5 Vegan Alternatives to Dairy-Based Food

"I would go vegan, but I love cheese!" 

Guess what?! There are so many vegan alternatives to your favorite dairy-based food - including, but not limited cheese. The aim of this post is to introduce you the abundance of vegan replacements to satisfy your every craving, and hopefully by the end of this post, you'll have no more excuses to eat dairy! (Just in case you forgot why dairy is so bad, here is my recent post on why vegans choose to avoid dairy)

1. Cheese

Not wanting to give up cheese is one of the most common excuses for not turning vegan. For that same reason, there are plenty of companies that have developed plant-based alternatives to cheese. This includes Daiya, which creates cheesy items ranging from a simple slice of cheddar style cheese to boxed mac & cheese that you can bring home and cook up in less than 30 minutes to ready-made pizza! Many restaurants such as Hemingway's  incorporate Daiya cheese into their dishes, and I'm sure they could fool anyone. With Daiya, you don't have to worry about missing out on any cheese item, because they have over 70 items that all contain 'cheese', and most of these can be purchased at shops such as Green Common, Just Green, and sometimes even ParknShop! All their products are gluten free, soy free, and "delicious dairy-free".

Daiya Deliciously Dairy-Free cheddar Style Slices (https://daiyafoods.com/our-foods/slices/cheddar/)

Daiya Deliciously Dairy-Free cheddar Style Slices (https://daiyafoods.com/our-foods/slices/cheddar/)

Some of their most popular items:

- Mac & Cheeze (tastes very very 'cheese'-y so if you're not a huge fan of things that are overly cheesey, then I'd advise against this) 

- Cheezecake - flavours include New York, Key Lime, Chocolate, and Strawberry.

Cheddar-style slices - perfect if you want to make yourself a toastie!

Another alternative to cheese is the brand Sheese. Similar to Daiya, Sheese sells sliced cheese such as 'cheddar', but they also offer spread-style 'cheese' such as cream sheese! These come in many different flavours - original, cheddar style, chives, garlic and herbs, etc. I have personally never bought any of these products before, but I believe that this is the 'cheese' used in restaurants such as Vegan & Mirror Concept, LN Fortunate Coffee, and Tequila Jack's (for their beyond burger). You can buy Sheese at Loving Hut and Be-Juiced, or you can give it a try at the restaurants listed above.

2. Yogurt

Silk Dairy-Free Blueberry Yogurt https://www.heb.com/product-detail/silk-blueberry-soy-yogurt/1848314

Silk Dairy-Free Blueberry Yogurt https://www.heb.com/product-detail/silk-blueberry-soy-yogurt/1848314

Yogurt was one of my favorite snacks before turning vegan, and even now, it still is! This is because there are countless brands of yogurt that are soy-based, coconut-based, or even cashew-based. Some of the most popular brands include Alpro, Silk, Daiya, and Hong Kong's very own health food store - Foodcraft. All of these brands can be purchased at City Super and most other health food stores including Green Common and Just Green. My personal favorite is the Silk blueberry flavored soy-based yogurt, because it reminds me of the yogurt parfaits I used to make for breakfast. 


3. Milk

Milk is no-doubt the easy dairy-based product to replace. I personally never really enjoyed milk and preferred other versions such as soy milk and oat milk (plus, humans are all lactose intolerant to some extent because we're not supposed to be drinking cow milk in the first place), so this one was easy for me to switch out. The most common replacements to milk include Almond Milk, Soy Milk, Oat Milk, and Rice Milk. Although I'm not a huge fan of almond milk, it is a great substitute that can also easily be made at home

Many people are worried about not getting enough calcium or protein from drinking vegan versions of milk, but contrary to popular belief, soy milk actually contains twice the amount of protein that cow's milk does. Moreover, soy milk has half as many calories as cow's milk, therefore the protein to calorie ratio is much greater in soy milk (if that is a concern). Furthermore, since soy milk is a fortified food, it also contains many essential nutrients needed to sustain a healthy diet; potassium, iron, and vitamin B-12 - the vitamin that is supposedly unattainable through a vegan diet - can all be found in these products. 

4. Ice Cream

Flower-shaped Sorbet from  Barista Givrés

Flower-shaped Sorbet from Barista Givrés

Another easily replaceable dairy-based staple food, vegan ice cream can be found at many places in Hong Kong - the most famous one being the Hong Kong based brand Happy Cow. Happy Cow is made from coconuts, and it has an extremely creamy texture and comes in an assortment of flavours. My personal favorites are the Dragon Berry flavour, which can be found at their store by the Observation wheel, and the salted caramel flavour, which is sold in cup-form in various retail stores such as Loving Hut, Green Common, Just Green, and even City Super. Absolutely sensational. 

IF, for whatever reason, you're not a fan of the coconut-based Happy Cow ice cream, there are aplenty of ice cream parlours around Hong Kong that sell sorbet - a fruity, Italian style alternative to the traditional-style ice cream! One of my favorites is Barista Givrés in Central (Staunton street) and in Wanchai (Lee Tung avenue), because they arrange your ice cream into a rose-shaped design, and they have many unusual but delicious flavours such as butterfly pea flower, hibiscus flower, rose, and more! If you want something more simple, you can also pay a visit to shops such as Grom in IFC or Venchi in Festival Walk to grab yourself some nice vegan ice cream.


5. Nutella

Nutella https://www.amazon.com/Nutella-Ferrero-Hazelnut-Spread-26-5/dp/B008TMIO2M

Nutella https://www.amazon.com/Nutella-Ferrero-Hazelnut-Spread-26-5/dp/B008TMIO2M

Nutiva Organic Hazelnut Spread https://store.nutiva.com/products/organic-hazelnut-spread

Nutiva Organic Hazelnut Spread https://store.nutiva.com/products/organic-hazelnut-spread

You know it's an important invention when they have a vegan option for it. Just like every other food item on sale, Nutella doesn't go without a vegan replacement. Introducing to you a plant-based alternative to the commonly craved, sugary chocolate hazelnut spread: Nutiva

As they proudly state on their label, Nutiva contains 40% less sugar than 'the leading brand' (aka Nutella). From 21 grams per serving to almost half of that at 12 grams, that's a whole lot less of sugar to consume with your bread! What's impressive is that the only real difference between the ingredients of the two items is the presence of milk (once again, refer to my post about dairy if you're wondering why it's so unnecessary), and in terms of taste, the only difference is that Nutiva is slightly less sweet. 

Although Nutiva is slightly pricier than Nutella, my opinion is that it's a pretty worthwhile investment considering you'll be spending far less money on your future hospital bills ;)