Answer: No. Lactaid is still a dairy-based product even though it’s lactose-free.
What Is Vegan Milk?
Many people still get confused about lactose-free and dairy-free products, so here’s what you need to know. Lactose is a kind of sugar present in milk derived from animals like cows, goats, buffaloes, camels, and others.
So if a product is labeled lactose-free, it means it’s not from animals, right? The answer is “not necessarily.” Lactose-free means that it doesn’t have lactose, but it could still be an animal-based product. Lactaid is an example of these products because it is lactose-free, but at the same time, it is purely made from cow’s milk.
Dairy-free is a whole different story, though. If the product is labeled dairy-free, it means two things – it’s not derived from animals, and it’s lactose-free at the same time.
Now, if you’re looking for vegan milk or milk-product, look for those that are labeled “dairy-free.” You can be sure they are lactose-free and vegan at the same time.
What Is Lactaid?
Lactaid is not a type of milk. It is the brand name of lactose-free milk and milk products founded by Alan E. Kligerman. He studied dairy science at Cornell University and developed a process to remove lactose from milk. He founded Lactaid in 1974.
Today, Lactaid has several products under its brand. Some of them are Lactaid Milk, Lactaid Protein Milk, Lactaid Ice Cream, Lactaid Chocolate Milk, Lactaid Dietary Supplements, Lactaid Cottage Cheese, and Lactaid Eggnog.
So you might say, “but it’s lactose-free, so I want to try their products.” It’s okay if you are not vegan by choice. This should be good news for you because you can finally eat and drink pure dairy-based products without the worry of diarrhea, stomach gas, and bloating because of lactose intolerance.
If you are vegan because you advocate against animal cruelty, or don’t like eating and drinking anything derived from animals, then Lactaid is not for you.
It doesn’t mean you can’t find any plant-based milk. Many companies are now offering plant-based alternatives to milk, milk products, and even meat.
What Are My Alternatives To Lactaid?
There are many alternatives, plant-based milk, and milk products in the market. However, it will take patience and a little bit of research to find them online. Let me make your search a little easier by giving you a list of some lactose-free and plant-based milk and milk products.
These products are available via Amazon.com. Although there are other products from different manufacturers, I picked these products precisely because of their buyers’ excellent reviews.
Almonds are healthy alternatives to dairy milk. They are suitable for your heart and lower bad cholesterol. Including almonds in your diet will increase your vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium intake, which are all good for your heart.
Silk Almond milk products are purely plant-based and dairy-free. There is a sweetened and unsweetened variant. Customer reviews for this product show 4.8 out of 5 stars, so you might want to check it out.
Soy milk is rich in minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins such as vitamin B, which is right for your nerves. It is also rich in Omega-3, a form of fatty acid that will help reduce the risk of dementia.
The Silk Soy Milk product shows 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon, so it must be pretty good. It comes with both sweetened and unsweetened variants, just like Almond Milk. If almond is not your thing, this may be the alternative.
Hemp milk contains vitamin A, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and iron. It also has omega-3 and 6 for the normal functioning of your nerves.
Hemp milk is made from hemp seed and is quite popular on Amazon.com. It comes with unsweetened vanilla and unsweetened original flavors.
Oatmeals help lower blood sugar and bad cholesterol in our bodies. They are also rich in antioxidants and promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut.
If you are sensitive to soy or unfamiliar with the other dairy-milk alternatives on this list, try oat milk. Organic Oat Unsweetened Oat milk is soy and dairy-free. Customers rate the product at 4.4 out of 5 stars, so maybe it’s not at all bad to try this milk one of these days.
Flax is rich in fiber and a good source of omega-3. It lowers blood cholesterol and it’s good for overall gut health.
Good Karma’s Flax Milk, available on Amazon, is rich, creamy, and delicious and comes with unsweetened vanilla or chocolate flavor variants.
Coconut milk is most popular among all the other alternatives in this list. It comes with many variants – evaporated, powder, and cream.
