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Any tips for going dairy-free?
Posted: Posted May 31st by Cetasaurus

My doctor says I can't eat dairy for a while. Most of what I eat has dairy in it, so this adjustment is gonna be a bit tricky. (Guys, I freaking love cheese.)

Incidentally, my doctor is also on a dairy-free diet. He was telling me how it's helped him make healthier food choices, and gave the example of how he no longer eats a muffin full of butter in the morning. I was sitting there as it dawned on me, "Wait, muffins have dairy?" So I'm pretty out of my element.

Any advice on how to survive these dark times will be quite appreciated. For now, I'm gonna resume my other attempts to find information online. This page has been the most helpful by far:
Thanks all!

There are 18 Replies

he no longer eats a muffin full of butter in the morning. I was sitting there as it dawned on me, "Wait, muffins have dairy?"

Well, they do if they are full of butter.

Other than that, I will be useless in this discussion. I love whole dairy milk, I love cheese, and I love creamy alfredo sauce. Also, I spent twenty years of my life on a dairy farm. I'm probably the last person you should talk to. :p

EDIT: Well, hold on. Have you tried any other substitutes like almond milk or soy milk? Do you even drink milk? What part of your everyday diet consists of dairy other than cheese?

Edited May 31st by Vandy

No idea

*eats grilled cheese sandwich"

Posted May 31st by S.O.H.

Cheese is like the single hardest thing to give up. Even when I was vegetarian I would order cheese pizzas. Milk and cream and yogurt and stuff are all pretty easy but cheese is made to be addictive. Best suggestion is just don't buy it period and never eat out.

Posted May 31st by I killed Mufasa
I killed Mufasa
long live the king

I didn't eat it for a few years, the adjustment was okay.

Maybe you should see this as an opportunity to try new foods outside the typical American-European diet.

I'm currently learning to make a few of my favorite chinese stir-frys, maybe you can try something like that too.

Posted May 31st by Agis in the US
Agis in the US

@Vandy that explains why there were moo-moos in your picture-thread picture! To answer your questions: I went to the store today and bought some almond milk to try. Honestly most the dairy in my everyday diet comes from cheese and bread. But while at the store, I also got some dairy-free bread!

@SOH how dare you

@Agis I'm looking at this as an opportunity for a lot things! I've never put a lot of thought into my diet before; this is definitely going to be good for me. Thanks for the suggestion! I have already noticed that a lot of oriental food doesn't use much dairy. I'll continue looking into that. Thanks again!

Posted May 31st by Cetasaurus
formerly KM8

Why do you have to give up dairy?

Coconut is a pretty good replacement. Similar fat ratio and vitamin content.

Posted May 31st by Xhin
Rise from ashes

I think there's even a vegan Coconut Cheese.

Also avocado is quite good.

There's also this abomination:

Posted May 31st by Xhin
Rise from ashes

I don't really like cheese all that much, but I drink milk straight-up practically every day.

Milk is used as an ingredient in a lot of baked goods. Sometimes fried foods will have milk in them for the batter. Fry things yourself, and use canola oil or olive oil in place of butter. Switch to eggs, bacon, and bread in the morning. Is this temporary? If it is, I hope you get better soon :)

Posted May 31st by mariomguy
What up, 1-up

I'll try to remember what the brand is, but I usually eat a dairy-free cheese. (My stomach can't handle lactose like it used to, so while I still can consume it, I have to be a little more judicious in my intake, lest I want to stay up all night in the bathroom.)

Posted May 31st by Jet Presto
Jet Presto

I became lactose intolerant when I was 20 and I looooove cheese, so I can empathise with the struggle.

Lactose-free milk is delicious so if you can have lactose-free dairy, I recommend it. Rice and almond milk are yummy but they aren't quite as smooth as milk so I don't drink large amounts often.

Lactose-free cheese is...a bit underwhelming at best. It's an alright addition to things like omelettes, it just doesn't melt or taste quite like normal cheese.

Honestly, if you don't know how to prep (at least) basic meals from scratch, this is an excellent time to learn a few. My dietary restrictions became a lot less inconvenient once I started only eating out occasionally and prepping my own (minimally proceesed) food whenever I can. Try all sorts of fruits and veggies to find as many that you like as you can, and look at simple recipes (omelettes, stir fry, salads, soups/stews) that make it easy to include them. Keep your diet varied and try new things. You're less likely to miss things if you're finding new yummy ones to enjoy.

Posted June 1st by Kassie The Eevee
Kassie The Eevee

Hmm, my SO's doctor recommended he go dairy-free, too, but didn't really explain why. The doc himself, like yours, was on a dairy-free diet as well. Are you having some kind of inflammatory issue?

I actually try to consume a little dairy every day to try to prevent lactose intolerance.

Posted June 1st by Ophelia

@Xhin I had to give it up because I took a medication for a while that threw off my digestion, so now it makes me sick. But I'm taking some probiotics, and my doctor thinks it could be temporary.

Thanks for the coconut suggestion! I've tried some coconut milk, and it's quite good. I'll look more into those weird cheeses haha. Avocado is another good suggestion. Thanks for your help!

