One of the questions I’m most often asked by readers, friends, and strangers, is whether or not I still get cravings for non-vegan food, and if I do, what foods do I miss? The very honest truth is that I really don’t crave any non-vegan food anymore. I may have a fond, passing remembrance of Greek yogurt now and then, but it’s not really a “craving” of the sort that makes me tempted to go out and buy a container of Chobani–the way I sometimes “crave” chocolate, or “crave” cigarettes (yes, I still crave, and actively resist, cigarettes).
There is, however, at least one non-vegan food that I actively missed for many years after I became vegan, and would still miss were it not for a few excellent substitutes: half and half in my coffee. Not half and half solo—that would be a strange thing to covet on its own—but rather a cup of good, strong coffee after you’ve poured a bit of half and half in it, and the color changes from a rich, dark brown to the color of cafe au lait. Divine.
You may be thinking that this is a pretty random thing to miss. Surely, the entire world of omnivorous fare included one thing that I miss more than I do light coffee?
Not really. For one thing, I never much liked meat or poultry or fish, so giving those up was relatively straightforward. And though I liked yogurt and cheese as much as the next gal, my craving for these foods has simply abated over time. My craving for a perfect cup of java, on the other hand? Not so much. Coffee is one of my biggest pleasures, and it makes sense that I’d want it to be perfect every single time.
Thus far, I have yet to find a truly ideal vegan cream substitute for coffee. The most authentic (I think) is Silk creamer:
It’s neutral, not overly sweet, very creamy, and the ingredient label isn’t too bad. That said, soymilk and soy creamer don’t always agree with my stomach, and I wish it were organic (however, I should note that Silk chooses non-GMO soybeans: I was impressed to learn this).
Next up? So Delicious coconut milk creamer:
This is my favorite store-bought coffee creamer at the moment. I think it’s slightly more detectable (I can’t say for sure what I detect, but it’s not the same sort of neutral flavor that soy creamer has) than the Silk creamer, but it’s slightly creamier, which I appreciate. That said, I find that it goes bad much more quickly than the soy creamer, and I’ve had to throw it out several times long before it was set to expire.
This is the standard vegan option at coffee bars and restaurants. It took me ages to like the taste of soymilk in coffee. Now, many years of soy-infused coffee drinks later, I’m totally used to it. That said, it would never be my first taste choice.
I’m an enormous fan of almond milk, as you all know. But in my experience, the store-bought stuff just doesn’t cut it—too thin. I do use almond milk in coffee sometimes, but it’s not my preference. When I do, I think the Blue Diamond brand is the best for coffee, even though it’s not organic (at least I don’t think it is).
Now, as you all know, I’m huge on making homemade nut milks: I think they’re almost always richer and more indulgent than the store-bought brands, and I like how I can modify the type of nuts I use and the flavors I impart to them. I definitely purchase almond milk on the regular when I’m short on time, but I love crafting it myself when I can.
Until recently, however, it literally never occurred to me to use my homemade almond milk as a coffee creamer. I just assumed that the homemade nut milk would separate in piping hot coffee, as it’s not stabilized by preservatives in any way. Last week, however, I was out of store-bought creamer and almond milk, so I figured “why not?” I poured two tablespoons of my homemade almond milk (famous recipe here) in my coffee.
Boy, am I glad I did. It wasn’t quite as creamy as I had hoped, but it was incredibly good, and far better than using Blue Diamond—in fact, if I hadn’t known it was homemade almond milk, I’d have thought it might be a new creamer variety. With this in mind, I resolved to make a batch of almond milk that was slightly thicker than my usual, and I switched up the proportions a bit: 1 cup almonds to 3 cups water, rather than 1 cup almonds to 4 cups water. This time, it was absolutely perfect: not only every bit as good as store-bought varieties, but even—dare I say it?—reminiscent of the “real thing.”
Though a tiny bit of separation seems apparent in the photo below, I can assure you that the almond “creamer” is silky smooth, and blends into coffee perfectly. If anything, it may settle on top a little, but that’s no different from half and half. What is different from half and half is that this creamer is free from cholesterol and unnecessary saturated fat. More importantly, unlike commercial half and half, its production causes no harm to animals. Health and compassion? Win, win.
Homemade Vegan Coffee Creamer (raw, soy and gluten free!)
Makes 2 1/2 – 3 cups
1 cup almonds, soaked 8 hours or overnight
3 cups water
2-4 dates (I like using only 2 for my creamer, so that it’s not too sweet)
Pinch sea salt (to taste)
1) Blend all ingredients together on high till very smooth — about a full minute or minute and a half.
2) Strain almond creamer using cheesecloth, a paint bag, or a nut milk bag. I like to just let it sit for a few hours, then collect the pulp (for use in goodies like these!).
3) Pour creamer into glass or other airtighht container. Will keep 2-3 days in the fridge. Use extra for thickening smoothies or soups!
Who knew that here, under my nose all this time, was the vegan creamer of my dreams! Just a slight variation of the almond milk I make all the time. It all goes to show that, with a little creativity, you can make nearly any beloved food from your pre-vegan days into a veganized recipe. So often, your new creation will rival or surpass the original, and it’s nearly always true that your confidence in the health benefits of the replacement will add to your pleasure.
What non-vegan foods do you tend to miss? I’m asking others, for once! And how do you replace them?
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I don’t use sugar in my coffee now. As we transition from Water Buffalo Milk to Plant Based milk this creamer sounds just about right. How sweet do the dates make it? I do realize that the cream in the milk (Water Buffalo is 8%) adds a little sweetness to my latte and I’m wondering if I should include it.
I think that the 2 dates make it just a little sweet. You could experiment with one or two, if you want subtle sweetness but are wary of making it overly sweet. For me, 2 is great, and for someone who is accustomed to a sweetened creamer, 3 or 4 might be preferable.
I just went vegan & could have written this article! All my “coffee joy” totally gone- in fact I just broke down & bought a small container of Half& half creamer. Thanks so much for the vegan creamer tip!
Word for word this article describes me. Coffee creamer is the only thing I have missed after following a vegan diet. I get you, I get this!! Thanks so much for this post. I will certainly be trying this soon.
