Hold the cheese

20130311-200215.jpgIt’s been a month since I went off dairy. It’s not my favorite diet modification. But why am I off dairy? Oh yeah, this chunky monkey. :) I think she’s saying, “Stay away from that cheese, pardner, I’m watching.”
Physically, going off dairy hasn’t been too tough. Turns out, I really know a lot of recipes that don’t involve cheese. Almond milk has been an easy substitute for baking. I stopped putting cheese or sour cream on stuff. We don’t eat a lot of processed food, so I haven’t had to avoid too much hidden dairy. I’m careful to read labels.
Mentally, going off dairy has been rough. I like cheese! I want to eat nachos, cheeseburgers, pizza, ice cream, cheesecake… mmmmm. Many of those things, I’m finding I’m not actually missing the cheese when I eat them. Papa John’s pizza without cheese is really not bad, especially when drizzled with the garlic sauce which is actually dairy-free. And when we went to my favorite burger place, I happily snarfed my burger before remembering I’d ordered it without cheese. But I’m not going to try the recipes for tofu “cheesecake” just to quell my cravings; I’m pretty sure it would just be disappointing.
At the women’s retreat a couple weeks ago, there were some gorgeous little red velvet cake bites with luscious layers of cream cheese frosting. I wanted one so bad. Wellll, I really wanted five so bad. But I was good.
It’s most difficult when I’m not cooking. I couldn’t eat the dessert or soup at the women’s retreat, I can’t eat most of the breakfast casseroles at MOPS. I was invited to a friend’s house for lunch, and I felt awkward informing her of my new menu limitations. However, she was very gracious and modified her ingredients for me. She also understood my plight because she has a new baby and had been off dairy for a while as well.
A few cooking wins and fails:
– Things that deliver creaminess without the cream: coconut milk curries, risotto, stuff with mayo
– Soy cheese: doesn’t taste good but is tolerable in small amounts as glue for toppings on homemade pizza
– Dairy substitutes are not “real food:” we try to stick to whole foods or real foods in general. Dairy subs don’t fall in this category, so I’ve been purchasing a few more processed foods than usual such as almond milk, Earth Balance spread and soy cheese.
– Creme-filled cookies: don’t have dairy! Some don’t at least, yay for me! I can have a junk food splurge with a creamy frosting center and no dairy.
Vegan cupcakes: pretty darn tasty
I’ve found the site Eating Dairy-Free for Your Baby to be very helpful. Dairy sensitivity in babies in usually caused by casein, the cow milk protein. So just switching to lactose-free dairy products doesn’t help, it’s not a lactose intolerance. Levels of sensitivity vary, and I’m thankful Violet doesn’t react to certain things such as the small amount of milk in the breading of a Chickfila spicy chicken sandwich.
So we’re on a dairy-free road, and it’s not so bad. And if you’re curious about what I did with the 150+ ounces of pumped milk in my freezer stash that Violet can’t use now, feel free to ask. ;)

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3 thoughts on “Hold the cheese

  1. Did you donate the pumped milk? :) I don’t think I could do the soy cheese – but we avoid soy as much as possible as well. Glad things are going well with this route!!! Do you think you’ll go back to eating dairy later on? And do you plan to give Violet cow’s milk when she turns 1? I’m avoiding cow’s milk with Zoey altogether.

    • I did give the milk to a friend. I’m thankful it will get used! The soy cheese was somewhat of an experiment, we don’t usually do much soy, hence the almond milk. I’ll try adding a little bit of dairy every so often to see if she reacts, but from talking to friends it will probably be a while. I’m not sure about when she turns one, certainly not if she still has any sensitivity.

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