See part 1 of my dairy free diary here.
So, part 2. This is where I tell you what I’ve been eating during my ‘dairy intake reduction’ attempt.
Pretty much all of my favourite meals include some kind of dairy. I love to eat granola and yoghurt for breakfast; a comforting bowl of cheesy pasta for lunch; and is there anything better than buttery mash?
I’m very realistic when it comes to my diet, and I know that any kind of ‘cutting out’ diet doesn’t work long term, so I knew that as soon as I took this kind of food that I love off the table, I’d want it more.
So, I needed ideas of comforting, satisfying and healthy food that didn’t include dairy. Normally, in such situations, I would turn to Pinterest. Which I did, but I couldn’t find an awful lot I fancied. So I’ve had to use my actual imagination, like in old times.
I ended up eating things like this every day:
Soy yoghurt & berries
Beans on toast with no butter or cheese
Granola & soy yoghurt
Chipotle meal soup from Sainsbury’s
Salad dressed with oil and vinegar, no cheese, not even feta!
Courgette pasta with spinach and chopped up veggie sausage
An unfortunate and unavoidable cheese Ploughman’s
Quorn burger with salad
Bolognese stuffed peppers with horrid vegan cheese & focaccia bread
Courgetti with sausage, tomato sauce & spinach
Roasted veg pasta
Frittata loaded with veg
Pasta made with coconut cream, spinach, courgette and tomatoes with chipotle
Yeah, so the unavoidable cheese Ploughman’s lunch was at a work event. There were only three lunch options provided, and the other two were beef and ham. I haven’t eaten red meat in nearly 20 years so I wasn’t about to ruin that streak. And skipping meals is just not feasible for me.
Really disappointed I didn’t manage to 100% do the full 2 weeks. If there was a way I could’ve avoided eating that cheese and finding my own lunch that day, I would have.
I’m planning on doing a big round-up of all my favourite dairy free recipes at the end of this, because I was really stuck for ideas, and that was the biggest challenge I faced. I think if I had a little resource of ‘go-to’ dairy free meals, I’d find it much easier to cope without it.
I’ve learned that, for me to give up something that I loved eating, and that was a significant part of my diet, I really had to plan ahead. If I didn’t have a meal planned and prepped, I would be really tempted to fall back on dairy-based snacks and dairy components in my meals, just for convenience.
It certainly wasn’t the most varied and exciting 2 weeks, but I did find that I ended up turning to more nutrient-dense foods like raw veg and greens, just to keep my meals interesting.
I think one of the main reasons people are so into dairy, especially cheesy food, is because it’s generally pretty high in fat, and that makes our food palatable. So things can taste pretty bland if you don’t find a replacement ingredient.
The whole point of me doing this was to see if it helped clear my acne. I did notice some changes in my skin, but I was really surprised to find that it affected me in other ways, too.
Interested in finding out if going through all this actually helped clear my skin? Watch out for the third and final part of this little dairy-free diary series coming up on Sunday.
In the meantime, do let me know if you have any really good dairy-free recipes! I’m starting a Pinterest board!