lactose intolerant.

15 03 2011

well, for a few days at least. those crazy cats over at bzzagent sent me free silk soymilk coupons under the condition that i give up milk for 10 days (like it’s some sort of challenge or something). not one to back away from a challenge (especially one that involves me getting free stuff), i decided that i’m not only giving up milk for 10 days, i’m giving  all dairy.

i have sort of a cheese and butter problem to start with, even though my personal ethics would really love for me to be a vegan. i thought this would be a good way for me to test the dairy free waters, without any major commitments or expectations. although i already spent over $100 on dairy free groceries that i am convinced will help me make it through the tough times that i assume to be ahead. what i’ve learned so far:

1. earth balance doesn’t taste ANYTHING like butter. actually, it’s pushing it as a cheap margarine alternative.

2. almond milk is viscous and weird. i expected it to be thin like skim milk (which is what i usually put on my cereal), but i noticed a distinct textural difference when preparing a small container to take to work. as a result, i am now afraid to drink it. i coasted through my first dairy free day without actually imbibing in silk milk substitutes.

3. tofutti sour cream is also scary. i can barely look at the container. tonight is taco night. somebody please tell me that it’s gonna be ok!

so far, i’m not feeling the cheeseless burn too badly, but i probably have to try that almond milk today, and i am filled with anxiety. i’m also nervous about how restaurants are gonna work. i guess there’s always green elephant and silly’s… (there is definitely some vegan chocolate cake in my future), but i could sense that getting old really fast.

who’s got some dairy free pro tips to share?

p.s. further updates of my dairy free journey will be posted on my diet blog, being bess marvin.

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26 responses

15 03 2011
Audrey

Yay to the return of Being Bess Marvin!

Also – in my non-dairy-but-looks-kinda-like-dairy food adventures I’ve learned to mix, mix, mix. All the stuff that’s in there meant to make it look like dairy can separate. 😛 Ew.

Re: Tofutti. If the sour cream proves too scary but you’re still craving something creamy – the TOFUTTI CUTIES are literally the most delicious ice cream sandwich you’ll never know wasn’t full of cow juice. Unfortunately, they’re small, so you might have to eat several of them to come down. Plus they have an adorable name.

Soy, almond, rice milk are all shit and shouldn’t be consumed by anyone with taste buds or nerve endings. I said it! Of course, I think milk is gross, too, and only relent when I’m eating cake or cookies. Which surprisingly isn’t that much now that my friends’ birthday parties are all beer-and-sangria instead of cake-and-ice cream. Thanks, jerk friends.

16 03 2011
bessmarvin

hopefully i can start posting to bess more regularly now that my show is almost over! i actually finally tried the almond milk, and it was good- but the viscosity totally grossed me out. i may try adding water to it tomorrow to see if i can thin it out a bit. as for tofutti cuties, apparently they are highly recommended by everyone. i’m on it! have you tried coconut milk ice cream? it’s RIDICULOUS.

15 03 2011
Erica @ Just Call Me Cheap

I had to give up dairy when I was nursing each of my children due to thier dairy allergies (they luckily grew out of them buy age one). So I basically went dairy free for a year each time.
I avoided anything that was was a fake version of dairy because I knew it would taste like crap. The only fake substitutes I used were earth balance butter (I was raised eating I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter so I liked the taste)and rice milk (I do not like soy milk). The rice milk was only used in recipes to replace real milk. I also used vegetable shortening to replace butter when making cookies. If you like chocolate cake there is a wonderful recipe on All Recipes for chocolate oil cake: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chocolate-Oil-Cake/Detail.aspx. I still make it now because it comes out so good.
As far as reguar grocery shopping goes my budget didn’t go up that much. I pretty much stopped buying processed foods because for some reason they all have dairy in them in some form and made everything from scratch though my go to bread was Fiber One Whole Wheat. Restaurants were an issue for me though- there weren’t a lot of options for dairy free and because if I even had the smallest amount of dairy my kids would have a reaction I just didn’t trust the waitress or kitchen to make my food correctly.
Going dairy free those two times were actually the healthiest I have ever eaten in my life. You have major will power to go dairy free willingly! I seem to only be able to make heathy life changes when I have a gun to my head…

15 03 2011
sweetersalt

I actually really like almond milk, and i think it’s pretty tasty in cereal or oatmeal. I actually even put it in my coffee. The Trader Joe’s one (in the refrigerator case) is the best.