Coconut milk contains healthy fats that promote weight loss. It contains calcium and iron. Adding coconut milk into your diet can also lower your bad cholesterol levels.
How About Cheese?
Cheeses made from dairy products contain lactose, which is a problem for lactose-intolerant people and vegans. This resulted in the development of different plant-based, dairy-free cheese alternatives. Lactaid also has lactose-free cottage cheese.
As you know, soy is one of those plant-based substitutes to dairy-milk, so I am not at all surprised that it’s number one on the list. Several brands are offering soy-based cheese alternatives in the market.
To come up with a cheese-like consistency, other ingredients have to be added, such as vegetable oil and casein. Casein is a milk protein, so make sure that you read labels when buying soy-based cheese.
Nuts And Seeds
Some dairy-cheese alternatives are made from nuts and seeds. The nuts and seeds are soaked and left to ferment, and other ingredients are added to enhance the taste.
Some of the most popular ingredients for this type of cheese are macadamia nuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Some of these ingredients are also used for plant-based milk products.
This plant is abundant in the world’s tropical regions, so it makes it an ideal ingredient for dairy-cheese alternatives. Other ingredients are also added, such as starch, salt, and garlic powder, to attain a cheese-like taste, density, and consistency.
Flour combined with other ingredients can make for a cheap alternative to dairy-based cheese. The only problem with flour is that it is hard to get that look, feel, and taste of real cheese.
This is the least common type of dairy-cheese alternative. Some root vegetables that are being used as a substitute for dairy cheeses are potatoes and carrots. The process usually involves boiling and blending the vegetables and adding other ingredients until the desired taste and consistency are achieved.
Have you tried opening canned chickpeas? If you had, then you would have noticed that there is liquid inside the can. This liquid is what we call aquafaba. What makes this alternative appealing to buyers is that it melts when heated, just like real cheese. Aquafaba, just like all plant-based cheese substitutes, requires other ingredients to mimic the taste and consistency of regular cheese.
These alternative cheeses can come in different from just like any regular dairy-based cheese. Some of them are shredded cheese such as mozzarella and cheddar; blocked and slide cheeses such as smoked gouda and provolone; parmesan style cheese; and vegan nacho cheese.
Here’s a Bonus!
Did you know that there are already vegan eggs sold by different companies? These plant-based eggs are made of mung beans, turmeric, onions, carrots, and some other ingredients. There are various brands of this egg substitute, but I found something that has good reviews online.
VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart is a 100% plant-based egg alternative. So if you are vegan but want to have your scrambled eggs in the morning or need an egg for baking, this will do the trick.
Most reviews online point that these egg alternatives taste just like the real egg. Maybe it’s about time you give them a try!
Are These Alternatives Healthy?
This is a tricky question. What is healthy and what is not varies from one person to another. These alternatives are generally healthy, but you must remember additional ingredients such as salt, casein, gum, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.
What’s considered healthy to you may not be healthy for another consumer. Another thing you should take into consideration is the amount of these alternatives you take daily. Remember that too much of everything is always wrong.
Lactaid is a great brand! It helps those who are lactose intolerant enjoy dairy-based milk and milk products without fear of bad reaction. Unfortunately, the fact that it is derived from cow’s milk makes it incompatible with the vegan diet. Lactose-free products aren’t always vegan.
Luckily for those who are vegan, there are several alternatives to dairy-based milk products such as soy, oat, coconut, and flax milk. These products were carefully developed to copy the taste, consistency, and feel of dairy milk as close as possible.
Vegan consumers should also observe extra care in choosing which of these alternatives are best for them. There are alternative products that can trigger allergic reactions, such as soy. Some other options contain non-vegan ingredients, such as casein. You should always check the label before buying any of these alternatives.
If you are not sure about which alternative is best for you, you can consult a nutritionist or ask other vegans in your area. You may also join vegan groups online, read publications or reliable reviews about veganism.