The Art of Turning Negatives into Positives > Changing 'Deprivation' to Abundance

What has become ‘normal’ to me seems totally alien and unimaginable for many others.  I am used to not eating gluten, dairy, limited ‘sugar’ (always naturally occurring, unrefined or fructose free), nightshades, and soy… anything else?!  Usually someone knows when a certain food isn’t doing them any favours but life without it seems unimaginable.  How many times have I heard ‘ugh, I get really bloated and uncomfortable when I eat pasta… but I couldn’t possibly give it up’ or ‘drinking milk makes me feel really sick, but what would I have on my cereal?’  The thought of no longer eating a certain food is scary and makes most feel on edge. 

 Image via worldlifestyle.com

Image via worldlifestyle.com

I don’t eat/drink dairy.  I’m not vegan (although a lot of what I eat is, by chance), I don’t think it’s a devil food and I’ve never officially been told I’m lactose intolerant.  It’s simply because it doesn’t agree with me.  One of the first foods you’re told to cut out if you have eczema, is dairy.  Hence I’ve never really guzzled milk from the bottle… BUT, I used to have an insatiable hunger for ice cream.

Enough tubs were enough and I decided to give Ben and Jerry’s, and the rest of the dairy clan, the boot.  That decision meant I no longer had to put up with the following;

- Constantly blocked sinuses which often resulted in headaches
- Heavy head
- Feeling as if I always had a cold
- Inflamed eczema
- Compromised digestion

Of course, I still miss eating clotted cream and Hockings Ice Cream when I visit my grandparents in Devon, but not enough to compromise my health.

The feelings experienced when ‘giving up’ a food are: deprivation, starvation (no joke, you’re hit by an immediate hunger), restriction, grief and mourning (!)… Sounds a bit like the 5 steps of whatever.  But that’s only the beginning.   Following that, you’re introduced to a whole new world of possibilities, flavours, textures, experiments and fun. 

We’re very lucky that we live in the land of the Internet.  Ideas of alternatives are plenty, in the form of Pinterest boards and Instagram feeds. There are so many options for dairy free milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice cream and much more.  All hail to hashtags.

{I actually hate using the term ‘alternative’ – it sounds faddy and not proper.  When you decide to give one thing a miss, you try something else. Another.  Just as good but different.}

The important thing to keep in mind if you find yourself running for the hills at the mere thought of saying goodbye to one thing, is that really, you are opening the door to a million others…

 Image via aleemali.com

Image via aleemali.com

HOW I ‘SURVIVE’ WITHOUT DAIRY - ALTERNATIVES

MILK
I used to drink/use one or two varieties of milk (that were easily available), I now drink/use over 10 that I can make myself.  Almond, cashew, hazelnut, pistachio, coconut, rice, hemp, oat, quinoa, buckwheat, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed… the list goes on!

CREAM
A simple case of adding less liquid to the soaked and blended milk base.

BUTTER
This is the one dairy product I’ve found difficult to replicate.  The only time I slightly miss butter is spread on a hot crumpet/piece of toast.  But I don’t really eat crumpets or toast anyway, so that’s a moot point.  For anything else that calls for butter, I use coconut oil or olive oil.

YOGHURT
It’s fairly easy to create yoghurt using dairy free milk, some probiotic cultures and a thickener (if desired).

CHEESE
Where there’s milk, there’s cheese (just the same as in the dairy world).  You can actually make cheese from the bi-product of dairy free milk making, so there’s no wastage.  And have you heard of nutritional yeast?

ICE CREAM
The options here go beyond dairy free milk.  Ever tried freezing bananas and blending them for a super quick ice cream?  I’ve got a great quick ice cream recipe coming next week…

All in all, my glass of (dairy free) milk is definitely half full.


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