Simple Guide to Dairy-Free Goodies

Simple Guide to Dairy-Free Goodies

About a year ago, I went dairy-free by accident. Monkey and I were camping for a couple weeks, and dairy doesn’t keep well in summery tents, so I wasn’t eating any. Oddly, my stomach felt loads better than normal. After the trip, I got weird stomach aches, so this time I went dairy-free on purpose, and that solved it – I hadn’t even realized that there was a problem until it was solved; I just got used to feeling bloated and uncomfortable after every dairy-tastic meal. Allergies and intolerances can develop later in life, and acknowledging mine made me feel much better.

Now I eat a nearly vegan diet: I don’t eat meat, I avoid eggs for ethical reasons, but eat them when it’s more convenient to in a group; I eat some goat’s cheese (it doesn’t bother me like cow’s milk), and I eat ice cream (not enough dairy to give me a tummy ache). I’m also not super fussy about traces of eggs/milk, or if my veggie burger is cooked on the same grill as meat.

Some people have asked me for dairy-free advice, so here is my master list!

My Favourite Dairy Substitutes

  • Almond milk – for plain drinking, cereal, and sauces
  • Oat milk and rice milk – best milks for hot drinks
  • Soy milk – for cooking and smoothies; has the most nutrition, but isn’t as nice to drink plain
  • Daiya cheese – best grated (on nachos or baked potatoes) or with tomatoes, basil, and oil, but has a distinct taste on its own 
  • Tofutti sour cream – even better than normal sour cream!
  • Almond ice cream – the best store-bought substitute for ice cream. I find coconut too sweet and soy not sweet enough – this is just right.
  • Nutritional yeast – an excellent source of Vitamin B12, these cheesy flakes are often used in salads and sauces for an authentic-tasting replacement

My Favourite Dairy-Free Recipes

  • Everything I’ve tried from Oh She Glows has been beyond delicious, and hers is the only cookbook on my shelf. My favourite dish ever is her Vegan Mac ‘n Cheese, which my whole dairy-eating family loves too!
  • I left Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen at home, but photocopied and rewrote my favourite recipes, like her Sage Pesto and Truffled Parmesan
  • Charlotte White’s Blogcademy cupcakes are the best vegan cake I’ve ever tasted. Her Dairy-Free Banana Cupcakes are another go-to for pleasing dairy-loving skeptics

Dining Out

I feel most at ease when I call the restaurant beforehand to ask if they have a vegan option, or at least vegetarian non-dairy. They always do, in my experience, but occasionally you have to make a request ahead of time. Another trick is to order a combination of appetizers and/or side dishes. Side veggies are surprisingly yum!

Mexican – Most dishes have cheese, but you’re safe with customizing a tostada, taco, or burrito. They’ll look at you funny if you ask for a cheese-less quesadilla.

Asian – Generally dairy free! Over 90% of East Asians are lactose intolerant [this infographic is fascinating!].

Indian - Some dishes contain milk and yoghurt, but Indian restaurants are often 100% vegan too.

French – They do love their cheese. If you eat meat, you’ll be fine. If you’re vegetarian, go for a plate of seasonal vegetables, which they cook especially well – sometimes it’s offered as a side dish, sometimes you’ll have to request something special.

English – Vegetarians are usually safe with a veggie full English breakfast, but traditional pub fare is often meat-y or cheesy. If cheese-less nut roast is on the menu, go for it.

Pizza – Cheese-less pizza can be absolutely delicious with the right toppings (my favourite combo: pineapples and loads of veggies), but you have to ask: does no cheese mean dry and boring? Make sure there is enough tomato sauce and other stuff to make it worthwhile; sometimes I order cheese-less pizza and it comes out as basically a piece of circular bread. Ask questions.


Consult HappyCow for vegan, vegetarian, and veg-friendly restaurants and supermarkets around the world. Even if you do eat meat, vegan restaurants often mean creative dairy substitutions, so you can try dishes you usually don’t get. Some of my favourites:

  • New York, NY - Blossom has the best Caesar salad, according to Molly
  • Boston and Cambridge, MA – Flour Bakery marks gluten free, dairy free, and vegan, and has some of the most scrumptious baked goods around
  • Cambridge, MA - O2 Yoga for vegan nachos and donuts
  • Cambridge, MA – Veggie Galaxy is a vegetarian diner, and the whole menu is vegan-friendly – as are their cakes and desserts.
  • New Haven, CT – Claire’s Corner Copia‘s veggie burger is what convinced me that going vegetarian was a good idea. Their delicious vegan cake is pictured above.
  • Seattle, WA – Portage Bay Café has yummy vegan options. So do most places in Seattle actually.
  • Seattle, WA – Tilth is a fine local dining experience, offering a vegan tasting menu alongside its normal one, and home to the best soup I’ve ever sampled.
  • London, UK – Food for Thought is my go-to takeaway or quick eating veggie/vegan stop in Covent Garden
  • London, UK – InSpiral has the best vegan ice cream (cashew-based), along with other clever vegan and raw meals and desserts
  • London, UK – Tibits has a fabulous vegetarian and vegan buffet with the most plush seating
  • Oxford, UK – Alpha Bar, Will’s Deli, and Vaults & Garden share ownership and all offer healthy seasonal food, with a meat, vegetarian, and vegan option every day.