In going raw… I missed Chocolate pudding. I have replaced it with a mix of coconut milk, raw cacao, chia seeds, a dash of vanilla and a pinch of pink sea salt. It turns out amazing!
So amazing!! Ty, it’s been the my hardest to give up. By far the hardest
I’ve been vegan vegan for 9yrs ,& been battling to find a away to give up my non vegan coffeemate & now I can thanks to you!! It has been by far the hardest to give up! & ive felt so ashamed not being able to just say no to creamer, I can’t stand black coffee.
There really is no need to miss out on delicious coffee or recipes just because you’re vegan! 🙂
Hi, I was wondering if the creamer freezes well. Your records seems to make a sizable batch and I don’t drink coffee every day. Could I freeze it in ice trays and then drop a couple of cubes in, of is that not recommended?
That ought to work well!
We love our half-n-half, for sure, but we’ll be trying your creamer recipe this week – thanks for posting it! I’m curious, did you mean to have a link in step #2 of the instructions when you said “for use in goodies like these!”. I’m wondering how you use the pulp. We’ve used it in place of some flour in a cornbread recipe, but that’s it so far. It would be great not to waste it.
Hey Jennifer! When I revamped my blog last year I actually lost some recipes, so this is probably a dead link. This is one of my favorite almond pulp recipes, though: https://www.thefullhelping.com/almond-and-pumpkin-breakfast-porridge-gluten-free-grain-free-vegan/
Thank you so much for your vegan coffee creamer recipe. I have been vegan for over 4 years but have not been able to give up the delicious taste of Coffee Mate. I purposely did not read the label because I knew in my heart it was not good for me.. That is why I am so grateful to you for this recipe. I tried it for the first time today, & I like it even better because I know it is healthy for me, but even more, the taste is incredibly good. Thanks for helping me kick my last bad habit!
i was exactly like you!! Half and half was the only thing I missed and like you, only in my coffee. About a year ago I bought a frother. Now I ‘froth’ my soy milk before I put it in my coffee. Amazing, truly!! Thick, hot, creamy!
I’ve been making almond milk at home again for a bit and am desperate for ways to not waste the pulp. You said ways to use it here, but there doesn’t seem to be a link? Thought I’d point it out to you.
Put it in a smoothie. It is solid protein. I put it in my green drink each morning. Experiment with healthy nutrit bullet or vita mixer drinks.
Trader Joe’s just came out with an awesome new vegan coconut milk coffee creamer!
Where did you find the coconut creamers? I ended up buying coconut milk thinking it would be better than almond. I’m anti-soy because it is mostly GMO.
I agree with being anti-soy IF it’s a non-organic soy product. However, having just done more research, if a soy product is 100% organic it’s absolutely non-GMO and hexane free. It drives me nuts how often people make blanket statements regarding one issue or another without clarifying the good and the bad.
Thank you for this. I didn’t realize they had organic soy…
Just had to chime in. Most (the vast, vast majority) of wholesome soy foods on the market ARE organic and non-GMO. It’s actually a challenge to find non-organic tofu. It’s true that most soy in the US is GMO, but it’s absolutely a myth that most of that soy ends up in tofu, tempeh, or soy milk. It ends up in either animal feed (and, consequently, animal products) or in highly processed foods.
Hi Amber. They’re from So Delicious: http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/products/coconut-milk-creamers
In response to your question about missing non-vegan food, I can say I don’t miss anything! I used to be a dedicated meat, cheese and egg eater and once believed I couldn’t give at least the cheese or eggs up. But I honestly do not miss them. I love cooking and making everything from scratch so it’s a whole new world of recipes to try now that I’m vegan. Seitan is my latest obsession! I’ve also learned how to make sourdough breads.
Thank you for this recipe!
I had been eyeing it for a while, but had been procrastinating about trying it. This morning, there were no creamer options in the fridge, and I need my coffee before I’m awake enough to run to the store. On a whim, I decided, “Now’s the time,” and tried this recipe without soaking the almonds. It’s wonderful, even without the soaking. The most challenging part for me was being patient while it strained. I rushed it and had enough almond milk to make a latte in about 15 min.
WOW… I cannot get over the incredible flavor!
Today, I’ll soak some almonds and give it another whirl (and let it properly strain) to see how the end result changes. Either way, I’m thrilled to have discovered this recipe.
One question – in your post you referred to saving the almond pulp for another recipe, but it appears your link was removed. Could you point me to your almond pulp recipe(s)? I’m very interested in seeing what you do with it. (I have a feeling I’m going to be making almond milk every week now.)
Thanks again –
I’m definitely going to try this creamer. I almost caved today with dairy cream in my coffee, but just went with almond milk and a bit of maple syrup, which was okay. Also, I don’t want to buy Silk or other cream substitutes that use palm oil.
Can’t seem to find an answer in the comments about being able to freeze this recipe. If anyone knows the answer, can you please post it.
I’m really crossing my fingers here. I have tried a everything you’ve mentioned even making homemade coconut creamer and everything is quite awful. I have given up all cheese and meats and eggs (meats 12 yrs ago ) but I’m with you. I seriously cannot imagine a cup of coffee without the half and half. I don’t even need sugar, I’m just after that rich creamy taste. I will try your recipe. Hopefully it’s the “one” . Thank you for sharing
Hi, Had to comment on your information about Silk products – they were non-GMO until Silk was bought by a big corporation, now, however, the product has gone from 99% organic to 6%. Verify this by going to naturalnews.com.
Great post, but did you know the link for “great goodies here.” does not work? I’d love to see what you do with your almond pulp.
Hi, I’ve been using Silk Coffee Creamer and just noticed it uses regular cane sugar which is not vegan. I will try your homemade almond recipe. Silk products are not quite healthy in general.Thanks
I’m so excited about this. Since going vegan last august I’ve been struggling with coffee creamer. I used straight heavy cream & since then have not found something to use. Almost considered giving up coffee. I’m using SoDelicious hazelnut coconut right now but I’m not a fan of carrageenan. Really trying to find something more healthy, organic. I already make homemade almond milk for my cereal! I’m going to tweak it & try your recipe!!! Thanks so much for sharing Gena.
