What’s in our pantry?

Folks have been asking about my diet. Here are my thoughts in no particular order:

1. I’m only doing this because I have to. Seriously. Who wants to give up cheese?

2. I know several people who are dairy-free by choice for various reasons and have been for years. These people are also very fit. Coincidence? Perhaps.

3. There are supposedly a few health reasons to go dairy-free; some studies show you can clear up eczema and reduce asthma.

4. There are a lot of hormones in milk. Yes, you can buy organic milk for personal consumption but know that mass-farmed, non-organic moo juice is hidden in many foods like soups, spice mixes, candy and baked goods. Alternate names include whey, casein and lactose.

So far I have not really felt any personal improvement. I feel pretty good but consider that I was just pregnant for 10 months and recently delivered a baby. Who wouldn’t feel better?  I have lost weight but you should all know by now that numbers don’t mean anything (muscle weights more than fat).

I remember there was a kid in elementary school who was allergic to dairy (10 points if you can name him, Marshall Elementary friends). While everyone was eating cupcakes for their birthdays this poor boy was stuck with Wasa crackers.  I felt really bad for him.  If he were growing up now he’d at least have a decent selection of allergen-friendly sweet treats thanks to food science and overpriced stores like PCC and Whole Foods. Do I shop at either of those stores? Rarely. I only buy speciality items that can’t be found at Safeway or QFC.

So here is a random list of foods that I eat reguarly (after reading the label of course):

Corn tortillas
Dark chocolate (only the pure stuff)
Amy’s Organics burritos and soups
Cheese-free pasta sauce that mom made in bulk and froze for me 🙂
Organic sausages
Store-brand pizza dough
Pita bread
French bread
Stupid Franz Molasses cookies that I can’t get enough of
…Halloween candy

Kind of a short list, huh? Now that I’m back at work there is little time for creativity. Dinner is usually something grilled with a side of vegetables.

Substitutions. I don’t like that word because we’re comparing apples to oranges here. Something made of tapioca flour is not a substitute for real cheese. Anyway, here you go:

Soy Sauce: Coconut Aminos. It’s brown and salty. Works for me! Use in marinades and other recipes.
Cheese: Daiya products. Surprisingly good and satisfies the need for a savory taste which is sorely missing from this diet. I’ve tried the shreds and slices. The taste is decent and it melts well too. You can even find a few of their products at Safeway.
Butter: Earth Source. Tastes exactly how you think Earth would taste. Good for sauteeing I guess.
Milk: Coconut or almond milk. These have strong flavors and I don’t think they’re good for anything but than cereal.
Sandwich bread & buns: Udi’s (Safeway) or Canyon Bakehouse (PCC). These products are made with rice flour and are very dry. Best when toasted. Prepare yourself for the $7/loaf sticker shock.

Restaurants. Eating out sucks right now. Plain and simple. I miss eating out with friends.  Unless you know the exact ingredients it’s best to stick to one of the following places:

Chipotle- You can eat everything except cheese, sour cream and tofu sofritos. Added bonus- they are a great model of sustainability.
Red Robin- There is an interactive allergen menu on their website. Neato!  However, if you’re dairy and soy-free the only things you can eat are a plain salad, fruit salad or their plain hamburger with a gluten-free bun and sweet potato fries. So yeah, out of that huge menu there are only a couple approved items. I bet they have the lowest calorie count!
Subway– It’s recently come to my attention that Subway has a decent offering of allergen-free stuff. You can only eat the two plain breads though and obviously need to skip the cheese and most sauces. Surprisingly most of the meats are OK.

A lot of restaurants claim to take food allergies very seriously. Don’t trust ’em though! The manager may mean well but much of the food is pre-made in a way that isn’t diet friendly.

So there you go. Eat up!


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