dairy-free · recipes

rice milk + dairy free update

Dave and I took the month of July to go dairy-free, just to see how we would feel (because of some things we had read and conversations we had).  We were definitely surprised by how much better we felt and how little we actually missed dairy.  So we’ve kept [mostly] dairy-free since then.  For us, this means making dairy-free meals and swapping out cheese for hummus or nutritional yeast (or something else), rice milk for regular milk, etc.  We’ve had frozen yogurt a couple times.  We’re not scouring ingredients to see if something has traces of dairy.  I used butter in Leo’s frosting for his party.

The biggest differences: feeling less bloated, less gassy, mentally clearer, more energized, and less lethargic after meals.  I also think my running improved when I got off dairy – I’ve been able to go farther with less fatigue.  So in general, yes, we’re planning on staying dairy-free right now, with dairy here and there (the random ice cream craving, if we’re having dinner at someone’s house, etc.).

*edited to add: In the first few weeks when we went dairy-free I dropped 3-4 pounds, which was a big surprise.  I never just “drop” weight, but those pounds came off without me trying at all.  They have since stayed off.  I have not changed anything except for omitting dairy (I still eat dessert, same portion sizes, same amount of snacks, etc.).

At first, we made our own almond milk, but quickly found that to be more expensive.  So we’ve been making rice milk every week and it’s much more cost-effective.  It’s also making us incredibly grateful for our rice cooker!

(I’d include a picture but we finished our rice milk this morning!)

Rice Milk

  • 2c. cooked brown rice
  • 4c. water
  • 1/2t. vanilla (optional)
  • pinch of salt

Combine the rice and water in the blender.  Blend on high for 1 minute.  Strain the brown rice through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer (I use the strainer from a yogurt cheese maker).  Pour the rice milk into a jar.  Add vanilla and salt.  Shake well before serving.  Keep refrigerated.  You can either throw out the rice pulp or save and repurpose it (I’ve added it to Leo’s applesauce or used it in veggie burgers, egg scrambles, and stir frys).

We make a lot of rice milk at a time, but the general ratio is 1c. cooked rice to 2c. water.  I’ve tried different variations, but if you use more water, the rice milk ends up much thinner.  This ratio has given us the best milk, in our opinion.  I also eyeball the vanilla rather than measure it.

What’s your favorite kind of milk?  I grew up on powdered milk and then skim milk.  Anything above skim milk always tasted way too thick to me.  Dave was always a fan of 2% or higher.

We like the rice milk for our cereal and also for making banana ice cream.  Leo also drinks it during the day instead of formula.


12 thoughts on “rice milk + dairy free update

  1. What is the nutritional value of rice milk? Are you being intentional about getting calcium from other foods, especially for leo? Just questions i’m curious about. 🙂

    1. Yep, we are. He has a green smoothie in the morning (kale and spinach have calcium), broccoli pretty often, beans that have some calcium, tofu sometimes, sesame seeds sprinkled on pb (great calcium source). Fat from avocado, flaxseed, pb. Protein from eggs, beans, soba noodles, etc.

      We’re keeping formula per a chapter from Becoming Vegan that said there are certain aminos in milk or formula that can’t be found elsewhere. We discussed it with the doctor and she was good with our plan. Obviously we’ll watch to see if Leo is losing weight or anything else changes. He has formula in the morning and before bed and water/rice milk during the day.

  2. Hey, Kim. Since my dietary changes in February (gluten-, dairy-, egg-, bean-, nut-, cheese-, and many other-free), I have also noticed the effects you mentioned in this post about going dairy-free. The mental clarity, lack of lethargy and bloating after meals, and less gassy-ness have proven to me that the change was worth it. I personally stick to rice milk, unsweetened, which I buy for a great price on Amazon in bulk. I had never considered making it — is it really more cost effective than buying it? Sometimes I use coconut milk, but it’s not my favorite flavor. I love learning about alternative foods, cleaners, etc. from your blog. Thank you!

    1. I can’t say for certain that it’s cheaper, but I believe it is. So much rice milk comes from one bag of brown rice. Plus we’re able to use both parts – the milk and the pulp. However, buying it would have convenience, too! 🙂

  3. That is so cool that you make your own rice milk! We keep almond and soy milk at home. I grew up on skim and anything higher than that tasted gross to me too.

    That is so great that you feel great and lost some weight too! 🙂

  4. I’m loving this! We aren’t dairy-free – but I’ve stopped drinking cow’s milk for the most part…which is big, after Sully’s birth we were going through 3 or so gallons a week…I switched to having almond milk just for granola in the morning, and for making banana ice cream or baking with or whatever. I’ve also really tried to cut out our gluten too, but that is taking longer for Joel and Mylin – lots of kid friendly snacks are processed and have gluten – so I’m just trying to do a better job of preparing and being intentional with her. And you are Vegan? What does that mean? What is the definition?
    I’m game for trying coconut or rice milk…
    Do you ever go to the co-op in Ft. Wayne?

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