@mariomguy I like to drink milk too. Thanks for those warnings; very good to know. Thanks for your tips as well! That sounds like a good plan to me. :)

@Kassie the Eevee I'm sorry you became lactose-intolerant. :( That really sucks, I mean, even your MyCard is about cheese! Thanks for your recommendations and insights. I definitely agree, this will be a great time for me to learn how to prepare some meals and try new things. I've had the same eating habits for essentially my whole life. I'm gonna try to enjoy being forced out of them. :)

@Ophelia that seems odd your SO's doctor wouldn't explain why. I hope he feels better soon! How does consuming dairy prevent intolerance?

Posted June 1st by Cetasaurus
formerly KM8

that seems odd your SO's doctor wouldn't explain why.

Well, I guess he sort of explained why, but it was really vague. Basically said something like, humans aren't "supposed" to drink milk and it causes a lot of "health issues."

How does consuming dairy prevent intolerance?

I'm not sure that it actually does, but intuitively, it makes sense to keep one's lactase enzymes relevant and "challenged" (for lack of better words on my part).

Posted June 1st by Ophelia

Well, I guess he sort of explained why, but it was really vague. Basically said something like, humans aren't "supposed" to drink milk and it causes a lot of "health issues."

That is really vague... I've been told all my life to drink milk for the calcium. My parents basically force-fed me milk until I learned to like it haha.

I'm not sure that it actually does, but intuitively, it makes sense to keep one's lactase enzymes relevant and "challenged" (for lack of better words on my part).

I guess that makes some degree of sense.

Posted June 1st by Cetasaurus
formerly KM8

For baking, you could do like, vegetable shortening or coconut oil. Of course, there's margarine, too. Coconut oil is probably the healthiest of the three.

I personally think almond milk tastes better than coconut, but coconut resembles real milk more (despite what I said about dairy, I actually dislike the taste of just milk). The unsweet kinds are better for cooking, but the vanilla flavored good for cereal. There are also coconut-almond milk blends. And Lactaid, as Kassie mentioned. Faux cheese (made from soy) doesn't taste bad to me, but melts poorly. I actually think a sunny-side up egg yolk tastes a lot like cheese. Avocados, as someone mentioned (esp as a sub for sour cream). There's coconut milk ice cream and things like that, too... usually in the most plain-colored section of the grocery store with all the oaty cereals.

You know, if lactose if the issue, you could probably make your own young cheeses -- like ricotta -- with Lactaid and vinegar (and a thermometer). You could technically make butter in a similar fashion, I'd guess. Depends how much time you have. Another idea -- have you ever had Hollandaise sauce? That tastes a lot like cheese. It's egg yolk, butter, and lemon juice, but I bet you could sub the butter with margarine/coconut oil.

Posted June 1st by Ophelia

I guess that makes some degree of sense.

Well, what I mean is, as you likely know, lactase activity oftentimes decreases with age, especially within certain populations (e.g. Asians, like this thing (me)). Of course, this is due to a lot of things, and digestive ability -- if that's a... phrase, it's probably not -- decreases with age anyway. Inflammatory processes (e.g. gastroenteritis, which hinders proper digestion) often increase, too. The population differences are likely due to genetics, and it's honestly, lactose intolerance is likely inevitable for me. Still, gene expression is fluid, so I figure that maybe I can postpone my cheese-less fate a bit by encouraging regular expression of the relevant enzymes. But yes, this view of mine isn't really based on a whole lot of research. I mean, maybe I'm just encouraging inflammation in my gut or something, and I don't even know the mechanism of how lactase gene expression is regulated. I just like ice cream, really.

Posted June 1st by Ophelia

Thanks for all the cooking tips, Ophelia! That will be very helpful to me, I'm sure. I did grab some coconut oil the other day. And I do like the fake milks that taste most similar to milk. :) Making cheese could be a fun adventure. And I've not had Hollandaise sauce, but I'll definitely try it! Thanks again.

I understand your explanation except for that "encouraging regular expression of the relevant enzymes" bit. Does that mean, like, when the enzymes get used, our DNA will keep coding for them? Sorry, I was forced to take one bio class, and it was about plants.

Posted June 1st by Cetasaurus
formerly KM8

I imagine there are a lot of things that humans aren't supposed to do and consume. I doubt most ancestral populations developed a tolerance for staring at electronic devices and school books for 8+ hours a day on end. The best we can do is learn more about the risk factors (which will vary from person to person) associated with certain activities and dietary choices and weigh the pros and cons. I think the negative consequences of smoking tobacco are very difficult to tolerate, but I'm not willing to sacrifice cheese and alcohol despite whatever marginal benefits I might gain. I'm not lactose intolerant, but if, for example, one day we found out that dairy products are a major cause of prostate cancer, then I would probably change my mind.

I might even consider changing my diet if the opportunity cost of replacing dairy ingredients became extremely negligible, but I think we've still got a long way to go:

Posted June 2nd by Esprit
Reply to: Any tips for going dairy-free?

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