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If you’re anything like me, you grew up on milk and cereal for breakfast, a heart healthy glass of milk with dinner and if lucky, a yummy bowl of ice cream for desert. Hmmm…. that evokes memories of the old school food pyramid; you know, the one that touts the nutritional values of bread, rice, pasta (suggested 6-11 servings daily!) and at least 2-3 servings of the milk, yogurt and cheese group daily:
So my parents, being diligent to the health and well-being of their children, followed the recommendations and made sure we got out daily doses of grains and dairy. Fast forward to me at 12 in a gastroenterologist’s office for terrible stomach pains and migraines. As the doctors scratched their heads, and declared me suffering from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), I left after being told to avoid caffeine and chocolate and limit my dairy to 1-2 servings daily. Yes folks, I was still eating dairy.
As the years went on, and I started to notice a correlation between my stomach cramps, digestive pains and disruptions and dairy, I slowly started weaning myself off of dairy, and today am happy to say that I am dairy free (and free of those pesky symptoms too!). No, I am not above the occasional cheat if I am so inclined since I’m not “allergic” to dairy, but I will admit that those cheats are typically accompanied by some discomfort.
So here we are. And if I’m correct, you’re not sure how to live without that nibble of cheese, dab of milk in recipes, chocolate milk, or milk chocolate for that matter! Before you start to feel overwhelmed and your head is spinning with visions of smores and m&ms, take a deep breath and focus on why you clicked on this page. There is some reason you’re considering going dairy free; perhaps you are under the impression you too may have a dairy intolerance or allergy, or you might have heard it’s just a far healthier way of eating, or you’re supporting a loved one facing a life-time of no cow products. Whatever the reason, I’m glad you’re here, and I’m here to tell you that you can live without! There are so many wonderful casein and dairy free alternatives today and I’ll help you explore them all. So let’s start with the basics:
Embracing a “previously-moo’d free life”
And remember, with passion for health comes the ability to succeed. Just like with any stage in life, you must first decide to make this a priority, and dedicate yourself to a better health path. I also suggest taking baby steps; if you cut something out completely at once (or too many things at once) you may start to feel deprived, and you’re most likely going to fail. So start slowly, with small steps towards better health, and as you start to feel better (and find new and delish alternatives to the foods you’re replacing) you will find the journey to be an easier one filled with mini milestones, improved health and overall happiness and success!
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