It’s been over a year since I gave up dairy to breastfeed my dairy intolerant son. I remember thinking that going dairy free was going to be such a pain. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty tough for the first month. After the initial struggle things got better and now that I’m in the process of weaning, I may never go back to eating much dairy because the lifestyle is cheap and not too difficult. Notice that I said much dairy, I’ve already started eating a little cheese now that Robert has weaned and it makes me so happy.
Going semi dairy free has helped us save tons of money! Before I went dairy free I was a cheese snob who kept multiple types of cheese in the fridge at all times. I always had goat cheese, parmesan, and at least one more type of artisanal cheese on hand. If you like cheese, you know that the good stuff isn’t cheap. I’m not into dairy replacements, such as fake cheese, so buying no cheese has saved us at least $10 a week, sometimes $20.
I was so overwhelmed at the idea of going dairy free that I put these ten tips together to help other new dairy free moms. These 10 tips to going dairy free for breastfeeding have helped keep me sane over the last year.
- Don’t fall into the dairy free product trap. It’s great that manufacturers like Enjoy Life are making dairy free products, but don’t waste your money if you can make something dairy free yourself. While I didn’t buy much of the Enjoy Life products, I did find that I enjoyed their chocolate chips so I could make my own cookies and granola bars.
- Search “vegan recipes” on Pinterest or Google and add in meat for an easy dairy free meal.
- Give up anything with milk protein- read all labels. I found out that Robert had more of an issue with the protein than the lactose. If you don’t already know this, milk protein is in almost every processed snack. It’s crazy! Read your labels carefully and avoid all milk protein products.
- Coconut yogurt is a life saver if you love yogurt. I can’t taste much of a difference at this point.
- Avoid fake cheese at all costs. This is a personal one. I hate the taste of fake cheese. I found that it was better to avoid any and all cheese substitutes. The only cheese “substitute” I like is nutritional yeast. There are tons of ways to use it to get a nutty, cheese-like flavor to your meals. Veggie Shreds were good, but they have milk proteins which made it hard for me to eat.
- Sorbet is your best friend. Even yogurt shops have selections of sorbet these days. I’ve found that I love getting a fruity sorbet and adding gummy candy at frozen yogurt shops.
- Almond milk is not good steamed. You know how I love my espresso. I found by trial and error that almond milk burns when steamed. If you want steamed milk, try soy. It steams up really well and I love that you can buy flavored soy milk. The vanilla soy makes my lattes so delicious.
- Explore all different types of milk and use a variety- boxed shelf stable is the absolute cheapest. Avoid the fridge section at all costs.
- There are plenty of cheese free pastas available. I personally love butternut squash ravioli. You can find some at most major grocery stores in the refrigerated section next to lunch meat. Put a little olive oil on it and you’ve got an easy side dish. I also make pesto without the parmesan. Is it as good as the cheesy stuff? No way. But it isn’t bad either!
- Love pizza? Make your own. Not only is it cheaper to make your own, it is easy to keep off the cheese and add extra ingredients for more flavor.
I just recently started adding in more cheese to my diet since Robert is almost completely weaned. I think I’ll eat cheese when we are out and when it is offered to me, but I don’t see me going back to keeping multiple types of cheese on hand. Not only is it expensive, but I’ve found healthier snack options that I like better. Not to mention that after eliminating cheese from my diet I have felt much healthier and less bloated. Come to find out, I may have a little bit of a dairy sensitivity too.
I’ll post soon on how to feed a dairy sensitive baby and toddler. I’ve come up with lots of tricks this past year.
Don’t give up hope if you are thinking of eliminating dairy. I promise it isn’t as bad as it sounds.
Have you ever given up dairy? If so, why? Please add any tips that you have.