3 Tips to Help You Ditch Your Dairy Addiction

Have you ever said, “I would love to go vegan but I just can’t give up pizza, cheese or ice cream?”

If you have, I totally get where you’re coming from. I was a vegetarian for about ten years simply because try as I might, I didn’t know how to shake the dairy demon and live without takeout pizza, ice cream, grilled cheese, mac n’ cheese, chocolate – you name it.

There’s a reason why dairy, in particular cheese, tastes so good, why we crave it. It truly is addictive. According to this LA Times article which likens cheese to actual crack, “Cheese happens to be especially addictive because of an ingredient called casein, a protein found in all milk products. During digestion, casein releases opiates called casomorphins.”

What this means is, when you eat a fatty, salty cheese laden pizza for example, the chemicals spark off feeling (although to a lesser extent) similar to morphine. When you think about this, it makes sense. Cow’s milk is for baby cows. Biology has made cow’s milk addictive because it’s meant to help a calf grow strong and healthy, from about 60 pounds at birth to more than 500 pounds when weaned at eight to nine months.

On top of that, we are bombarded with propaganda from the dairy industry and the US government claiming milk is good for us. We are spoon fed the lie that we need cow’s milk to get calcium, grow strong bones, and to get vitamin D. The truth is we can get all of these things from plants and sunshine.

That said, breaking your cheese/dairy addiction can be done. I am living proof. Read on to learn how to shake this succubus out of your life.

1. Get Educated. Dairy is a truly disgusting industry. All those images you see on tv and in the movies of happy cows on farms, grazing on green grass with their calves next to them, living out happy lives is a bunch of bull****, no pun intended. In actuality, calves are ripped from their mothers a few days after birth. The baby girls are normally destined to become dairy cows, living the same fate as their mothers, forcibly impregnated over and over and drained of their milk before they are killed around age four. The baby boys don’t get off easy either. They will be kept in cages and fattened up before they end up on someone’s plate as veal, killed even though they are only a few months old. Knowing the horrors of the dairy industry is a huge catalyst to help you give up the stuff.

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There’s no such thing as a happy cow on a dairy farm. Photo by Dan Hamill on Pexels.com

2. Shop for Substitutes. There are so many vegan dairy substitutes these days, there is no reason to buy traditional ones. From soy, flax, pea protein and cashew milk – the list goes on, there’s a formula and a brand to suit your taste buds. There’s also soy and coconut milk creamers for your coffee, vegan Greek style yogurt and plant-based cheese that can even please the palate of the unsuspecting omnivore. My favs are Good Karma flax milk and old school Silk soy milk (I buy the organic, non-GMO kind). For butter, I use Earth Balance buttery spread and when I’m craving cheese (which is really infrequent now that I’ve given up the cruelty-laden stuff) I use the Daiya brand sparingly. Don’t give up if you try a product you don’t like; sample a few before you find the one that hits the spot. And if you’re really adventurous, make your own vegan nut milk, cheese and even plant-based mayonnaise!

empty gray metal shopping card near assorted plastic bottles
Photo by Fancycrave.com on Pexels.com

3. Dust yourself off and try again. So you’ve gone a few days or even months without dairy and then out of the blue you accidentally (or purposefully) eat some cheese or candy with dairy in it. It happens to the best of us. A few months ago, while on a work trip I ended up eating some pasta at a hotel buffet before realizing there was cheese inside. Once, after specifically telling a take out restaurant to hold the feta, I dug into my gyro only to find it scattered inside. Not to mention the countless times I tried and failed to transition to vegan from vegetarian because I was craving a Dominos pizza or some Dairy Queen. We’re human, we all make mistakes or have accidents. It doesn’t do anyone any good to beat yourself up about it. Just remind yourself of the reasons you have gone vegan in the first place (animal welfare, the environment and your health) and continue on your journey afresh, with a new resolve to cause as little harm as possible.

white and black cow during daytime
Remember, you’re doing this for the animals! Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Good luck 🙂

Sources: One Green PlanetPETALA Times

How to Make Awesome Avocado Ice Cream (Vegan)

Summer is almost gone, can you believe it?

I know it’s September already, but technically the last day of summer is not until near the end of the month. So you still have time to squeeze in some summer bbqs and bonfires and pretend like you’re still a teenager, without a care in the world. (Or maybe you are, in which case I hate you!)

There were so many things I had planned for this season that didn’t get done – I was supposed to get back in the gym, work on my novel novels (I have so many draft pages of projects I start and stop), and also work on this blog more. But, life as usual gets in the way and as they say, God laughs at man’s plans.

Anyway, I couldn’t let summer pass me by without making ice cream. I bought a Cuisine Art ice cream maker last year and actually used it several times (unlike my dehydrator which is sitting on top of my fridge, catching dust, waiting sadly to be donated to the Salvation Army.)

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Chocolate and cashews put this avocado ice cream over the top.

I also had a super ripe jumbo avocado in the fridge, too ripe to eat on its own. So, I decided I can either make guac with it or ice cream. I chose ice cream, wouldn’t you? I know what you’re thinking, avocados in ice cream? Is this bish crazy? But before you close this screen, let me school you. Avocados are actually a fruit, so it makes sense to put them in ice cream. Considered a superfood, this nutritional powerhouse has lots of healthy fat, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and a host of other vitamins. The fattiness of the avocado also adds creaminess to this non-dairy ice cream, something once lacking in my homemade attempts.

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Coconut cream also ups the ante on creaminess. The trick is it has to be cold and firm so make sure your can has been chilled in the fridge overnight. Whenever I go grocery shopping I normally buy a can or two of coconut cream or milk, and I always have one in the fridge since I use it so often to make vegan desserts.

