It’s National Dairy Month. Let’s Celebrate with Delicious Dairy Alternatives!

June has been National Dairy Month since 1937, when grocer organizations established it as a way to distribute surplus milk during the warmer summer months. In 1995 the American Dairy Council took the reigns and has been running it ever since.

So when did National Dairy Alternative Month become a thing? According to Go Dairy Free, the the Vegetarian Awareness Network countered the dairy industry’s initiative with No Dairy Month in 2006.

While aptly named, they quickly realized it was a little too combative and renamed it Dairy Alternative Month. The appetite for plant-based milk and other dairy alternatives has grown significantly since those early days. Given the array of alternative choices on supermarket shelves —even those in smaller cities— the dairy free movement is definitely making inroads.

The dairy industry’s petulant demand that only milk from animals can be described as such is further proof that the demand for plant-based dairy alternatives is growing fast.

Even dairy consumers are feeling put upon. Vegans renamed all of their cheese ‘Gary’ following one woman’s epic Facebook rant.

Of course, it’s all good and well to tell people to eschew dairy, but we need to offer a better reason than ‘because.’

The Case for Quitting Dairy

National Dairy Alternative Month

There are plenty of reasons to stop eating dairy. Most notably, cow’s milk is for baby cows. Dairy products are also mucous-forming. Very often, if you remove dairy and sugar from your diet, your seasonal allergies clear up.

In his book, The Cheese Trap, Dr. Neal Barnard reveals that the main problem with most people’s favorite dairy food is that it contains mild opiates that trigger the same brain receptors as heroin and morphine.

Dr. Mark Hyman —author of Ultra-Metabolism— also believes you should avoid dairy at all costs. Among other things, he claims dairy is linked to prostate cancer, aggravates irritable bowel syndrome, is full of saturated fat and linked to heart disease.

That’s just the human health aspect. We also need to take into account the miserable existence dairy cows and their babies lead in order for us to indulge in our favorite foods.

And then there’s the environment to consider. Dairy production plays a big part in climate change, due to the amount of greenhouse gases it emits. Livestock production is also one of the main contributors to soil erosion around the world.

It's National Dairy Month. Let's Celebrate with Delicious Dairy Alternatives!

Healthy Dairy Alternatives

Because milk has for so long been lauded as a source of calcium, a lot of folks believe you can’t find this essential mineral anywhere else. There are in fact plenty of plant foods that contain more calcium than milk. From chia seeds and almonds to kale and broccoli, you definitely won’t run out of options.

Dairy staples like cheese, yogurt, milk, ice-cream and butter are all easily available in a plant-based form. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re all healthy. Just like with anything else, have to do your due diligence.

Carefully scrutinize the label for dodgy ingredients, look out for sneaky marketing phrases and, above all, be mindful. Think about the process it took for something to end up on the supermarket shelf.

Dairy-Free Recipes (Almost) Anyone Can Make

If you’re concerned about consuming food that’s too processed, channel Nigella’s vegan alter-ego and try making your own dairy alternatives.

If you're not using your Instant Pot's yogurt function, I encourage you to give it a go with this Unfiltered Coconut Cashew Instant Pot Yogurt recipe!

Dairy-Free Yogurt

All you need to make dairy-free yogurt is a quart of organic soy or coconut milk and one teaspoon of probiotic powder. I mean, it doesn’t get easier than that. Dana from Minimalist Baker  agrees, she’s also a fan of two-ingredient coconut yogurt. It’s also super easy to make your own plant-based yogurt in your Instant Pot.

Plant-Based Milk

We’ve put together an extensive guide to plant-based milks that you’re sure to find helpful on your dairy-free culinary journey. Making plant-based milk at home might sound complicated, but you’re sure to find a recipe that works for you in this list of nine options!

Vegan Cheese (aka Gary)

Vegan cheese is a thing, and you can make it at home. Ranging in flavor, consistency and difficulty to make, this list of 12 amazing vegan cheese recipes is sure to wow your taste buds. We’re talking jalapeńo cheese spread, vegan parmesan, baked tofu feta and more.

Nice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for nice cream! You could get all fancy and go the ice-cream maker route, but why bother when you can make this 5-minute dairy-free ice-cream instead?

Since you’re already in the kitchen, give this dairy-free peach pineapple ice cream a try. And if you’re really feeling it, try your hand at making a vegan ice-cream sandwich. Because, yum.

With so many fantastic reasons to celebrate National Dairy Alternative Month, you could easily keep going well into July and even beyond. It’s healthier and tastier, so why not?

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

52 comments

Carole R
Carole R3 months ago

I like dairy.

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Ann Telfer
Ann Telfer3 months ago

I never liked dairy but I love the nut milks and So Delicious salted caramel frozen dessert (ice cream alternative) is soooo good.

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Leanne K
Leanne K3 months ago

I wish I could save all cows. It’s unbelievably soul destroying the never ending cruelty we inflict on animals

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Leanne K
Leanne K3 months ago

My daughter tried to prevent three cows eating industrial cling wrap today. Roadside litter blown into their paddock. They ate it. They then ate the apples she tried to dissuade them with. I find that just so sad. My heart breaks for every cow.

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Colin C
Colin C3 months ago

Thanks

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA R3 months ago

Thank you. :)

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Angela J
Angela J3 months ago

Thanks

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Marija M
Marija M3 months ago

tks

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Winn A
Winn Adams3 months ago

Thanks

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Winn A
Winn Adams3 months ago

Noted

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