What are Vegan Dairy & Egg Products?
Just because we’re following a plant-based lifestyle, shouldn’t mean we have to miss out on all our favourite foods, should it?! But gone are the days when we couldn’t indulge in a delicious slice of cake, chewy cookie or even scrambled eggs on toast! The world of vegan food is so exciting right now, and ever-expanding with all the amazing products and dairy alternatives that the clever food boffins are creating!
Vegan dairy alternatives have been around for a while, especially as we all become more conscious of allergies and healthier lifestyles. It’s well known that dairy milk can be replaced with plant-based and nut-based milk like soy, almond and cashew milk. Alpro is one of the most familiar brands for dairy alternatives in the UK, but did you know they also make flavoured milk like Alpro’s Plant Protein Soya Chocolate Drink? Just perfect when you’re craving a milkshake!
And vegan dairy alternatives don’t stop at milk! At PlantX, we have a huge range of vegan yoghurts, vegan cheese and, even, vegan whipped cream! All delicious, convenient plant-based alternatives that make vegan home cooking easy!
When it comes to vegan eggs, we’re probably all quite used to reaching for vegan egg substitutes for our baking (more on that later!). But increasingly, the food industry is coming up with more and more plant-based eggs - vegan eggs that look and taste just like a chicken’s egg, like Orgran’s Vegan Easy Egg. Buy vegan eggs for a convenient and easy way to go plant-based, whether you’re just switching over to a plant-based lifestyle or a veteran vegan just looking to shake things up a bit.
It truly is an egg-citing time to be a vegan!
Pros & Cons of Vegan Dairy & Egg Products?
Thinking about making the switch? Then let’s talk about a few pros and cons of vegan dairy and egg alternatives!
The Pros… Perhaps one of the more obvious pros is that vegan dairy and egg products do not come from animals and so, do not contain any cholesterol. According to the NHS, high cholesterol is mainly caused by poor lifestyle choices such as eating fatty foods, not exercising enough, smoking or alcohol consumption. High cholesterol can increase the likelihood of heart problems. Eliminating the cholesterol from dairy and egg products is a great first step!
Nutritionally, plant-based milk is rich in vitamins and minerals and most are lower in fat, compared to their animal-based counterparts. They also contain a healthy combination of mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
Aside from the nutritional benefits of vegan alternatives for dairy and eggs, consumption of these products also contributes to a better world for all of us. With no animals involved in the production of vegan dairy and eggs, there’s no animal cruelty, so we can be safe in the knowledge that our choices are compassionate and mindful. Reducing demand for dairy and egg farming also helps to reduce the contribution to greenhouse gases. A win all round!
The Cons… As with anything, there are some cons to consider with eating alternatives to dairy and eggs, and we'd be a bit remiss if we ignored them.
Generally speaking, without any fortification, vegan dairy and eggs are lower in protein content. Protein is a vital part of our nutrition, helping us to maintain our muscles, skin and internal organs, as well as to help us make antibodies. But so long as you’re aware of the relatively low protein content, you should be able to get your protein from other sources in a good, balanced diet! Great sources of protein include a lot of great wholefoods like quinoa and pulses, tofu, nuts and seeds, and, of course, vegetables!
To make vegan dairy and egg look, feel and taste like their non-plant-based counterparts, manufacturers often add various thickeners or sweeteners. This can make dairy and egg alternatives highly processed. Again, with careful research, you can choose products with simple, straightforward ingredients, like Violife’s Cheddar Flavour Slices and other delicious cheese alternatives!
Like anything else in life, moderation is key! At PlantX, we’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting to make a plant-based lifestyle accessible for everyone! So just sit back and browse our site for some fantastic vegan products and dairy alternatives!
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Difference Between an Egg Alternative and an Egg Substitute?
An interesting question! And perhaps it’s all a question of semantics!
We’d consider an egg alternative to be an egg product that has been made to resemble a real egg, in look, taste and texture. BUT it does not contain any animal product. Egg alternatives are designed to be eaten as they come, rather than used as a binder in something else, like baking. Some egg-cellent egg alternatives include Orgran’s Vegan Easy Egg, which are great for making quiches, omelettes and frittas! Or for a great alternative to scrambled eggs, why not try Clearspot Tofu - Organic Scrambled Tofu, which is high in protein and seasoned to perfection!
So, that’s the egg alternative, but what’s an egg substitute?! How often have you wanted to bake a cake, cookie or pie and found that the recipe calls for egg? Luckily, there are a lot of clever substitutes that have similar properties to eggs in a baking recipe! One of the most well known is the flax egg, which combines 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water to replace an egg in a recipe. Other great egg substitutes for baking include applesauce, mashed banana, aquafaba and even silken tofu! We take a detailed look at the Top 6 Vegan Egg Substitutes on our blog. But if you’re looking to take the hassle out of calculating how much egg substitute your recipe needs, then check out Free & Easy’s Gluten and Dairy Free Egg Replacer.
