In the spring, I cut back on dairy products to help seasonal allergies. I use Tofutti* products made from tofu to fill in for cream cheese and sour cream in my baking, and in some of my dips and sauces. Some of these products are sold at Albertson's and Trader Joe's. When I use cheese in my recipes, I stick to Parmesan or Feta. They cause less reactions for lactose-intolerant people.
There are also substitutes available for milk, particularly in baking. I use Hemp or Oat Milk––plain, chocolate or vanilla flavored––without sugar cane sweetener. Sprouts offers it un-sweetened or with grain sweeteners. In some recipes, I use these in place of water. They provide nice texture and extra nutrition.
It is a good idea to keep your fiber consumption high, it helps the digestion in its job of eliminating toxins in a timely manner. I use beans and I particularly like lentils, because they don't need to be presoaked. Another favorite is wild rice––it's very high in fiber, more so than brown or white rice. I put either ground or regular flaxseed in smoothies, salads or as garnish on cooked dishes. Red Quinoa* is another healthy, high-fiber grain which adapts well to cold and hot dishes––it cooks up faster than rice and soaks up the flavors you add to it in a delicious way.
Some healthy choices in the fats and oil area are: olive oil spray with fewer calories, with an added drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Nature's Balance* makes an excellent whipped margarine––lower in calories and without bad "trans fats". It also comes in a "buttery" stick form for baking.
Always include lots of fresh, uncooked, organic fruits and vegetables in your daily nutrition and fresh, preferably raw, nuts to give balance to your diet.
That's my "healthy nutrition philosophy" in a nutshell. Please e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org for healthy vegetarian recipes. Also, my cookbook will be out in April. Send an e-mail if you want to order a copy.
* Products mentioned can be purchased at Henry's, Sprouts, Whole Foods Markets and various health food stores. Jennifer Derry's book which includes the recipes from her Gourmet Cooking Classes.
Editor's Note: Xylitol causes gastro-intestinal problems with some people. Start with a small amount and test it out for yourself. If you have gassiness or loose bowels, stop using it.