My dairy-free journey – Part 4

November time, because of how I have been feeling, I wasn’t thinking when I chose a chicken roast dinner, whether anything on it would contain milk products, until the plate arrived in front of me. But I thought bugger this, I was looking forward to a roast dinner and I was just going to eat it. So the things I ate, that contained milk to some degree, was a small amount of mash potato and a Yorkshire pudding. I enjoyed it and it didn’t upset me.

Another time in November, I called into a cafe for a mid snack, so I asked for a fried egg on toast. The toast had butter on. I was fine with that. But having butter on, is not something I want to keep on regular doing.

And another occasion in the same month, I had a chicken and mushroom pie. That, I think did upset me a little, because as well as the pie containing a little milk, the sauce of the filling would have too. It would have been more likely the filling, than the pastry, I think to have upset me.

At home, I continued to have dairy-free. It was just when I was out, that I allowed it.

In future, when eating out, which I don’t do often, I may allow some milk products into my diet, like when I end up with a chicken roast dinner for example. (The mash was only equivalent if a small scoop, but had it been more, I would have left it.) But I will still avoid the obvious when eating out, like cheese and cream products and that chicken and mushroom pie. And I am not going to start having puddings, or cakes etc… containing milk.

Also, both at home and when out, I am not going to start drinking dairy milk, have yogurt, dairy chocolate, or have dairy icecream products because I know if I introduced them back in, I would start to have phlegm problems. The reason I started cutting out dairy in the first place. So I continue to stick with my alternatives when at home, or out, or I drink black and I only have dairy-free cheese and ice cream.

So although at this point I have allowed milk into my diet, I have still cut a majority of it out and I will continue to do that, or go back to completly cutting it out. I will never add more back in than that.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

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My dairy-free journey – Part 3

So I am now 11 weeks into my dairy free journey.

In my early journey of reading up more on dairy-free, I was a little stunned to discover how some people thought eggs were dairy, when they are not. I have known this from a young age, that eggs are not dairy. I can’t imagine, how this confusion came about.
Even my mum asked a few weeks into my dairy-free journey, am I ok with eggs?

I have learnt not to assume that every sandwich will have dairy in it, just because most sandwiches I have checked in the past have.
I now keep an open mind and just check the ingredients, because I nearly avoided having a sandwich in Costa, until I checked and seen it was ok.

I have lost weight

I can’t put this 100% in going dairy-free that this resulted in me losing weight. But I it’s a possibility that some of my weight lost, is partly to do with it. I know other people have said going dairy-free, resulted in some weight loss. Being dairy-free has meant less puddings, or something sweet when eating out with it being limited. It’s a good thing I guess, not being easily available, compared to if I went back to dairy.
The other to do with my weight loss will be the stress I have had, as I am known to lose weight when stressed as I have been.

I have lost half a stone, as I write this and after weighing myself recently. So I am now 10 and a half stone.
The last time I weighed me was 13th July of this year, when I was 11 stone and I have been this weight for many years.

I am happy to see I am at 10 and a half stone. I just now need to check now and again that I don’t lose anymore, as I don’t want to go under 10 stone.
In my 20’s I used to be 10 stone, until it went to 10 and a half. Then I creeped up to 11. But no more than 11 stone, I have been in weight.

So my goal is to stick to 10 and a half stone. But if I lose anymore, then to make sure I don’t go under 10 stone.

No bloated looking tummy

The one thing I noticed within the first month of going dairy free, was that my stomach no longer looked bloated.

Eating out, I am getting used to and I am finding places to cater near me, but I still feel limited.
Nottingham area seems to have more choice, from what I have been reading and from one place I had a vegan breakfast at.

Eating in is certainly easier and stress free. I feel in control, because I have access to my food labels. So I know what’s in the item.

Vegan food and chocolate

Vegan food is the best choice for me when not trusting the menu, to be sure I am having no dairy.

Local supermarkets and a local health shop sell dairy-free chocolate. But now I wanted a little bit more of a variety and so I googled vegan chocolate and I was surprised with the results.
The page I mostly refferred back to was this one: “Viva!’s Top 20 Vegan Chocolate Treats.” I felt very excited after reading it, knowing there was more interesting chocolate out there and especially, the equivalent of some of my favourites.
From there, I visited Viva!’s own shop, to look at more of their chocolate.
I ordered two chocolates.
One was called “Jokerz.” This bar was an equivalent to a Snickers bar and it so did taste like a Snickers bar. I wasn’t disappointed.
And the other chocolate, which I also enjoyed, was the “ichoc supernut chocolate bar.”

