Giving up dairy is a challenge for a lot of people, so I decided to post a question one of my readers asked about how to do it and my answer to her.
In a comment on my post 7 Tips for Giving Up Dairy, Brandy said:
“Cream and Cheese is such a huge staple in my diet (cream in my coffee, cheese on everything), I just can’t seem to kick the stuff. Can those that cut this from their diet share how long it took before you stopped missing it?”
My answer to Brandy
Hi Brandy! Thanks so much for reading and for your comment. Believe me girlfriend, I’ve been where you are!!!! If you had asked me two years ago if I’d ever give up dairy I would have laughed. Like you, it was a huge staple in my diet. I did the cream and cheese like you, but I also did ice cream almost every night.
When I first learned how unhealthful dairy was, I thought about giving it up but didn’t think I could do it. I decided to try giving it up just Monday – Friday. This helped me make the transition because I learned that vegetables, pizza and other foods could be wonderful without cheese and that there were delicious substitutes for the other dairy products I craved.
For example, I learned how to make yummy sauces out of nuts, nut butters, Braggs Liquid Aminos (a healthy alternative to soy sauce), avocado and coconut milk. And when I’m too lazy to make a sauce, I just drizzle a bit of tahini (sesame seed butter) on veggies and they taste wonderful!!
One quick sauce I love is sesame ginger sauce: Here’s a basic recipe:
Sesame Ginger Sauce
1/4 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 tsp grated ginger
A tablespoon of water if needed to thin
Note: You can also add peanut butter to this for a delicious twist.
Yummy No-Cheese Pizza Recipes
Here are a couple of no cheese, and fabulous, pizza recipes:
In addition to learning how to cook foods without cheese, I also discovered wonderful replacements to the other dairy foods I loved. Here are a few of my faves:
Instead of Cream
Try replacing cream in coffee with a tablespoon of coconut milk or for a treat use coconut milk whipped cream. Click here for the recipe.
Instead of Yogurt
Instead of dairy yogurt, try So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt.
Instead of Ice Cream
Instead of ice cream, try Luna and Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss, Trader Joe’s Soy Creamy or Sharon’s Sorbet. Or you can make delicious and non dairy ice creams and shakes like my Skinny Chocolate Shake or Cherry Garcia Shake.
Instead of Butter
In place of butter on toast, I use almond butter, all fruit spread or hummus. If you really must have butter, then go with Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread. Earth Balance can also replace butter in baking.
Dealing with Cravings
Discovering yummy replacements will help, but you’re still gonna crave the foods you’re used to at first. I had cravings like crazy in the beginning and I gave into them too!!!! I wouldn’t worry too much about this. You’re gonna cheat at first – everyone does. Just keep trying and eventually you’ll adjust to new habits and your taste buds will get used to the new foods you’re eating. For me this took several months, but everyone is different. Trust me, however; THE CRAVINGS DO PASS!!!
Another thing that helped me was watching plant-based and vegan movies A LOT. This helped because it kept my reasons for giving up dairy (because it’s unhealthful and harms cows) forefront in my mind. For example, when I first watched Forks Over Knives, I thought I’d never eat dairy again. Within days, however; I was already eating cheese. So I forced myself to watch the movie again and again. This helped so much! I needed this repetition for my brain to deeply understand why I was giving up my beloved foods. Another movie that helped was Vegucated.
I hope this helps, and feel free to ask me other questions! Celeste 🙂
Photo courtesy of Michelle She a Walker.