Whether you're dairy free due to an allergy or your own personal choice, we all know how difficult it is to adjust to the dairy-free life in a world with such a high dairy consumption.
I gave up dairy almost two years ago after speaking to a nutritionist about my struggle with acne. I was told that dairy causes acne, a food product I was consuming every single day. I cut dairy out of my diet and within weeks my acne cleared up drastically and I was left with clear, glowing skin.
It may not always be easy living dairy-free — I receive a lot of questions, concerns, and comments regarding my dietary choice on a daily basis. No matter how many times you remind me that cheese is delicious, I'll never go back to eating dairy. That's why I created this list of 10 struggles that everyone living a dairy-free life will understand.
1. Not being able to go to certain coffee shops because they don't offer dairy-free milk alternatives
I don't think there is anything more annoying than realizing you have to drink your coffee black because there are no dairy-free milk alternatives available. When it comes to coffee, I love adding almond, soy or coconut milk. Here are five milk alternatives you can try adding to your java tomorrow morning.
2. Constantly being asked "How do you live without cheese!?"
This is by far the most annoying question to be asked when following a dairy-free diet. Once you have cut dairy out for a long period of time, you stop craving it. As much as I once loved cheese, the thought of it doesn't even cross my mind anymore. I feel better once living dairy-free, so if you ask me this question expect my answer to be me rolling my eyes.
3. Being asked "if you don't drink milk, how do you get any calcium?"
News flash: you don't have to consume milk in order to reach the recommended calcium intake. Calcium can be found in other foods such as almonds, dark leafy green vegetables, sesame seeds, tofu and figs. Calcium is a mineral vital to maintaining optimal health, and all dairy and non-dairy eaters should ensure they get enough of it on a daily basis.
4. Trying to convince your friends how corrupt the dairy industry really is
The truth is, almost everyone has an intolerance to dairy, which is why so many of us get bloated after consuming it. As well, high dairy consumption has been linked to certain cancers such as prostate and and ovarian. On top of this, the treatment of animals in order to produce the mass amounts of dairy our society consumes is heartbreaking. Trust me, it's nearly impossible to convince a dairy-lover to give up their cheese. My suggestion would be to show them a documentary or two, that usually does the trick.
5. Being asked "how is almond milk made if almonds don't have nipples?" at least once in your life
Dear everyone who has ever asked me this question, do you live under a rock? I understand that learning there are milk alternatives made from nuts can seem unbelievable at first, but this question is beyond ridiculous. It has never been and never will be funny. If you're still wondering how to make almond milk, check out this easy, 3 ingredient recipe.
6. Having to read the entire ingredient list when purchasing any boxed product JUST in case
You may assume most products such as cereals and cookies are dairy-free, but often times you are wrong. Modified Milk Ingredients sneak their way into several different snack foods, so it's always better to read over the label before taking the risk. Luckily, some surprisingly dairy-free snacks include Oreos, chocolate chip Teddy Grahams, and Ritz crackers.
7. Getting weird looks from the workers when you order pizza without any cheese
Don't be surprised if the employees ask you for clarification on this request. Cheese is a staple topping on pizza, and it may be out of the ordinary for some to order pizza without it. If you're making your own pizza, try swapping out regular cheese for dairy-free cheese alternatives such as Daiya. Personally, I eat my pizza with no cheese or cheese alternative on it, and yes, it's still delicious.
8. The disasters of trying dairy free alternatives for the first time
The trial and error process of trying new dairy alternatives can get bad, and by bad, I mean real bad. Don't get me wrong, some dairy-alternative products are delicious. Dairy-free ice creams are so delicious, and I can barely tell the difference between ice cream made with coconut milk versus cow's milk. Dairy-free milk is delicious as well, and my favourite kinda is either almond or cashew. Dairy-free cheese on the other hand, I find absolutely disgusting. You definitely have to keep an open mind when trying different dairy alternatives for the first time, but do not fear, they are not all horrible.
9. Having to explain to your Italian grandparents that yes, parmesan is in fact a type of cheese
Coming from a traditional Italian family, it was especially difficult for me to introduce them to the idea of being dairy-free. It seems to me that all of the best Italian foods have dairy in them: lasagna, tiramisu, arancini, and pizza just to name a few. On top of that, parmesan cheese is a staple condiment for tons of other Italian dishes. It was a difficult adjustment to make at first, but it has gotten easier as I've gotten more accustomed to living dairy-free.
10. Realizing pumpkin spice lattes cannot be made dairy free, even when made with non-dairy milk
Surprise! Don't bother swapping out regular milk for a non-dairy alternative, because the ingredients in the famous pumpkin spice latte contains condensed skim milk. Yup, you read that right. When I first found this out I cringed, since pumpkin spice is practically a staple in my diet during autumn. Thankfully, you can use this recipe to make your own vegan pumpkin spice latte at home.
It has been a difficult process transforming myself from a dairy lover to a dairy-hater, but it has definitely been worth it. I feel healthier and happier without eating dairy, and will never go back to consuming any milk products throughout my lifetime. I think we could all benefit from eating a little less dairy, so why not try swapping out the cow's milk in our cereal every morning for almond.