Avocado is the new Greek yogurt: going dairy-free without feeling restricted

Robin here: my gorgeous friend Bailey is guest-blogging her experiences going dairy free this month.  Bailey wrote the following article documenting her first week; this is such a great read, I am honoured and totally thrilled to get to share it here.  Seeing Bailey throughout the week is one of the highlights of my life here in Guelph; Bailey is so joyful that being with her makes you feel like you are bathing in sunshine - which I've got to say was an exceptionally wonderful feeling during this long winter.  It is the best feeling to have someone I think so highly of think so highly of this website.  Thank you Bailey!

The beautiful Bailey was a little surprised that she still enjoys coffee sans cream.

The beautiful Bailey was a little surprised that she still enjoys coffee sans cream.

Full disclosure, I get sucked in by food fads. At one point in high school, I only ate beans and canned tuna, and in college I tried that 'Body for Life' thing where you eat really, really restrictively all week except for one 'cheat day' where you can eat WHATEVER YOU WANT (read: entire pints of Ben and Jerry's and a frightening amount of Cheetos). Needless to say, those things did not work out so well and left me cycling between over- and under-eating and generally feeling like crap. It has taken a long time, but I have finally developed a healthy relationship with food. I eat foods that are real (no packaged foods) about 90% of the time and when I really want to eat an excessive amount of chocolate or a cupcake, I do, and then (this is the important part) don't get all twisted about it later. No guilt, no shaming. Just pick up and move on the next day.

All of that is to say, I am now highly skeptical of things that involve removing foods from my diet, but I really want to give dairy-free a try. I am not allergic to dairy. But, it makes sense to me that milk from momma cows is full of things that baby cows need and humans don't. Consuming dairy has even been linked to increased occurrence of acne and worse things (like cancer, check out a review here. I have considered giving up dairy before, but it seemed too difficult. But, I was totally inspired by the always positive and never deprived-seeming Robin Angell, who doesn't eat dairy and seems completely excited about it!  

So, thanks to Robin's inspiration and encouragement, my goal is to cut out dairy (all dairy, so, cow's, goat's, sheep's....all of it) for 30 days to start, but to do it in a way that doesn't leave me feeling deprived. I wanted to share my experiences in the hopes that someone else might benefit from them.

Here are some things I learned last week, during my first seven days with no dairy:

Black coffee is not that bad

I still enjoy my morning cup(s) of Joe with no cream. Honestly, it's not that bad. I also don't do soy, generally, but splurged on a soy latte today to drink while park-sitting in the sun with the hubs.

Avocado is the new Greek yogurt

Bailey's Banana Pre-Workout Squish: a super nutritious easy snack to fuel heavy workouts!

Bailey's Banana Pre-Workout Squish: a super nutritious easy snack to fuel heavy workouts!

I used to eat a lot of Greek yogurt. Like, a lot. I was eating it every day for a pre-workout snack, and would often (very often) plop it on my morning eggs or on top of whatever meat/veg combo we were having for dinner. But, again, Robin saved the day and recommended incorporating avocado for a snack, brilliant! One of my snacks this week was half a banana, half an avocado and a few chopped almonds (smooshed together before eating) and another was a mashed up banana, a few almonds, a bit of sunflower butter and some coconut butter (shown in photo above). Both rocked my socks off. I realize these are higher calorie snacks than yogurt, but they are probably fine for workout days. I will have to consult my nutrition guru (Robin, obviously!) about the possibility of adding protein powder (Robin here! After experimenting with all sorts of protein powders, my current solution is to add 1/4 cup dehydrated egg-whites to pre-workout squish or eat two boiled eggs alongside).
Dinners were also pretty easy for me and the hubs. We don't cook with cream, and I just restrained from dropping Greek yogurt all over my dinner. Some things we had this week were BBQ chicken with roasted Brussels sprouts, Thai beef with basil on top of cabbage (for me) or noodles (for the hubs), and tonight we are doing oven baked pork ribs with sweet potato pancakes. Kind of like chicken and waffles but without the dairy and wheat. 

I CAN have nachos! 

Friday is my day where I usually indulge in some food comfort. It has been a hard week, so I usually have some chocolate or bread or whatever I am craving that I usually don't eat during the week. This particular Friday I was Jonesing for nachos. I love nachos. We were meeting some friends at the pub, and I thought, "Perfect, I'll get some nach - NOOO!!" followed by a string of expletives upon remembering that nachos. have. cheese. The hubs loved this, because he was just waiting on me to be annoyed about not eating dairy (it comes from a loving place, he doesn't like to see me deprive myself). So, nachos at the pub were out, but you know what? The Salsateria does late night food, and at 1:00 AM on Saturday, I ate nachos topped with spicy black beans, homemade salsa and guacamole. VEGAN NACHOS! Gotta love those vegans, saving the day and making awesome dairy-free food.

In short, no hunger or deprived feelings so far. I appreciate Robin giving me the chance to share my experiences. It certainly makes this more fun for me. I am always open for suggestions on snacks and other dairy free options, and I'm excited to continue sharing my dairy-free journey with you over the next few weeks.

Bailey power snatching at least 65 lbs! Oh how I covet those pink lifting shoes!

Bailey power snatching at least 65 lbs! Oh how I covet those pink lifting shoes!

Bailey's Banana Butter Pre-Workout Squish

Ingredients:

  • One banana
  • A few tbsp of chopped or slivered almonds
  • Heaping spoonful of sunflower seed butter
  • Heaping spoonful of coconut butter

Directions:

  1. Moosh together all ingredients in a bowl and eat with a spoon!

Bailey's Tropical Pre-Workout Squish

Ingredients:

  • Half of a banana
  • Half of an avocado
  • A few tbsp of chopped or slivered almonds

Directions:

  1. Moosh together all ingredients in a bowl and eat with a spoon!