Going Dairy Free


I love ice cream. I love dipping Oreos in milk. I love milkshakes. I love creamy mashed potatoes.

I had to give almost all of it up when I was diagnosed as lactose intolerant five years ago. Granted I’ve never experienced a life changing medical diagnosis and am lucky to be healthy, but it’s hard to be told that after 20 years of eating a certain way, you can’t.

I cut out a lot of dairy, but quickly learned that so many things are cooked and baked with butter or milk. I was getting sick from eating hamburgers because the restaurant had brushed the bun with butter and grilled it.

Somewhere along the way a friend recommended I try lactaid pills. They are a vanilla flavored chewable tablet that serve as an enzyme supplement and assists with the digestion of dairy products. There’s no limit on how many you can take in a days time so on some occasions I would eat dairy in every meal and take a pill each time. Over the past year I noticed that I felt rundown constantly, I was groggy and just felt overall gross. I did some research and decided to cut out dairy completely.

Even though I am lactose intolerant I was still eating dairy. Why was I giving my body something that it can’t digest and hoping that this pill would do the trick? That’s so unhealthy and I’m shocked that it took me so long to realize it. Over the last 3-4 months I’ve given up dairy completely. I still sometimes take the pills when eating out at restaurants as a precaution, but for the most part I am dairy free. And you know what? I’ve never felt better.

I feel so much healthier and I’m overall happier to not be sick all the time! The transition has not been an easy one and I’d kill for a piece of Homeslyce pizza but I know it isn’t worth it. I’m learning to alter my favorite dishes to suit my needs and I’m learning more about what foods are acceptable for my body. It’s been really fun to try new recipes, but it’s challenging to eat outside of my own home.

Staying away from dairy has been the hardest to handle when I’m out and about in Baltimore at work or work functions. One of the events I run is a food truck series called Harbor Market and I interact with food vendors on a daily basis. It would be difficult if I didn’t work with some of the sweetest food trucks and restaurants in Baltimore. One of our pizza vendors, Pizza di Joey, makes me a cheeseless pizza with a more heavy and flavor filled sauce and The Charmery makes sure to have vegan ice cream for me when possible. Seriously, I work with some pretty awesome people!

My friends and family are helping to make the transition a breeze as well. My Mama has learned how to cook some of my favorite meals without dairy products and Chris’ family made an entire dairy free meal for Easter Sunday. I’m the luckiest girl to have such supportive people in my life.

Although the transition to a dairy-free lifestyle has not been an easy one, it was necessary and I’ve never felt better.


Check out my favorite recipes HERE

My favorite butter substitute is THIS

My favorite milk option for cooking is THIS

My favorite milk option for baking is THIS

Try THIS and THIS for a sweet treat

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  • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

    I’m so proud of you for eating dairy free for so long now! I am sure your body thanks you as well. It’s really important to find what makes us go, and if something is in the way of that it can still be hard to change our ways. You and Annie are both so encouraging when it comes to eating better!

    • Megan

      Its super hard but I know its better in the long run and I feel SO much better!

  • http://ohhey-ilikethat.com Lauren

    This is so awesome! My boyfriend is lactose-intolerant, and he takes lactaid pills when he has to eat dairy, but sometimes it’s hard to realize just how many things have dairy in them. I will definitely look into your recipes!

    • Megan

      There are so many things with dairy that I was unaware of!This has helped me to really learn what ingredients are used in common dishes and if I’m not sure I always just ask. Its super hard though

  • http://lostrightdirection.blogspot.com/ Jenn

    I’m in the same boat. I am very lactose intolerant and spent one night few weeks ago in serious pain from eating a small bowl of ice cream. I’ve been slowly cutting things out but pizza will be the hardest!

    • Megan

      Its so crazy, right?! I didn’t have ANY dairy for about a month and then ate mashed potatoes at a restaurant and took a lactaid. I had stomach cramps for 6 hours afterwards. Your body gets used to not having dairy and revolts when it sneaks in there!

  • http://www.thefreeandwildblog.com Annie

    Megan, that is so great! As you know, I completely relate to your feeling. I think I went through a mild depression when I was diagnosed with Celiac and told I had to cut out bread, pizza, pasta, cake, cookies–basically everything, it felt like! It was so hard because friends would want to go out and get pizza and I would have to go and get a salad. It just made me feel really left out, especially when I cared about that stuff in high school, hahah! Going dairy free has been harder for me than going gluten-free, hands down, and it sucks because dairy is IN EVERYTHING. LiKE WHY?! I wish every just bought Earth Balance butter and called it a day. I am so happy that you are adjusting and you’ve never felt better!