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Dairy Rehab: Part 3 - Living Without Dairy

I'm the kind of person who would not read past the headline of this blog post. Live without dairy? I choose the alternative.

Actually, I just attended our first Engine2 meet-up, which was essentially a cooking demo, and the theme was dairy-free. I learned that, by owning a food processor, dairy is not a necessary component of my diet. I do not own a food processor- yet.

Dani's cooking demo inside the Whole Foods dining area convinced me that I can indeed live without dairy. Here's how.

Instead of half-and-half in my coffee, I can use unsweetened MimicCreme Non-Dairy Cream substitute. She passed around samples and it did not taste bad. It's nut-based, so it is soy-free also (I try to limit my soy intake, which is difficult because it's in everything). If you don't mind a little texture from the pulverized almonds and cashews it's worth trying.

But what to do about butter? Finally, there is a purpose for cauliflower. The creamy cauliflower spread that Dani passed around was made prior to the meet-up so it was refrigerated for a few hours. Dani assured us that it tastes phenomenal when warm on bread, but I did not think it was terrible in its cold state. Even better was the Kale Sweet Potato Butter, of which I had two servings. I lean towards the sweeter taste profiles above all else; the only cravings I'm battling here on Day 4 are those of sugar. (This morning Rick Hand announced that he is selling Girl Scout Cookies in the office for his daughter. I took it personally). If you are not like me and sugar doesn't make your mouth happy, you can replace the sweet potato with tomato or cayenne pepper, or anything that will puree into a spreadable consistency.

If you are like me and you use ice cream as a reward for things like vacuuming or reading a chapter in a really great novel, the Strawberry Nut Ice “Cream” would really hit the spot. Using cashews, frozen strawberries and frozen bananas, Dani pureed the mixture and served it to us immediately. I can't think of a better way for you to impress your friends.

Eggs. We need them for baking. At least I thought we did. There are a number of egg substitutes in powder form that can replace whipped eggs for recipes. But there are unlikely items that can serve as emulsifiers, such as flaxseeds or chia seeds, arrowroot powder, and chickpea flour. I wouldn't know where to find those items in the aisles, so luckily Dani held up cartons and told us which aisle to find them.

I'm telling you, Retailers, this is an opportunity. I'm curious to see if Whole Foods in Boulder sells out of typically dusty items like coconut milk or oat milk this month. At Engine2, all we do is buy what our local expert is telling us to buy. My advice? Hire a certified nutritionist/dietitian and develop a healthy eating program. Teach your customers how to shop and prepare meals. Go the extra mile and stay in contact with participants; Dani sends a daily email with recipes and nutrition information that I find truly educational. My eyes usually gloss over when someone tosses out the word “triglycerides” in a sentence. Now I'm paying attention. At the end of this challenge, I would credit Dani for significantly increasing the health of an already-healthy city.

Moving on. Cheese. I love cheese. I love mozzarella. But I also love macadamia nuts, which can blend into a substitute. Cashews and probiotic powder is the new ricotta. For the first time in my life, I believe I can live without dairy!

On the other hand, I'm heading out to San Francisco this weekend for the Fancy Foods show. We'll see how long my resolve lasts. I do love my chocolates and cheeses.

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