I will certainly order from Viva! again, sometime in the future.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

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My dairy-free journey – Part 2

So in My dairy-free journey – Part 1, I talked about how I hit an area of confusion when it came to some labelling I noticed. I said I would talk about it further in my next post, so this post is just on that.

Just like in this link discussion, which will take you to Allergy Insight, it is shown how people cannot come to same agreement.
I doubt coming to the same  agreement will happen in my lifetime. But I would like to see it happen.

‘Dairy free’ is what I have known for years, as a label. I have known and trusted this term even before becoming dairy-free myself.

A new labelling I have come across is ‘milk free.’
I don’t know how long this has started being labelled on ‘Free From’ products, but I have only become recently aware of it, being dairy-free this time round. I am very cautious about this labelling and I have every reason to.

I wrote to two companies; one a well known supermarket and the other a manufacturer of a product I recently bought, but was hesitant to use, regardless it was suitable for vegans and because I just turned something else down at my mum’s that seamt ok looking at ingredients, but didn’t have faith in it, when it came to the pastry.

Supermarket’s reply to me was short. They did not answer all my questions because they did not answer a question I had on a particular product, in addition to their labelling. All they said was, “… products that are milk free are not always completely dairy free.

Our free from range is filled with dairy free and many other free from products, so always be sure to double check the ingredients.”

Where as the manufacturer of a couple of products I wanted to query, they were more helpful. They said “Milk-free and dairy-free do mean the same thing however this may differ on our packaging depending on what version is being used…

Whilst our chicken pies do not contain any dairy, they are produced at the same site as our quiche which does, which is why we do not make a dairy or milk free claim on them.

Our pastry is produced on a different line and as a result, is safe to be labelled milk free.

If any milk containing ingredients are used in our products then this will be clearly labelled in our ingredients deck…”

Now armed with the answers from both places I contacted, from this, for me, I know my choices. But you can see why there is still confusion about labelling on food products?
For me, as I don’t have an allergy with milk that it can harm me, I can relax. But can someone with a serious milk allergy relax with these replies?

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

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Tomato and broccoli quiche (dairy-free)

Here’s the recipe I found I don’t know where from and I adapted to make it dairy-free, to suit me.
This is my first dairy-free baking.

Ingredients:

110g broccoli cut into florettes
2 tomatoes cut into 12 slices
110g of dairy-free cheese – cheddar flavour
4 large eggs (or 5 medium eggs as I had on hand)
100mls of unsweetened soya milk
1 tbsp grated onion
Salt and pepper
Ready shortcrust pastry (or make your own)

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.

Blanch the broccoli florettes in boiling water for 2 minutes then plunge into cold water and drain. (Sit florettes on kitchen paper, until being used.)

Grease a 20cm by 24cm dish, or 20cm round dish as I used. So you may find you will not need all the amount of ingredients, if using 20cm round dish.

Unroll pastry and place in your dish, pressing into the edges and trim off excess pastry with a knife.
Bake your pastry first using the ‘bake blind’ method.

After your pastry has been ‘baked blind’, put 3/4 of the cheese in the base of the pastry case.

Pat tomato slices dry and lay over the cheese, followed by the broccoli.
Top with cheese.

Whisk together the egg, soya milk, onion, salt and pepper and pour over the ingredients.

Bake on the middle shelf if the oven for 40-45 minutes, or 35-40 minutes if using a 20cm round dish.

Quiche will rise during cooking, but will settle down when out of the oven.

This was my quiche, in the two photos below.

 

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

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My dairy-free journey – Part 1

Since early June, I have reduced my dairy intake.
I started cutting out milk and yogurt, using soya alternatives instead.
I also cut out, butter/margarine, ice-cream and dairy chocolate. Again, I used dairy-free alternatives to these.

From 20th July I became totally dairy-free and my challenge is to keep it that way.

I decided to cut dairy out of my life, because from reducing it in the past before, I have found the phlegm problem I can get at times at the back of my throat, to be nil. So I am completely cutting out dairy, for curiosity. This is going to continue way into next year and it will be more likely when my hayfever symptoms have finished, before I re-evaluate what I am going to do by then; whether I continue dairy free, or reduce it.

I hope you enjoy following me on this journey and I know there are a few of you that are dairy-free and have been doing it for much longer than me. I will look forward to your advice, or just chat on the topic.

I find eating in is much easier, than eating out. This is because:

  • I feel have more choice in what I want to eat.
  • I feel limited to food choices, or no choice when eating out.
  • I feel in control, knowing what is exactly in my food.

