28 February 2016

dairy-free life

He loves his dairy-free smoothie
I've had a bunch of questions about surviving a year of dairy-free eating in order to continue nursing. This is the second time I have done this (although it was much shorter the first time) and I think I found a better rhythm and way of eating this time.  So I thought I would share for others who are experiencing the same issues which is extremely common in babies.

The most important thing is to read labels on things you are buying.  So start there.  If it contains dairy it will say "contains: milk."  So check that first.  I ate a bunch of cereal (granola, Cheerios, etc) and put almond milk in it.  Oatmeal is another good option.  We ate scrambled or hard boiled eggs, fruit, and I would find muffin mixes or pancake mixes without dairy and make them with almond milk (they were really good with Vanilla almond milk). Also, I recently found that Silk makes a dairy-free yogurt and it is amazing (great to use in smoothies with almond milk!).  I found it at Publix where we do a majority of our shopping. I don't drink coffee, but I have seen Silk creamers too. And of course, bacon, sausage, etc.

I will be the first to admit that I can happily eat the same thing over and over and over again.  So, I'm sorry if you are a person who needs variety, but for lunch I often ate very similar things each day.  I made sandwiches (make sure bread is dairy-free) with Boar's head turkey (low sodium, so Nolan eats it now too and loves it!).  Skip the cheese on the sandwich, but add mayo (which is dairy-free, yay!), mustard, pickles, tomatoes, etc.  I usually had a side of fruit and then some sort of chip (kettle cooked potato chips are a good option, pretzels, chex mix;just make sure it isn't cheddar, almonds).  Peanut butter is also dairy-free so use it how you like.  Hummus is good with pita chips, salad with honey mustard (I put honey mustard on everything!!)

Here is where it gets tricky.  Especially when our whole family isn't dairy-free.  I would make dinner dairy-free and place cheese or butter on the table for Taylor to use if he wanted (on baked potatoes, bread, cheese for burgers, etc). So I'll just list a bunch of stuff we rotated through!
Baked potatoes (I put honey mustard on mine, or used Smart Balance dairy-free butter)
Burgers with no cheese (most frozen fries are good to go, just check the labels)
Hot dogs
Pork chops
Bake or grill chicken (we marinate in Italian dressing usually and sometimes just put it over salad)
White wine chicken over pasta
Spaghetti with no cheese (make meatballs without cheese or bread crumbs)
Chili no cheese (we make a white chicken chili and a regular tomato based with ground beef)
Breakfast for dinner
Tacos (chicken or beef) no cheese
In the summer, we did beef kabobs with veggies on the grill
Shrimp or salmon would be another good option
Stir fry with rice
Pork BBQ

We always have a side of veggies (no butter, usually steamed)

I ate and used guacamole a ton.  It's a great substitute for things I normally liked sour cream on.  It was awesome in chili, on tacos, and just as a snack with chips.  Also salsa.  I wasn't big on using fake cheese, but really loved the Smart Balance dairy-free butter.  Taylor actually liked it better than regular butter and started eating it too.

Out to eat:
Most chain restaurants have nutrition menus that will tell you if something contains dairy.  Or you can ask.  At sit down restaurants I stuck to burgers with no cheese or steak/chicken and just asked that they made sure none of it was cooked in butter.  Also, salads without cheese.  We went to Chick-fil-A a lot and the fries and grilled nuggets are dairy-free.  I found a couple of local pizza places that do not use dairy in their crust so I would order a small with no cheese and whatever toppings I wanted.  It filled my desire for pizza and was fun to be able to order myself something for a family fun night.  Papa John's crust is also dairy-free.  Just be sure to specify that you do not want cheese on it.

I have a huge sweet tooth, so not having milk chocolate was hard.  But, I found some good substitutes.  A bunch of brownie mixes (and cake mixes) don't contain dairy.  Just check the box. Ghiradelli double chocolate brownie mix was my favorite!  A roll of sugar cookie dough is usually dairy-free too.  I found a dairy-free cheesecake at Publix (brand Daiya) that was surprisingly amazing.  Enjoy Life is a brand that makes a bunch of allergen-free foods.  I loved their chocolate chips!  And, to make your day, Girl Scout Thin Mints are dairy-free.

I was looking forward to trying Ben & Jerry's dairy free ice cream that just came out, but it hasn't made it to any stores near us yet!

I'm sure I am forgetting something!  I've heard a lot of people say they would never be able to give up dairy.  Having a sensitive or allergic baby is a huge motivator.  I soon realized the pain he was in and the fussiness that would ensue made the doughnuts and other things just not worth it.  Your stamina and willpower kick in and you just do it. The hardest part is social situations, but just plan ahead and pack your own food if you need to.  You can do it!!

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