Dairy can be inflammatory for women with PCOS; It can further exacerbate insulin resistance and lead to weight gain. Knowing this about dairy isn’t always enough though to stop yourself from eating it. Dairy products like cheese are literally addictive and it’s hard to say no to something that makes your brain immediately feel good.
Let go of the idea that cutting dairy out of your diet is going to be easy… We’re not going to pretend like it is. But ask yourself this: Would you rather endure the discomfort of saying NO to diary for the long-term reward of reversing some PCOS symptoms? When you try going dairy free for 30 days, it’s usually just enough time to see whether or not dairy is affecting your weight, skin, mood, and more. After you see the benefits, it’s easier to decide to eat dairy free.
The good news is there are some surprisingly tasty dairy alternatives out there and we’ve rounded up the best ones to share!
Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives
- I love unsweetened almond milk made from pressed and squeezed almonds. Watch out for your carb tolerance, but there are loads of delicious, creamy, and steamable dairy-free milk to use in your daily coffee or tea beverage of choice. Dairy alternatives have been widely adopted, so finding coffee shops that will make your favorite decaf latte is really easy.
- Coconut milk – sweet, healthy, and tropical tasting, coconut-based milk is a great alternative with an especially creamy, rich texture (and only 1 carb per cup!).
- Oat milk – favored by coffee drinkers for its frothing ability, oat milk is made of ground, soaked, and strained oats. It’s a great alternative to cow’s milk, but a little higher in carbohydrates, so worth watching out for if you’re drinking a lot of it.
- Hemp milk – earthy, edgy, and stacked with Omega 3’s, hemp milk is the new kid on the block. It’s worth a try if you’re open to cultivating newly acquired milk tastes.
- Rice Milk – a subtly sweet milk alternative, based on the humble rice grain, is perfect for those seeking a non-dairy solution. It’s a stellar choice for anyone with nut allergies or a sensitive tummy.
- Cashew Milk – made from blended cashews, adds a touch of richness to your morning coffee or cereal and opens the door to a world of nut-based delight.
- Soy Milk – the trailblazer of non-dairy milk! Packed with plant-based protein, this nutty-flavored milk alternative is here to keep you feeling satisfied and energized throughout the day.
Desserts and midnight snacks
As you’re moving away from dairy products and replacing them with healthier alternatives you don’t have to force yourself to go cold turkey. Give yourself grace and choose one dairy product to tackle at a time. This is a much more sustainable, proven way to stick with a new habit. Remember that even one step in the right direction will help you get to your goals.
For a more budget-friendly dairy-free ice cream, you can make your own flavors at home and ensure you’re consuming less sugar and preservatives than the store-bought version.
- In a blender: mix your favorite dairy-free milk, banana, dark chocolate, nuts (or nut butter), and a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. Pop the mixture in a sealed container, place it in the freezer for a few hours, and enjoy!
For a savory treat try gluten and dairy-free cheese & crackers! There are several brands that create satisfying flavors and are available in most grocery stores and on Amazon. For more yummy snack recommendations download our free Pantry Shopping List.
Cheese Dairy-Free Alternative
Cutting out dairy can be tough, especially when those cheese cravings start to hit. But don’t worry, there are plenty of options out there to help you curb those dairy-related withdrawals. If you’re lactose intolerant, you might want to try some non-dairy sources of protein that are high in essential amino acids to keep your body happy and healthy. And don’t forget to read labels and keep track of how many grams of protein you’re consuming – it can make a big difference in how you feel!
Besides, you’re not crazy for feeling addicted to cheese. If that’s where you’re at then there are a few options to keep in mind.
- Nutritional yeast – as it says on the tin, they’re just little flakes! But add it to your pasta, and you’ll get a cheesy flavor without the dairy!
- Nut-based cheeses – if you can eat nuts, many vegan cheesemakers use cashews as the base of their parmesan or cheddar. Being creamier, it’s much more likely to melt into your fave childhood dishes like mac n’ cheese, lasagna, and baked dips.
- Soy cheese – a lot of dairy-free alternatives are based on soy. As soy can also be inflammatory, consider enjoying these cheeses with caution and in smaller quantities.
The good news about going dairy free (besides slimming down!)
Once you get used to eating dairy free, you eventually won’t even need the alternatives to substitute the craving. In fact, it’s likely your eating habits will change entirely! The emotional ‘need’ for any food that’s not essentially nutritional is a habit you can absolutely redirect into something healthy that serves both your pleasure sensors as well as your long-term health goals. We’re all human, and we like feeling good. In fact, I’d argue that enjoying food is one of the great pleasures in life! Why else would we be built with such a strong sense of taste?
If you’re looking for a switch from dairy cheese, there are some fantastic natural fat substitutes like avocado that are packed with healthy vitamins and minerals. Plus, these options are free from saturated fats, cane sugar, and other harmful ingredients often found in processed cheese substitutes. You can even try out some pea protein-based cheese substitutes for a protein-packed twist on your usual cheese fix.
Who says you can’t have it all?
In our 4 Week Meal & Workout Plan for PCOS Weight Loss, we’ve created dozens of absolutely delicious recipes that you won’t even notice are dairy free! (With no hard-to-find substitutes required!).
Grabbing a delicious panini for lunch? Make it avocado and hold the cheddar. Want to hear about our cult-fave Greek salad? Our members are going mad for the tahini dressing (hold the feta!)
Grab your access and scoop up an entire month’s worth of dairy and gluten-free recipes, easy-to-follow workout videos, and cook-a-long videos, plus your weekly meal plan, grocery list, and workout plan… handled!