I only eat chicken for my meat, which is not often. Rest of the time, it’s either vegetarian, or vegan meals, or fish.
Now I am going dairy-free, I am aware that it has to be vegan food I concentrate on from now on, to make sure there are no traces of dairy in my diet, if I have any food from the supermarket ready-made, or if eating out. Otherwise, it’s cook my own meals from scratch.

Do you find eating in, is much better than eating out?

Although I generally have lots of foods I can trust, I did hit an area of confusion at one point. This involved with a new labelling I had not seen before, on the front of the box. I don’t know how long this labeling has been going on for, but it left me wondering if a couple of things I had from this section, possibly had dairy of some kind.
Emails to query on this, have been sent to a couple of places.
I will talk about that later in the next post.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Wellbeing and Learning Journey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. (But Guest Posts that feature on my blog are not allowed at all to be duplicated, as that is their copyright.)

Book review: “How to cook food for food allergies,” by Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne.

As you know from Chit-chat July, I discovered this book in my library, with choosing to further go dairy-free in my diet. The book in the photograph, is the one I had from the library, until I bought my own second-hand copy, from eBay.

Book cover of How to cook food for food allergies
Book cover of “How to cook food for food allergies,” by Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne.

Although I bought it for dairy-free advice, this book also covers for those who can’t eat eggs, soya, nuts and gluten.

I love how the book is presented, to help you cut out what you need to cut out in your food. In this case, dairy for me. It gives you alternatives to use instead.

There is very helpful advice, like how to avoid cross-contamination of foods that would cause a reaction in those that can’t have particular foods.
It also gives advice on how you can make cooking for a family easier for yourself.
It advises on other things like making sure nursery, or schools are happy and confident in catering for your child with a food allergy, and how you can make sure their parties remain safe, while still being fun and not making them feel excluded, or feel different.

As well as advice on cooking at home, there is advice when it comes to eating out.

For each food ingredient that would need to be left out, there is an alternative suggestion you can use in its place.

There is a handy table that shows what nutrients you may be missing out of, when cutting out either dairy, egg, wholegrain wheat, white wheat flour, soya, or nuts, with information on what those nutrients do and where else you could get those from.

In the last part of the book, there are recipes, which the author has kept as simple as possible.
Many recipes are suitable for all allergies mentioned, without adapting. But where a recipe will need adapting, it’s clearly marked with a flagging system for that allergy and an alternative is given.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Wellbeing and Learning Journey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. (But Guest Posts that feature on my blog are not allowed at all to be duplicated, as that is their copyright.)

Frugal Living – part 4

Food can be interesting when you are on a budget and you are just using up what you have already in the cupboard, or fridge-freezer. Food can be random to what you normally have, but this adds up interest I feel.

Some random meals I have been having, when it just comes to using what I have:

  • Mashed potato, some tuna out of tin, peas, Black Eye Beans and Haricot Beans.
  • Mash potato, broccoli, carrots and fish cake.
  • Brown rice, mixed veg, mixed beans, with drizzle of mint sauce over my veg.
  • Noodles and mixed veg.

Freezing bread

I started freezing bread, as mentioned in “Frugal Living – part 3.” I have found doing it this way much better for me. It’s certainly made an impact and I notice how much I don’t buy bread, to before, even though before I hardly wasted bread.

Selling old gadgets for new

In my post, “Challenging a need and a want,” I mentioned how I needed a new phone, that would cope with the internet and my needs. But as I mentioned in that post, I wasn’t just going to draw out money and buy it. So due to the way I access the internet now, which is just on my phone, meant I no longer needed my Macbook Air laptop.
If by chance I was to have internet at home again, I have my desktop computer anyway, that I also use to play DVD’s on.
Knowing I will stick with Apple when it comes to computers, should this break down and can’t be fixed, I will buy another second-hand like the one I already own, or a new one. So it was obvious to me I had to sell my laptop for cash. Selling my laptop, paid for my new phone, I also had lunch and I had change.
Being happy with my new phone, I sold the old one for cash and put it away towards holiday next year I hope to have.

Still saving inners from cereal boxes and glass jars

I’m still saving inners from cereal boxes and glass jars. But it won’t be long before I don’t need to save anymore glass jars.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Wellbeing and Learning Journey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. But Guest Posts that feature on my blog are not allowed at all to be duplicated.

Frugal Living – part 3

A difficult month money-wise, between last post and this. My budget did not go to plan either – money I wanted to save, I ended up touching. I did end up putting some away, but not what I originally planned. I suppose I should be thankful that I did put something away, because I wasn’t expecting it to happen.

Starting to freeze my bread

I know a few of my friends do this and just take out what bread they need. I have just started doing this myself now and it makes it so much easier for me, than I realised. I wish I did this sooner. I have been careful in the past when buying bread, to reduce wastage. But doing it this way, is much easier I have discovered and I totally recommend it.

