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.