What they don’t tell you about going #dairyfree

People go dairy free for various reasons.  I have a milk allergy and have been dairy free for almost 2 years now and when I was first advised by the doctor to cut out everything containing cows milk and lactose, I thought ‘well I don’t like milk so this won’t be that difficult.’ I was so wrong ; it has been hard and it still is hard.  With an allergy if I accidentally have the smallest bit of milk, it can make me so poorly.  I have created a list of things that they don’t tell you when you become dairy free:

Milk is in everything 

Well not literally everything but almost everything, things that you wouldn’t even realise had milk in.  Examples of things that have made me ill where I didn’t realise: cooked chicken from ASDA, pre-packaged salad and baked beans.  Ok, so not all pre-packaged salads and baked beans contain milk but some do and therefore, you have to check the ingredients every time you go to eat something. It is also listed as many different things so you need to know what you are looking for.  Companies are also known to change their ingredients and sometimes they can be good at putting ‘updated recipe’ on the packaging however, this is not always the case. Therefore, you do need to check the packet every time you buy a product.

I have also found that a lot of the veggie options in stores contain milk as a substitute for another product.  I understand that Quorn do a vegan range which is perfect as most of their veggie stuff which I have looked at contains milk.  I am not 100% veggie as I do still eat meat on occasions so I cannot complain too much.  If I was a full veggie this would be very difficult.

Tablets contain milk 

I can no longer be on the pill because in the UK we do not produce or sell a contraceptive pill which does not contain milk, which I think is a disgrace.  Of course, there are other great alternatives for the pill but I still feel restricted in my options in this respect.

My consultant recently prescribed a medicine for my suspected IBS which contained milk, he later said that he knew this but wondered how much milk I can tolerate. Turns out I could not even tolerate this small amount of milk.  It makes it worse that there is not a suitable alternative he can give me.

I understand that they have to coat the medicine in something, of course they do, but surely they could manufacture alternatives, especially with something so common as the pill.

No one seems to understand what dairy is 

I cannot count the number of times that staff in restaurants have advised that a certain dish contains dairy when in fact it only contains eggs.   I personally think that staff should have better training in this regarding if they are giving advice as to what you can and cannot eat.  Often if you realise that it does only contain eggs and try to explain that this is not dairy it can be hard and uncomfortable.

It is expensive 

Dairy free foods specifically marketed as such are becoming much more common in the UK now, which is great. However, these often come as at a price increase.  It is often worth doing your research and looking at foods which is not marketed as being specifically dairy free but do not contain milk.  These are often the cheaper version of brands i.e. garlic bread which is made with oil instead of garlic butter etc.

It is hard to eat out 

I have done a whole post on tips when eating out, which you can find here.  It is hard having to ask for advice on the menu at every place you go, especially when you are in a large group of people or with people who you don’t know that well.

Your teeth and nails become weak

I have had to have so many fillings since becoming dairy free which the dentist has put down to the lack of calcium in my diet and I only have to look at my nails and they snap in two.  I have started having gel nails but if I have a gap in these then the nails still snap! I don’t think that the girl who does my nails can believe how often they snap.  It is therefore, important to find good replacements for the calcium and make sure that you include them in your diet at all times.

What are your tips for dealing with a good allergy?

Love, Minnie x

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Why I gave up Coca-Cola

They say it takes a month to break a habit….

I have always had an addiction to Coca-Cola, as a child it was all that I would drink and at University I practically lived on it, while limiting my food intake.   I had no health complaints, I was not over weight nor did I think that it was doing me any harm.  I stopped drinking it a few times over the years and slowly started again, but opted for the diet version as it was zero calories and like many others I actually believed that it wasnt that bad for me. I completely appreciate that there are worse addictions to have and so I am not complaining about my life in the slightest, I am just sharing my experience.

After a trip to the dentist in 2016, I decided that I would cut out all forms of coca cola including diet.  It has been over 18 months now and I am pleased to stay that I have stuck to it completely.  I cannot believe that it took me 26 years to break this silly addition. I have not even had one when I have been on a night out or on holiday for the fear that I would get addicted again.  It is hard as cola is such a good mixer for many drinks and I feel that this does kind of stop me drinking as much now which I am not complaining about.  I know that I can have a choice of cocktails which makes up for it.

Cutting it out completely was probably the hardest thing that I have done, I had a constant headache for about a week solid where my body was adapting to not having the sugar and it was hard.   The working day was such a struggle for a couple of months but I have done it, I no longer have the headaches and I feel so much better for it.  I did consider not stopping completely and just reducing to say one glass a day however, this would not have been realistic for me and would have made the whole process harder.