Do you freeze your bread and only take out what you need?

My monthly phone contract

I ran out of internet allowance on the final week, so I had to buy an add-on. This did not help my budget and I hope to not do this on next month’s. I do use wifi, but because of where I was and what I needed to do, I had to get one.

No more cling film

Now I have no microwave, I don’t need to buy anymore cling film, when I run out. The remainder I have, I have had since last year because I hardly used it. I don’t know how much I have left, as I have not really looked. But I would not be surprised if I still had this box next year.

What I am not allowing myself to buy

You may remember the book review I did, “The Year of Less,” by Cait Flanders. I’m using one of her tips I have not used before and that’s creating a list of items I am not allowed to buy, because I have plenty of it.

What I have banned myself from buying:

  • Perfumes
  • Moisturisers
  • Shampoo
  • Nail varnish

I meant to share this in an earlier frugal living post.

If you liked this post, you can find past frugal living posts by scrolling either to the right, or further down, depending on whether you are viewing my page from laptop, or a mobile device, clicking on frugal living, under the categories.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

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Food Chit-Chat

This is a question for readers who have to avoid gluten and wheat.

If you ate out, would you expect your food to be cooked in a pan, that had not been used to cook products that contained gluten and wheat?

I would assume that you would said yes, but as I don’t have to watch my diet on this level, this is why I ask you.

The reason I ask this, is because I went to a usual store recently that I visit quiet often and as I sat down with my cake and latte, I seen a sign I’d not seen before that said, “Please be advised that all our fried products share a fryer with products that contain WHEAT and GLUTEN.”

After seeing this, I decided to email them, using their contact form:

This is about the cafe in

First, I would like to say that this a welcoming and relaxing cafe. I have enjoyed eating what ever I choose to eat. But today, while sat down to enjoy my latte and cake, I seen a notice that advised that all of their fried products shared a fryer with products that contain wheat and gluten. Now surely you should have a fryer separate as not to contaminate? I shall be asking a couple of my friends about this, as they must have gluten-free.
But I would assume by doing this and for all of a sudden seeing this notice, you are putting people at risk?
Those who have to avoid wheat and gluten in their diets will no doubt avoid meals now, which means you are not providing gluten-free options in the long run, because there will be those that would not risk it? 

Seeing this also, brings me to another question? When I ask for a vegetarian breakfast, do you treat me the same way? ie it is cooked in the same fryer as the meat products?

As you can see from my message written to them, this issue also made me query something on a personal level from myself, while raising this other concern. I expect a pan to be used, that was not used beforehand cooking other meats.

Going back to those of you who have to avoid gluten and wheat, if you had learnt your favourite place of eating was using the same fryer to cook your food, as well as foods that contain what you need to avoid, would you avoid having food there? Would it affect your stomach, because of your food being fried in the same fryer as other foods that contained gluten, or wheat?

Reassurance from place I messaged

I received a quick reply to my query and my concern was put at eased. They also included a photo of their three fryers. They admitted that this sign was misleading and I totally agree, as they don’t have one fryer, they have three.
Their fryers are labelled as to what can only be cooked in each fryer, but their photo was focused on middle fryer mainly and the other two either side were partially on, so I written  follow-up email to make sure I had all the facts I were seeing. I was right what I assumed in the end and that was that the same fryer is used to cook fish as well as southern fried chicken. Now this does not affect me, but someone who only eats fish and no meat at all, would not like this set up and I pointed this out.
They said in my response that they would advise their customers accordingly. But I think that unless that customer who chooses their food off the menu, points out they don’t eat meat at all, when choosing fish, are they going to be told? I think, unless you ask, you are not going to know.

I think also, if you have to avoid gluten and wheat, to make sure there is no contamination at cooking, if this would affect you.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Wellbeing and Learning Journey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. But Guest Posts that feature on my blog are not allowed at all to be duplicated.

Blog post share: Chia jam – the healthy alternative

Recently, I discovered Chia jam via “Still Waters.” I got round to making it this morning and I was impressed.

my raspberry chia jam

It looks just like jam, but not sweet as I find jam.
Regular readers will know that after I changed the way I eat, my taste buds also changed and I found some things too sweet. This is a good alternative for me, when I would like jam and it does not take long to make. I used raspberries for my first go and I will probably have raspberry version now and again in the future, but I love strawberries, so more likely it will be strawberries for me when I make chia jam. But I will enjoy experimenting.

Some related posts to my healthy eating, for those who may not have read them:

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Wellbeing and Learning Journey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. But Guest Posts that feature on my blog are not allowed at all to be duplicated.