Although humans thrive on breast milk during the first couple years of life, there doesn’t seem to be any real reason to continue consuming cow’s milk after childhood, aside from simply liking the taste. 

Does it offer protein and calcium? Sure, but you can get these nutrients from other places, with fewer drawbacks like high-fat content and inflammatory properties, not to mention the likely addition of antibiotics and growth hormones. 

Then there’s the growing number of people living with lactose intolerance, not to mention changing dietary trends that see more consumers searching for vegan alternatives. 

The good news is that the dairy-free and vegan options market has expanded quite a bit, with something of a boom in the last couple of years. Whether you’re saying no to all meat and animal products or just giving up dairy, here are a few trends for 2022 you’ll surely want to try. 

Banana Milk

You’ve done coconut, almond, and soy. While they’re delightful in their own ways, none of them really capture the flavor and consistency of dairy milk. Even options like oat and macadamia milk, while creamier, miss the mark. The good news is that new plant-based milks are being developed all of the time. 

If you’re lactose intolerant but also have issues with soy, nuts, or gluten, you’ll be happy to hear that there’s another option — banana milk. As you might imagine, it tastes like bananas, as it’s essentially a blend of bananas and water. 

Related: Top Healthy Food & Beverage Trends for 2022

However, additions like sunflower seeds can help balance the sweetness of the bananas and add a savory appeal, while a dash of cinnamon brings a bit of spice to the equation. 

Unless you really love bananas, you may not want to slurp down a glass on its own, but banana milk makes for a great addition to smoothies, cereal, oatmeal, and even your morning coffee. It’s not entirely mainstream just yet, but you can find online ordering options for brands like Mooala. 

Cocktails Gone Vegan

Okay, so there are a lot of ways to enjoy spirits without any animal products, but what if you’ve recently switched to a vegan lifestyle and you’re struggling to give up faves like white Russians, chocolate martinis, gin fizzes, whiskey sours, and so on that feature milk or egg whites? 

There are definitely ways to substitute. For the creamy consistency of a white Russian, you’ll need a thick alternative to heavy cream. Nut milks like cashew or macadamia are a great choice because they have mild flavors that won’t compete with the Kahlua and disrupt the overall taste of the drink. 

For chocolate martinis, opt for a plain or vanilla soymilk that will keep the concoction light. 

As for drinks that feature egg whites, the best substitute is something called aquafaba. It’s a viscous liquid that results from soaking chickpeas (or other legumes). 

Believe it or not, aquafaba is the perfect consistency to replace egg whites in cocktails (it’s great for vegan meringue, as well). Next time you open a can of garbanzo beans, reserve the liquid and add a tablespoon to your next gin fizz in place of egg whites. 

Vegan Ice Cream

According to many a father and granddad, ice cream is the cure for life’s ills. But what if your lactose intolerance or vegan lifestyle won’t allow you to partake? 

There are plenty of non-dairy options to try, but some are undoubtedly better than others. Vanilla is a great litmus test — if this flavor is a dead ringer for the real deal, the chances are that every flavor from a brand is going to be even better. 

According to consumers, Sunscoop takes the cake, so to speak, in terms of consistency, which is often difficult for plant-based creams. Wildgood products are almost equally enjoyable, thanks to an EVOO base that gets the creamy texture just right.

When animal products just aren’t your jam, you might despair of finding dairy-free substitutes for your faves. Luckily, we seem to be entering a golden era of vegan options that only looks to expand in the coming years.

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