Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Challenges of living Dairy Free...

Hey guys,
While I was making a million peanut butter cups, I was thinking about how I haven't really written much on living dairy free, and the challenges of it.  I thought it might be a good post, even if you don't live with any allergies!
I also decided to randomly put in pictures from our trip to the Okanagan this summer, as I don't like posts with no pictures! It was pre-bloggy days, so why not!!

My allergy is by no means TERRIBLE - I don't have to carry around an epi pen, or go to the hospital, but I get terrible stomach pains, a few un mentionables and am usually completely drained of energy for a few days after.  So it's not terrible, but it's not fun either.  I'd rather avoid it at all costs.

At Quails Gate Winery in Kelowna, BC

So here are a few of the challenges.
#1 - Eating at catered meals - conventions, weddings etc.  - where you have no choice what you eat. Usually you are able to mention to someone on the RSVP, but there are those times when you can't -  Prevention - Eat a meal before and pack some snacks.

#2 - Buffets while traveling (think all inclusive) at weddings or luncheons - there is usually no one around that is able to tell you what has butter, cheese or milk - I once had a dinner with the mayor, a bunch of students I work with and their parents.   When dinner came, I went up to the buffet and came back with a piece of bread and a small salad - with no dressing as they all looked creamy.   I got a bunch of funny looks as everyone was eating salmon (in butter) and prawns...  I was starving and really didn't plan ahead... silly silly me.  I ended up being able to explain my situation to everyone and didn't feel so silly.

On a hike at Kettle Valley, Kelowna BC.  This is one of the places that burned during the huge forest fires.

These lovely ladies are my "little sisters" not by blood, but because of the amazing friendship that grew
when I moved to Kelowna and knew only my parents friends, they took me in and an extended family grew!
  These are their lovely daughters! 

#3 - No deserts at restaurants or get togethers - they usually all contain dairy...   Dave
 took me to a restaraunt one time and they had Vegan Chocolate cake - I actually almost cried and it was sooooo good.  I was tempted to order at least 10!

#4 - Trusting people- well not trusting people, but because it's not something they usually do, dairy sneeks through in the stranges places... I've left a few places with a bad stomach, followed by a very bad night, and I can't blame anyone, I miss stuff too some times.  

Second part of trusting people = restaraunts and coffee places -  I have caught the fabulous starbucks crew making skim milk many times for my drink, I've also thrown out many cups of steaming fun drinks because I didn't watch them make it, and swear it is milk. .   Also restaraunts are hard because even when you tell them, it still comes with feta, butter on the bread a little cheese sprinkled on the tops - I don't like to send back a meal, so I usually just don't eat that part, but sometimes it's impossible.
Easiest solution - eat at Asian places- they very rarely have dairy!! 

Also another solution for that, is call ahead to check, so you don't have to be a big pain in the butt during ordering.

Dave and I at my favorite "duck pond" in Kelowna.  Very cute place.

#5 - Being in a hurry - especially when grocery shopping - I usually check every lable - and get Dave to double check for stuff with long lists.   When I'm in a hurry and forgo this... trouble... It usually ends up at the food bank (which isn't a bad thing I guess!)   We don't eat much processed stuff, but there are some things.  Crackers - crackers almost all contain dairy or whey! 

#6-Being a pain - Everyone swears to me it's not that bad, but I really dislike having to constantly remind people if they invite us over for dinner.  We travelled a bit this summer and did a bit of friend's bed surfing (eek that sounds bad.. haha..  friends SPARE bed surfing- hehe)  everyone was wonderful enough to cook us wonderful, fantastic meals (love you guys) and when they asked what we wanted for dinner every time I had to say "I'm a pain because I can't have any dairy."  It doesn't by any means mean I want them to make the meal dairy free, but just to take out a bowl of salad before putting on dressing, no sauces on my meat. 

Dave at Mission Hill Winery - Westside BC

Funny enough I usually travel with my earth balance and almond milk - dorky!   Traveling to Newfoundland next year for a few weeks will be fun!!  haha - I will probably bring a whole suitcase full of my dairy free food!!

Anywhoo.. I hope I don't sound crazy after this post... and this wasn't too much reading for you!!  haha..
I also hope you enjoyed the radom pictures!

