This is starting to get a little easier, as I’m learning where the crafty food makers are hiding milk. Once or twice yesterday I pulled something out of the pantry only to return it after reading the ingredients. One in particular was a Zone bar with some sort of whey product in it. That’s just as well since Zone bars are full of all sorts of chemicals I can’t pronounce. Generally the only paleo-friendly food bars I’m aware of are Larabars. Their formula is pretty simple – mash fruit and nuts. I could do that with primitive tools.
The main problems I’m running into trying to remove dairy from my diet are 1) I like butter 2) I like cheese and 3) milk derivatives are in all sorts of cooked products, especially baked goods.
Butter was an easy problem to solve, at least temporarily. I purchased Earth Balance vegan butter. It’s just a whipped oil blend, and it tastes just like butter. The beauty is that you can use it just as you would butter – including baking. The oils are non-hydrogenated, so there’s no trans fats. I bought with Whipped variety, which comes in a tub like margarine, but I see a similar product is also available in sticks. This product is not consistent with the paleo diet, but right now my focus is on eliminating dairy, not following paleo. Ultimately I will attempt to limit my use of butter or butter substitutes. Baby steps.
I’ve made no attempt to replace cheese. I think I’m kind of a cheese snob, and I’m not interested in any sort of vegan fake cheese product. My plan for eliminating cheese is simple – I’m just not eating cheese. This isn’t really very difficult because for the most part you can see when there’s cheese in something. Okay, so the crab rangoons caught me off guard the other night, but that was my first attempt! And I had made it all the way to dinner before I stumbled. Anyway, if anyone wants some cheese there’s a ton in my refrigerator.
With milk I did take the fake soy vegan route. I don’t drink milk (gross), I just cook with it. Maybe over time I’ll figure out how to eliminate milk from recipes or just change what I eat, but for now I thought I’d try cooking with soy milk. I went with Silk. I picked Silk mostly because of the packaging. If I buy a gallon of milk I’ll end up throwing away half of it. Slik was available in a 1 quart shelf stable package, which I put in the refrigerator.
Last night I tried baking with the fake butter and the fake milk for the first time. I made a variation of Spoon Bread inspired by the Virginia Diner. It is not vegan because it contains eggs. Eggs are good paleo food.
I’m not much for recipes (even when baking) – I just mix stuff together and add heat, but this is basically how I made it – Combine 2 cups fake milk, 1 cup water, 1 cup cornmeal, 2 tb fake butter, 1 ts salt, 1 tb sugar in a pot and cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Beat 3 eggs with a hand mixer at medium speed. Temper the eggs with some of the cornmeal mixture, then mix it all together. Fold in 1 cup of corn. Pour into a greased 1-1/2 quart casserole and bake for about 35 – 40 minutes at 350.
If you’ve never had spoon bread you should keep in mind this is not the same thing as corn bread. You have to eat this with a spoon.