Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Oh, and another thing

I'm going dairy-free for a month, in an effort to see whether it will cure my chronic wheezing. I hate the very idea of doing this- I eat everything. When people ask about dietary requirements, I always say it, smugly:  "No, I eat everything" as if my lack of food allergies makes me somehow morally superior (pretty sure it does).

And now I'm giving up dairy. (Well, milk-butter-cheese. I'm not giving up traces of lactose because I'm too lazy I don't think that will make a difference since I'm not properly allergic).

I started yesterday, and was suddenly more tired than I can ever remember being. I had an awful revelation that actually, milk is what has been giving me energy! I'ts been keeping me alive! I was never going to survive without miiiiiiiiilk! And then I realised that I hadn't had any coffee, because I usually have milk in that. Most likely that was the real problem.

Problem #2, along with yesterday's sudden onset of narcolepsy: I've just found out that soy milk is disgusting. Do I have to try every brand until I find one I don't hate?  Does anybody know how to make almond milk at home? (I've got a blendtec). Am I doomed to drink my coffee black from here on in, or no coffee at all? Will I ever be able to have a takeaway latte again? Will I? WILL I????

In short, I have no idea how to do this. I know that I should probably just google this stuff, but frankly I'd rather catch up on reading all your blogs. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

40 comments:

  1. Delurking here...I like vanilla almond milk and vanilla soy milk is much better tasting than regular soy, imho. Some of my friends really like rice milk but I haven't tried it yet. I can't offer much more advice than that, but good luck! Just this morning, I decided I should give up dairy or at least cut back and I swear I had conveniently forgotten that again by lunchtime.

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    1. yeah, that's because dairy is DELICIOUS!!!

      Vanilla is a good idea. I think maybe my mistake was buying long-life unsweetened. **shudder**

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  2. You might want to try coconut milk, not the canned version, but the refrigerated kind that you can find in the milk section next to the soy and almond milks. But to make your own almond milk put a cup of almonds in the blendtec with a quart of water and a glug of vanilla and whatever sweetener you prefer. I like maple syrup or dates. Then just blend for 45 seconds on high. That's it! If you like an even more almondy flavor, you can put almond extract instead of the vanilla.

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    1. I didn't even realise un-canned coconut milk was a thing. And I've just tried almond + maple - it was really nice! Good tip, thanks!

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  3. Also, some people with dairy issues can drink goat milk. Not everyone likes it, but I think it is absolutely delicious. And so creamy!

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  4. We do unsweetened soy in our house. I really admire your attempt to eliminate dairy. I know I should. Once I tried to eliminate dairy and wheat at the same time. And of course, I am a morally-inferior pescatarian. So that made me "no wheat, no meat, no dairy." I think it lasted three days.

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    1. gosh, you must have been a mighty fun dinner guest for those three days.

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    2. (Okay, obviously YOU would have been fun. If you'd brought your own food).

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  5. I don't eat a lot of dairy but do prefer soy CHOCOLATE milk to regular soy milk. Give that a try! Yum!

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    1. J loves that. I buy it for him from the supermarket as a special treat if he's feeling sad. It would never have crossed my mind to buy it if I wasn't feeling blue - good call!

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  6. For your coffee, use So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer. http://www.sodeliciousdairyfree.com/products/coconut-milk-creamers Seriously just as good if not better than dairy.

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    1. how come everyone has heard of this coconut stuff except for me? I lurrrve coconut. This will definitely be getting an outing at my house. Thanks!

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  7. I agree, Soy tastes like beans, and the only beans I want in my coffee are the coffee ones! Can you not get Almond milk? It seems like it would cost more to buy the almonds than the almond milk.

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    1. Fortunately, the supermarket across the road from me sells cheap almonds. (I don't know why. Never really wondered, although now I am).

      And yes - soy does taste like beans. That's spot on!

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  8. We use Vanilla almond milk sincee our pediatrician asked us to avoid soy. There is a recipe for Almond Milk on the Vitamix website. I have not tried to make it butit seems pretty basic.

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  9. Ha. Ok, don't plan on drinking any of these substitute milks. You have to accept that your days of having a glass of milk are over. But coconut milk in smoothies is great, vanilla soy in coffee is lovely, and plain non flavored rice milk is good on cereal. Hope that helps!

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    1. All I could think when I saw your name was THIS IS YOUR FAULT! THIS WAS YOUR IDEA! Grrrrrrrrr.

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  10. Almond milk: very easy to make at home. It's a staple in a lot of medieval European recipes, and used to be made at home in great quantities. Here is one recipe and here is another.

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    1. That is absolutely fascinating. I had no idea. Makes a lot of sense (the whole unreliable cow thing) but I'd never thought about it. Interesting that those recipes have a really high almond to water ratio - it must have made almost an almond cream. I'm going to have to try that for thickening / to replace cream. Kind of crazy that you can actually churn it into butter -now THAT is an impressive fat content!

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  11. Vanilla rice milk in your coffee or on cereal. I think Rice Dream does one. Or maybe Tesco has an own brand; they are getting better about food intolerance. And let me second the notion that a glass of milk will not be part of your life unless you are really looking to suffer. As for goat milk, if you like goat cheese, you might like it. I think even in tea it has all the appeal of licking an actual goat.

    Good luck! I have never managed to go diary free for long. Honestly, gluten free is much, much easier even though it makes socializing with food tricky. But the substitutes are so much less awful.

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    1. Do you really find it easier? That's really interesting. I would have assumed it would be harder - maybe for both it depends on how strict one is going to be. My sister's family is totally GF and the idea terrifies me. Maybe I'm a bit laissez-faire about being dairy free because I don't know anybody with a proper allergy who has had to do the whole total-elimination thing. I think trying both would probably kill me.

