Since the start of January my social media pages have been inundated with posts by people who are doing Veganuary, a movement which encourages people to try a vegan diet for the month of January in the hope that it’ll help them to adopt the lifestyle permanently. This has got me thinking, not only about animal welfare issues, but also about how much dairy I consume.
I’m allergic to cow’s milk, not highly allergic as in ‘requires an EpiPen’ allergic, but medium level allergy as in ‘has constant rhinitis and bowel issues’ allergic. My IBS has also been flaring up a lot recently so this exposure to the Veganuary movement has made me decide to cut out dairy from my diet to see if it will improve my health.
I think one of the reasons I’ve never successfully stuck to a dairy-free diet previously is because the symptoms I suffer as a result of it aren’t that severe. Or perhaps I’ve just got used to them over the years. However, one of my colleagues at work is highly allergic to nuts (EpiPen allergic) and talking to her has made me realise that if she can successfully navigate her diet around avoiding nuts then I’m sure I can manage it in relation to avoiding dairy. I’m also concerned about the long-term effect the constantly flared up auto-immune response is having on my body.
One benefit to working in a bookshop is that I can peruse the vegan cookbooks for information on the dairy-free lifestyle and get inspiration for meals to cook. The Thug Kitchen cookbook is a particular favourite that I’ve already started using and, let me tell you, it’s recipes are incredibly tasty and very easy to make. The fact that another one of my colleagues used to be vegan and is a fount of knowledge on leading a dairy-free lifestyle doesn’t hurt either!
I’ve tried to adopt a dairy-free diet a number of times in the past, but I’ve never been able to get it to stick due to a number of reasons. Firstly, I love coffee and coffee made with plant milks taste very different to the delightfully creamy latte taste you get from a cow’s milk one. Secondly, milk is in a lot of products that you wouldn’t expect to find it, such as in a number of brands of processed sliced chicken. And thirdly, it’s still much easier to pick up a jug of cow’s milk from a shop than it is to go hunting for a carton of plant milk that won’t curdle in your coffee or tea in the morning.
However, I’m committed to adopting a dairy-free diet and I’m really hoping that I’ll see some benefits quite soon. Needless to say then that my posts going forward will be dairy-free ones, but I guarantee that they’ll remain tasty. I’m actually rather looking forward to trying to make my own ‘moxarella cheese’ out of cashew nuts. Stay tuned!