Easy Ingredient Swaps

Having a food sensitivity or intolerance doesn’t mean that you can never eat your favorite foods. With just a little know-how, you can whip up most any recipe with delicious and health-giving swaps.

Here are some suggestions for how to do it. 

[Our Essential Thyroid Cookbook is gluten- and dairy-free and incorporates many of these swaps in our recipes.]


  • An egg substitute made with flax meal (ground flax seeds) can be used to substitute for an egg in baked goods like muffins. Mix 1 tablespoon flax meal with 3 tablespoons warm water and whisk with a fork to combine. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to allow to thicken before subbing for 1 egg in any baked recipe.


  • Any plant-based milk (almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, etc.) can be substituted 1:1 (cup for cup) in a recipe with milk. 
  • Coconut milk, whether canned or the dairy beverage alternative, can be substituted 1:1 in a recipe. The coconut milk beverage has a less robust flavor. Canned coconut milk may be the preferred ingredient for many recipes because it’s much creamier and adds more texture and body to a recipe. Be sure when you read a recipe that you’re able to distinguish which one to use. 
  • Canned coconut milk is a great substitute for heavy cream in soups and stews. 
  • Raw cashews can be pureed into cream-based soups to replace heavy cream. 
  • Nondairy “buttermilk” can be made by adding ¼ teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of nondairy milk. Shake or mix thoroughly then let sit for 3-5 minutes before adding to recipe. 
  • Ghee (clarified butter) is a great substitute for straight butter, if you’re lactose intolerant but still want the buttery flavor. With ghee, the lactose and other milk solids that may be problematic are removed. 
  • Coconut oil is a one-for-one swap with butter.

Gluten-free flours 

  • A gluten-free all purpose flour blend can be substituted 1:1 in a recipe. 
  • Nut flours, like almond flour, cannot be substituted 1:1 in a recipe that calls for all-purpose flour or other gluten-containing flours. I recommend finding a tried and true recipe featuring almond flour vs. trying to make a swap in a recipe you already have. Paleo recipes are a good place to look. 


  • Granulated sugar can be substituted 1:1 in a recipe with unrefined sweeteners such as coconut sugar, Sucanat (natural sugar cane), or maple sugar, but bear in mind that the unrefined sweeteners may have a stronger, more caramel-like flavor. 
  • Honey and maple syrup can be swapped with each other, but remember that maple syrup has a thinner consistency than honey, which may affect recipe’s binding and stickiness. 

Peanut butter/almond butter 

  • Sunflower seed butter (sunbutter) can be swapped out cup-for-cup with peanut or almond butter. 


  • Coconut aminos can be substituted for soy sauce.

Add comment