Saturday, July 21, 2012

Food Is Complicated - Living Dairy & Soy Free

A bit of a diversion from my usual posts...
I'm living a dairy-free life style, because I accidentally discovered after I had my second kid that dairy was the root of some health problems I'd been having for many years. Going totally dairy free at first didn't seem too hard. Okay, I miss cheese like you wouldn't believe, it seriously made up half of my diet. But otherwise I replaced everything else with soy -- soy milk, soy yogurt, soy cream (as long as it was in cooking, it wasn't too bad) etc.
Except then soy became a two-fold problem. I started reacting to it the same way I had dairy, and discovered the hard way that my oldest child is anaphylactic to it. So out went the soy products, which I wasn't too upset about. They weren't great and I'd started hearing some research that suggested soy products might have other health consequences if consumed in large quantities.
So now my diet became harder. I tried rice milk (bleh! Too sweet and watery) and ended up on oat milk. I quite like oats (esp in porridge) so the taste of the oat milk was fine to me and it actually has an almost creamy consistency. When I want chocolate milk, I discovered a chocolate flavored hazelnut milk. I also discovered coconut-based ice cream, which is very rich, but also very yummy.
I found a brand of margarine -- Nuttlex -- that is dairy free and works the same as butter in cooking.
Don't get me wrong, its taken several years of experimenting with dairy/soy alternatives to find the things I could live with, and let's face it, they're never going to be exactly the same as the original.
Going out for dinner is a nightmare. Next time you're at a restaurant, have a look at how many items have cheese, or a cream sauce, or are cooked in butter, or include milk, or likely have one of the four cooked into them, and see how few options that leaves you with.
I also worked out I can have sheep's yogurt and cheese, and goats cheese in moderate amounts. I did try goat's milk but, oh my god... have you ever smelled a goat? Well, that's what the milk tastes like. Ick!
I do have a reason for this long post, and that is because more and more (for various reasons) people are choosing or forced to go with a dairy/soy free diet. So occasionally, when I come up with a good recipe, or find a product I think is particularly good, I'm planning on putting it up on my blog.
To start with, tomorrow I plan on trying to make an ice cream out of an oat milk and coconut cream base (because the ice cream I've been buying is freaking expensive!). I haven't decided what flavor to go with yet (probably chocolate) but if it works out, I'll stick the recipe up here.
Wish me luck!

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