A few weeks ago, we had a dilemma. It was like one of those “would you rather” games, the ones where you ask which you would prefer between two equally bad options. Ours was, would you rather have a baby who has so much gas discomfort that he (and you) won’t sleep? Or give up your favorite food group – dairy? Basically, sleep or food?
You have to know me to know how much of a dilemma this is for me. Most of our dinners typically contain cheese in some form. I grew up drinking milk pretty much all the time. And I really don’t believe a dessert is a dessert unless it’s chocolate.
But since the gas problem not only affected me, but my newborn, it seemed logical to choose to give up dairy, so he wouldn’t be in pain and we all could get some sleep.
And now, here we are, with me dairy-free for two weeks. I’m telling you – I have thought of going dairy-free in the past, and always thought it would be impossible for me. And now, I am actually pretty happy with my new lifestyle. It’s not always easy – I have a serious pizza craving I can’t get rid of – but ultimately I am pretty happy with my new lifestyle.
Here are some things I am learning from the experience:
- You are not alone. It surprises me how many people are currently giving up dairy, or have in the past, especially for breastfeeding. Talk to others and get help with being creative if you need it!
- Check the label. Dairy is in everything from hamburger buns to pasta sauce. Luckily labels contain allergy information, so all it takes is a quick look to see if it contains milk (or soy, wheat, etc).
- There are so many dairy-free options! I can hardly believe how many non-dairy milks there are out there. But I warn you – you may not take to all of them. My tummy did not appreciate cashew milk.
- Substitute! Coconut milk is a great alternative to milk for recipes. You can use coconut cream instead of heavy cream. Spring for guacamole instead of cheese.
- Look for paleo and vegan recipes and products. There are so many recipes floating around the internet for people on the paleo diet, and for those who follow a vegan diet.
- It helps with losing weight. Which I appreciate so much after baby.
- Oreos are dairy free. You’re welcome.
Here are some rather fantastic recipe resources, if you’re starting out:
- Slow Cooker Basil Chicken and Coconut Curry (Hint: you can make this in an Instant Pot – just combine ingredients and set on high for 30 minutes.)
- 10 Healthy Chicken Recipes in a Pressure Cooker or Crock Pot (Thanks Mom!)
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- 17 Easy Pasta Recipes That Are Dairy-Free
- 50 Dairy-Free Dinner Recipes
- 15 Easy Weeknight Meals (Gluten-Free, All Natural, Dairy-Free)
Finally, here’s an easy coffee-creamer recipe!
- 1 Can Coconut Milk
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Tablespoon Honey (or more to taste)
Blend together; you can keep it in fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Have you ever cut dairy or another group out of your diet? Any tips?