Diary usually refers to products made from cow’s milk. Because of the long protein strands, dairy can be problematic for human digestion. Digestion of dairy is further complicated by: leaky gut, the conditions the cows are raised in, artificial hormones to increase production and antibiotics to prevent disease. According to USA Today, an estimated 60% of adults can’t effectively digest cow’s milk.
Many people who can not tolerate cow dairy have no problem with sheep or goat cheese. There are so many varieties available. Take a cheese tour at your local Whole Foods or specialty market. Not only is it easier to digest but it is less modified through the use or hormones. By experimenting, you will discover some new favorites. I usually reference substitutes that are easy to find. As a note, I have yet to find a truly amazing cheddar version. Life goes on…
Manchego (a firm sheep) is a staple for me. It makes a great substitution for parmigiana or even mozzarella in a pinch.
Roquefort is basically blue cheese made from sheep milk. It has all the great flavor of blue cheese and can be used to top a steak, make salad dressing, crumble on a salad or make a great dip.
Feta is a traditionally a sheep milk cheese but you have to read your labels. More and more brands are using cow dairy to make their feta cheese.
Real Greek yogurt is also made from sheep milk and makes a great sour creme substitute. Again you have to read your labels. All the most advertised brands (Fage, Yoplait etc) are really cows dairy in sheep’s clothing. Why would they substitute cow’s milk? Because it is cheap due to enhanced (artificial) farming techniques like the use of hormones to increase production. When you can find it, traditional Greek yogurt is great on tacos, in marinades and in dips.
Soft goat cheese is great to create cream sauces and dips. A great rule of thumb is use it where you would use cream cheese. I use it with coconut milk to make a decadent Alfredo. I also use it to top baked sweet potatoes!