It started when I was a kid. Ear infections. I’ve had all the kinds you can possibly have. Inner ear, outer ear, middle ear. Sometimes two at the same time. I loathe ear infections. They are the bane of my existence. In my freshman year of college it intensified and I began making semi-annual trips to urgent care clinics to treat my ear infections. I know the symptoms so well now that the last couple of times I told the physician what to prescribe for me. “I have an inner ear infection. I need some amoxicillin.” He looked in my ears and, mildly surprised, asked what pharmacy to send the prescription to.
The last one I had was over Christmas break and it wiped out my bank account, since I don’t have health insurance. So, I started looking at the why. I could treat the symptoms and get better, but the ear infections weren’t permanently leaving. And I stumbled across a blog which explained why this woman decided to go dairy-free. She said it was because of her ear infections.
Not a whole lot of research has been done, so it’s hard to say definitively. However, my mother tells stories of how I broke out as a child whenever I had milk and I have eczema and get rashes on a regular basis. I decided it couldn’t hurt. Two weeks off dairy and I was a new woman. Not only were my ears acting normally (I didn’t ever really produce ear wax like a normal person, and now I do! Yay!), but my face was clear of acne, my eczema was going away and I felt better.
I’ve had bits of milk products since then. A bit of cheese here, a little milk there, but nothing like what I was ingesting before. It is possibly the hardest thing I have to do in my life.
My three favorite foods are ice cream, cheese, and butter. In that order. Followed closely by chocolate and any baked goods. You can understand why it might be hard to reconcile myself to the fact that cheese is a part of my past. Have you ever tried soy yogurt? Don’t. Coconut milk ice cream is a pale imitation and I haven’t tried the almond mozzarella cheese stuff, but I’m about to, so I’ll let you know.
Around the same time I was becoming dairy-free, I started my cooking obsession. It is incredibly difficult to bake things without butter. I tell you what. Or to sauté things. Or to making things as savory. No dairy was turning into a terrible thing and the alternatives on the web were making me want to gag.
Did you know when you type ‘dairy-free cookbook’ into Amazon only six books pop up? Out of those six only three are specifically dairy-free without also being gluten-free or allergy-free. There are quite a few specific to deserts. But what if I want to use eggs in my cupcakes? Why must dairy-free also mean egg-free? Or gluten-free? Or soy-free? Isn’t soy one of the few substitutions for dairy I’m allowed? There are so many cookbooks out there for vegans. Or for those who participate in the Paleo diet. Paleo is dairy, sugar, wheat, red meat and liquor free. I’m just one of those.
So I’m on a mission. I want to compile some of the best recipes. I found this beautiful site: sorted food.com SORTED is a place where cooks from all over Europe come to find recipes and try new stuff. The four English guys who run it take suggestions from social media on what to make and add a twist. I’ve made quite a few of their recipes and just subbed margarine or almond milk for the dairy ingredients. I’ll add the recipes here as I go along so that you can make delicious things too. If you want you can dairy it up or you can leave them as they are. Either way they’ll be delicious.
I think I’m officially a Foodie. Go figure.