Confident BeginnerA Jack of no Trades
Remember That Time I Gave Up Dairy?
Let’s all go back to a wonderful night in my life. It was summer, the air was thick and warm, I had spent the evening with good friends, and after retreating back to my domestic bliss, I spend a lustrous evening with an even greater friend: Panago. While my husband was out, I sat alone in bed eating cheesy cheese sticks and melty chewy delicious pizza (yes, BOTH things) while watching season one of True Detective in bed. Oh god, night of my dreams people. I can still feel the pizza box heating the bed beside me. The world was good.
Cut to a regular day of my former life: I would have coffee with milk to start my day, breakfast with a yogurt and buttery toast, maybe grab a latte on my way to work, more coffee with milk at my desk, and an easy bake cheesy dinner when I got home, and I was always curious to why my stomach hurt by the end of the day. I also couldn’t fathom why, post mid-twenties, I was still getting blemishes like a high school teenager. It was the actual worst and I could not handle it.
After a skype conversation with a few of my best b’s, they informed me that I should reconsider my dairy intake to see if my stomach aches and blemishes would go away. God, I prayed it was something else. Maybe I was just cursed and I could blame some sort of gypsy chant for my ill-will. Or possibly someone was just slathering oil all over my face while I was sleeping. Yeah, that had to be it. Some mysterious ghost deamon was hiding in my stomach making it upset and then coming out at night and rubbing my face in oil. Yep, totally legitimate idea that was definitely the only reason why these things could be happening.
Anyways, I told myself I would the non-dairy lifestyle a try for a few months; hell, what’s the worst that could happen?
THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN WOULD BE TO GIVE UP DAIRY AND SUDDENLY STOP FEELING SICK ALL THE TIME AND HAVE CLEAR SKIN. OH GOD NO PIZZA, WILL I EVER KISS YOUR PIZZA LIPS AGAIN?!
So, now begins my 11th month of a severe lack of dairy products, and yeah, I’ve slipped up here and there, but I have made a very conscious effort to cut dairy from my life. In doing so, I have made some delightful discoveries. If you are trying to cut down on dairy, here are some things that have definitely helped out along the way.
Switching to non dairy based drinks are definitely the easiest part of the process. I switched my latte’s to soy, done deal. I literally just have to add one more word when speaking to my barista and boom: dairy free baby. I tend to gravitate toward soy if I plan on heating it and nut milks if I am keeping it cool. I do recommend So Nice Coffee creamers for coffee cream, as they are a bit thicker and creamier than regular non-dairy milks, and they are delicious. Also, Pacific Chocolate Hazelnut milk is an actual nectar of the gods, and I could drink it all day every day.
No dairy means no cheesecake, no cream-cheese icing, no buttercream, no whipped cream. GOD TAKE ME NOW I DO NOT WANT TO LIVE IN THIS WORLD! Just kidding though, because surprise cashews can do anything. My internet main squeeze, Minimalist Baker, has a butt-load of amazing dairy free creamy desserts, enough that I should never miss dairy in desserts again. I have made her Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe (pictured below, kinda) and it was dense and creamy and delicious just like cheesecakes of yore. I am also very excited to make her Dirt Cake and Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing. And, coconut whipped cream is just as delicious as the real stuff guys, so don’t even worry. Your dessert game can still be on point.
This is a picture of my Pumpkin Cheesecake with Coconut Whipped cream. This is literally all I had left before I remembered, ‘hey you have a blog, you should probably take a picture of this’. #truestory #eatingcomesfirst
We have local ice-creamery, Rain or Shine, which I used to frequently for the ridiculously amazing ice cream. But when I joined the dark side, I swore it off, never to partake in the pure enjoyment of a one scoop cone. However, one day this summer I went in on a whim, and ordered their vegan ice-cream choice, made with a coconut milk base. I thought to myself, ‘ill order this now, so I know it tastes bad and I can stop thinking about it’. JOKES ON ME IT WAS GOD DAMN DELICIOUS. I thought it was going to be a chalkier texture, with ice crystals and such, because vegan stuff is gross so why would it taste good, amirite? Wrong, they make it so super creamy, so sweet, and oh so delicious, and now all I can think about is this damn ice cream. If you don’t live by me (why not?!) there are also great soy and coconut ice creams on the market. Through the grapevine, I’ve heard coconut bliss is the bomb.
This one is the game changer. Giving up cheese was a real Sophie’s choice, and I am not using that metaphor lightly. I have only recently begun dabbling in the vegan cheese side of life. In the beginning, this was just a sacrifice I was going to have to deal with, but now I know that there are options. In terms of homemade vegan cheese, I use Minimalist Baker’s vegan Parmesan Cheese quite often. I love it to sprinkle on top of things and it gives a subtle cheesy flavour. However, I have also started using Daiya shredded cheeses for those deep cravings. Those late night grilled cheese and nacho cravings. Now, in a non melty state, Daiya cheese both smells, looks, an feels like shredded plastic vomit, and this can turn a lot of people off. Once melted in between two pieces of crunchy bread or pilled on-top of all dressed nachos, it is definitely a fair stand in for the real deal (for me at least, I know that many people may contest this cough Cor cough).
Oh god, here it is, the mother gaia of all good and just things in this world. The delicious bread, tomato and cheese baby that no one can say no to. Pizza is my weakness, it is my downfall, it is everything that I want and I. Can’t. Freaking. Eat it. Now, I won’t lie to you, reader(s) of my blog, I sneak a bite of pizza here and there. It’s called ‘wife tax’ and Brian knows that it is mandatory that I get first bites of every slice. But like, how could you not, right?! Pizza is just a true life force, and not being able to eat kills a small part of me every day. Now, on a more ambitious dinner making path (aka obsessed with Minimalist Baker, have I said that already enough?) I have found alternatives to the pizza life. I recently made her Butternut Squash Veggie Pizza and although it will never compare to a slice of Sizzle Pie, it makes a delicious and way healthier contender. I plan on making more pizza-like dinners in my future.
That’s it folks. The dairy free life is not as bad as I thought it would be a mere 11 months ago (with the help of the many dairy-free items that I have now come to know and love). Now, you tell me I can no longer eat gluten? Get out of my god damn house you charleton harpie. I’LL NEVER QUIT YOU, CROISSANTS.