I actually drink my water at night out of a diet coca-cola cup that I got for Christmas a few years ago and I love it.  I find it sort of ironic!  I personally don’t think that I could physically drink cola now without throwing up and that shows me how far I have come in 18 months.

When I have eventually have my own children, I think that I will be carefully as to what food and drink I expose them too at a young age.  I know that this is difficult but I would not want my children becoming so addicted to cola.

It did take me a while to realise the benefits of not having cola on a daily basis and I am so glad that I only drink water now with the daily coffee and occasional lemonade. What benefits have I felt in the last 18 months:

  • Improved concentration especially at work
  • I am fully hydrated – I read that although cola gives your taste buds the sensation of dealing with your thirst, it doesn’t and you end up thirstier
  • Fewer headaches
  • My skin has cleared up
  • I now that any teeth issues is not caused by the excessive amounts of sugar etc. but rather the lack of milk in my diet which I am working on
  • I have more energy
  • I generally feel happier in myself
  • I am no longer embarrassed at the amount of cola that I drink.  I use to have a sense of feeling ashamed that I was so addicted to it and this has now been taken from  me.

Love, Minnie x

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[Review] Waitrose Mini Jaffa Cakes

I often cave food which I haven’t had since my allergy and Jaffa Cake’s are one of them! They were always my favourite and although the Nakd Bar in Chocolate Orange does contain a similar taste – it really isn’t the same thing!  

When the craving struck again, I decided to have a quick google as to dairy free alternatives and the suggestion which kept popping up was Waitrose Mini Jaffa Cakes. So I went onto their website and had a quick look at the ingredients to check that they hadn’t recently changed (isn’t that the most annoying thing) and they hadn’t!  What is even better… I work next door to a Waitrose store so I popped along at lunch time!

They did not disappoint and I have since re-purchased 3 times.  They are expensive at £1.00 for a small packet however, if I had more self-control these would last longer than the one day that they do!

Pros 

  • Affordable for Waitrose
  • Accessable – Waitrose is located in most towns in the UK
  • They taste really good!
  • Dairy free
  • Easily found as being dairy free too

Cons

  • Can be considered expensive compared to other own-brands of the same product
  • Contains wheat so you cannot have them if you have a gluten intolerance or are celiac
  • They are Waitrose own brand so cannot be found in all major supermarkets

Overall I am really happy that I found these.  As I only have a diary allergy they are perfect for me as I don’t have to worry about the other ingredients.  If you have no allergies then they probably are not worth the money compared to other supermarket’s own brand Jaffa Cakes especially if you are on a budget.  I will however, keep purchasing and hope that Waitrose don’t decide to change the recipe.

Love, Minnie x 

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[Easy] Slow Cooker Meal

You may have already guessed but I am the biggest fan of easy quick meals after a long day in the office.  It helps even more so if you can just get home to a cooked meal and smell it as you walk in the door.  I have used slow cookers for years and just had a standard slow cooker that I bought fresh out of Uni however, for my last birthday I decided that I also wanted a rice cooker and with limited space my parents bought me the Tefal 8 in 1 Cooker which literally changed my life.

This does everything (brown rice, white rice, quick rice, grains, porridge, desserts, steam and is a slow cooker) it also comes with a timer so the rice can be cooked ready for when you get home from work and it keeps the food warm so if you are slightly late or want it two days in a row it will keep it heated and is perfect.

I have tried most of the options now except white rice, quick rice and grains as I don’t often use these food groups.   I actually love this product and it makes everything so easy and quick.  I haven’t used the slow cooker setting in a while as I have had my boyfriend to stay and it has been hot very hot compared to the normal UK weather and decided to have more summer friendly meals such as salads.  This week, I decided that I only have 4 nights of cooking as I am at my parents again this weekend mainly for boring errands and it is also the last week before pay-day so I didn’t want to spend too much and therefore, a slow cooked veggie curry would be perfect for two days in a row.

Sunday night, I prepped the veggies, carrots x 2, tinned tomatoes, onion and sweet potato and put these in the slow cooker along with the curry mix I bought from Tesco.  In the morning I set the slow cooker timed for a few hours so the curry didn’t burn and then just the wait for the food to be cooked when I got home!

That evening the smell as I entered my flat was amazing! The curry tasted pretty good too but was a bit spicy for me personally I prefer things slightly milder! The curry did last for two days as it was kept warm and made working late one day particularly easy.

Overall, I will definitely be doing this again as it is a quick cheap dinner, I will however slightly adapt the recipe for my preferences.

Love, Minnie 

p.s I know the photo doesn’t look great but it really does taste good! 

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