Meal Planning Monday ~ The Dairy Debacle

This week’s post is by Christine Luken.

If you’ve been following my Meal Planning Monday blog for any length of time, you know how much I love cheese!  So, you can imagine my dismay when my natural health practitioner told me that I was sensitive to dairy and if I wanted to see real improvement in my allergy symptoms, I need to cut way back on milk products.  (My biggest allergy is mold… and cheese is essentially moldy milk, so this definitely stands to reason.)

I was glad that my health practitioner recommended a gradual replacement of my dairy products with alternatives rather than going cold-turkey.  She had me keep a food diary so we could pinpoint potential problems.  The first week of keeping the food dairy was an eye-opening experience!  I didn’t realize how much dairy I was eating every day: half & half in my coffee, whey protein in my post-workout smoothie, a slice of cheese on my breakfast sandwich, string cheese for a snack, cheese on my taco salad for lunch, cheese on my turkey burger for dinner, and Greek yogurt for my evening snack.  Yes, that is a LOT of dairy on a typical day for me.  So, one by one, I’ve started replacing all of that mucus-producing dairy with other options.

 My coffee is extremely important to me and I like it to taste good!  I normally sweeten it with a little stevia or coconut sugar, add a dash of cinnamon or cocoa powder, and some half-and-half.  I began replace ½ of the half-and-half with vanilla coconut milk until I worked up to all coconut milk.  I also liked the chocolate almond milk as a coffee creamer, but my husband drank most of it because it is that delicious.

Finding a replacement for my protein powder was a little more challenging.  I’m doing Shaun T’s Insanity program right now, and I feel better post-workout if I have a good protein shake.  My stomach is sensitive to artificial sweeteners, so I had to find one that was whey-free and sweetened with stevia.  I finally settled on PlantFusion which is actually a vegan protein powder.  It is slightly grainy, but blended with a frozen banana and berries, it’s very tasty.

I’ll admit, I had a lot of heartache over finding a replacement for my favorite evening snack – Greek yogurt.  It took me a while to warm up to coconut “yogurt” (cultured coconut milk).  I also realized that I don’t HAVE to have yogurt as my final snack of the day.  I could have some berries, nuts, or a little bit of Enjoy Life’s dairy-free dark chocolate chunks.  Or… some of this awesome Cookies ‘n Cream coconut “ice cream”!

Here are some other things I’ve learned during this process of culling out dairy from my diet:

  • I’m not alone in my quest to avoid dairy.  As I’ve talked to friends about it, I was surprised how many others were avoiding  it because of allergies, stomach issues, or a desire to avoid added hormones.
  • Butter doesn’t affect my allergies at all!  Yay for butter!!  The one dairy product I can eat with almost abandon!  (Grass-fed, organic butter is best – which thankfully I can buy that at my co-op).
  • By putting turkey bacon on my egg sandwich – instead of on the side – I don’t miss having the cheese.  Also, using hummus or pesto as a spread on my sandwiches serves as a good replacement for cheese.
  • I feel weird about asking the waiter to “hold the cheese” when ordering in restaurants.
  • I wonder, “Is it possible to OD on coconut products?”  I hope not!

Do you have any food allergies?  If so, what do you do to avoid your triggers?




  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    I don’t have food allergies, but my husband is lactose intolerant…..not that it stops him half the time.

  2. Debbie Denny says:

    My mom has a problem with milk products. She has learned to adjust her snacks as well and does quite well now.

  3. Liz Mays says:

    I have that same sensitivity to artificial sweeteners. It doesn’t affect me in drinks, but in foods it kills me. I wish I liked the taste of coconut so I could try the yogurt replacement you mentioned.

  4. Dairy can be such and issue for so many. I too have cut way down on Dairy and feel better. My hardest obstacle like yours is my half & half in coffee but have started adding coconut oil and am trying. Best of Luck with your workout. I so need to do something like this. I sit way to much blogging haha :) Thanks for sharing.

  5. Oh, I feel your pain. It would be so hard for me to give up cheese and, even worse, ice cream! At least that So Delicious does look so delicious!

  6. Debbie L. says:

    My daughter and two grandchildren are dairy sensitive…we have really reduced the amount of dairy. There are some really good alternatives available.

  7. Ruth Zankich says:

    I need to try that ice cream! Looks so good! My son had milk allergy when he was little and it was hard to find products that he liked.

  8. My baby has a problem with dairy right now and I’m really hoping it is short lived and he grows out of it.

  9. janelle says:

    I have to be careful with dairy, so this is helpful! thanks

  10. Jessica says:

    Coconut Ice Cream is one my shopping list right now. My best friend doesn’t drink milk and stays away from dairy as much as possible. She told me it’s the most delicious ice cream she has ever had!

  11. I learned so much about good eating from this post. I didn’t know there was such a thing as coconut yogurt.

  12. Jessica @EatSleepBe says:

    We love So Delicious products. Their cookie dough flavor is amazing. I also love their coffee creamer!

  13. Danielle says:

    Avoiding dairy is so hard! I really do love my yogurt.

  14. We hardly ever do dairy, we switched from milk to almond milk and rarely eat cheese.

  15. Thankfully we don’t have any intolerances. It can be so hard to plan the weekly menu as is.

  16. We use Plantfusion protein too! Avoiding dairy is hard, but you’ll get used to it.

  17. My daughter has to be cautious with dairy as well. Her favorite food is also ice cream, which is difficult for us so I’ll definitely try this with her!

  18. Shauna says:

    Ugh, I don’t know how you do it. Thankfully I nor any of my family members suffer from food allergies… I feel for you and hope you find a happy place, even without yogurt :)

  19. Trisha says:

    I don’t have any food allergies but I do have a dairy sensitivity so try to lower my intake of dairy products.

  20. Lexie Lane says:

    I actually quite like this brand. They are so tasty and not overwhelming with richness.

  21. I love dairy, all things dairy, so naturally it isn’t any good for me. Same with gluten. Just. Can’t. Win. While substitutes help in some cases, the craving is still there!

  22. Maria Oller says:

    I would love to be able to drop diary products but the cheese and the yogurt are my biggest problem, I cannot seem to live with out them

  23. Lisa says:

    I’ve always avoided dairy so I find it easy (I”m also lactose intolerant and have been my entire life)

  24. Tatanisha W says:

    No, I don’t have any allergies that I’ve been made aware of, however one of my kids have issues with dairy issues every now and then. I love milk.. I just don’t think I could go without it- especially ice-cream! LOL