As excited as I am about eating dairy free for the month of February, I am also pretty scared. There is a reason why I have never cut out dairy before: I love dairy! If I am going to do this successfully I need to construct some guidelines.
1. Only cut out major dairy products. I recently learned that most foods have some type of dairy in them, even in tiny amounts. As for right now I don't think I need to go that extreme. So that means no milk, cheese, ice cream, and other main dairy products. I have already switched to drinking almond milk so the biggest thing is going to be cutting out cheese.
2. Don't stress about finding dairy free options while eating out. Being a vegetarian already makes it more difficult for my boyfriend and I to find places to eat out at so restricting myself 100% of the time is just not realistic. I do want to try to select options with minimal amounts of dairy but I understand that dairy free options at restaurants can be hard to come across (i.e. if we are ordering Dominoes, how am we supposed to order a dairy free pizza).
3. Keep a food log. This is also a February goal and it goes hand in hand with going dairy free. I found a great free food log online that helps you keep track of not only what you eat but how you feel after eating. I want to be able to look back and see how eating dairy affects me. I will report back at the end of the month with my results!
4. Find a good dairy free cookbook. Since I have been trying to cook more for myself I am really interested in finding new recipes that are both dairy free and delicious. While many of the recipes that I currently make can be done dairy free, I also want to try new things and get a new experience.
5. Ensure I'm eating enough nutrients that are commonly found in dairy products. The overall goal of this experiment is to improve my overall health. But I also need to make sure that I am not missing any important nutrients by not eating dairy. The primary way I plan on doing this is through eating wholesome foods. I am also going to restart taking a calcium pill since calcium is primarily found in dairy.