This is brilliant! I’m not a vegan (not even a vegetarian anymore I’m afraid), but as often as I can, if I can substitute something for the veggie or even the vegan option, I’ll do so right away. I also try and avoid allergens of any kind if I can.
I live in the Netherlands and it’s impossible to find vegan coffee creamers here. I’ve tried using soy cream or rice cream but the taste/texture was just not for me (in coffee anyways)!
I love almond milk but I find it too thin for my coffee and that it improves it in no shape or form and separates. So I stopped using it.
So finding this way of making it a) myself and b) thicker… PERFECT!
I can wait to try it!
Lots of great information!! I recently have had to stop gluten and dairy. It’s really hard.. I love my coffee too!! The only problem though with alot of these almond milk’s and creamers is the carageenan which I have to avoid and evrybody should. It’s hard to find this. Starbucks has it in pretty much all their non dairy products… frustrating 🙁 I love to go there and will probably have to bring my own creamer or nondairy milk for latte’s..
its not weird! coffee cream is what im having a hard time quitting ive started using barely any but just dont like the silk and so creamers my coffee is my fave thing and changing it is hard!
I use to use Silk Creamer until I found Organic Wildwood soymilk creamer which is far superior in flavor. This product has become difficult to find. I will research this further. The negative side to this product and many others is Carrageenan, which is added as a thickening agent — it is unsafe to ingest, so the homemade creamers and milk is the healthiest option.
My husband and I have only adopted the vegan diet for the last month for health purposes. And while he’s craving hamburgers and chicken mcnuggets (we NEVER ate at Mc Donald’s even before our diet), I’m finding I miss cheese and coffee creamer most, the latter being what led me to your site. Not only was it great to read the reviews of different vegan creamers but even better to find your recipe! Thanks so much for sharing. Was wondering what kind of blender you use. Is it just a hand-held or one of the more powerful varieties?
I LOVE YOOOOU … It is been a month for me being vegan and I did not want any animals product ever since but my beloved coffee mate… now I have happy tears in my eyes that I found a better creamer for my coffee :’D I made your creamer right away and tried it out and it is fantastic …. thank you very much that you just made my life 😀
Ha! Glad you like the site 🙂
Late to the game, I know but just wanted to say I finally got around to making this creamer last night and am IN LOVE! Used it in my coffee this morning and it’s perfect. It’s as close to cream as I’ve tried, and I love that it’s made from whole food ingredients without any nasty chemicals or processing. Thank you for passing this on!
Hi! I was surfing the net about finding a milk or coffee creamer that was non GMO. I thought silk milk was a great choice till I found a site that explained what carrageenan was. It’s an ingredient in silk milk. It comes from seaweed and is used as a thickener. It also causes colon cancer. I don’t know if you are trying to be GMO cautious. Just thought I would share.
I was a big cream and cheese eater, even though I was vegetarian, I didn’t see the health issues and humane issues associated with milk, eggs, cheese, so it took a long time for me to go vegan all the way..coffee creamer was the biggest thing I missed, but SILK SOY CREAMER is awesome, and the Homemade Vegan Creamer on this site is fantastic also.
It was EASY to give up milk and cheese items once I told myself that milk, cheese, eggs, these items are just LIQUID MEAT. So, it is easy to just not eat that stuff.
I would love a good way to make a dish that resembles scrambled eggs…that is what I miss still a bit…any help here? I tried the soy scramble, maybe I made it incorrectly but I was not a fan! Thanks, ever so much!
Howdy, I am also wondering what if you froze the almond milk in cubes, could it last more like a week or two or more? This seems like a lot of effort to make a product that is only good for a few days?
I am newly almost vegan (I have been lact-ovo vegetarian for 19 years), still doing eggs and creamer in my coffee because I just have not been able to let it go.
Have you ever froze the homemade almond creamer?
I am new to being vegan but still craving meats i can not get past it what can i do because i eat it then feel really gross about it i do not want to eat it anymore but do not know what else to do . help
Long ago, I was where you are, remember meat is dead animals, with rigor-mortis, ugh, like a morgue…and milk, cheese and eggs, just Liquid Meat…and really bad for your heart health. Why would anyone want to spoil a beautiful, tasty salad by adding dead animal meat in there? I often find myself saying that in places like Panera when I order that amazing Strawberry Poppy Seed salad and then have to convince them to NOT ADD DEAD CHICKENS in there…most restaurants now, happy to report, have a special register key for reducing prices for vegans when we say “please, no dead things in my food”, and then they remember better not to put the chicken and dead pigs and such. GO VEGAN, it is totally fun!
Hello all. I am not vegan but am really trying very hard to get away from all processed foods. I have just recently become lactose intolerant but never tried anything in place of milk or cream until recently. The only “milk” I can tolerate is the Diamond Unsweetened Almond Milk, but it is very thin. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Silly question but do you use dried dates? Thanks.
I am so happy I found this post! Thank you, thank you!!!
I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years but only gave up dairy a few weeks ago. The only thing I have really struggled with is not having half and half in my coffee. I love my coffee and I can’t get used to soy or coconut creamer. I made this almond milk as soon as I read your recipe and you are right, it is perfect! It turns my coffee the perfect caramel color and there’s no aftertaste. It’s so much better than store bought almond milk too. Thank you so much!
I just made this creamer, but with hemp seeds instead (because I wanted to try it NOW and I don’t have soaked almonds) I like it! much better than I like commercial soy milk in my coffee. It has kind of a ‘green’ taste though–not necessarily bad, so I’m interested to try my next batch using almonds.
I’m hard pressed to think of something I really miss after transitioning my diet. Ice cream probably. My stomach can’t handle eating as much of the coconut or soy versions, but I probably shouldn’t be eating a pint in one sitting anyway 🙂
Thanks for this!! I have recently started to transition meat/dairy products out of my diet. I can do without cow’s milk, although due to it being about about 3-4x cheaper here than soy or almond milk ($1.99/gal vs $2+/ qt.) i haven’t totally weened off it yet. However, my biggest worry this far has been my coffee! Using commercial soy or almond milk doesn’t cut it for me (or I have to use a whole lot of it). Almond milk flavor and strength wise I can do, but color-wise it is so off in my coffee (petty I know but like you that steaming cup and color is transfixing for me). I will have to try this version of your almond milk to see if the creamier version does it for me!! I’m just waiting for a good enough blender/ food processor that can handle the nuts.
