Skip to main content

alternatives to dairy

this is a short post on alternatives to dairy.  we give our top recommendations.  check out the post asssociated with this episode.  we have links and resources to everything we discuss including a downloadable “self-testing” handout.


we love full-fat dairy.

it is concentrated nutrient density at its best.  it’s full of fat-soluble nutrients, healthy fats, and other bio-available nutrients.  it is healthful and ancestral.

we also believe in going without dairy for some time, just like we’d recommend going without other foods for some time.


what might be problematic about dairy?

  • insulinogenic. for some people (not all) dairy can spike blood sugar and keep it there for extended periods of time.
  • lactose intolerance.  some people may not have the capacity to digest lactose, which means it would be available for other bacteria in our system and would usually create uncomfortable symptoms such as stomach upset, gas, diarrhea, bloating, and maybe even nausea.
  • casein and whey sensitivity. these are proteins found in milk that a small percentage of the population may be sensitive to.  by small we’re talking less than 5% of adults.


to determine if dairy resonates with you. . .

  1. remove all dairy for at least 2 weeks, ideally 1 month.  this will give your body a chance to clean itself out and re-sensitize it to potentially problematic nutrients.
  2. then, re-introduce dairy foods individually, with self-awareness paying attention to how you look, feel, and perform immediately after consuming and for a few days after.   you can even us self-testing protocols such as The Pulse Test.

you can download our self-testing protocols here.


the main things we may want alternatives to. . .

  • butter
  • cream for coffee and/or tea
  • ice cream?

there is no alternative to cheese.  unfortuneately.


butter alternatives.

most of us use butter religiously for everything.  butter is extremely healthful.  butter is made from churning cream until the fat coagulates together, which removes most of the lactose and milk proteins.  it tends to be the least problematic of all the dairy foods because it is almost nothing but fat.  however, there are very small amounts of milk solids which means that someone very sensitive to butter may notice a reaction.  to find out for sure, we definitely want to remove butter for 2 to 4 weeks.

  1. clarified butter is butter that has been melted, the water evaporated, and the milk solids removed.  clarified butter is dairy free.
  2. ghee is clarified butter, but with a little flavor.  it’s been cooked a little longer, and so the milk solids burn and give a flavor, before the milk solids are removed.  ghee may also be flavored in traditional ways.

it’s difficult to find clarified butter.  most options are going to be ghee.

look for grass-fed and organic.  our favorite is this brand here.  the most cost-effective that we’ve found on Amazon is this one.


heavy cream alternatives.

heavy cream is the fat skimmed off of milk before homogenization.  it tends to be about 36%+ in milk fat, and low in lactose and milk solids.  it is not so low, however, that someone with dairy sensitivity wouldn’t react to it.

our top cream alternatives are pristine and pure, with minimal ingredients.  the fewer ingredients the better.  the more the ingredients, emulsifiers, and stabilizers, even if they are approved, the more we’re moving in the wrong direction.  we’ll give our best recommendations below. as time changes, these recommendations may need to change.  just make sure you’re always looking for minimal approved ingredients.

  • coconut milk is a great option.  it is grated coconut with water.  it has a high fat content with a large percentage being medium-chain triglycerides, which are easy for the body to digest and use for energy.  when looking for coconut milk, look for minimal ingredients.  most canned coconut milk will have guar gum or another gum as a thickener, stabilizer, or emulsifier.  these gums are fine. all things being equal, however, a product without them would be optimal.  popular canned coconut milks would be Thai Kitchen and Native Forest Simple (has no gums).
  • coconut cream comes from the fat of coconut milk.  this is our top recommendation.  we love this product from Aroy-D. the only ingredient is coconut cream.  coconut cream is the fat that separates from coconut milk.


other creamer alternatives.  not optimal but fine.


ice cream alternatives.

get all our resources and more at…

Paul C. Tijerina

Paul C. Tijerina | BS MFT CPT NLP | Nutritional Therapist & ATAVIST Life Coach