Dairy-Free Alternatives for Lactose Intolerance

To be completely honest, I’m not sure if I would’ve taken the time to write this post if it didn’t directly apply to me. But the past few weeks have let me see into the world of lactose intolerance and the dietary adjustments it requires, and I really felt like this post could help some people, like me.

If you know me personally, you know that for the past year, I’ve had horrible stomach problems. I’ve had almost every possible test done, taken every possible medication, and nothing. This past month, my stomach issues became so bad that I had to go to the emergency room. One of the only tests my doctors hadn’t done was a lactose intolerance test. But when they suggested that I try to cut out dairy for a little while and see what happened, I was very skeptical. I had enjoyed copious amounts of dairy my whole life, and I felt like my symptoms weren’t lining up with my dairy intake. But nevertheless, I was desperate to feel better and was willing to do just about anything. So reluctantly and dubiously, I stopped eating my beloved yogurt, cheese, and milk.

To my utmost surprise, within 4 days, all of my symptoms completely stopped. It was amazing, considering how severe they had been for almost an entire month. It was like I had my life back again, finally. I’m not saying all of this to advocate that everyone should go dairy free. Not at all. Those who can digest dairy, should eat it! There are so many health benefits! But in case you’re like me, and are just starting to browse the dairy-free world, I wanted to compile a list of alternative milk and yogurt options for us. (There are dairy-free cheeses out there too, but I honestly think those are gross. But who knows? Maybe I’ll get desperate enough to try them one day. Until then, I don’t really want to think about them. Ew.)


person pouring milk in highball glass
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Ever since high school, almond milk has been a regular part of my pantry. In college, I also started liking soy milk. I would always also have dairy milk in the fridge, but at least I didn’t have to completely switch over what I was using. But anyway, since dairy free products are so abundant these days, I’ve discovered that there are so many other dairy-free milks out there to try! Here’s a list of them with some specific brands of each!

Almond Milk

Almond Breeze (I linked my personal favorite flavor, unsweetened vanilla almond)


Califia Farms

So Delicious



Trader Joe’s

365 – Whole Foods

New Barn

Simply Nature – Aldi

Friendly Farms – Aldi

*Also this hilarious article gives a review of a few of these. If you need a laugh, give it a read!

Soy Milk






365 – Whole Foods

Coconut Milk

*I’m personally not a huge coconut milk fan, unless it’s in a dessert or some other treat, just because it’s pretty high in saturated fat.

So Delicious



Trader Joe’s

Native Forest

Nature Value

Thai Kitchen

Rice Milk

Rice Dream

Trader Joe’s

Hemp Milk



Oat Milk


Califia Farms




Planet Oat

Cashew Milk




So Delicious

Cashew Dream

Califia Farms


Macadamia Milk


Flax Milk

Good Karma

Manitoba Milling Co.

Hazelnut Milk



Lactose-Free Milk/Milk with Lactase



Organic Valley

Horizon Organic

Shamrock Farms

Great Value – Walmart


black ceramic bowl filled with cereal
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Ever since I can remember, yogurt has been a huge staple in my diet. Plain greek yogurt is definitely what I’ll miss most now that I’m dairy free. But I was relieved to hear that there are actually lots of dairy-free yogurts out there! So far, I’ve tried Silk vanilla and strawberry almond yogurt (which I personally thought were way too sweet), Kite Hill plain unsweetened almond yogurt (which tasted remarkably like Greek yogurt, but still wasn’t the same), and Forager vanilla sweetened cashewgurt (which I really liked, although it was sweeter than what I’m used to). There are tons of options out there, and depending on what your tastes are, you’re bound to find something you like!

Almond Yogurt

Kite Hill


Califia Farms

Dannon – Light & Fit


Almond Dream

Soy Yogurt




Cashew Yogurt


Oat Yogurt


Flaxmilk Yogurt

Good Karma

Coconut Yogurt


So Delicious


Coconut Dream

Califia Farms



Lactose-Free Yogurt/Yogurt with Lactase


Green Valley

Dannon – Activia


Things to Consider

baked cookies
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While we would all like to effortlessly make the transition from dairy to non-dairy, there are a few more things we have to consider with non-dairy products. One of them is carrageenan. While the studies on this potentially carcinogenic additive aren’t entirely conclusive, it’s definitely something that I try to avoid, just in case. It’s also important to do your research on other additives out there, just so you know what you’re putting in your body.

Another important thing to consider is sugar content. Both non-dairy milks and yogurts tend to be pretty high in added sugar. So always look at the sugar on the nutrition label and check for words like “sweetened,” “unsweetened,” or “flavored.”

Dairy milks are naturally high in calcium, while many non-dairy things are not. However, there are lots of non-dairy products out there that are fortified with calcium. So read the nutrition label and ingredients list always.

If you’re full out vegan, or lactose intolerant while also being vegetarian, vitamin B12 deficiency may be an issue. So keep an eye out for that, and maybe look into supplements.

Another thing that lucky dairy-drinkers don’t have to worry about is the added cost of non-dairy products, which is something I’m still coming to terms with. Yogurts especially can really add up and become an extra expense that you weren’t planning for. For those brave souls, you may want to try making your own milks and yogurts!

In Conclusion

art blur cappuccino close up
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While the diagnosis of lactose intolerance may seem more like a death sentence to my fellow ice cream and yogurt lovers out there, it really doesn’t have to be! It’s definitely an adjustment, and you have to be a little bit more careful when eating out. But really, you can still enjoy the foods that you always have. They may taste a little different, but that’s all part of the adjustment. Honestly, I’m kind of excited for this new chapter in my life, spent exploring all the diary-free options that the world has to offer!

5 responses to “Dairy-Free Alternatives for Lactose Intolerance”

  1. Thanks for this! I’ve been drinking almond milk for 10 year (and rice milk for the 10 years prior) but just learned I have an almond allergy, so this is great! Most recently, I’ve been using Ripple pea milk and occasionally Silk Cashew Milk, but love the list of new alternatives. P.s. Totally on board with you about coconut milk!

    • Oh wow what a journey! But it really is so great that even with an almond allergy, there are still SO many great options out there to try! And oooo ripple pea milk? That’s a new one! Let me know how it is!

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