I really like the taste of Blue Diamond unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Does this recipe taste close to it? I use BD almond milk to make chai using a food.com recipe. It’s better than with cow’s milk and when I drink it, I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven!
Love your blog!
I, too, miss creamer in my coffee. Silk Organic Soymilk has been my substitute, but just does quite fill the bill. I look forward to trying this recipe.
After six months on a vegan diet, I find that I don’t really miss anything, per se. However, I run about 30 miles a week; and occassionally pass by a yard or two where people are grilling/smoking (most likely meat as I live in Texas). I miss the process/ritual of smoking something (formerly brisket, in my case) for 12 or more hours. It must be the smell of smoldering oak that brings on this urge, because I do not crave beef at all.
I just bought a new item yesterday and it’s called Native Forest Unsweetened Organic coconut milk and it is wonderful! I just started a raw food diet and i drink coffee only a little bit and needed a substitute for my powdered coffee creamer. This really fit the bill and taste great. You could hardly taste the coconut in it and it is tasting pretty much like my regular creamer only better and more healthier for me..It comes in a 13.5 oz can ,so try it out you won’t be disappointed>
I love the idea of homemade coffee creamer but wish it would keep for more than a couple of days. Could I make a batch and FREEZE it?
Thanks so much for this post! I recently went vegan for the second time(health reasons) and I have the hardest time giving up my coffee with french vanilla creamer. I will give these a try!
This looks great! I do have a question for you: do you know anything about caffeine allergies? I love coffee, but every time I indulge, my face swells up and it’s really uncomfortable. Do you have any idea what might be causing this? I greatly appreciate your taking time to answer! Have a great summer, Gena!
and I made my first batch tonight. It is ok= though I would like it creamier.
I made it with a high speed mixer, with just enough water to make is spin
correctly. I will try the mix with cashews as well. I have not tried the commercial
vegan creamers. my own real cocoanut milk was not creamy enough. I am not sure of the can stuff.
reading this blog was very informative to me– everyone’s opinions helped me
Just wondering–since it only lasts 2-3 days, but it makes quite a bit, has anyone tried to freeze this? We had the idea to use ice trays to freeze it but I wondered if anyone had already tried it.
I didn’t read through all the comments because I’m lazy, if someone else already asked/answered, sorry!
I may have to try this one. I’m not a vegan but I have been trying to lean towards more whole/real foods, but I am admitting that my international delight will probably be the last thing to switch. I have tinkered around with homemade without much success and after a pint of coconut milk creamer I bought like…gelled up and was more solid than liquid, I decided against buying any more of that.
Well, I butter my toast with avocado and pretend it’s butter. It’s pretty good!
Question about liquid smoke: what is that stuff? It seems like carcinogens in a bottle, is it really safe?
Thanks to those that wrote about tuna chickpeas, I’ve never heard of or tried this but love chickpeas and will hunt around for a recipe…
have u thought of making this with cashews instead of almonds? I think it would be even creamier!ove your blog!!
I find this post fascinating, as creamer isn’t something that exists in Australia, and in truth I’m still not entirely sure what it is. I think it must have something to do with the different coffee cultures in Australia and America, as in Australia you generally choose between a long black, flat white, latte, or cappuccino, and the only real “doctoring” people do is adding sugar. No cafe or restaurant could get away with serving drip/filter coffee, and – actually, I’m going to stop myself now, because I think I’m likely to start slandering American coffee if I don’t. And that would be rude 😛 All that aside, though, I’d definitely be interested in putting some almond milk into my coffee next time 🙂
This sounds great. Two questions: Can you use almond meal to make almond milk (especially if you don’t own a high-powered blender, just a regular one?) Do the proportions change then?
Also, any way to make a batch last longer than 2- 3 days?
Hi Gena, like you and others who have commented, one of the things I miss most is yoghurt. Top quality, organic, natural, pot set yoghurt. I have found making raw young coconut yoghurt is the perfect substitute! I get that delicious creamy taste and texture and my healthy probiotics in an ethical and lactose free way. I like to add lots of lemon juice into my raw yoghurt to recreate that slight tang. The recipe I have shared on my blog tastes pretty much identical to greek yoghurt!
Thanks for another great post. I too have been loving my homemade almond mylk in many shapes and forms recently.
By the way, your mug and little bowl are so gorgeous!
Gena once wrote about a decadent coconut “Greek yogurt” on this blog that she somehow let “ferment” overnight. Sounds yum, will check out your blog too.
What a great post. I love What on Earth coconut milk as a coffee booster. It is so rich and thick (without clumping) that I often have to add water to get it to true mylk consistency.
When I was three years into my Vegan journey, I really began to crave fish – tuna and smoked salmon. I find if I up my intake of cooked proteins in grain form – quinoa etc – and my intake of fat and omega 3s with avocado and flax oil and eat even more nori and dulse than usual this usually takes care of the cravings.
Craving fish is an odd one for me, as I really hate the smell of cooked fish and the lingering smell of sardines in my dog’s bowl, yet the thought of smoked salmon and tuna is still appealing.
If you are ever in Montreal, check out the Veggielox chapati at Aux Vivres on St. Laurent. YUM!
I’m so glad you wrote this post! I miss half and half in my coffee as well. I also love pizza, and miss cheese on it; however, Daiya has been a great substitute. It’s an occasional craving that I’m glad I can remedy in a dairy-free way.
Mmmm what a wonderful idea!!! I love that caramel cafe au lait color… and coffee with milk (I use Trader Joe’s almond milk – which I find to be creamier than any other brand) is seriously one of life’s pleasures. To sip it slowly in the morning while sitting in the sunlight… I can hardly think of anything better! I definitely will try this homemade vegan creamer when I’m back at home (with a kitchen and a blender).
Though I don’t comment often, just wanna tell ya (again) how much I love your blog and your writing!
THANK YOU!!!! After I made this my morning coffee became a joy again instead of simply a necessity.
