MILK – It’s easy to substitute cows milk in a recipe. Rice milk, oat milk, or nut milk is measure for measure, you can try hemp milk for a nutty flavor or use coconut for the creamy texture. I personally stay away from soy milk as it is toxic. When buying store versions (making your own is easy) always check the label for added sugar and casein. If you are looking to mimic buttermilk put either 1 tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar in your measuring cup and then add the milk substitute of choice. I find rice milk works well for this but play around till you get the one you like.
CHEESE- If you are buying a vegetarian cheese I would stay away from those containing casein, which is toxic and also not vegan. I would also be leary of cheeses made from tofu as unfermented soy is toxic. There are many easy recipes for things such as cashew cheese that will be a healthier alternative.
EGGS – In baked goods a good substitute is applesauce, a flax egg (1 tbsp of flax seeds plus 3 tbsp water or other liquid, blended). In dishes where you use eggs for binding like quinoa patties you can use oat flour, rolled oats, cooked oatmeal, bread crumbs, nut butters, tomato paste or cornstarch. For glazing pie crust or phyllo dough with egg wash I just use whichever milk substitute I prefer or have on hand.
YOGURT – My personal favorite is coconut yogurt, it’s easy to make or you can find it at your local health food store.
SOUR CREAM – Try just using coconut yogurt if it is for a dip.
MAYONNAISE – This is one I would recommend makin not buying. Most vegan cookbooks have fabulous recipes for this.
BUTTER – Stay away from margarine, even if it is vegan it is basically just a tasty plastic. Opt for coconut oil or another such oil if it’s for cooking.
ICE CREAM – I can’t say enough about coconut ice cream, it is a little slice of heaven. There are rice base, coconut base and nut base ice creams. If you have an ice cream maker you can even experiment on your own. Remember to always add healthy ingredients and watch your labels.
CHOCOLATE – There are so many delectable options as far as vegan chocolate goes. From cocoa powders to non dairy chocolate chips and bars. I’ve been told that some of the vegan versions of chocolate chips don’t melt to well (sad for those chewy chocolate chip cookies). You can also switch to carob available in powder and chip form instead of chocolate in your recipes.
SUGAR- If you weren’t a vegan you might not have known that some sugar is refined using bone char from animals, that is why I have put it on this list. I know that most people are doing there best to cut sugar out of their diet, I can’t recommend this strongly enough. I also want to warn against beet sugar along with a few others which are highly likely to come from GMO crops. You can try coconut sugar, date sugar, maple sugar and well to be honest that is about all I would recommend. Some people like turbinado sugar as well, it’s personal preference and depending on how the rate it dissolves (or absorption) you may want to choose according to the recipe. Experiment and have fun with it.
HONEY – This one is easy, skip all the fake substitutes and go straight for the maple sugar, it can be substituted measure for measure. If you are looking for something less sweet you could try light or dark molasses, brown rice syrup or malt syrup but whatever you do stay far away from the toxic agave syrup, its as bad as high fructose corn syrup
GELATIN – Try using agar flakes or the powder version. It will thicken as it is heated.
BEEF OR CHICKEN STOCK – Simply replace it with vegetable broth, or you could use vegetable bouillon cubes but make sure they aren’t loaded with MSG
MEAT – I’m a fan of using nuts, legumes and beans in various recipes to act as a meat substitute. Check out vegan cookbooks for a selection of tasty no meat recipes. I see many vegans grabbing an easy fix off store shelves, these meat substitutes tend to be loaded with chemicals that our bodies don’t know what to do with. Choosing a dietary theory is not just switching the style of eating it is also knowing what goes into these new foods we are eating.
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