Of all the things we have had to take out of our diet, dairy has to be the hardest. The good news/bad news is that when a body can’t deal with dairy products, you KNOW it. You can have an actual IgE allergy to dairy and some people can even have anaphylaxis to anything with it in it. Many times, it is an intolerance to either casein or lactose in it. If you suspect a problem with dairy, it might be wise to try out some lactose-free products.If that still makes you feel bad, dairy may need to go all together. That means rethinking yogurt, cheese, icecream, chocolate, casseroles, yummy Mexican and Italian foods, baking, prepackaged foods and even many medicines.
Here are some points of light, so don’t despair:
- There are tons of milk substitutes: rice milk, soy milk (I don’t recommend), almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, etc. It can be flavored or not. It can be sweetened or not.
- In our opinions, rice milk is closest to skim milk. If you are just starting to walk down the dairy-free road, we have found that cooking with the milk subs and maybe putting rice milk on cereal, is a good place to start. Don’t sit down with a big glass of almond milk to drink and expect it to taste like cow’s milk.
- If you need a milk substitute to bake with, I recommend full fat coconut milk. This won’t be with the milk substitutes. You will find this in the Indian section of your grocery store. This adds the richness to baking that milk would. Otherwise, your baked good could be on the dry side. But if you can’t do coconut, just use whatever milk sub you do well with.
- Cheese. Daiya cheese has been a life saver for us! Little Miss Sparkle can tolerate it once in a while, but the rest of us do fine. Note: This is important! Daiya tastes weird if it isn’t melted. We tried it on salads for bit but concluded we would much rather do without. However, the taste changes when it is melted and we like it just as well as dairy cheese. It comes in cheddar, mozzarella type, pepper-jack, sliced cheese and a block of cheese. I have recently seen that they have Daiya cheesecakes and ranch dressing! Wahoo!!! If you are president of the Dairy Cheese Lovers of America, my advice is to take all cow’s milk out of your diet and add Daiya slowly, mixed in with something like a casserole. Your tastes will adjust.
- I could sing the praises of Enjoy Life chocolate chips from the mountain tops! They don’t substitute a milk alternative for dairy, so Sparkle can have it. Instead they use cocoa butter! They have chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, chocolate cookies, chocolate chip cookies, chewy bars, fruit and seed packs. The list goes on and on. Three cheers for Enjoy Life and the yummy dairy-free options they have created!!!
6. This makes me tear up a bit because in my opinion, cookies and cream ice cream is about the best thing on planet earth. However, there are really tasty substitutes made from soy milk (again, I do not recommend soy, especially for females), rice milk, coconut milk and almond milk. They even contain chocolate that is dairy free! This is another one that I would start off slowly, giving your taste buds time to adjust. We prefer the coconut ice creams, but Sparkle can’t have any dairy substitute, so for her we occasionally get Kroger Private Selection frozen mango sorbet, and she is happy as a bug in a rug.
I am not going to tell you taking dairy from your diet is easy. It AIN’T. But it is possible. And it doesn’t have to be miserable. What is not fun is having terrible stomach cramps and hoping you get to the potty on time!
I wanted to give you a few recipes to get you started, which have been accumulated through my years of internet searching. They don’t require rocket science and yet, are still fun and tasty. Enjoy!
Banana Split Popcicles:
3 over-ripe bananas, broken into pieces.
1/4 c. Non-dairy milk
12 strawberries, hulled and halved
1/4. Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1/4 section of a fresh pineapple, diced (yield–1/3c)
10 fresh cherries, pits removed
If using a popclicle mold that requires wooden sticks, soak in cool water for 5 Minutes before using.
- Place banana pieces and milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass with a spout and set aside.
- Place strawberries halves in a blender and pulse until broken down but not smooth. Place in a dish and set aside.
- Now we layer the popcicles! Begin with a Tablespoon or so of the banana mixture, followed by 4 or 5 chocolate chips. Divide the pulsed berries between the molds, top with the diced pineapple. Press down the pineapple slightly so that it is flat in the mold. Follow this by two cherry halves. Top with the remaining banana puree.
- Tap the popcicle mold on the counter a few times to release the bubbles. Top with additional banana puree if needed.
- Slide the sticks into the popcicles and stick in freezer overnight.
- To remove popcicles from the molds, run molds under hot water and wiggle them out. Enjoy!
Two Minute Mango Citrus Sorbet:
2 c. frozen mango chunks (if you don’t care for mangos, you can use banana, cut into pieces and then frozen, instead)
1/2 c. orange juice
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. orange zest
pinch of ground cinnamon
- Add to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. If the mixture is too liquidy, add more frozen mango or a frozen banana. If it is too hard and impossible to process, add water or juice. Just play with it until it is the consistency you prefer.