16 03 2011
bessmarvin

i actually just broke the seal, and it’s really not bad. the viscosity still grosses me out, but i can’t really even taste it on my cereal. is the TJs brand any thinner? the taste is good, but i want skim milk texture!

15 03 2011
Sondra

First off, Almond Milk is pretty tasty….as long as your mouth isn’t expecting the taste of Milk. It’s really sweet and pours like milk. Unfortunately, it causes everyone in my family to be gassy. Other than the digestive ailments, we love it.

And as a caveat, you should know that ingesting soy is really dangerous if you have any thyroid ailments. If you have no thyroid problems, I recommend the ice cream bars called tofutii. They really taste like normal ice cream bars! (maybe the cold fools your tastebuds, not sure). But since I have thyroid issues, I can’t have them anymore. I actually miss them!

16 03 2011
bessmarvin

oh no! not GASSY! i’ve heard that almond milk is tasty, and i’m definitely not expecting the taste of real milk. at this point, i have so much anxiety about it, i’m not really sure what i’m expecting. i did get the unsweetened variety, so hopefully it won’t be too sweet. i actually do have a thyroid problem (which is why i went with the almond milk instead of the straight up soy), but i can have a limited amount of soy in my diet without issue. you are the second person to recommend the tofutti ice cream! i’ll definitely have to pick them up at the grocery store this weekend.

15 03 2011
Liz Woodbury

don’t be afraid of the almond milk. all of those non-cow milks have different personalities and different things they work well for. almond is creamy and nutty, rice is thin and just barely sweet. hemp is pretty good too, and so is oat milk. i happen to like silk soy milk and soy milks of its ilk (ha). i think they’re rich and smooth, with very little bean taste. when we had a cafe, i used to love to steam almond milk for my lattes, they came out so creamy and yum. now i like soy lattes, but only from certain cafes (it’s all about which kind of soy milk they use and how they steam it, and unfortunately one of the tastiest is made at starbucks. though arabica does a good job too.)

other tips: silk soy creamer or coconut milk creamer are both great in coffee, and go for the ice creams made from coconut milk. try larry and luna’s (you can get it at whole foods). it’s SO GOOD, i really prefer it to dairy ice cream.

as far as baking, i find it easier to make a rich, moist cake or cupcake totally vegan than using eggs and dairy. “vegan cupcakes take over the world” is my favorite cookbook.

there’s more, so much more! but that’s a start. (and by the way, i’m not vegan, i’m just veganish).

15 03 2011
InfamousQBert

i would advise not venturing into the dairy free “cheese” on your own. they’re getting better, but they’re not good. the best i’ve had is sort of like the stadium nacho cheese. the other stuff is okay cold, but DOES. NOT. MELT. right.

i like soymilk all right in my cereal, or in recipes, but not in my coffee, unfortunately. the earthy flavor just doesn’t work right there. it is a good bit thicker than standard skim milk, but no thicker than whole milk.

Nasoya’s fake mayo/miracle whip is pretty awesome.

another thing to remember is that not all dairy free products/brands are created equal. and most things are better when you’re using them in a bigger recipe/mixing them in, than when you’re trying to eat them straight. like, if you were to put a dollop of the sour cream in your black bean soup and mix it in, that would probably be less obviously different than spreading it on a nacho.

Soapbox warning:
my only health type warning in all of this is to remember that soy is a tricky thing. it’s wonderful how much we’ve learned to do with it, but in terms of your health, it’s not something to be consumed in large quantities, necessarily. it mimics estrogen and can cause issues related to that, particularly in women. i had some trouble for a couple of years that i’m pretty certain was due to over consumption (unexplained weight gain, amenorrhea, mood issues). when i cut out most of the soy and added more regular milk and some fish (had been full veggie for 6 years), those issues cleared up within a couple of months and (knock on wood) haven’t come back. i still limit my animal proteins, but i think my body was not happy with all of that soy. for me, finding organic & kind sources for the dairy is the better choice.

