Yikes! We tried to give up dairy this week and it was a MAJOR struggle. It was tough to give up dairy and maintain the type of diet we normally consume.
Typically our diet is high in meats and veggies. We try to keep our carb consumption fairly low. This means we allow more dairy into our diet to allow for the decrease in carbohydrates. Removing dairy left a hole in our dietary structure for sure. It was also obvious that we had not properly planned for this particular week without. We expected to be able to maintain our typical lifestyle and merely remove dairy with little to no impact.
Probably the biggest thing we learned was that we use dairy to add flavor to our otherwise bland meals. Cheese was definitely the hardest thing to give up. But we also eat a fair amount of Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk. Removing these items without a suitable replacement left several of our go-to meals a bit lackluster.
Looking back we probably should have planned things out a bit more. Removing dairy from our diet had a significant impact on the things we were allowed to eat. We hadn’t realized how many food items contain some type of dairy product. We tried our best to adhere to the rules of going without, but there were a few times when it was our only choice or we ate something without knowing there was dairy contained within.
In our discussions with each other this challenge helped us gain a better understanding and appreciation for the people that are living dairy-free lives by necessity and not choice.
We found that it is difficult to find delicious food and even drinks that do not contain some type of dairy. Bethany ended up just not drinking any coffee this week because, even though she prefers almond milk to cow’s milk any day for any thing, almond milk just doesn’t work very well in coffee. We also learned how lazy we can be when it comes to dairy substitutions. As we mentioned, we don’t think we fully prepared ourselves for this particular week. This was discovered when we wanted to make creamy, cheesy, or rich food and did not have the proper non-dairy replacement. There are plenty of ways to make food seem creamy and cheesy without adding dairy products, especially in our culture today. So while we did experience failure this week, overall we learned some valuable lessons.
The toughest challenge came Wednesday night at Youth Group. They were handing out Root Beer floats. Joshua does not drink soda, so he would not typically partake in a Root Beer float. However, he loves ice cream and would have gladly eating some Vanilla as a mid-week pick me up. But we both turned down the delicious treat for the sake of the challenge. Bethany cried inside a little.
What are some food items/groups that you would struggle to live without?