Gena, you’re a talented writer; all of your posts are great. But this one? My favorite ever! I dare you to top this =) And thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you…
Wonderful! I love the idea of making creamer out of almonds – sort of like Mimiccreme, but cheaper, and I can experiment with the taste. Thank you!
They can have cow dairy but oh man do I miss goat yogurt! I’ve yet to find a vegan version that can really replicate that wanginess you get with goat yogurt. It’s so gross, but so good 🙁
The one thing I truly miss not because I’m vegan but because I’m eating disordered is coffee! I’ve been a vegan for over 20 years but just within the last few started reading more about raw foods and everyone says coffee is horrible! your adrenals! caffeine! the horror! I quit coffee for “detox” and now get a bit of guilt when I indulge….but it’s so delicious and you know what the best vegan creamer from back in the day before premade cartons is? Coconut milk in the can…it’s cheap, it’s super creamy and thick, and it’s delish…you can even get it organic now! I might have to go get some now 🙂
The cream in the coffee was a big deal for me too and I have tried many of the commercial option and several homemade ones too. My problem with most of the non-dairy creamers is that they’re sweetened and I hate sweet stuff in my coffee. What I’ve finally settled on as the best creamer is cashew milk (1:4 cashews:water). This was the first one that my omni boyfriend didn’t wrinkle his nose at either.
too funny that you posted this today. I too am the exact same way, I even painted my room the color of coffee with cream in it I love it so much!
Love this idea! Any idea if it contains a lot more fat than regular almond milk? I have a hard time digesting fat, although maybe it would be a little easier digested due to the soaking of the almonds?
Oh, and a little birdie told me that Starbucks is talking about adding almond milk to their milk repetoire…I would be sooooo happy. Almond milk is so much easier on the tummy than soy all the time.
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Gena… My q is that most of the packaged creamers and milks contain a seaweed-derived additive called carrageenan… I have been hearing a few horror stories about this of late, and my GI doc told me to avoid it at all costs… what are your thoughts?
I love the so delicious french vanilla coconut milk creamer…so good….=) your homemade almond milk looks awesome!
what I miss…roasted garlic and melted brie spread on a baquette…loved that!
I missed cream in my coffee for a long time too but got used to soy milk and love it now, it has always seemed the creamiest to me. But this homemade almond creamer sounds awesome!!
The one thing I miss are my dad’s “doctored-up beans” – pork and beans with bacon, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard and Worchestershire sauce. It was always delicious, but I think I miss the camaraderie most – he and I would always make it together, adding ingredients (he and I never measure when we cook – only when baking), stirring everything in a skillet on the stove, tasting to see if it needs more of any one ingredient.
One of the things I miss most is canned tuna and smoked salmon – odd, I know. I’ve found that a good chickpea salad w/ homemade vegan tofu mayo and diced pickles does the trick for replacing the canned tuna, but I still haven’t really found something that replaces the smoked salmon. I know it’s really just the saltiness and the smokiness that I miss – any suggestions?
Ever played around with liquid smoke in your chickpea salad?
I know I saw something once about vegan alternatives for smoked salmon, but I can’t remember what it was exactly. Maybe roasted red peppers with liquid smoke or smoked salt or something?
I am a fan of So Delicious creamer and sometimes use it instead of my milks. I stopped buying almond milk once I started making it myself and love doing the 1:4 and 1:3 ratios as I see fit. Homemade almond milk makes such a huge difference! I just might make some this weekend. Granted… I do have almond meal I need to use up. Perhaps some cookies as well!
One thing I found from a few other food blogs is Daiya cheeses. Have yet to try them myself but word is that they are very good! Have never tried nut cheeses but do love hummus!
Thanks for all the great suggestions Gena!
Why have I never thought to make my own? Great post, Gena. My current store bought fave is the Wildwood Original Soy Creamer made with organic soybeans. Funny though, I never like half & half in my coffee. I always drank it black until I went vegan and tried this soy creamer after buying it for my boyfriend. Now I’m totally in love with it. It lends a creamy nutty taste to my morning cup.
The only pre-vegan food item I used to miss was cheese. And I honestly don’t even miss it anymore because there are so many tasty alternatives.
I make a large batch of cold-press coffee about once a week (recipe from Smitten Kitchen x3). Since that produces a coffee “concentrate” that needs to be cut 1 x 1 with water, I just use 1×1 of coffee concentrate and my homemade almond milk. Delicious! I don’t miss using half-and-half at all now. 🙂
I was always less-than-pleased with the result of adding most nondairy milks to my coffee, but that all changed when I tried hempmilk. Living Harvest’s Tempt Unsweetened is better than any coffee creamer, and it really only takes a little bit to turn the whole cup a gorgeous shade of khaki. However, homemade almond cream is hard to top. 😉
Dear Gena; You are ABSOLUTELY A GENIUS!! I have to agree that I can live quite happily if I can still have my cuppa strong Joe or tea with DECENT CREAMER!! I am going to make yours now and will get back to you with my views…. 🙂 I am also a “Silk Soy Creamer” (original flavor) and have tried the “So Delicious” coconut creamer but the coconut one has “something” (as you say you can detect) that I am not 100% satisfied with. I did try making some “cashew cream” however, I am not yet truly proficient at making nut milks (which isn’t to say I’d have liked the cashew cream in my coffee anyway. :P)
Thank you so much for your inspiring emails and recipes!!
why didn’t i think of this?! i HATE that so many of those non dairy options come with stabilizers and gut irritants like guar gum 🙁 it definitely wrecks me so this is a simple option i can get behind! thanks gena!
If you don’t have a chance to make your own, try Mimicreme! It’s made from nuts and it’s delish! The best vegan creamer, hands down. You can get it at Whole Foods, My Organic Market, etc., or order it by the case from amazon! 🙂
Thanks for this (and all your other) amazing recipes!!