A few of the problems I’ve encountered in the past is that my ice cream just comes out too hard, full of crystals. No matter what I did. Except for my first batch which was a peanut butter vanilla flavor, everything else ended up in the trash after a few bites.

To help solve that I used agave nectar instead of sugar (the liquid sweetener slows down crystal formation) and also added a special ingredient – agar agar. According, to One Green Planet, agar agar “is a mix of carbohydrates extracted from seaweed, specifically Red Sea algae.” But don’t freak out! It has no flavor, odor or color and can be used as a sub for “gelatin, to thicken soups, and make jams and jellies, ice cream, and other desserts that need to set.”

I found a packet of agar agar flakes in my local organic health store. You can also grab some from Amazon if it’s not found near you. My packet was pretty pricey, like all specialty foods imported to the Bahamas but I plan to use it later on to make cashew cheese and vegan Jello, so I think it’s worth the coins. It may be cheaper where you live. Plus a little goes a long way.

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Enjoy this vegan avocado ice cream poolside.

This recipe is so easy. It only has seven ingredients (one of them is water, does that even count?) and it’s totally healthier than store-bought frozen desserts with God knows what in them. It is also refined sugar-free. You will need a blender and an ice-cream maker for this recipe (I’m an appliance junkie, but honestly, how does a dessert lover live without an ice-cream maker??) and that’s it!

I hope you try this recipe out and let me know in the comments, what’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

7 Ingredient Avocado Ice Cream

  • Servings: Makes 2 pints
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Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe avocado, cut in half and pitted
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 can coconut cream, chilled in the fridge overnight
  • ½ cup agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp agar agar flakes
  • 6 tablespoons of water
  • Juice of half a lime

Directions

  1. Add agar agar flakes and water to a small pot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce to a simmer and cook for five minutes, stirring frequently, until flakes have dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside. Once cooled, the mixture should congeal.
  2. Scoop avocado meat into a high speed blender. Add the top layer of the hardened coconut cream, being careful not to add any water that’s left at the bottom of the can. Store coconut water for a smoothie or other later use, or discard.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, including agar agar, and blend on high until smooth.
  4. Chill ice cream mix in the fridge for about 20 minutes before transferring to your ice cream maker. Churn according to manufacturer’s instructions (I ran mine for about 30 minutes).
  5. You can eat the ice cream immediately as a soft serve or transfer to an airtight freezer safe container (if using a pyrex dish, place a layer of plastic wrap over the ice cream, gently pressing out the air) and freeze for a few hours. Let ice cream defrost for a few minutes before scooping.
  6. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!


 

Bahamian-Style Corn Fritters

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you guys!

Anyone familiar with Bahamian food knows that conch is a frequent feature in our delicacies. Bahamians love it so much that it’s pretty much everywhere. Conch chowder, cracked conch (basically deep-fried, battered conch served usually with fries), conch salad (think ceviche), conch fritters and the list goes on.

Top on my list was always conch fritters. There was a time in my life when I ate them every week. My friends and I would go to the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay, where every Sunday night without fail, I would order a plate of fritters and a Miami Vice daiquiri.

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You can never have too much sauce!

That was years before I gave up eating animals. If you truly love conch, the best thing to do is leave it off your plate. According to this 2017 Miami Herald article, conch populations in Florida are in trouble and researchers are worried about declining young conchs in the Bahamas.

“A marine preserve in the Bahamas famed for its abundance of queen conchs and intended to help keep the country’s population thriving is missing something: young conchs. Researchers studying the no-take park off Exuma, one of hundreds throughout the Caribbean, found that over the last two decades, the number of young has sharply declined as adult conchs steadily matured and died off. The population hasn’t crashed yet like it has in the Florida Keys, but in the last five years, the number of adult conchs in one of the Bahamas’ healthiest populations dropped by 71 percent,” the article reported.

Humans are overfishing this treasured resource, and if we aren’t careful, the Bahamian conch could one day go extinct. If that isn’t reason not to eat this sea-snail, I don’t know what is.

Lately I’ve been craving a vegan version of fritters. There’s just something about deep-fried food that makes you remember your childhood right? Sweet corn is a perfect substitute for conch in this recipe, but you can also use mushrooms and I’m sure they will turn out just as delish. I added a few sheets of salty seaweed sheets (I used Annie Chun’s Seaweed Snacks, wasabi flavor) to give it more of a “fishy” taste but you can totally leave them out.

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I’m happy to report that these fritters hit the spot. Crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. But the dipping sauce is what really pushes it over the top.

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Look at that deep fried goodness!

If you make these, please don’t skimp out on the sauce, because that’s part of the experience!

Bahamian-Style Corn Fritters

  • Servings: About 4
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Ingredients

    For the fritters
  • 1 quart oil for frying
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 flax egg
  • ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • Old Bay seasoning or cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh sweet corn kernels
  • ½ medium white onion, chopped
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • 4 small seaweed sheets, crushed (optional)
  • For the dipping sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Half a tsp to one tsp of hot pepper sauce or hot sauce

Directions

  1. Prepare flax egg by mixing one tbsp of ground flax seeds with three tbsp water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix dipping sauce ingredients together then set aside.
  3. 3. Heat oil in pot or a deep fryer.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flour and spices, mix together.
  5. Add milk, flax egg and crushed seaweed sheets, if using. Mix together.
  6. Drop batter into hot oil, one rounded tablespoon at a time.
  7. Fry fritters until golden brown. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve with sauce and enjoy!

Adapted from: Conch fritter recipe