We are not vegan, as I have said before, we simply source our meat from the most ethical sources and our dairy from The Calf at Foot Dairy. However, we try to eat less meat and we avoid items with dairy in.
As useful as the free from sections in supermarkets are (I do use them for a lot of things don’t get me wrong) they are not the place to go for everything. I have often found a brand has doubled the price for something ‘dairy free’ when you can go cheaper in the regular isle! These products can often lure in the vegan when really they are catering for those who are gluten free.
Here are some of my top cheats where you can buy mainstream products and still be dairy free and vegan friendly:
1. Jus-rol – I use their pain au chocolat kit and croissants. They use oils instead of dairy in all their products that I’ve used so far and their palm oil is sustainable!
2. Bourbons, Ginger nuts, Ginger bread men – Now, there may be some exceptions to the rule but the supermarket brand bourbon biscuit tends to be dairy free, as well as these gorgeous ginger treats. I haven’t found a packet that isn’t vegan friendly yet but always check the packaging.
3. Bisto Gravy Original – This is a revelation to be honest! A meaty flavoured gravy that is 100% Vegan. I always use this on roasts and it always goes well with Linda McCartney Rosemary Sausages and chips.
4. Pringles (Original, BBQ, Paprika & maybe more) – I love Pringles and you may also be finding, like myself, that a lot of crisps still manage to have milk in! These lovely Pringle flavours can be enjoyed guilt free.
5. Dark chocolate, most mint & dark / orange & dark – So, there are many dairy-free chocolates you can buy but I do love dark chocolate. I have been in most major supermarkets and I find that there are always a large amount of dark chocolates which are vegan friendly. In Lidl for example, they have these chocolate Pringle-shaped treats and the mint flavour are dairy free and in Co-op, many of their dark chocolate is vegan too.
Other, more obvious, goodies we find you don’t need to buy specialized products for include: most bread, crumpets, baguettes & roles, bagels, pastas, pulses & grains, vegetables, baked beans and the list goes on.
/!\ ALWAYS CHECK LABELS JUST IN CASE /!\
My top tips for avoiding dairy & meat:
1. Always check the label and compare with other brands – some brands will include dairy and some will not so you can always change your brand.
2. Try and cook from scratch – so there are lots of packet mixes and lots of these are dairy free but if you cannot be bothered with turning your weekly shop into a marathon of checking labels, making fresh, yummy meals can eliminate this problem. You know exactly what you buy so you know exactly what goes into your food.
3. If you have a meal plan or want to start one, create set days for consuming meat & fish. This way you will find yourself automatically eating more plant based alternatives because you have all the ingredients for meat free meals, stopping you buying meat sporadically. This tip will also save you money as you buy in advance so stop convenience store buying!