, remove the eggs from the freezer and put them in a pan. Cover the eggshells with water and boil them for 10 minutes before moving onto Step 3.

Step 3. Dry - Remove the eggshells from the water and lay them out on a baking sheet. Bake them at 200 degrees F for 25 minutes so that they are completely dry.

Step 4. Grind - Eggshells are easy to grind in a coffee grinder or a food processor. You want to grind them until they are a fine powder. Then store them in a glass jar.

Step 5. Use -  A single, medium-sized eggshell makes about one teaspoon of powder. A teaspoon of eggshell powder contains about 750 to 800 mg of calcium. (Source.) 

You can add eggshell powder to your water, a protein shake, ground meat, soups, etc. 



Are eggs considered a dairy product?

Even though eggs are often found in the dairy section at the grocery store next to milk, butter, cheeses, and yogurt, eggs are not a dairy product.

Dairy products come from the milk of mammals such as cows, goats, sheep, etc. while eggs are produced from fowl such as chickens, ducks, quail, etc.

Eggs are full of protein and healthy fat (from the yolk). They also make a wonderful ingredient in dairy free recipes such as:

  • Hard Boiled Egg Pudding - after sitting in the refrigerator overnight, this non dairy pudding recipe becomes thick, creamy, and doesn't taste like eggs. Many have been amazed when they find out the main ingredient is hard boiled eggs!

  • Grain-Free Egg Bake - another high-protein meal that can use a variety of meats, vegetables, and dairy free milk options to suit your taste.

  • Protein Sparing Wonder Bread - full of protein and egg whites, this gluten and dairy free bread is the genius invention of Maria from Keto Adapted. 

  • Dairy Free Custard - a light, honey-sweetened dessert filled with egg yolk and heathy fats. 

  • Paleo Eggnog - a delicious way to bring in the holidays, yet staying dairy free and healthy at the same time. 



More dairy free recipes

Some of the best recipes are dairy free. There's no need to feel deprived or frustrated when you can have dairy free cookies, smoothies, and fun treats like fudgesicles:

  • Paleo Ginger Molasses Cookies - a gluten and dairy free cookie that tastes like heaven and has made it to multiple of Paula's family functions - much to the delight of those with or without allergies.

  • Sugar-Free Strawberry Smoothie - this dairy free smoothie is quick, easy, and tastes great made with coconut milk!

  • Coconut Whipped Cream - the secret to dairy free cool whip is the hardened fat (easily separated in the refrigerator) from canned coconut milk and whipped until it's fluffy.

  • Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free Fudgesicles - a fun treat for the kids without the dairy, sugar, and carbs. 

  • Dairy Free Yogurt - a little more work than grabbing a container at the store, but the ingredients are better and the satisfying taste is well worth it.


Going dairy free can be tough, but not impossible. It definitely gets easier as time goes on and you get used to replacing dairy foods and ingredients.

The internet is a big place too. Search for terms like "dairy free ice cream" and you'll find lots of alternatives that are still delicious, and oftentimes, healthier than their dairy counterparts.


This article may contain special links through which we earn a small commission if you make a purchase
(your price does not change). We only recommend products and services we trust.


What are some ways you’ve adjusted to going dairy free?


Kristie is a homemaker and homeschool mom who loves to research and share her discoveries. She has overcome many health challenges and desires to help others be their healthiest self. Teaching has been part of Kristie’s life for decades. She shares her best homeschooling tips as well as healthy living and homemaking tips on her blog, Healthy and Lovin’ It. She also offers printables for kids and moms on her blog and her Etsy store, Kristie Print Co.


This post was originally written by Kristie Mobley. It was edited, expanded, and republished by Paula Miller on 9/24/21.




Waheed, M., Butt, M. S., Shehzad, A., Adzahan, N. M., Shabbir, M. A., Rasul Suleria, H. A., & Aadil, R. M. (2019). Eggshell calcium: A cheap alternative to expensive supplements. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 91, 219–230.

Alavandi, S. (2018). Comparative study on calcium content in egg shells of different birds. International Journal of Zoology Studies , 3(4), 31–33.


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