Cream cheese! I’m too weirded out by tofutti cream cheese to try it but I do miss some good cream cheese on a bagel
my office celebrates weekly Bagel Thursdays and everyone toasts fresh (vegan!) bagels and slathers rich bakery-made cream cheese on them! So although tofutti cream cheese definitely falls into the weird processed foods category of vegan fare and it pales in comparison to the real deal, I have learned to always keep some handy in my office fridge to ward off non-vegan urges! It certainly beats a dry toasted bagel! One day maybe I will be able to resist…
I miss that the most too. My son has trouble with almonds though and I didn’t love the combination of almonds and coffee. So I have started making hazelnut “cream,” just a really thick hazelnut milk. The same way you make your almond milk, with a date or two. It goes so well with my coffee that I think I prefer it now to half and half! I was amazed at the color change…it looked just like it used to! I don’t use the expensive hazelnuts as cereal milk or anything, they are just for my coffee!
I’m a lot like you. I’m so glad coffee is vegan!!! I did not have a hard time giving up anything with a mother or a face, I never loved it anyway. And I do really like the Silk creamer–as much as the real thing.
I was purchasing the coconut creamer for about a year, and my husband kept saying to me, “Do you see the film that this creamer is leaving on the inside of the mugs? What do you think it’s doing to the inside of our bodies?” So I finally gave it up (I loved the taste) and all of the other coconut based goodies. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on this . . .
I am a huuuuge fan of foamy soy milk in my coffees. I am the person who orders an extra extra dry cappucchino at starbucks, just so I can sprinkle the foam with cocoa powder, cinnamon and vanilla and eat it off. the bes thing ever!
When I stopped eating dairy I missed thick greek yoghurt and feta cheese. If I have a strong craving now I just buy a small piece of raw goats cheese and indulge. Same counts for salmon. I sometimes enjoy a piece of organic wild salmon. vegan or not- i dont know, but I am listening to my body.
No, not vegan, but perhaps one day soon you’ll find vegan foods that can satisfy those urges. I love the foam, too!
AH I Love you for this! And for the low down on store bought non-dairy creamers. I really like Silk and the Coconut Bliss ones, but I feel slightly guilty as they have kind of long lists of ingredients and preservatives. I’ve tried coffee with homemade sesame milk, too, which I really recommend.
I so agree that coffee and half and half is the best thing ever. It’s hard to try to replicate dairy free. I’m always on the lookout for an alternative.
Thanks for this very timely recipe! Pay day isn’t until Friday and I’m just about out of soy creamer. I like the creaminess soy creamer imparts and find that coconut milk creamer as a strange taste, but is nicely creamy. I was thinking that I would have to give up my morning coffee, but now I don’t! Thanks to you! I can soak some almonds while at work and make this tonight, in time for tomorrow morning. I wont need to spend a penny since everything is in my fridge.
I don’t miss anything from non vegan days. I think it’s flavor we miss and we can replicate flavor when making tempeh or tofu, etc…. Thanks for your great blog, I always enjoy reading!
There are some foods I miss here and there, but what I miss most is being able to just go into any restaurant and order straight off the menu without having to research a place to go first, inspect the menu online and then re-tool the items as I am placing my order. It can be especially hard when going out with friends (who are always understanding) – I hate to make things more difficult, both for them and for me.
I love coffee and have even really come to love soy/rice milk (I’m allergic to nuts unfortunately) in it. I don’t really crave non vegan foods BUT, and perhaps someone has some advice for me, I am having a hard time finding things that keep me full. I travel a lot, I don’t have a kitchen often, I don’t have time to prepare foods (when I do, it’s so fun). I was told I need more protein so I tried eating some non vegan protein, greek yogurt, eggs. The yogurt gave me such health problems! I don’t want to to eat eggs or chicken and I’m allergic to nuts. There has to be some quick accessible foods to keep me going. I’m currently eating pounds of fruit, oats w/ soymilk, roasted veggies with jarred tomato sauce, carrots and crackers and hummus – is it healthy to eat so much carbohydrates? Do I even need anything else? I feel like I’m eating so much!
Love your site!!
I’ll give it some thought!
thanks! your hurry up vegan posts are actually very helpful 🙂 I think beans could help me feel full
try hummus too! I feel incredibly full and satisfied when I est hummus!
Have you discovered tempeh yet? Its a great source of whole soy/grain protein and since it is already “cooked” it makes an excellent stirfry in minutes, or pan fried for a sandwich, crumbled ontop of salads, or as a mix with salad dressing/vegenaise in lettuce cups/scoops….. And dry roasted edamame and chickpeas are great packaged minimal ingredient high protein snacks to have on hand.
This is the one thing that I cannot give up! I have no problem giving up anything else but when it comes to coffee, there is no substitute for my half and half. I have tried almost every substitute creamer under the sun.
Try Wildwood Soy Creamer. It is the only one I’ve found that I like and I just didn’t use half and half in my coffee, but was using whipping cream!
I love almond milk with a few drops of stevia in my coffee. I too make my own almond milk and I tend to keep a nice thick batch just for my coffee. If I don’t have homemade, I usually buy Trader Joes brand of almond milk.
I missed eggs the most… hence “missed”. My uncle raises chickens (as in 6 or so, completely free range and incredibly healthy) and I go and gather a few eggs to have on hand. I used to crave eggs with toast… I probably have an egg or two a month now and my cravings have gone away.
I have been vegetarian for over 3 years now and I will never go back to eating meat. I have cut all dairy out, too. The only thing I will eat now are eggs.
I’m going to have to give this a try for my husband! He’s a big coffee drinking but doesn’t use creamers due to reactions to certain preservatives most of them contain. He’s been asking me for vegan alternatives (although he is still an omni *sigh*). I’ll give this a go!
I miss tuna salad a lot, but I like “mock tuna” with chickpeas in its place. It doesn’t taste the same, but I like to pretend it is 🙂 I also miss ice cream, but I somehow resist! I need to buy an ice cream maker so I can experiment with all the Vegan substitutes out there!! I’ve tried a bunch of recipes using frozen bananas, but I’d like to finally try a recipe that doesn’t taste like banana, LOL!
I’m like you I do miss tuna sandwiches. I add the dried seaweed to my chickpeas. So you get the flavor of the sea.
Oooh, thanks for the tip!! 🙂
I’m confused about what creamer is – we just have either milk (or substitute) or black coffee. So it’s like a thicker milk to be used in coffee? Is it typically made from cream?
