I try to deal with events and situations that revolve around food the best I can without it turning into a big deal or getting upset. I should be good at this after 4 years, right? Well, wrong because it will never be easy. This week has been rough for me with three work situations revolving around food. The first event was a lunch meeting with a motivational speaker. They served pizza and cookies as usual (no salad option or fruit). I could have attempted to find where they were ordering pizza from, and if the dough or sauce did not contain milk ingredients ordered a pizza without cheese. I didn’t have time. I just brought my lunch and ate ahead of the meeting. I learned fast that one of the skills you need when dealing with a food allergy is preparation. I need to be prepared for eating safely everyday or finding milk-free food. When this becomes impossible, I end up eating granola bars I had stashed in my purse. However, I don’t think anyone can ever get used to or easily handle sitting in a small room while they smell, hear, and watch dozens of people eat pizza in front of them. I went into the pizza party/lunch meeting and of course the questions came right away, “not eating pizza!?”, “Don’t like pizza!?!” I don’t know what is worse- the person that can’t believe you wouldn’t be able to eat the pizza or the one who feels guilty to be eating in front of you and keeps apologizing.
It’s amazing that even as an adult you just want to fit in and not feel like an outcast. I couldn’t eat the cheese covered pizza that smelled delicious, but that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was talking about not eating it. People feel the need to discuss the fact that you’re not eating the same food as everyone else. It was amazing to some that I was not eating the pizza. It didn’t take long to hear the usual, “well, I’d die if I couldn’t eat cheese”. Then when pizza time was finally over, it was delicious cookie time. I can only imagine the pain a child goes through with a food allergy. The positive side of all of this is that you become a different person, a better person, and it shapes how you think, feel, and act. It will always amaze me how much food is a part of our lives. Every social situation seems to involve food.
One way I get through times like this is to not go into detail about my food allergy. I try to minimize all conversation around the food allergy. I just simple say, “I have a food allergy and I can’t eat anything unless I know the ingredients.” When the questions pour in I just do quick answers and change the subject. The less I react or discuss the situation the less of an issue it is in the end. Yes, I feel like crying or screaming, I am embarrassed for some reason, I am wondering what people are thinking and I want to leave the room. Sometimes I have left the room. It isn’t easy, but if I remind myself that nothing tastes as good as healthy feels then I seem to make it through. Listening to your head and not your stomach is something to be very proud of. Besides, I can make my own pizza at home and it’s delicious!
When someone starts to avoid cow’s milk in their diet one of their biggest fears is how they’ll survive without eating or cooking with dairy products. I know it sounds crazy to think eliminating butter, cheese, cow’s milk, ranch etc can cause so much anxiety and fear, but it is actually very scary and depressing. Especially, when you are used to cooking with these ingredients and other family members have grown accustomed to them and expect the normal meals and food they’ve been eating for years.
When first diagnosed with a milk allergy as an adult, I couldn’t even imagine life without dairy products. I had been raised on dairy products and had been eating dairy in every meal, every day, for years. I thought I’d never eat the same food again! I was also very worried about having meals with my husband, or family and friends. Would I always have to eat something separate and how would I feel watching everyone else eat dairy products in front of me? However, with my allergy I still eat the same type of dairy products and make the same food I always have. This is possible because of dairy substitutes. Not only can you make great tasting food that everyone is used to enjoying but it will be healthier now!
Pretty much any recipe or meal that you’ve cooked in the past can be made by simply replacing your typical dairy products with the dairy substitutes. Some recipes you’ll want to modify to work better with the dairy substitutes, but most will be straight substitution. I remember thinking that I would have to start eating really crazy and different types of food and never eat what I considered normal food again. The majority of people also believe anyone with a food allergy doesn’t eat normal food. This is far from the truth. You’ll still be able to make the same recipes you always have. Please check out my Tips/Help page to get started living dairy free. There you’ll find my top list of dairy substitutes
I wanted to leave you with one of the most desired dairy substitutes that you can easily make at home. Ranch was one of the hardest things for me to let go of- and luckily I didn’t have to give it up and you don’t either! Buy Tofutti brand sour cream, regular mayo, and a packet of dry ranch ingredients. (Make sure you always check the ingredients on everything you buy. You might need to look at different stores before you find a ranch packet without milk ingredients. I have had good luck with most generic store brand ranch packets. When you do find the right brand without milk, make sure you load up on them for your pantry. Stay away from hidden valley brand as all of their ranch packets contain milk ingredients.) Now in a bowl mix together: 1 cup Tofutti sour cream, 1 cup mayo, and the ranch packet. There you go! – you’ll have amazing chip/ vegetable dip. Your friends and family won’t even notice it’s dairy-free. If you want to make it runnier for salad dressing, just add some Almond milk and adjust the thickness to your desire. Check out my recipe page to find the food or meals I post about: What’s for Dinner
Have you ever found yourself wondering how strange it is that the most difficult part of having a food allergy almost has nothing to do with food? Four years ago, when I was diagnosed as an adult with a milk-allergy, I was consumed in how hard it would be to not eat dairy. I quickly learned that the most difficult part would be dealing with people that just don’t get it and don’t want to. How could I not have realized that our entire social world revolved around food? Before my allergy I never gave a second thought to what ingredients were in my food and now I don’t eat anything without knowing what it’s made of. read my whole story
So you’ve found yourself at my blog and chances are you’re here because of the same struggles I’ve had. I know how you feel and what you’re looking for (for example check out the dairy substitutes that I’ve compiled). I created this blog to help you out; I plan to provide recipes so you can eat the same food that everyone else eats, just milk-free. I’m also always researching new products and new information to keep you informed. While food is important, the emotional impact of having a food allergy is the biggest hurdle; I’ll provide tips and advice to deal with all types of situations and help you live a happy and healthy milk-free life.
Whether you grew up with a food allergy or were diagnosed later in life, it has had a significant impact on your life. When I was first diagnosed I was sad and angry; however, it turned out what I thought was a terrible, horrible situation changed my life for the better. I’ve seen the best and the worst come out in people. I have felt ultimate lows and extreme highs from dealing with family to complete strangers. My heart breaks every time I think of a child dealing with a food allergy in a world where most people just don’t get it, especially when they’re hungry!
The other part of my life that changed for the better was the physical and mental aspect. The symptoms that come with having a milk allergy or any food allergy are horrible! The month I removed all dairy from my body was the healthiest I’d felt in years with the clearest mindset. The food I was eating started to taste more amazing than it ever had. There was real seasoning and not just butter. My taste buds came alive and I eat and feel better than ever before.
I know what you’re going through. If you have a milk-allergy, have a child that cannot eat dairy, or just love someone that avoids cow’s milk in their everyday life, then you’ve been through difficult times and looked for help. That’s why I created this blog. When I first stopped eating cow’s milk I had no idea how I would survive milk-free and it took me years to handle my allergy successfully. I needed a guide to learn how to deal with the social events, what food to eat, and just tips from someone that knew what I was going through. I hope this blog gives you the help and support that I always wanted.
You can start following my blog by entering your email on the right side-bar. You’ll get notifications of my latest posts.