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  12. Oh, I am SO sorry. I mean, omg, what about CHEESE? Cheese, for cripes sake. Oh, please, I can't imagine life without cheese. I love cows. So. Much. Look at the bounty we get from cows. You have made me anxious, Claudia.

    Whoa. Sorry, unravelled a bit there. Let me change my tune. You can do this! Yeah.

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    1. For me, it's butter. BUTTER!!!! I mean yeah, cheese, but BUTTER!!!!

      BUTTER!!!!

      Now I'm panicking too.

      (Actually I ate some butter today. I forgot I wasn't supposed to. Ooops).

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  13. Haha. I always had that moral superiority (my stomach of titanium, as I would call it) of being able to eat everything, up until the last few years when I was smited with stomach issues. I go dairy free now and I feel like a big, fat douche bag with my almond milk sitting in the fridge, like I'm some nit-picky hippy with made-up intolerances. But my stomach thanks me for it, so I know it's real. But, yes, the cheese. I miss the cheese like I'm missing an appendage.

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    1. yes! The nit picky hippy thing. Have you ever looked into the no-lactose-in-cheddar-thing below? That's got me hopeful!

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  14. lots of sharp cheddar is naturally lactose-free! Look into it!

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    1. This is absolutely next on my 'to-google' list.
      thanks!

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  15. Ah yes, on Day 1 of "My New Gluten-Free Life" and am already like whahhh? A constant thought is "well, at least I still have dairy". So dang, girl.

    I'm such a coffee lover, but strangely in the past few months have made a pretty big switch to black tea instead (how British of me!). Mostly because I think it makes me less prone to panic attacks when I'm going through a rough anxiety spot. I find that while soy milk tastes like ass in coffee, it can work well in tea. Especially in one of those fantastic chai tea lattes, which are usually also just syrupy with sugar... which is something else I probably really, really should cut out, but oh well?

    Will be very curious to see what differences you notice. I know my vegan pals get all excited about their vegan 'cheeses', so perhaps there is some hope out there.

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    1. Girl, if I ever get excited about vegan cheese, please slap me.


      but oh, yeah, chai teea latte. Now you're talking. That's going to be good made with ANYTHING, right? I can totally see that with almond milk too. And I happen to have some chai tea bags in my kitchen. And some almonds. Also sugar, obviously. SUCH a good idea - thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  16. Erm, have you ever been investigated for asthma? I developed it only while running at the age of forty-mumble, and I know you run a lot. An inhaler helps a lot, again only while running.

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    1. Good point - I do have asthma, and all the chest-wheeziness means I had to stop running (BLURGH!) Forgive me for sounding like I don't know what I'm talking about (I don't) but I feel like there's the asthma pulmonary problems and something else too - there's two different wheezes, and one of them never goes away no matter how much I use my inhaler. I've started wondering if it's related to post-nasal drip (which I was going to avoid writing, because it sounds GROSS but there it is) and apparently milk elimination can help with that. Here's hoping!

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  17. I discovered that I cannot have the milk part of dairy without consequences, but I can have cream and butter. So I now put heavy cream in my coffee. I never did find a suitable substitute. Other people swear by various milk substitutes, but they either taste bitter to me (almond milk), leave a film on my teeth (coconut), or I'm just as sensitive to the ingredients as I am to dairy (soy). Perhaps once you've eliminated dairy for awhile, you could try just having cream and see if it works. The upside is that you can use less and it tastes amazing.

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  18. Claudia - I am now 1.5 years into dairy free...due to our J. having a milk protein allergy. I discovered that the cold and upper respiratory problems that I had on and off for years went away after 6 months or so of no dairy whatsoever. Not sure that a little here or there would affect me now, but I obviously ate way more than my body could handle. I feel so great now I don't want to go back. :-)

    I love the SoDelicious Coconut Milk. You could also make your own coconut milk if you wanted. I have looked at tutorials online. I have some more tips - I will email them to you soon!

    Best Wishes - it can be hard to do, but if it helps you feel lots better I think it will be (mostly) worth it! :-)

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  19. I'm sure I'm the 35th person to suggest this, but I can use heavy cream or coconut milk is the tastiest dairy alternative. Almond milk in the blendtec is easy and tasty for things like oatmeal and cereal. Not coffee...

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  20. Sadly, my favorite soy milk seemed to go out of existence. But, there is still a rice/soy combo that I like. Also, the way I got used to soymilk was to mix it with regular milk and gradually phase out the milk. And I never got used to drinking a glass of it, although my stepdaughters LOVE vanilla soymilk. I buy the Wegman's store brand. And try to be good about using it in my cereal. Time to get back on the wagon. I do use soymilk regularly in recipes that call for milk, and don't notice a difference at all, although you have to be careful not to use vanilla soymilk in your tomato soup....

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  21. I've got 2 things to say to you... 1) Rice milk and 2) GET A COELIAC BLOOD TEST!!!! It might not be dairy!

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  22. Oh and a third thing - if you are serious about trying to work out what's causing the wheezing, see a nutritionist before deciding that it's some particular thing in your diet. Eg if it's dairy, it could be either milk protein (in which case you need to watch out for milk protein in other foods) or it could be lactose (in which case you can actually eat a reasonable amount of dairy). You don't want to cut out things that you can actually eat. Also it's really helpful to write down exactly what symptoms you're having and how often you're having them before changing your diet, so you have something concrete to compare with when you're deciding whether the change has been useful / worth it.

    Oh and if you want to pursue the non-dairy thing don't forget cashews make great milk too. Sweeter than almonds and very yummy!

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  23. My husband accidently bought the unsweetened almond milk and put that in my coffee.... HORRIBLE, I am a big fan of the almond milk or the coconut cream... Always the flavoured never the unsweetened

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Over to you!