Anyway, the thing I was actually going to post was that, Gena, as a fan of guacamole, I thought you might like this idea – pea and coriander guac! I found it here: http://foodtoglow.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/pea-and-coriander-dip-a-mock-guac/ and it made me think of your love of guac, and this as a way to lighten it up and try something new! Sort of like your zucchini hummus recipes 🙂
I hope you don’t mind the intrusion, especially as this post has nothing to do with guac!
Yup, creamer is typically just a milk substitute that mimics the thickness of, say, half and half.
I thought that I would never be able to give up yoghurt…. turns out I don’t miss it at all. Funny, it was the one thing stopping me being “fully” vegan for years! This is a fantastic idea, Gena, thanks 🙂
The hardest foods for me to give up when going vegan were yogurt and eggs. Fortunately, I make a pretty mean tofu scramble that satisfies that craving. I’m not a huge fan of any of the soy yogurts on the market because they have so much added sugar, but at some point I might try making my own and see how it goes. Other than those few items, I am completely satisfied by the endless combinations of incredible, plant-based foods. Yay!!!
Carrie, I’m with you on tofu scramble — it was my first vegan “dinner” I ever made, and I immediately liked it so much that it simply never occurred to me to miss the egg white scrambles I had liked so much.
Hi, i don’t mean to butt in but i recently found a crockpot yogurt recipe that works well with soy milk and i added ground chia seed to it and it thickened it up really well!! VERY yummy! i believe this can also be made with almond and coconut milk too! i found the recipe on pinterest!
I love the Happy Herbivore Tofu yogurt, it’s super easy to make and you can choose how sweet you want it to be: http://happyherbivore.com/recipe/homemade-vegan-yogurt-tofu-yogurt/
I don’t drink coffee myself, maybe an occasional (and I mean less than once per month) decaf caramel macchiato- but I AM a london fog lover! I have not tried a london fog with regular milk, but I understand the need for thick and creamy… yumm.
I wish making almond milk was worth it for me. A bag of raw almonds is really expensive and it’s actually worth it to purchase the milk in a carton, and I just don’t see the point in making a non-raw almond milk, when I can buy it so cheaply compared to bulk almonds + the time to make it.
I am really into “Earth’s Own, True Almond” that comes in the 2l carton. It’s the only almond milk I have tried that I actually like all three flavours- chocolate, vanilla and original- and could drink straight. Otherwise, Silk has a new almond milk that is SUPER thick- actually almost too thick for my liking to just drink on it’s own! I still prefer Earth’s Own.
Oh, and what do I miss most as a vegan? It’s gross- but chubby chicken burgers from A&W. I worked at an A&W as a teenager and LOVED them. To be honest, I think I miss it most because I am gluten-free and miss the breaded, deep fried part. The idea of eating chicken does not appeal to me. To be honest, there isn’t a single thing that I miss that is “meat” related, because I’ve found the substitutes to be just as good- if not better, when you factor in compassion and a happy digestive system.
I love the new Silk Almond Milk. So good.
Too funny–that’s why I’ve been avoiding making my own nut milks lately–because they’re too rich and decadent and it scares me! But I do love homemade nut milks–ultimate delectability (I could live on creamy liquid if I let myself–probably I wasn’t nursed enough as a baby lol!)
Honest to God, there is no non-vegan food I miss at all–ice cream might have made it, but vegan ice creams taste and feel so much better to me and all other non-vegan foods have such horrible digestive associations (as does dairy ice cream). That said, I did really enjoy goat milk when I was in HI and milked the goats myself, and even nowadays I sometimes have a raw egg for mental health reasons (please don’t hate me!)
The food I do miss–or will miss, now that I’ve had to go back off of it, is chocolate, dark, dark chocolate… And there’s really nothing that replaces it, although I’ve posted all kinds of carob chocolate and white chocolate recipes…
Dark chocolate is certainly irreplaceable! One of my favorite things. Hope you get to start enjoying it again very soon.
Great recipe, too. Homemade nut milks ARE the thickest and closest alternative to cream(er). One of the #1 things I missed when I was totally vegan was cream for my coffee. Nothing I tried ever really gave me that taste or thickness I was looking for…So Delicious, Silk, etc…they’re “okay” but they’re not cream!
Your vegan creamer looks as close to the real thing as possible.
OH my gosh, Gena. I went to Sun In Bloom (thanks to your review from almost 3 years ago, I think!) and had chocolate brazil nut milk yesterday and it was divine. It was like I was a little kid again! I could not even detect “brazil nut” flavor. Mmm.
I am not a vegan, but when I toy with the idea it’s hard for me to find alternatives to brie and other cheeses. I’ll be in France next fall and spring and that place is like, the city of cheese, haha.
Yum!!! I am so glad you loved it. What a fantastic restaurant.
This looks great! For store-bought creamers, I like the Trader Joe’s soy creamer a little bit more than I like Silk. (But heck, for all I know Silk makes the TJ’s one.)
I love the trader joe’s creamer too! After giving up caffeine I miss coffee dearly and I must admit that from time to time I will stop in a trader joe’s because I know they give out free coffee with soy creamer…it’s heavenly.
For all those who have decided to give up caffeine, it’s worth pointing out that in a study of the effects of a wide number of compounds on cancerous cells, caffeine was the only substance found to neutralize all of them.
Wow. I am so excited. We’ve recently moved away from all things animal and the morning coffee has been the only real disappointment for me. I will try this tomorrow!
I don’t know if I have ever used coffee creamer, but I also don’t really drink much coffee. I adore that gorgeous little dish for the mylk. You’ve inspired me to try and make some of my own nut mylk concoctions rather than rely on the store bought versions.
It doesn’t ultimately save much money, but I do so prefer the taste!
I’m so excited to try this in my next cup of coffee! Although I was never a half-n-half fan, I sometimes crave a little “something” in my coffee….I love my Starbucks soy misto but haven’t found the perfect match at home…..thanks for posting! PS- love the mug in your photos!
I always think it’s nuts when people say you must crave what your body really needs, does your body ever need cigarettes? I crave alcohol as someone who struggled with it and it’s not easy, I hear you, it’s one day at a time sometimes. I don’t miss coffee much, so glad I quit it but I had my share of soy mochas before I quit. I love just making a thicker nutmilk sometimes and having that option, although frugally I often water it down quite a bit. Good to have options, my mom struggles with going off half and half for coffee although is fine with soymilk in cereal. I think it is a texture thing.
