Dairy Free for Me?

I have to admit, I’ve fought this one tooth and nail. There are so many trends when it comes to health, nutrition and fitness that I tend to question everything new I read and am skeptical of the “data” and claims. Remember the “fat free” diet trend? That’s when we consumed SnackWells by the dozen and ate those chips with Olestra in them and wondered why we weren’t losing weight and had diarrhea! I was in high school during that phase and was an athlete. For lunch, I thought I was doing good buying a footlong Subway whole wheat roll and drinking Diet Coke because both were fat free.

You and I both know that “fat free” is not the key to good health or good performance.

Trend= 1 point, Jamie= 0.

So instead of fat free, these days it’s gluten free, dairy free, GMO free, preservative free, etc… Now I’m not saying those suggestions are like the fat free trend, but I am wondering if in 10 years we will still hear the same amounts of arguments against gluten and dairy.

I am a firm believer in whole foods. I have a simple rule of thumb. I call it the ground and animal rule. The closer the food is to it’s source from the ground (plant/tree/root/etc…) or to the animal (without being overly processed and added to) it’s likely to be a better food choice. This isn’t the case for ALL things. I can’t say eating fresh bacon is the BEST food choice (it may be a YUMMY food choice, but that’s besides the point.) So, is fresh milk straight from the cow source bad for you? Is homemade stone ground wheat bread going to bloat your belly? I am not arguing AGAINST the data for going gluten free, dairy free, etc… I am just saying I am not willing to jump on board completely without more research and without the test of time over trend.

No more giving up points to trends.

I won’t argue against testimony. If you have tried going gluten free or dairy free and have found great wellness benefits from doing so, that is awesome. Of course, those diagnosed with celiacs disease or a milk allergy, it’s an absolute necessity to do so. I just don’t know how much we’ve blurred the lines between an intolerance, an allergy and a nutrition trend. I do believe that some people would benefit from applying one or both of those principles for a variety of reasons. In fact, I am hoping my newborn benefits. I don’t believe he is allergic to dairy, but what I know is the case is that many newborns don’t have a mature enough digestive system to handle the milk proteins or the breakdown of them which causes distress in their little bellies. My fourth baby is having a rough go his first several weeks in our world. Diagnosed with reflux and a lot of belly issues makes for sleepless nights and uncomfortable days. It is a suggestion for nursing moms who have babies dealing with these issues to cut out the dairy to see if this helps to calm the other symptoms.

So, here I am, going dairy free. I am actually excited for more reasons than the hope of helping my little one. I am also curious to see if I notice any added benefits for myself. Will I have a “dairy free” testimony that solidifies the research for me and “sells” me on all of the recent propoganda? We shall see.

I didn’t realize how much “dairy” I was taking in until I started to watch it! I am not a milk drinker and I don’t eat a lot of cheese. But, I use greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and whey protein powder on a daily basis. Or I did. I used to add all three of those ingredients into baking and recipes for added protein and so now, I am on the search for alternatives.

For those of you who have not ventured into trying the “dairy free” living, here’s just a few things I’ve found out so far. (I’ll post at a later date with my “data” and other things I’ve found through research along the way.)

  1. Coconut oil is a perfect substitute for butter. No, it doesn’t have the same flavor, but if you need a bit of butter flavor in baking, you can use butter extract and then use the coconut oil in place of butter. You can use coconut oil spray for your pans too!
  2. Coconut milk is awesome on granola, in your oats, or in a smoothie. I’m sure you all ready knew this, but it’s less calories too. It’s also a great substitute for milk in baking or recipes.
  3. Coconut milk in a can makes delicious coffee creamer when you add vanilla, honey and cinnamon.
  4. Be careful to read labels because dairy is hidden in all kinds of things from bread, to pancake mixes to rice cakes (certain flavors).
  5. There are all kinds of vegan substitutes for cheeses, yogurt and even ice cream but many of them are soy based. It’s often that newborns who can’t digest milk proteins can’t digest soy either so I won’t be using those.
  6. I am expecting a vegan protein powder in the mail soon and can’t wait to try it. I’ve been lacking in the protein department so I’ve added hemp seeds, chia seeds and more flax into my diet by sprinkling them on my foods. I plan on utilizing quinoa more often like in pancakes and oatmeal and will also utilize pureed beans in sauces and baking.
  7. A girl can’t go without a cookie every now and then and what a perfect reason to try a new recipe than to be on the hunt for dairy free cookies. I’ll close out this post by sharing this GREAT cookie recipe that my kids tested and approved!

 

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