So, at the end of the day, the terms “egg alternative” and “egg substitute” can be used interchangeably! But our takeaway is that in our busy, everyday lives, anything that takes the complication out of looking for a vegan substitute is a winner in our books!
What is Vegan Butter Made From?
Vegan butters are usually made from a mixture of oils, plant-based lecithin and protein. Typical oils used in vegan butter include olive, avocado and coconut oil. The oils are mixed with water and to give the concoction a milky or tangy flavour similar to butter, it can have salt, emulsifiers, colourings and flavourings added to them.
Whilst margarine is also made from an oil base and is very similar to vegan butter, there may still be trace amounts of dairy. Always be sure to read the label! Whatever your go-to vegan butter is, we’re here for it!
How Do I Use Vegan Cheese?
Cheese is common in many British favourites - pizza, lasagne and the good old cheese and pickle sandwich, to name but a few! Going plant-based doesn’t mean you have to give up your favourite dishes! There are some amazing plant-based cheeses around now that look, taste and even melt like dairy cheese! So you can use them exactly as you would “regular” cheese!
Vegan cheeses are made from a variety of nuts, like cashews, almonds and macadamias. So look for some alternative vegan cheeses if you have a nut allergy. Vegan cheeses contain healthy fats, but no cholesterol as they’re not made from animal fat.
Cheeses come in all shapes and sizes. Vegan dairy-free shredded cheese for pizza toppings don’t come any better than Violife’s Tex Mex Flavour Grated Cheese, which is made from a coconut base and is nut-free! For some melty vegan cheese slices to tuck into your sandwich or burger, try Follow Your Heart’s Dairy Free Cheese Slices - these come in two great flavours, Smoked Gouda and Pepper Jack. If you’re after something a little more sophisticated, why not try Bute Island’s Greek Style Sheese, delicious on its own or crumbled over a fresh, leafy salad!
There are far too many vegan cheeses to name here! But head on over to our blog for the Perfect Guide to Vegan Cheeses and find the perfect cheese for you.
Are Vegan Eggs Safe for People With Egg Allergies?
At PlantX, we are not certified health or nutrition experts, so ask your GP for advise if unsure. By definition, vegan eggs are free of dairy, egg and meat. In theory, they should be safe for people with egg allergies to enjoy. However, those with egg allergies should still exercise caution. Vegan eggs may still be produced in a facility that handles dairy or egg, and as a result, there may be a possible risk of cross contamination.
Always check your labels for wording along the lines of “does not contain dairy or egg” and “manufactured in facilities that do not use any milk or egg products”. And if in doubt, check directly with the manufacturer.
What Other Vegan Dairy Alternatives Can I Use in My Baking?
Vegan baking can be tricky! Butter, eggs and milk are typically used in baking to help ingredients bind together, to add moisture and add depth to the flavour. So what can vegans use to achieve similar home baked goods? What a relief that there are lots of great dairy alternatives in the UK!
The great news for milk alternatives is that the majority of plant- or nut-based milks can replace dairy milk directly in your baking. Soy, almond and cashew milk are all fantastic choices. If your recipe calls for buttermilk, you can try adding one teaspoon of vinegar to a cup of plant-based milk, and leave it to rest for a few minutes. This will give the milk a slightly sour taste, like buttermilk, and works great in pancakes! We have a huge range of plant-based milks, here at PlantX, and even dairy-free, flavoured milks!
We mentioned that aquafaba can be used as an egg substitute. Aquafaba is the water residue from a can of chickpeas. Did you know that aquafaba can be whipped in a mixer to make fluffy meringue for macarons and Eton Mess?! To make the perfect meringue, whip until you see soft peaks forming - you should be able to see the imprint of your whisk or fork for a few seconds, when you press it in.
Finally, we all need a little whipped cream in our lives to make our food more fun! Separating out the coconut cream from a can of coconut milk and whipping it, works amazingly well to make whipped cream. Coconut whipped cream makes a fabulous base for vegan cheesecakes! Or save yourself some time with a can of Amaizin Organic Coconut Whipping Cream! Of course, nothing beats a good squirty cream, like Food Heaven’s Heavenly Whipped Dairy Free Aerosol Cream! Use it to top your pancakes, desserts and even hot chocolate!
As you can see, there are some truly exciting dairy alternatives out there! We encourage you to check them all out for yourself on our Dairy & Egg Alternatives page. And don’t forget to check back often, as we are constantly updating our range!