What are your best dairy-free secrets?

miss xandra bee 

Mini Adventure: a Minimalist Pilgrimage to Concord

Mini Adventure: a Minimalist Pilgrimage to Concord

Not far from my hometown in Massachusetts is a minimalist writer’s mecca: Concord, home of some of my favourite writers: Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott. I requested a weekend outing to this charming New England town, to soak up some history and inspiration.

First we drive by Walden Pond, where Thoreau lived in a cabin from 1845-1847, writing Walden; or Life in the Woods [a must-read for aspiring minimalists!]. It’s too crowded to enter just yet – oddly, it’s a beach destination, despite the serene intentions for my visit.

Mini Adventure: a Minimalist Pilgrimage to Concord

Off to Emerson‘s house, where I learn that he was a curious and clever dude. He travelled often, and Thoreau would hang out at the house, doing odd jobs and building presents for Emerson’s kids. Cool Uncle Henry. Funny story – Ralph’s wife, Lydia, changed her name to “Lydian” because Bostonians pronounced it “Lydiar”.

On the way out, we stop in their beautiful playground-esque garden.

Mini Adventure: a Minimalist Pilgrimage to Concord

Next up: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where my Concord heroes lay to rest on Author’s Ridge. Some visitors left pens and pencils at their graves, reminding me of visiting Douglas Adams’s grave in London.

Mini Adventure: a Minimalist Pilgrimage to Concord

Lunch in Concord means Comella’s, obviously. A quick local Italian place that has burst into a Boston-area chain. The World Cup was on so we got a glimpse of modernity to break up the day.

Mini Adventure: a Minimalist Pilgrimage to Concord

Off to Thoreau Farm, a marvelous hidden gem - a walk-through museum on the site of Thoreau’s birth. I loved reading bits about his enthusiastic, deliberate lifestyle. They even rent out one of the room to writers – special!

Mini Adventure: a Minimalist Pilgrimage to Concord

Mini Adventure: a Minimalist Pilgrimage to Concord

Back to Walden Pond. The crowd has died down, so we opt for a nature loop around the place, retracing Thoreau’s steps. We observe the site of his cabin, and meander down to the edge of the pond. The beach-y part is across from us in the distance, but our spot is quiet and private, so we skip rocks and gaze on the rippling water. Nothing inspires like a walk – or even just a sit – in the woods.

Mini Adventure: a Minimalist Pilgrimage to Concord

monday mini adventuresmaking the most of one’s surroundings through conscious exploration and appreciation 

miss xandra bee

P.S. if you’ve caught the minimalist bug, here’s a list of 14 films that inspire minimalism and mindfulness!

Sunday Sampling: Magical Productivity Bundle, Insomnia, and Singletasking




♡ This video on singletasking is both profound and hilarious. Must watch!

♡ Blake Lively’s online business is finally here, and I think it’s quite cool.

♡ A really cute illustration + actually insightful steps for your biggest dreams: Cycle of an Idea

♡ Kat‘s lists are always unpredictable and bluntly bloody useful. This is no exception: 7 Secrets of Making Money Online

♡ Introverts and insomnia: a fresh take on the liberation of insomnia. Really sweet!

♡ I reeeally want to start a record collection after reading Pearl’s guide.

♡ Oh my gosh. These time machines to the 90s are glitter-tastic.

miss xandra bee

P.S. Today is the LAST day (midnight UK time) to purchase the Spikes and Stardust Magical Productivity Bundle, which includes my book among other inspiring ladies’!

Buy this on Selz
Sell digital downloads on Selz

Birthday List

 Birthday List

I spent the few hours before my birthday [I was born at midnight] composing a list of 24 things to do before I’m 24. That’s 365 days from today. Sarah from The Laughing Medusa does this every year, and she makes it look really fun!

Birthday List

  1. visit a new country
  2. run a new 10K or half marathon
  3. visit Cornwall
  4. have my astrological chart drawn up
  5. write another song
  6. find the perfect tarot deck
  7. write a letter to Jo Rowling
  8. stargaze
  9. volunteer
  10. ride a new roller coaster
  11. learn a new card game
  12. perform
  13. add crystals
  14. go fruit picking
  15. have a picnic
  16. visit the Isle of Skye
  17. play croquet
  18. see a Shakespeare play I haven’t seen before
  19. take an art class
  20. have a spa day
  21. celebrate Midsummer
  22. join a book club
  23. attend a new festival

Any ideas for number 24?

 miss xandra bee

My latest project. [I'm giddy.]

My latest project. I'm giddy.

It is with utter delight that I announce the birth of a new project: Heroine Training.

Writing Becoming My Own Heroine got me thinking. When I de-clutter my life, I leave room for the essential things that define me as a heroine.

Heroine Training is a hub for creativity and self-empowerment. It is the conjunction of fictional worlds, a guidebook for your own travels and trainings.

Get your pencils ready for Lesson 1: How to Keep a Personal Journal, then read Sarah [The Laughing Medusa]‘s guest travel guide: East London Fit for Heroine. Warning: May cause extreme wanderlust.

And that’s just the free content. More on some exciting, exclusive offerings very soon!

miss xandra bee

Being a Heroine

Mini Adventures


Simple Fix