A Farewell To Dairy
A funny thing happens as you age. All those changes that have been going on in your body begin to show in different ways. Dry hair that doesn’t seem to grow as fast. Brittle nails that break right when at the perfect length. Parched skin despite excessive moisturizing. You begin to realize that your physical attributes really are affected by your daily habits – exercise, nutrition, hydration, hygiene. As my nuptials are just around the corner, I have really been focusing on how my lifestyle effects my external health. My bachelorette party confirmed that excessive alcohol, while obviously not good for your body, wreaks havoc on my skin. I can see a difference in my brightness and firmness of my face when I do not drink enough water the days before. I have a multi-step regimen both morning and night with things like snail secretions and Manuka honey.
I am one of those super lucky people (can we just confirm that writing in italics = sarcasm? Okay, great.) I have nice skin most of the time, but every few months I have a nasty fit of large cystic like mountains on my cheeks that scar terribly and last forever. While I do see an improvement from changing my skincare routine and seeing an esthetician, I still have these breakouts and I am SO TIRED OF IT. Not tired enough to take medication for it, but definitely ready to drastically change my diet if that’s what it takes.
Dermatologists and bloggers agree, for once, that a valid method to prevent breakouts is to eliminate dairy from the diet.
Maybe you know me personally, or maybe you have been following my posts here on the blog and Instagram. Regardless, a stranger could easily determine that there are a handful of foods I cannot live without. Cannellini beans, lemons, spinach, garlic, zucchini, salmon, and Romano cheese. The later of the group, often considered my vice, is sprinkled into almost every dish I put together. And when I say sprinkle, I mean ¼ cup of that salty goodness smothers my food. I drink half and half in my morning coffee. My breakfasts are usually Greek yogurt based. String cheese is common snack for me. Oh and the Romano cheese. This is not going to be easy.
I think I am up to the challenge. I can get my calcium through many other non-dairy foods such as leafy greens and shellfish. I will be the first to admit that I use dairy as a crutch. Why explore with new spices and flavors when I know I can just add cheese and it will taste great?! Aside from the potential benefits to my skin, I am hoping this exercise will help me to broaden my tastes and recipe cache.
So there you have it. I begin my new dairy-free trial today. Yesterday, I said my farewell to my beloved dairy. If anyone has any suggestions to help me make this transition easier, please share! I will also be posting the different non-dairy food substitutes I try and what I am eating this month for those of you also interested in putting dairy on pause.
A few items I have already experimented with in preparation:
So Delicious coconut milk creamer to replace my half-and-half. Spoiler alert: it tastes like coconut. I’m more a fan of the smell vs the taste of coconut, I really only got it because I thought it would be creamier than almond or soy milk, which it was. I’m not in love, but I’ll keep it around in case I have a donttalktomebeforemycoffee kind of morning. I can do a good tea if necessary, but I will not give up finding a worthy creamer substitute.
Still on deck to try: Califia Almond and Coconut Creamer, Silk Soy Creamer, Ripple Pea Protein Milk, Hemp Milk, FlaxMilk, Cashew Milk
Epic Protein Bars, Chicken Sriracha flavor. These jerky like bars are awesome. 15 grams of protein to keep me feeling full enough to say no to dairy when a snack attack comes on. I will definitely be checking out the other varieties!
I am hoping to make this Vegan Parmesan Cheese in the near future…
This should be an interesting month!!!
Recipes are now available
I have begun adding all of my favorite recipes to the blog. Please bear with me as I will only be able to post a few at a time.
Cooking, for me, is extremely therapeutic. Following a recipe, prepping ingredients, managing my time, bouncing around my kitchen. These are the mental exercises I need to unwind after a hard day or take my thoughts off a pressing issue. I love the way I can improvise based off the ingredients I have or the mood I am in. When the result of my time spent in the kitchen, sometimes hours, is a clear mind and a happy face on my fiance, I am contented. These recipes I post are more like a base than a full recipe. I do not make them the same every time, and I hope that you will use them to enrich your own cooking experience.
I do not plan on appropriating nutrition facts to my recipes. They all come from wholesome ingredients and fit into a healthy, balanced lifestyle. If you would like nutrition information for a recipe, please contact me and I would be happy to share.
Some abbreviation you may see in my recipe posts:
GF = gluten free
DF = dairy free
V = Vegan
Taking control in the kitchen
As a Dietitian, I have seen my share of many different fad diets (21 day fix, nutrisystem, etc.) that while being unsustainable in their wholeness, have some excellent underlying aspects – the primary one being portion control.
Before we get into portion control, I’d like to tell you a story...
It was July, right around Independence day, and I had about 7 BBQs to attend in the course of two weeks. Wanting a healthy option to eat at all of these events, I planned to make and bring my own dish – mostly cold salads and soups bursting with fresh veggies and whole grains. My absolute favorite summer pastime is eating huge slices of juicy, dripdownyourchinandyoudon’tmind, watermelon. As is common in the summer time, these green bowling balls of goodness are on sale. So I decided to buy the biggest one I could find. I planned to enjoy post-party as my dessert. Well, wouldn’t you know it, by the time I go home I was exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do was cut into this giant melon. I knew it would be messy, and take more than the 5 minutes I was willing to spend on a snack at that time. So every time I wound up choosing whatever snack food was in my pantry and put off the watermelon for the next day. It was a sad, sad day when I came home and found that my watermelon had shriveled up – I had to throw it away!
Moral of the story – make your healthy choices the easy choice. Your belly and your wallet will thank you. Portion control is not relegated to the dinner table. Read on for my favorite tips on portion control and making healthy easier.
Before grocery shopping:
After grocery shopping:
At meal time:
A note about ‘healthy’ substitutes, like sugar free cookies and non-fat dairy. These products are healthy on a one-to-one basis. What that means is, you are not being healthier by eating 5 sugar free cookies if you were only going to eat one regular cookie. Everything in moderation - even those foods that are marketed as healthy.
That's all for today! I'll be back soon with multiple posts to make up for my month long hiatus.
Ashley Shaw MS, RD, CDN