I've been dairy free for almost 10 years now...and I get a LOT of questions from people so I figured why not do a little bit of a Q and A!
How I Went Dairy Free (Mostly)
1. When did you stop eating/drinking dairy?
I've never been much of a milk drinker to be honest. I always preferred water...EVEN as a kid. Except when it was on my cereal of course. As a sophomore in college every time I would eat something creamy such as cottage cheese (which I used to love btw), a cheese based soup, or something similar it felt like it NEVER would go down. Like it would sit as a lump in the back of my throat....and like four hours later I would throw up..and it would be EXACTLY what I ate. It's like my body forgot and or quit digesting dairy. After being sick so many times it was better to miss eating cottage cheese then throw it up... (sorry TMI!)
2. Isn't it HARD NOT to eat cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc?
the answer to me is yes and no. I LOVE ice cream. I grew up with my dad and I having a dish of ice cream every night! I still do eat ice cream! NOT every night, but it is a treat and I take 2 lactaid pills (which is an enzyme that helps break it down) BEFORE I eat it and it seems to work! I dont' want to have to take those every day though so I do my best to stay away. Yes - I used to have cheese on everything! (like most of America haha) but honestly it's more of an in your head thing. and now a days with so many dairy intolerances there are so many substitutes out there! Daiya brand makes a great vegan mozzerella and the GoVeggie brand american cheese slices are a treat too! Nutritional yeast is also something that tastes just like parmesan. There are also a ton of recipes out there for cheese sauces that do not use dairy, but instead use ingredients like non-dairy milks, nuts and even cauliflower and potatoes can be used to make cheese sauces (hey! don't knock it til you try it)
and like I said above...when you LITERALLY feel awful after eating it it's just not that fun! And I do have it every once in a while - just not every day.
3. What changes have you noticed since not having dairy?
Well #1 is not throwing up. ha! I have many health clients, friends and other people in my life that have cut dairy as well to see what changes they have noticed. Dairy is a highly inflammatory food and while I don't know the exact statistics there are SO MANY people out there are experiencing side effects from dairy consumption and don't even know it. Eliminating dairy has helped people: decrease bloat, more regular bowel patterns, clearer skin and better focus and clarity just to name a few.
4. What are some options to replace dairy in recipes and meals?
Milk: my favorite in unsweetened vanilla cashew milk! I love it in oatmeal, shakes, smoothies and also can be subbed in recipes as well. I have even used it for scrambled eggs and egg bakes. Nut milk options seem to be endless: coconut, almond, hemp, flax, lactose free, soy, cashew
coconut milk in the can is SUPER thick like cream! This can be used in recipes to sub out heavy cream and half and half (think gravy, cheese sauce, etc)
Butter: vegan butter, ghee (I wrote more about ghee HERE)
Cheese: there are a ton of brands that have lactose free and vegan cheeses (meaning it contains no animal products), nutrition yeast aka nooch is like parmesan
Yogurt: there are many non dairy yogurts as well that use soy, almond milk, cashew milk and coconut milk
Ice cream: more and more options are becoming available! Cashew milk and coconut milk usually yield the creamiest ice cream.
Coffee shop lattes: just ask! There are MANY options available at most coffee shops! Starbucks alone has almond, soy and coconut milk as options
5. How do you suggest trying to go dairy free and how can I start?
If you are trying to cut down on dairy I would suggest cutting a few things at a time! If you normally have cheesy eggs for breakfast with a yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese on your sandwich at lunch and then for supper you have a hotdish with heavy cream and ice cream for dessert just cut out a couple things that day. Leave the cheese off your eggs and have toast with peanut butter alongside it. For lunch ditch the cottage cheese, use HALF the amount of cheese on your sandwich. At supper sub out the cream for a dairy free option and find something different for dessert. These small changes really do add up and before you know it dairy will feel like a treat and not a necessity!
Some people do ok going cold turkey, but YOU know yourself best! Try cutting it out for 30 days and see what happens!
Have you ever gone dairy free? Why or why not?
Would you ever consider it?
What do you think would be your biggest challenge?
Cookie and Treats Baker. R.N. Nutrition Nerd. Runner. <3 Coffee. Fitness. Foodie. In pursuit of finding my own kind of balance...
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