Watch for a post from me later!!
Ciao for now,


  1. I have taken to buying my own almond milk when i travel for work. I don't have an allergy, but my bod doesn't like dairy, esp my skin!!!!

  2. I love almond milk and earth balance butter as well. And prefer them over the other stuff any day. Thats funny about traveling with them, buy hey, do what ya gotta do! I think thats great :)

  3. thanks for the insight. i cant even imagine how hard it is to be dairy free. but im glad that you have other options available to you. this post is great because it can also help other who are just starting to go dairy free either because of health or personal issues.

  4. That must be very challenging - I can totally see it ... dairy is in SO many things!

  5. Wow, that must be hard to have an allergy to dairy. I think everything I eat has at least a bit of dairy in it.

    If I eat a lot of dairy I get sick but I can still have a bit of it.

    Have you had this your entire life or is it something that developed?

  6. You shouldn't feel guilty for having an allergy, but, as a vegan, I know how hard it can be to be in the situations you mentioned. Fortunately, it seems to be getting easier as more people become aware of dietary differences. Yay.

  7. I had no idea dairy found it's way into so many things until my friend Carrie discovered she was allergic. I <3 all things dairy and am not sure how I'd cope if I couldn't have milk or cheese.

    Isn't Mission Hill gorgeous?! I loved it there!

    H =)

  8. i'm pretty sensitive to certain dairy products so I understand some of those challenges! way to go taking care of yourself!

  9. This post was soooo beneficial to me! :) Thanks again for everything Jessica! It's so nice to be able to share some of my trouble with someone who can understand.

    Hope you had a great day!

  10. Yes, dairy-free living has its moments, but I wouldn't give it up for anything!

    To be honest, not being able to eat desserts out is a blessing in disguise for me! Sweets make me feel horrible afterward, so it is easier to pass them up when I know they have dairy.

    I find complimentary breakfasts and breakfast out when traveling to be the most difficult. I usually pack along some breakfast items or head to a local grocery store :)

  11. I've always said that dairy is the one thing I could never give up! I can't imagine how hard that would be! There is dairy in EVERYTHING! One of my best friends was allergic to dairy and gluten. Talk about hard!

  12. Haha, of course that doesn't make you sound crazy! ; )

    I enjoyed your pictures too!

  13. Having dairy issues myself plus a few others ( I have a long list that I avoid) and eating out is very difficult but I try not to let it bring me down. I just try to eat before I leave or bring some small snacks with me. I love the choices I have made with my diet because the pain I felt when eating dairy ,etc was just not worth it to me anymore! So glad to hear that you keep up with your life of being dairy free :) Great tips!!!

  14. Thanks for sharing this part of yourself, Betty. I had a friend who couldn't eat cheese and he had some struggles as well... and a boyfriend who was allergic to fish and nuts. I I couldn't eat fish for a yer and a half while we were together because his allergy was so bad.

  15. i love this post! its sooo hard sometimes when your traveling...everything is always cooked in butter and it gets annoying when family sometimes says "o just eat it its only a little" but i know that icant have even a little or the stomach will act up! its good to know there are others who share this feeling! great advice i love it!

  16. I just found your blog, and this post was exactly what I needed to read! I am also allergic to all dairy, and it is really bad for me. I have all the same thoughts about eating out, eating at friends homes (not wanting to "put them out" or have them make things special for me), weddings etc. I just went to a wedding, ate very little and still got really sick (the veggies were cooked in butter). So good to find someone who understands. It really sucks when all you want to do is eat some ice cream (like right now for me...).

    I just started a blog, and while I don't talk too much about my dietary issues, I do post a few recipes that will always be dairy free.

  17. I enjoyed reading your blog. Keep it that way.

  18. My baby Thomas had his first real reactions whilst I was breast feeding I didnt put 2 and 2 together so when I introduced formula "bang". We live in Ireland, allergy infomation and health promotion is very poor. Now as a stay at home mum with my career as a nurse on the back burner I have started a blog to help Irish mums. Your blog is lush, love your honesty. Thanks for the inspiration 1. if he doesnt grow out of this allergy life will be great amd 2 your blog. Thank you.

  19. OMG! I felt like I wrote The Challenges of Dairy Free Living ... right down to the 'travelling Earth Balance'! (friends & relatives now keep it in the freezer for me :) ... I really like this site. Thank you Jessica!


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