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vegan alternatives

Hey! I've been a vegetarian for 10 years, but I want to become a vegan. I'm sure this question has been posted 100 times, but can everyone give me some good suggestions for dairy-free "dairy" items? Which are the best in your opinions? Thanks!

OOHHH yeah....becoming vegan was for me a decision that made total sense, but I really missed my dairy....here are a few of my favorites and how I use them. Oh yeah, my husband who is still a part-time meat eater (he complies with what I cook! ;P) likes these too.
1. Whole Soy or Tofutti brand Cream "cheese" (use for icings, queso dips (Yes, you can do this...!), on bagels, anything really
2.  Whole Soy brand yogurt; I tried Silk and hated it....just personal preferences I guess)
3.  I only buy Follow Your Heart Vegan cheese (block form) or vegan slices for sandwiches...all the other stuff I have tried taste really fake for some reason.
4.  Westsoy unsweetened soymilk and unsweetened chocolate soy milk...yummm w/out all the calories from sugar...I make choco-banana smoothies w/ the choc soy milk..no need to add extra sugar.  Also, I use the regular soy milk in all my recipes and cream based sauces...it thickens up on its own in most recipes...
5. Soy Delicious Cherry Nirvana frozen dessert....they have other kinds, but this stuff will knock your socks off!!!  I make a vegan fudge sauce and warm black cherry compote to serve over the scoops of Nirvana...I serve in fancy dishes w/ a glass of chocolate port and my meat-eater-tofu/soy-phobic friends go nuts...they have no idea...
These are some of my suggestions/favorite products...hope this helps.  Being vegan is SOOO much easier than people think!  We use tofu and nutritional yeast like other people use eggs and cheese!  Go vegan...paradise is there...   

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Making the switch wasn't as hard as i thought it would at all. i'm sure you'll love it!

as for dairy free dairy items, Follow Your Heat Vegan Gourmet cheese is definitely the best vegan cheese i have ever had. all the other soy cheeses either have casein in them and are not vegan, or just don't melt properly.

Earth Balance Buttery Spread is a great butter alternative, and I think it tastes just like/better than actual butter, plus it is non-hydrogenated.

Follow Your Heart Vegenaise is a realllllly good mayo aleternative. I like to mix it with fresh garlic and lemon juice for a homemade garlic aioli.

EnerG Egg Replacer is good for replacing eggs in baking, but I've never used it to make any egg-heavy dishes.  Silk unsweetened soymilk is good for baking, and you can mix it with tofu in a blender to make a cream alternative.

Hope that helps!

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I'm giving second votes for the soy-yougurt, cheese, and vegan mayo!

I like the silk culture soy yougurt, I only get the black cherry flavor. Whole soy is good too. I think that it isn't as sweet as the silk. I've never tried their other flavors that I can remember. I don't recommend eating the stoneyfield farms soy yougurt. I had it once a while ago (not sure if they still make it, i haven't seen it for a while) but it was slimy and goopy.

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I'm addicted to Silk soymilk. It works great in any recipe calling for milk, even french toast.  I don't really drink it plain though, but my non-vegan husband does!

I also recommend Earth Balance and Willow Run for margarine.

Check out the book "Vegan with a Vengeance" at http://theppk.com.  You'll get great ideas for food and not feel like you're being deprived of anything.

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I too made the switch to veganism quite recently--this site is PHENOMONALLY helpful in every aspect from recipes to meat/dairy suggestions that actually taste good. The folks here are also very nice and I haven't encountered any, "I'm more vegan than you" arguments in the Q&A (my local board is very bad for this and it can be quite alienating, especially for a new vegan).

If you are new to soymilk, I suggest Silk brand. All of the flavours are good, but for cooking, etc. plain is the way to go. I would also suggest trying a carton from the refrigerator section. You can also buy soymilk in aseptic containers (juice boxes) unrefrigerated, but at first I found these less appealing in taste.

For butter, Earth Balance is great. You can also purchase "Buttery Sticks" for baking. Check the labels of other margerines for ingredients like "casienate" and "whey".

Follow Your Heart Vegan Cheese is awesome! It wins hands down for taste and texture. Tofutti makes a great "cream cheese" and sour "cream" alternative. There are a few brands of ice "cream" out there, including Soy Delicious, which is quite good. Tofutti also makes pints, "Tofutti Cuties", and bars. All dairy-free and tasty. I haven't had the courage to try soy yogurt yet, but I've heard good things about Silk brand.

I try not to eat too many "fake" products and stick to mostly whole grains and vegetables. Alternative products can get expensive, but really make a difference when you're craving something! They are also especially good when cooking for non-vegans! Most of the time, they can't even tell the difference.  :P

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I like Silk soymilk - I LOVE 8th Continent!!!  It's a bit sweet for some, but I really enjoy it.  I also drink it when my acid stomach/reflex is threatening - seems to calm it down so I can avoid having to rely on just the pills.

Follow Your Heart is fantastic!  Tofutti is very good; the slices (that's what we have here) work well in sauces and on sandwiches - I don't like to eat them out-of-hand, but my partner/wife does!

She also always preferred Helman's (real mayo) over Miracle Whip (salad mayo) when she could/did eat eggs.  She thinks Veganaise is the perfect replacement.

P/w has also successfully cultured plain soymilk into homemade yoghurt by using plain or vanilla Whole Soy yoghurt as a starter.

We have a cheap-y home icecream maker (Rival brand, keep base in freezer until ready to use).  I use 8th Continent, Mori-Nu Mates Pudding mix, and assorted flavors and add-ins to make one fabulous-but-truely-too-small quart batch of non-dairy ice cream. 

We prefer soy ice creams over rice milk based ones.  Better "mouth feel".  Peanutbutter Zig Zag rules!  Store-bought vegan ice creams can be SO expensive; so we try to make our own more than buy.

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One of the biggest helps for me when I was vegan was Dragonfly's Bulk uncheese sauce mix.  The recipe is listed on this forum.  It was great for assuaging my cheese cravings.

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Greetings Kelticrose!

As people have mentioned there are so many products available that you should be fine transitioning over if you have a Whole Foods or Wild Oats handy.  Even well stocked local Co-ops or health food stores will carry all these.

Egg replacement:
EnerG Egg Replacer works amazingly well in baking.
Banana can also be used in baking quite well though it may leave a flavor.
Flax Seed can be ground into a powder via a coffee grinder and soaked in water, I believe the ratio is 2T Water to 1T Flax.  But I am not sure as I have never used this.  (No spice grinder.)
Silken soft Tofu supposedly works great as well in baking.

I greatly enjoy Quiche (Try the spinach/brocolli quiche on this site!) and use a silken extra firm tofu by Mori Nu quite happily in replace of the egg.

My own personal Non-Dairy favs are:
Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
Tofutti Sour Supreme
Earth Balance Margarine
Silk Soy Milk in Plain and Chocolate
Silk Soy Yogurt in Lime and Vanilla

Good luck!

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Thank you for all of the great suggestions. I have printed them out and I am going to try these items. I appreciate all of your help!!

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