Monday, May 9, 2016

A week without dairy

So this week I decided to do something different. I am going to try a full week without dairy products and blogging the whole thing. So why go dairy free? Well there are lots of different reasons for different people; some ethical, some health based and some even just for taste. I have decided to explore the world of dairy free products for a number of reasons. I have been drinking lactose free for years. Not because of any digestive discomfort, thank goodness but because members of my little family breath easier sans lactose. Several other members of my family also pursue a dairy free life. There is a Vegan and a vegetarian that avoids milk and another member who takes some milk but tells everyone that milk may cause serious illness. So dairy free milks have been around in my world in various ways. But until now I haven't explored the possibility of being completely dairy free myself. However, over the last little while I have been reading lots about food and diet for health. A lot of people have suggested that most or many people are allergic to either gluten or dairy or both and everything else. I don't know how much I believe these claims but I am willing to give it a try and see how I would get on being dairy-free for a week. Also you'll have to excuse the photo quality as most of them will be taken on the fly Anyway here we go......

Day 1 -

I did some significant research online as to which dairy free milk I should buy and then hit my local organic supermarket. In the end I settled on two; hemp and almond. I had previously had a bad experience with another brand of almond milk and so had my reservations about trying it but this one contained only almonds and water so I figured it might be safe.

Day 2 -

This is a day where I work a long day 9.30 til 8pm. Well some people might consider that a normal day, but I think it's pretty long. As I'm out all day the only time when I consume any dairy on a Tuesday is at breakfast. This morning I had almond milk in my shredded wheat and it tasted fine actually. I found that this almond milk has a very mild taste and therefore the main taste is of the shredded wheat.

Lunch and Dinner consisted or mostly salad and therefore it was quite easy.

(Note added on Friday - Only today did I realize that I messed up on Tuesday. When I work I tend to bring an Eat Natural Bar with me for a snack and my favourite is the apricot and yoghurt. On this day I happily ate my snack without even thinking)

Day 3 -

Almond milk porridge for breakfast. I found this really delicious! It's actually much creamer than porridge with cow's milk and I find myself considering whether I should always make my porridge with almond milk?!

3pm - This morning was really busy. I had two meetings and then an appointment after lunch. However at 3pm I get home and have to study and do thesis work. By 3.30pm I'm lagging already and I feel like I need caffeine. This is actually really unusual for me, I haven't drunk caffeine in almost 4 years, so a caffeine kick is not something I often crave. I decide that it's time for decaf tea (decaf contains some caffeine I realize, but for me it's almost more about tricking my brain into thinking I had caffeine at times like these).

So, it's my first dairy free cup of tea. This was something that I had anticipated and therefore I had researched what type of dairy free milk I should use. Again, having had previous negative experiences with almond milk (separation) I found an alternative. A pro-vegan website I found advocated for Hemp milk in black tea, so I purchased the Hemp milk specifically for this occasion. The honest truth is that if I can't find a dairy free way to enjoy my decaf Yorkshire tea then this is not happening long-term folks!

I boiled my kettle, stewed my tea bag and then added my hemp milk. The first thing I notice is that the tea is not changing colour in the way I would expect and it seems to take much more hemp milk than dairy milk. And then, just like that, the milk separates!

Disgusting!! Clearly I had been misled! I abandon the hemp milk and boil the kettle again. This time I turn to the almond milk. And to my great surprise it works, kind of!

Tea without dairy 2.0

As you can see there are a few unappetising lumps of almond floating on top and, as I drank it, a film of white stuff formed across the top. So visually it's not the best but the taste is absolutely lovely. Does it taste like tea with dairy milk? No, it's a lot more watery. However the strong tea flavour dominates and has the desired affect on my afternoon slump so all-in-all I'm happy and the experiment continues!

Day 4 -
Today I was studying from home for most of the day. I found this a little difficult because for me a stay of study starts the same every time; breakfast, gym, shower, and then sitting down to work with the first cup of tea of the day! I love this cup of tea, it brings a beautiful sweetness to the start of my study and helps encourage me to sit down at the ball and chain, I mean laptop ;) I returned to the almond milk tea which I am finding more and more delicious but as the container gets more used the number of unappetizing lumps increases, maybe I'm not shaking it enough?!

Day 5 -
Today I was working and that made things easier. However then I met my Mum and sister for dinner and I'll have to be honest, I slipped up slightly. We went to an absolutely delicious place near Hackney with piles and piles of gorgeous salads and scrumptious tapas plates. I did quite well during the meal but then came dessert! Now I actually hadn't planned on having dessert but when my Mum suggested sharing a brownie, well how could I refuse?! It was only on the way home that I emerged from the trance that overcame me when the brownie approached the table with a giant ball of ice-cream on top. So yes, I ate dairy but I was under the influence of some serious chocolate hyponosis. I forgave myself and renewed my efforts!!

Day 6 -
Today I ate out for EVERY meal - read so much more difficult! We enjoyed a fantastic breakfast at the Wolesley! That place is truly gorgeous! Luckily they were willing to make me an almond decaf latte (despite none-of those things being on the menu,) I felt like quite the diva order off the menu but it was a perfect latte and I was very happy! Lunch was a falafel wrap with hummus, so no issue there. Dinner was in another fantastic restaurant, this time a french place in central london. And thankfully there were plenty of dairy free options. Now, I will admit that I buttered my bread, so not completley without sin but it was 99% dairy free day so I was pleased. Also I saw Kevin McCloud in the flesh which was awesome!

Day 7 -
After all the fun of Friday and Saturday I spent this day at home resting and recuperating while trying and failing to study (thank you 26 degree weather). However I firmly stuck to the dairy free diet. With almond milk on my cereal and then a lot of salad and water all day!

So that was my week! I will admit that there were slip ups but I think that with any diet change there are going to be slip ups and how we recover post slip up is more important in my belief. So each time I noted my mistake and got back on the bandwagon. Tomorrow I can go back to milk but if I'm totally honest, I have a bunch of almond milk now and I think I may well keep having it in my cereal.

Would I go dairy free full time? This is a big question for me. I am currently considering a longer period of dairy free life to see how that goes; maybe a month. I like the idea in some ways and hate the idea with equal measure. I respect those that live a vegan or dairy free lifestyle and it's possible that I may join you for a while but right now I can't make any commitments

No comments:

Post a Comment

Honeymoon first Stops: Boston and Las Vegas

We left London on A Saturday afternoon and flew to Boston, arriving in at 7.30pm Boston time. We somewhat regretted flying from London when ...