Variety of milk options and alternatives with almonds and oats scattered around them

My Favorite Dairy Milk Alternatives

Last updated: January 2023

I wouldn’t say that I’m lactose intolerant. On good days, I can enjoy some cheese or cream and be perfectly fine. Although I do have to stay far away from dairy whenever my IBS is flaring even a little, I’m grateful that it doesn’t always cause issues. After all, dairy alternatives can be so hard to come by! I’ve tried vegan cheese once and it tasted like flour… which is not something I want my cheese to taste like.

Still, even though I’m not completely lactose intolerant, my digestive system only accepts some forms of dairy. Hard cheese, cream and soft cheeses that contain only small quantities of lactose are usually best for me. The strange thing is, my problems with dairy aren’t all due to lactose. Even though lactose-free milk and yogurt are far better for me than the original products, they still cause symptoms.

For all of you who also struggle with dairy, especially milk, I wanted to share my favorite alternatives with you.

Coconut milk

For some reason, I always assumed that I couldn’t digest coconut milk. I don’t know why. I’ve tried coconut cream quite recently and it didn’t cause any symptoms at all. What it did do though is add a ton of flavor to the dish I was making!

I then decided to try coconut milk and it’s just as good. For some reason, I struggle finding it in stores though, so I often have to opt for another option.

Rice milk

I absolutely love rice milk. It goes well with smoothies, and cereal and can also be used instead of cream in the form of "rice cream." Yes, that exists. Whenever I don’t want to go for dairy, I often opt for rice milk.

Oat milk

At one point, oat milk was all I was using. It’s great for cereal in the morning. It works perfectly with oats (duh), and I just love using it for all of my breakfast foods that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to eat. Cereal without milk is just gross, in my opinion!

However, oat milk has its limitations. Add it to your coffee and you’ll probably have to throw it out! It’s also a bit tough to cook with, even though I personally don’t mind the taste of oats in some sauces.

Almond milk

Almond milk is one of the yummiest alternatives in my opinion. I just absolutely love the taste of the unsweetened version (brands here in Europe tend to put way too much sugar in it otherwise). However, it only works for me when I’m rather constipated. And since this basically never happens with my IBS-D, I eventually stopped buying it.

The symptoms I get from almond milk aren’t all that bad, really. It just makes me go to the bathroom even more, and on most days, that’s not something I want.

Soy milk

Soy milk has to be the best-known alternative for traditional dairy milk. I used to always get it in my Starbucks drinks when I still went there. I also used to buy it all the time before all the other options appeared in our supermarkets.

To me, soy milk is not as good as other milk alternatives. It’s not bad (again, if I get the unsweetened version), but it also doesn’t go with the foods I usually put milk in. Soy yogurt, on the other hand, is yummy, especially when mixed with chocolate!

Another positive of soy milk is the price. Since it’s been around for so long (at least here in France), it doesn’t cost nearly as much as all the other alternatives I listed here. It’s expensive to have intolerances and IBS!

Unfortunately, soy products don’t work super well for my digestion. They’re not terrible, but they do somewhat exacerbate my IBS-D so that I end up going to the bathroom even more. However, they’re far, far better than regular milk, even lactose-free milk, so that’s something.

Do you struggle with dairy as well? If yes, do you have any favorite dairy milk alternatives, or do you just avoid milk altogether?

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