Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ditch the Cow

Peter is seven weeks old and I haven't even talked about him here since he was born! It's hard to write a blog post one-handed! He is a GREAT baby. He's much lower-key than his sister - I love you Shelby, but, man oh man, you were a demanding baby! My only complaint is that his little digestive system can't handle cow's milk. And, that means Mama can't have any dairy. Say WHAT????

No milk, cheese, yogurt, chocolate, or ice cream??? OMG. WTF. Dairy is everywhere. Read some of your labels and you'd be surprised where you'll find it: our go-to pancake mix, granola bars (even non-chocolate ones), meatballs (parmesan, remember?). My boss put it the best, "That must be really hard for a foodie like you." You would think so. No doubt it's a huge change. But, with the vegan movement becoming so popular, cutting dairy out is probably a lot easier now than Mamas had it in the past.

I turned to the vegans for help because they are experts at eating delicious food without dairy! There seems to be a lot of focus on satisfying the new vegan's craving for dairy since that is harder to cut out the diet than meat (in my personal opinion). With the dairy cut out, I'm figuring I'm only one documentary away from becoming a full-fledged vegan (I am very susceptible to their scare tactics!). But, I have a freezer full of chicken and cheese (more on that later). When that stash depletes, we'll see what happens.

Cooking for a "blended family:" Shelby and Scott LOVE their cheese. So, now I prepare a lot of individual portions for dinner: pizzas, casseroles, sauces to accommodate both parties.

Snacking: I love to grab a yogurt or cheese/crackers for an easy, healthy snack. Now, I find myself grabbing carbs for a snack. It's a lot of empty calories for not so filling of a snack. I guess I should listen to Mom and "grab a piece of fruit" for a snack. Funny enough, I find myself pushing fruit on Shelby for a quick snack, too. Maybe Mom was right?

Freezer Stash: I've been known to be a bit organized. And, I've also been known to cook up a storm to put up in my freezer. So, needless to say, my freezer was full when Pete made his arrival. Unfortunately, that freezer was full of dishes that contain dairy: ricotta-stuffed shells, parmesan-laden meatballs, pizza dough to be a vehicle for get the idea.

Good Things (Unexpected or Otherwise)
Taking off the Baby Weight: While not being able to eat dairy is a big change, it's also great for not being able to easily grab a mountain of ice cream at night. And, while an extremely tasty ingredient in many dishes, cheese can add a lot of fat and calories....if used properly, of course. :)

Almond Milk: A lot yummier than I thought it might be. Also, it contains twice the calcium of cow milk. Seriously! Who knew!

Creativity in the Kitchen: Recently, I've been eating a lot of greens (kale/spinach/chard), roasted vegetables and grains (polenta, quinoa). And, I've been eating them in some delicious combinations. Fantastic!

Vegan resources:
    - Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi became vegans and hired a personal chef - Roberto Martin. He is not a vegan chef by training, but adapted many recipes to eliminate the animal products. The title of his book hooked me: Vegan Cooking for Carnivores. He's got some incredibly tasty and filling food!
    - Vegans are avid bloggers. And, they have some great dairy-free substitutes for popular dishes. Also, my favorite cooking blogs often tag their posts as "Vegan" or "Vegetarian." So, it's easy to find new ideas.

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