Friday, September 9, 2011
F is for Food
Atticus has issues with processing dairy and since I'm nursing him this means that I've had to eliminate dairy in my diet. I love cream in my coffee, cheese, butter, and other delectable dairy items and I was depressed and stressed when I had to cut it out of my diet. What really sucks is I had stocked the fridge with things like yogurt and cheese sticks just before Atticus was born. Healthy, packed with protein, and easy to eat while mothering a newborn, I thought I was ready to go. Then I learned I couldn't eat those things and that many of my pantry items (cereal, crackers, granola bars, etc...), frozen foods (quick dinners, pre-made frozen casseroles I made while pregnant, frozen veggie combos), and refrigerator items (my lunch meat had dairy) had dairy. What the hell was I going to eat? I consume a steady supply of fruit and veggies, but geez-louise, no dairy?!?! And of course the entire time I was nursing around the clock which left me exhausted and STARVING.
With a bit of research and help from a vegan friend I discovered a bevy of delicious items to eat. Some of the food choices I already knew and loved and it was exciting to know I could continue eating those things.
Here we go, my top non-dairy eats:
My favorite food before ditching dairy was Thai food, so going dairy-free was the perfect excuse to indulge in basil rolls, curries, Pad Thai, coconut soup and other delicious Thai dishes. Also, I can have non-Americanized sushi (no cream cheese, please) and big delicious bowls of Vietnamese Pho.
I'm pretty sure that even when I go back to dairy I'll still embrace almond milk. Smooth and nutty and low calorie (often 60 calories a serving) this milk works in baking and on breakfast cereal. However, I like it best with hot drinks: creamer in my coffee, mixed with chai, or warmed with a little bit of nutmeg and vanilla.
Chocolate Almond Dream Ice Cream
I adore ice cream and this has been the most difficult item to give up. I've tried different "non-dairy frozen treats" but most of them are meh. I like this one, though, it is chocolatey, but not too rich.
Sweet Potato Tater Tots
This is the most brilliant food ever created. I love sweet potato fries, but this is a step up. I bake them in the oven and then salt/pepper them. I think they'd also be good sprinkled with cinnamon before baking. Now that Atticus is eating some solid food I can give him sweet tater tots to eat and I feel better than giving him straight-up potatoes. At least sweet taters are an actual veggie!
Vegan White Pizza
The recipe is here and I promise you it is DELICIOUS! In fact, I think I want a slice right now.
I've had many delicious vegan baked goods, but these two cakes are my favorite and I couldn't choose just one. The Chocolate Vegan Death Cake at The Grit is divine; it is so rich and smooth I'm sure women through themselves at this cake. I'm happily married and I still thought about running off with a big slice. The second cake is one my friend Heath made for my birthday, Ginger Macadamia Coconut Carrot Cake. The recipe is from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook.
This vegan fake butter spread is pretty good. It doesn't taste gross. In fact, I've been using it on pasta, toast, and veggies for Sam and Hope and they aren't complaining. It also works okay in baking. I've only had one recipe not turn out so hot from using this spread (it was blueberry pecan oatmeal cookies, the cookies fell apart and didn't hold together)
Once again, I'll have to pimp Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan with a Vengeance. I made the pumpkin muffins over the weekend (but I cut the sugar in half and used applesauce rather than oil) and Atticus eats them for breakfast. Really any muffin recipe can be turned dairy-free (at least in my experience). Simply replace butter with Earth Balance and replace milk with Almond Milk. There you are, breakfast that isn't cereal with labels you must scrutinize!
It has been a struggle switching to a dairy-free lifestyle, but once I found some delicious things to eat things were smoother. One day (after I wean Atticus) I'll go back to dairy, but I'll probably still use Almond milk, make healthy muffins, and eat vegan pizza and Thai food with some regularity.