16 03 2011
bessmarvin

good call. definitely afraid of the soy cheese. maybe someday when they can make something that melts… but until such a time- i think i’ll pass. the truth is that i probably wouldn’t have picked silk as the brand if they hadn’t sent it to me for free. and i DEFINITELY picked almond milk because i have soy fears. i have a thyroid condition (which i know to be a soy danger factor), and my friend who eats a lot of soy only gets her period every 40 days… she loves that, but i think it’s scary. i also feel like a lot of soy products are really overly processed (not that i don’t love me some processed foods… but i do feel better when i don’t eat them). oh, and SOY JOY bars give me the worst digestive trauma ever. me and soy flour are not friends. i have a feeling that after this experiment i will happily go back to eating some dairy- but i would like to make a greater effort to make sure that dairy is responsibly and locally farmed.

15 03 2011
InfamousQBert

oh, also, just personally, i didn’t like Silk soymilk. even the plain was too sweet for me. when i was drinking it exclusively, i got the HEB store brand at Central Market (a fancy pants store kind of like Whole Foods, but with a focus on “foodies” instead of “greenies”). it had a lot less sugar, which would make it healthier, too. i know that’s what you have the coupon for, but if you decide to stick with the soy, it might be worth checking out any other brands you have available.

15 03 2011
Liz Woodbury

oh, oh! VEGENAISE. even better than the nasoya brand. again, i like it way better than regular mayo, especially mixed with sriracha and rolled up inside veggie sushi.

http://www.followyourheart.com/product-family.php?id=14

also, i meant to say — try baking with earth balance, so buttery. i’m an earth balance convert, actually, although i agree it’s not quite butter.

16 03 2011
bessmarvin

really? because i’m a big mayo fan. i have a hard time believing that something called “veganaise” is gonna compare to hellmans… but maybe once i break the seal on the almond milk, i’ll be ready to try new and exciting substitutes. but for right now, i’m still terrified. the thing is that i’ve heard a lot of good things about almond milk- it’s just a lot thicker than i had imagined, and i have some serious food texture issues. i did however try out the silk soy creamer (in vanilla), which was very tasty, and i have long been an aficionado of coconut milk ice cream (right now, i’m obsessed with this). it is totally better than regular ice cream.

oh, and after work today, i’m totally gonna go get vegan cake at silly’s. (all this vegan cupcake talk has taken over my brain!)

17 03 2011
InfamousQBert

i was pleasantly surprised with the fake mayos. i’m a HUGE miracle whip fan and was skeptical. i had tried some other fake dairy products and didn’t care at all for the fake sour cream, primarily because of the texture. i don’t know what they do differently, but the fake mayos are SO much better than the fake other dairy products. the texture is good (i find the non-fat to be almost exactly like real non-fat miracle whip) and the taste is excellent.

21 03 2011
bessmarvin

i was raised on hellmans, and intensely dislike miracle whip. that said, i like to mix my mayo with mustard, so maybe i won’t notice. if i do decide to finally convert to veganism, i will definitely give the veganaise a whirl. sandwiches would not be quite the same without it.

16 03 2011
jjdactyl

ew, silk ANYTHING is pretty gross. if you were expecting skim milk texture, soy/almond/hemp/oat are NOT it. rice is the closest. skim is like watered down milk, rice milk is like watered down rice product. i always by the vanilla versions of any of them, because i’m using it in my cereal and in baking, and the vanilla just works. i never loved (dairy) milk- the smell, texture, taste, production are all wicked gross. also i’m intolerant, so that’s a thing.

i love LOVE coconut milk creamer for coffee, that’s by the so delicious people.

we’re ultra dairy free. there are some tricks and tips to the cheese trade- if you’re lactose intolerant, aged cow cheeses, sheep and goat’s milk cheeses are usually okay. if it’s an allergy, no, but if you’re just testing the waters, branch out of your cheese shell!

we use the tofutti sour cream for taco night, but we usually doctor it up with some lime and salt and make a crema type thing. it’s almost indistinguishable. same with the “better than cream cheese”- i never loved cream cheese, it’s kind of a recent bagel-lox-tomato development, but i can’t tell the difference. it’s all about the brands!

❤ good luck. ask more questions!

16 03 2011
jjdactyl

wow, so:
“rice product” was supposed to be “fake milk product”
and “by” should be “buy”.

