On The DF blogger Anna Bannister is known for her genius dairy-free meals and treats. Here, she explains why she ditched dairy and shows off the staples that fill her fridge (and make their way into her favorite recipes).
As a born-and-raised Midwesterner, dairy was a major staple in my diet growing up. Ice cream, pizza, mac and cheese—you name it, I was definitely eating it.
But toward the end of my freshman year of college, I started getting awful stomach pains every day. After months of food diary tracking and a handful of mini panic attacks, I was diagnosed with a then-foreign term: lactose intolerance.
Of course, I wasn’t alone in my new diagnosis; lactose intolerance affects nearly 65 percent of all people (roughly 30-50 million Americans). But the impact that cutting out trigger foods had on me—and my body—was profound. Not to mention the fact that it made my skin noticeably clearer. In just a few weeks, the little bumps around my cheeks (you know, the ones that drive you crazy) disappeared completely. Seven years later, I think I can count on one hand the number of blemishes I’ve had.
It was an unexpected perk, and one that helped fuel my drive to come up with delicious, dairy-free recipes. I quickly developed a passion for cooking, baking, and creating my own recipes, experimenting with alternatives (there were way fewer options back in 2009) that didn’t upset my stomach yet still tasted like my favorites.
In 2013, I officially launched On The DF. The site is the result of hundreds of kitchen mistakes and triumphs, of learning how to stay consistent even when traveling, and refusing to let my eating choices impact my social life. No matter if you’re lactose intolerant, have a minor allergy, or just want to cut back on dairy for personal or ethical reasons, my passion is helping you recreate the foods you love (without compromising on flavor).
Step one? Stock up your fridge.
Scroll down to see the dairy-free items On The DF blogger Anna Bannister keeps in her refrigerator.
My dairy-free staples
I love a little nut milk in my coffee, and use them to make smoothies in the morning. Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk and Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almondmilk are my go-tos. As a former full-dairy ice cream lover, nice cream is a must for me. This summer has been filled with frozen treat tasting, and I can never have enough vegan ice cream on hand.
That apple cider vinegar you see there is for shots I take each morning, because it’s great for digestion. I’m also a big fan of Kor wellness shots. You can throw ’em back just like tequila or toss one in your morning smoothie. (Can you tell I’m obsessed with drinking my greens?)
When I’m not traveling, I do hot yoga three to four times per week, so I’m constantly trying to stay hydrated. There’s nothing more refreshing after an hour of forearm planks in 108°F then an ice-cold coconut water! Also always on hand: frozen acai packets. My husband and I make acai bowls four to five times per week—maybe even more now, since the heat wave set in. Our go-to acai bowl is acai, frozen banana, frozen mixed berries, a handful of kale, grated ginger, ground cinnamon, and coconut milk. We top them off with fresh fruit, hemp granola, bee pollen, goji berries, cacao nibs, and a drizzle of tahini or cashew butter.
We are also big fans of Hope hummus. I love the Thai Coconut Curry flavor (the pink label), and my husband likes Jalapeno Cilantro (the green label). They also have a dark chocolate hummus that’s pretty bomb with strawberries or homemade cinnamon-sugar tortilla chips.
Fresh berries are a staple in our fridge, especially in the summer. We use them to top our breakfast bowls (smoothie bowls, oatmeal bowls, etc.), on top of a salad at lunchtime, or just to snack on throughout the day.
The wine you spot is called Summer Water, and it’s dangerously good. It’s a collab wine between Club W and Yes Way Rosé. The name makes perfect sense because it truly goes down like water. (I told you, dangerous!)
In the crisper and my condiment stash
Now that my husband is almost completely dairy-free too, we no longer have to divide our crisper between “dairy-free” and “dairy-full.” We stock up on Daiya cheese, Earth Balance vegan butter, and Kite Hill cream cheese—it’s so good on dairy-free bagels and in cakes.
We typically make some type of bowl for dinner, and the two base ingredients are greens and veggies. We roast up the veggies and toss ’em into a buddha bowl with massaged kale, fresh arugula, curry-roasted chickpeas, and diced avocado.
Okay, on to what I keep in my fridge door—as you can see it’s packed. We are a very condiment-heavy household. We typically have around seven or eight types of mustard (for real), Annie’s ketchup, and dairy-free mayo (Primal Kitchen avocado oil mayo is the bomb).
Nosy and want to peak inside more refrigerators? (No judgement!) Check out Cynthia Rowley’s—her ice cube hack is genius. And if you’re dairy-free but have a weakness for ice cream, here’s how to make a vegan version.