Dairy free update

So June is still responding very well to being dairy free (via my not eating dairy). Though she’s still near or below the 3rd percentile for height and weight, she’s sticking to a growth curve and even doing some catch-up growing.  She’s 12.5 pounds this week!  So, there is no dairy in my future for a while. And now I will whine, briefly.

What is it like being dairy free?  Imagine you have a mad craving for rich, creamy ice cream…

…and instead you are given a snow cone.  That’s exactly what it’s like.

I mean this both literally –

because I’ve tried soy, almond, and coconut milk ice cream and they are all so low fat that it’s akin to eating a smooth snow cone; I’ve even added coconut oil to the ice cream recipe to fatten it up, and no luck…..

And as an example of a more general occurrence.

You’d like a hamburger?  Sure! But no cheese for you….no bun if it has any milk, cheese, or butter in or on it, like for toasting….no fun extras like sauteed vegetables (cooked in butter) or fried anything (with dairy in the batter typically).

You’d like a burrito?  Sure!  Just no cheese or sour cream. No chile con queso or ranch sauce.  No milk for when you get a bite of just salsa.

Baked potato?  No problem!  But no butter, cheese, or sour cream.  Even some barbque sauces have dairy, so be sure to inquire about that pulled pork recipe

Pizza?  Um, no.  Well, actually I did find a specialty vegan pizza available nearby which was $18 for a personal size.

I can tell you each of these scenarios is a snow-cone-instead-of-a-sundae situation. And there’s no *good* substitute for cheese.  There’s a good vegan butter, and coconut oil and almond milk make good substitutes for butter and milk while baking. Aside from that, there are just no good substitutes for the way dairy rounds out a meal or serves as a nutritious, satisfying snack (like yogurt, cheese stick, milk, ice cream, or anything with these components).  And I find that I *never* feel full.  I’ve tried to replicate the calorie distribution in low fat dairy, thinking that is where the magic lies. (I get the calcium already from almond milk and orange juice.) I tried nuts and sunflower seeds for protein and unsaturated fat with dried fruit for sugar.  No- I can eat handful after handful and never feel full, even though that’s quite a delivery of calories.  I tried a higher carbohydrate to protein combo with whole grain, fiber rich Kashi cereal and almond milk.  No, after I eat a bowl I feel like I didn’t eat anything at all.  I tried a snack with more fat but also more carbs by making almond milk chocolate “ice cream” with coconut oil in it and topping it with raw nuts. Sounds like it would be delicious, right?  It’s still as insubstantial as eating a snow cone. I even added dark chocolate chips to the mix, which only helped in that the occasional chip bits were satisfying.  Now, eating a handful of chocolate chips?  That’s satisfying.  But doing that a few times a day, or even once a day, isn’t in line with my nutritional goals.

Which brings us to meat.  It’s hearty and “satisfying” from a “feeling full” standpoint.  But I don’t like it much, bleh! It’s chewy and tastes like animals and has occasional gross musculoskeletal extras in it and it sits in your gut forever. Blah!  And I’ve had to eat a ton of it since going dairy free. In the past, I’d eat the occasional hamburger, I could always eat bacon, and rarely I’d even eat a steak if it was smothered in onions and mushrooms. But most of the meat I ate was a small component of an entree, like a casserole, soup, or Mexican dish….and they all have cheese and/or milk or cream or ingredients that are themselves made with milk. I’ve never in my life eaten a chunk of meat every day until now.  Bah.  
End whining.
I do appreciate that this is such a “first world problem” I’m having; we have the medical care available to diagnose June’s sensitivity which probably saved her from many complications if left untreated, and we have the luxury of being able to tailor my diet as needed. I tell myself just hang in there.  Eat some trail mix (without milk chocolate peices).  Stock up on pork loin and ground beef.  This dairy free thing won’t be forever.


4 thoughts on “Dairy free update

  1. It's amazing how dairy seems to be in everything, even things that seem like they have no need for dairy being in them. It's also interesting to learn what all of the food symbols and labels mean on the packaging. I never used to even notice them and now they stand out to me.


  2. No dairy is HARD! I avert my eyes when I'm near cheese. As for ice cream, I kind of like vegan options. The trick is to use full fat coconut milk (from a can, not a carton), and blend (I use a Vitamix to make ice cream b/c we don't have an ice cream maker) with something like frozen bananas to ice it up instead of ice. Also, you can add guar and/or xanthan gum. One thickens, the other helps de-ice. I'm not sure which does what, but a lot of vegan food bloggers will add them in their ice cream recipes. It makes a nice Frosty-like concoction.


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