21 03 2011
bessmarvin

yeah, i’m afraid that silk isn’t going to get the desired result from sending me free shit. somebody else convinced me to get almond breeze, but i have been too afraid to try it. perhaps i’ll give rice milk a try next. baking isn’t really my concern, as i rarely do it, but it’s good to know that i can use fake milks if i need to. those so delicious people know where it’s at. my silk soy creamer totally made me gassy. luckily, i don’t drink a lot of coffee.

on the cheese front, it’s really about eating animal products, so goat isn’t gonna work. also, i hate it. you are the second person to endorse the “better than cream cheese”, so i’m definitely gonna have to check it out. perhaps with some olives?

21 03 2011
jjdactyl

i also hate goat cheese. i think it tastes like basement. scout makes fun of me often. but he’s lactose and eats the goat cheeses with minimal side effects.

the tj’s almond milk from the fridge is also pretty good, but still a little viscous. even the word viscous is gross. ew.

21 03 2011
jjdactyl

also! if you’re into putting something delicious and melty on toast, you should try coconut oil! it’s a solid at room temp and it’s wonderful. it’s not salty like butter, but it’s fatty and satisfying and just mildly coconutty. perfect on cinnamon raisin bread.

27 03 2011
bessmarvin

coconut oil on toast eh? i’m not sure i can do it. i definitely love the saltiness of butter… the earth balance is starting to grown on me, and it’s probably not a bad thing for me to eat less toast.

17 03 2011
Amanda

I have been a veg for 4 years. I learned to like dairy substitutes better than their old selves. For instance, I drink almond milk versus dairy milk. I also avoid most soy heavy products so I’ve never ventured into the fake sour cream, cheese, or ice cream sandwiches. I found it easier to just eliminate those items completely and use other veg friendly replacements like guacamole instead of sour cream. Hummus instead of mayo, although I will agree veganaise is delicious but I never loved straight mayo to begin. After time(a month or so) your body will adapt to the new delicious flavors you are feeding it and you’ll find the things you loved to taste weird. It’s just about telling your body what is what.

21 03 2011
bessmarvin

that’s what i’m starting to figure out. i have a need for salty or fatty- soy substitutes are never going to meet that need. i’ll always be disappointed. but guacamole is never a disappointment! i like your style! i need to learn to tell my body what is what 🙂

20 03 2011
Jen

I also find regular almond milk too viscous. Next time try the Almond Breeze version, which is thinner.

I became lactose intolerant almost ten years ago, and for a while cut all dairy out of my life. A few suggestions:
*I second the Earth Balance love, but I’ve never had a problem with eating butter either (not enough lactose in it to bother me, and my intolerance is pretty severe). Still, EB is the best vegan “butter” for baking, and it’s not hydrogenated, and I much prefer it over shortening. Wicked expensive, though.
*I also second the notion that you have to give your tastebuds time to adapt to new flavors and revise their expectations. Sometimes I can’t even taste the “soy” flavor in my lattes and ask someone else to taste it to make sure it’s not a dairy version. And then they taste it and look at me like I’m insane.
*Nondairy cheese is only ok in certain contexts, where the cheese is not the focus (pizzas that are also covered in other toppings, lasagna with spicy sauce, etc.) DO NOT USE IT FOR GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES OR YOU WILL CRY.
*The thing I miss most about dairy is that silky mouthfeel that you get from cheeses, etc. I’ve been using avocados to meet this craving, and it works great.
*The flavored “Better than Cream Cheese” spread is awesome. The unflavored one is not.

21 03 2011
bessmarvin

i went out and bought some almond breeze yesterday per your instruction. however, due to my unsavory semenesque experience with the last crop, i have yet to open it. maybe tomorrow? the earth balance is definitely growing on me, but i still think it’s slightly too sweet. i could learn to tolerate it in time (well, except for the pricetag). it’s funny that you’ve turned to avocados to fulfill your cheese need, i’ve been scarfing down the guacamole like crazy. i think i just need to embrace things like olive oil, avocados, and nut butters vs. trying to find something the simulate cheese & butter. clearly, it’s not possible.

2 10 2011
bring on the hooker shoes: a product review. « broke 207

[…] i product test things that are either edible (debatable in some cases), or that i can easily smear on my face/body during my morning […]

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