Nutrition

Plant-Based Yogurt Packs a Powerful Nutritional Punch — Without the Stomach Issues

Your skin and your gut will thank you.

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Pretty recently, I decided to cut back on dairy. My skin was breaking out and I was having hormonal issues, so after doing some digging, I thought limiting my consumption of milk products might help. I’ll admit that I wasn’t excited about it. I knew I’d have to cut out some of my staple foods like yogurt. However, as the plant-based lifestyle is becoming more popular, non-dairy yogurt alternatives are on the rise — and they’ve made this transition a whole lot easier.

Whether or not you’re trying to totally give up dairy, making a few plant-based swaps couldn’t hurt. Many of us find it difficult to digest lactose (the sugar found in milk products) especially as we get older, which can lead to tummy woes like gas and diarrhea. Not only that, but dairy foods have been shown to cause an inflammatory response in the body, which can lead to other conditions like obesity, arthritis, and heart disease.

Since giving up dairy, I feel like I am sleeping better, my skin has cleared up, and I feel more energized. Could it be the placebo effect? Sure. But I’m going to credit my personal strength and fortitude in not reaching for the smoked gouda.

Luckily, plant-based swaps for all of our favorite dairy products are becoming more widely available. From cashew “cheese” to coconut “whipped cream,” you can probably find a dairy-free option for just about any of your favorite treats.

For me, yogurt is an essential. I love it because it’s packed with protein, which helps keep me full throughout the day, and it’s got probiotic bacteria which helps to keep my gut in check. So far, I have to say how impressed I am with some of the plant-based options. 

Plant-based yogurt can be made with dairy alternatives, like almond milk, coconut, cashew, soy, and oat milk. Other companies use pea protein, which is a great option for those with nut allergies.

Since we would normally get high amounts of protein, vitamin D, and calcium from dairy, companies making non-dairy products often fortify them with these nutrients. Some products (like almond milk and oat milk yogurts) tend to have vitamin B12 in them as well. And of course, most of these yogurt alternatives contain probiotics.

Each non-dairy yogurt boasts its own flavor and texture, so you might have to try a few to see which one you like the best. A few of the coconut milk yogurts I tried were too runny, while others were super thick. I’m also not a huge fan of soy milk, and didn’t really enjoy the soy milk yogurt that I tried. I was a big fan of the almond milk yogurt from Kite Hill ($5.79, Amazon) in vanilla. This yogurt wasn’t too thick or too liquidy, and the taste wasn’t overly sweet. 

I also really enjoyed the new cashew milk yogurt available at Trader Joe’s. This yogurt has the perfect creamy texture and tasted delicious. It’s a little higher in sugar for my preferences, but it’s definitely a nice treat if you’re craving a sweet dessert! 

At the end of the day, there are so many yogurt alternatives out there to choose from that it’s tough to say which one is best. Depending on what flavors and texture you like, I promise there’s a non-dairy yogurt out there for you. And with all the health benefits that could come along with giving up dairy, we think it’s definitely worth a try!

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