Back when you were in university or college, did the psychology department run studies that you could volunteer for? Mine did, and I signed up because they’d pay me to do something as easy as sit in a room for 30 minutes, look at at computer-generated facial expressions and press buttons on a keyboard. That would immediately translate into a handful of cash for that night’s bar hopping, and when you’re a student, that sounds like a pretty sweet deal.
These days I’m not part of any university studies, but I am the subject of loads of n=1 studies. That is, studies run by myself, on myself.
As we all know, what our bodies thrive on can be completely different from one person to the next. For example, in my early teens I gave up red meat because it seemed to make me feel sluggish, and today I don’t eat much of it unless I suspect my iron is low. As for animal products in general, I’ve never been full-on vegan or vegetarian, nor do I think I ever will be. However, through all the trial and error (and there have been lots of errors) one thing is for sure: my body seems to do best on a primarily plant-based diet with loads of fruits and veggies.
Another example: dairy. As a teenager I had nightmare skin and tried every medication, cream and cleanser to get rid of the acne that I was genetically “blessed” with. As I grew out of those awkward years into my 20s (and partly thanks to Accutane, an entirely separate controversial conversation), my skin improved and breakouts were less crazy. These days things seem to be under control, but through another series of n=1 experiments, I’ve come to the conclusion that a sure-fire way to kick my internal acne factory back into production is to consume dairy products. Eggs seem to be ok, but milk and yogurt – watch out!
It seems I’m not alone – numerous studies have investigated this topic and Google spins up 398,000 results like this one for the “link between dairy and acne”. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m definitely not claiming dairy is “bad”. As I stated above, what one person’s body thrives on can be a total disaster for somebody else and it’s all about finding what you thrive on. Luckily for me and my dairy-free friends, there are so many alternatives available – nut milks, cashew cheese and coconut yogurt just to name a few – that it doesn’t feel like we’re missing out at all.
My friend Alisa is the blogger behind Go Dairy Free, which (I’m pretty sure) is the biggest, most popular dairy-free blog out there. She’s put together some fabulous tools for people looking to transition to a dairy-free diet including this getting started page, a free e-cookbook, and tons of recipes. Whether you need to go dairy-free for medical reasons, or if you just want to give it a try as part of your own little self experiment, she is a go-to resource!
Recently Alisa asked if I’d like to be part of her 2nd annual Dairy-Free Blogger Potluck, a series of 10 recipes created by bloggers that cater to a dairy-free lifestyle. I chose the healthy snack category, and after brainstorming a bunch of options, decided on a lightened-up Vegan 7-Layer Taco Dip.
Although the list below looks like a lot of ingredients, many are repeated in more than one layer and the only tool you need is a blender or food processor to whirl them all up. Serve it with your dippers of choice (crackers, veggies, chips, etc) and I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before you’re looking at the bottom of the bowl!
Vegan 7-Layer Taco Dip
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Ingredients (7-8 cups)
- 540mL can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 peeled limes
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 seeded jalapeno pepper
- 341mL can yellow corn, drained and rinsed if canned
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 2 peeled limes
- 200g silken tofu
- a few pinches of stevia
- 1 each yellow, red and orange diced bell peppers
- 3 medium diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 2 avocados, mashed
- 100g silken tofu
- 1 peeled lime
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1-2 tbsp So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk – added gradually if needed to blend
- scallions, sliced
- jalapeños sliced (and optionally seeded to reduce spiciness)
Layer 1: Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth or a little chunky – whatever you prefer! Pour them into a large bowl (ideally one big enough to hold ~10 cups) and tilt the bowl so that the mixture coats the bottom. Rinse the blender jug.
Layer 2: Pour the corn over the black bean mixture and spread into an even layer.
Layer 3: Add all ingredients to the blender/food processor jug and blend until smooth. Pour this layer over the corn and use a spatula or back of a spoon to spread evenly. Rinse the blender jug.
Layer 4: Scatter the peppers over the creamy chipotle layer.
Layer 5: Pour the salsa over the peppers, then scatter the diced tomatoes on top.
Layer 6: Add all ingredients to the blender/food processor jug and blend until smooth. Pour this layer over the tomatoes and use a spatula or back of a spoon to spread evenly. Rinse the blender jug.
Layer 7: Sprinkle the scallions and jalapeno slices over the avocado layer.
If you’re interested in test driving a dairy-free diet, So Delicious Dairy Free is hosting a 21-day Dairy Free Challenge from January 21st – February 10th. You can join any time, and all the info can be found in this Facebook group. You’ll find support, recipes, and awesome giveaways for gift cards, food kits and even a trip for 2 to Boulder, Colorado.
As an added bonus for those of you who love Instagram, for every photo of a dairy-free meal or snack uploaded with #DairyFree4Good during the official challenge dates, So Delicious Dairy Free will make a $1 donation to Farm Sanctuary.
So now I’d love to hear from you. Tell me…
- Do you follow a dairy-free (or mostly dairy-free) diet? What were your reasons for doing so? Have you found that it’s made a big difference?
- Have you done any self experiments when it comes to your nutrition regimen? Any interesting findings?
Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by So Delicious Dairy Free, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Eat Spin Run Repeat and the companies I partner with!