I have to say I couldn’t agree more with this comment!! I always find that saying so strange. Does your body every need narcotics? One fellow vegan once said that when people asked why, if she loved cheese so much, did she choose to stop eating eat she would respond, “Well, I’m not an infant and I don’t need to give in to my every impulse.”
I’m with you guys. Certainly I get the premise–a hunger headache means low blood sugar, a craving for starch may indicate stress, etc–but the idea that all passing cravings reflect nutritional deficiencies/demands simply does not seem credible to me.
But I do think there is some truth in it – I’ll just chime in with my own experience. As you cut out processed and animal foods I think your system becomes “cleaner” (as in less manipulated by the influence of sugar and salt and flavourings that companies use to make you unsatisfied and consume more of their foods) and then if you listen to your body, generally, it will guide you towards what it needs. I personally experienced really strong cravings for salmon when I first went veggie – I think it was my body saying I needed more fats and certainly now my diet includes more nuts and avocados, those cravings have gone away. I’m not sure about my salt cravings though….
I tend to think that cravings are emotional in origin. Even when I’m craving something “healthy” i.e. like a salad or green juice after a night of rich food and drink, I think there is a major emotional component there as well – I want to eat something healthy to counteract all the rich foods. Sure, my body wants it too, since I’m likely still full from the night before or facing digestive discomfort, but I think the specific craving is likely a manifestation of my own sense of balance in my diet, rather than my body’s actual nutritional needs.
Certainly moving away from processed junk (not animal foods, per se) will help to break dependence on obscene amounts of sugar and sodium: that is for sure. And I don’t doubt that some cravings do reflect needs: as I said, craving sugar or starch is often a sign of low energy, and indeed, it’s normal to also sometimes crave the satiety of fats. But the idea that every passing craving reflects something deficient doesn’t ring true to me: it’s often hormones, fatigue, or — most often, as Amanda points out — spiritual or emotional in nature, or a yearning for overall sense of balance.
When I experience a craving, I try to pause and mentally categorize the craving as either nutrient-seeking or sedative-seeking (stress-coping). When I am jonesing for a green juice I welcome the fact that my body is pushing me towards some awesome vitamins and minerals. When I am an emotional train-wreck, however, and want nothing more than to plop down on the couch to watch some mindless tv with a glass of wine and nachos or an enormous bowl of salty popcorn, I recognize that I want those unhealthy foods for the same reasons as the booze and the Gossip Girl- they all act as sedatives (to varying degrees). This quick mental check-in “Am I craving nutrients or sedatives?” is sometimes enough to get me to pick up a stimulating magazine or try a new CR recipe instead. When it isn’t, well then I relish the escape into the scandalous lives of manhattan’s elite and try not to finish the bowl of popcorn 🙂 Then there are those cravings that seem more habitual/visceral in origin than anything else that are resurrected when I see/smell an old junk food friend. I try to remind myself that even if I am not actively sedative-seeking, that if I go ahead and eat that **** I will still end up feeling somewhat sedated.
Agreed. It’s also worth noting that drugs and processed foods interact differently with our brains, triggering cravings that don’t serve us because the biological mechanisms that give us a neurochemical “reward” for indulging evolved before our species (and our brothers and sisters in the animal kingdom) had access to such things.
As for the idea that our cravings become more accurate as we get “cleaner,” I don’t subscribe to the notion that it’s any kind of inner cleanliness that helps us tune in to an inner compass that guides us toward healthy choices rather than the sugar bowl, a cigarette, or another processed food/drug. In fact, I think very often that this preoccupation with detoxification and inner cleanliness is a dangerous and misguided trend. Our bodies are naturally self-cleaning, and with a healthy plant-based diet, adequate exercise, and clean water, we’re able to handle detoxification very effectively. (Even considering the increased toxic load that we face now on the planet.) Instead, I think that it’s simply a matter of letting go of the foods that hijack our bodies’ natural craving for sweets/fats/salt, which evolved to help ensure we’d eat nutritionally adequate diets when such foods were scarce.
Gena, you don’t have to crave or actively resist cigarettes! There is a way to stop thinking about and craving them. I quit smoking 4 years ago by utilizing a de-programming book specifically designed to help women stop smoking for good!! It worked fantastically for me and I’ve recommended it to all of my friends who struggle! I can’t say it worked for me the first time I read it, but with determination to quit, the second time was the charm! I am in no way affiliated with this author or this book, other than saying that it helped me tremendously! Google Allen Carr. I feel and think like I’ve never smoked! Good Luck! Thanks for the great idea on the one thing I truly DO crave!! Love it!!
I can attest to this! Even when drinking, I have no cravings to smoke. The book is called The Easy Way to stop smoking.
I just wanted to say that reading the Allen Carr book really helped me to quit smoking 6 years ago. It really helped me to want to be a non-smoker. It becomes much easier to quit once you get excited about being a non-smoker instead of dreading it.
Once you put something into your body that doesn’t belong there, your body is going to respond to the fact you have altered something. Your body craves the new “harmony”, as it feels off. Unfortunately, not everyone has the impulse control button set. Lots of factors make that happen not the least of which is how we are hard-wired at birth to respond. Such is the reason for alcoholism being termed a disease. Fortunately, that is not something I crave or even think about, which is good as I’d not be up for daily or weekly meetings…. If you have a family history and never use, is the best way to keep that impulse button under control. Sometimes we crave texture or sharp bursts of flavor and therefore we crave something like cheese. If someone is willing, they can figure it out by researching it themselves. One of the reasons I don’t take pain meds is, not because I would crave them, but they make me violently ill. Now that would be something for scientists to work on…. Create a cigarette that makes you feel extremely ill but doesn’t harm you. Electric shock cigarette box would work but not too practical for a lot of reasons. In any case, children have to be considered when designing such products…
Like you, I used to crave Greek yogurt and took me awhile to subsist the urge to spoon into my granola. My replacement? Hummus. Both textural structures are similar enough for me to not miss yogurt as much.