Dairy Free – How?

So now that you’re venturing down the path of going dairy free, I’m sure there are a few thoughts going through your mind. Namely, how in the world do I give it up?? I know from experience, and it’s the same thought I had when I realized I had to give up gluten, then all grains, and finally dairy. So trust me, I’ve been down this road several times already.

I remember some of my initial thoughts about how I had grown up eating, what my natural tendencies were, and how I used food in my life. I thought about how I would use food as a comfort at times; maybe a warm hot chocolate topped off with whipped cream on a cold day, or a bowl of ice cream when I was sad, a nibble of cheese while I enjoyed a glass of wine…

I mention these thoughts to share with you what I’m sure you’re thinking too; that I was nervous that I couldn’t do it. I was afraid that my habits and cravings would be more powerful than my will for better health. But along the way, I met many people who were on the same path as me. Some were self chosen vegans, others were battling allergies, while others yet were simply supporting their loved ones through a new life path.

Along the way, I met nutritionists and naturopathic doctors who were passionate about health and wellness. I met moms who were discovering allergen free living for their children, I met others like me who were newly discovering their own allergens. I have recipes scribbled on random papers, cookbooks given to me by supportive friends and family, and dozens of blogs and sites bookmarked to help me better understand this new life of mine.

Eventually those recipes will make their way to the site as well as some helpful hints on how to go, and stay, dairy free. There are some great dairy alternatives, and others that I wouldn’t suggest, so I will showcase those as well. For now, lets take a look at what some of the experts have to say…

According to Living Without, another resource we refer to quite a bit, a casein-free diet has been found to be beneficial for a number of people for a variety of reasons. A gluten-free and casein-free (GF/CF) diet has provided positive results for many people diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder, such as autism, Asperger’s syndrome, atypical autism and pervasive developmental disorder.

What you will need to eliminate on a dairy free diet: 

Dairy (animal) milk in all forms – whole, skim/skimmed, modified milk, evaporated and condensed milk, milk powder, non-fat milk solids, whey, buttermilk. 2. Cream, ice-cream, yoghurt, custard, dairy desserts, mousses, cheesecakes, milk chocolate. 3. Cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, cream cheese, cheese spreads, cheese slices, cheese-flavoured snack foods, milk-based sauces, mornays. 4. Butter and margarine (small amounts of milk protein).

NOTE: Check all food labels for ingredients derived from animal’s milk such as whey, non-fat milk solids, casein, caseinate. Some people may be able to tolerate goat’s milk but often this contains the same allergenic proteins as cow’s milk.

So how do you eliminate the above items, and not feel deprived? Can you still enjoy a delish ice cream type treat at night? And your morning coffee won’t be the same without cream, right? I’m guessing you aren’t willing to consider drinking it black, so you need some help on how to continue to love your coffee so you don’t risk fighting with your spouse, coworkers (or worse yet, your boss!) Not to fear, I’ve switched my daily coffee and cream for a coffee with almond milk cream, and I know many who have switched to Soy Milk Creamer, though I can’t eat soy due to my thyroid issues. So what to do about the post dinner cravings? I reach for some dark chocolate, dairy free almond or coconut milk ice cream, or sherbet.

I won’t tell you it will come easy, or without some adjustments, but with dedication and a bit of discipline, you’ll adapt to your new choices. I believe strongly that our taste buds change, and with some time you will learn to appreciate new flavors, and while you may miss your old staples here and there, you will develop new comfort foods to embrace. And if you enjoy cooking or baking, you will have a ton of recipes to explore, creating a fun new kitchen life!

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