Today, I wanted to write about a personal story/struggle that lead me into a kicking dairy out of my life and going plant-based aka vegan. I promise I won't get into the dirty details of the dairy industry; I'm keeping this 100% about beauty and body!
I have been so transformed that I almost forgot I had this major problem that once controlled my life. Years ago, before I knew all the scary stuff about dairy, I was a dairy eater. Now I never drank regular milk, but CHEESE, whole milk yogurt and dairy coffee creamers were the norm in my diet. During this time, I suffered from severe stomach and digestive issues. I had even been to a gastroenterologist and even he couldn't figure out what was wrong.
Along with the stomach issues, I also had skin problems. I wouldn't call it acne but my skin definitely always had a pimple or 2 along with non stop congestion, tiny pimples under the skin and inflammation. Another thing that would happen (maybe because of the stomach issues) was a strange 5 lbs that would creep on and off me for no reason at all. And no matter how hard I worked out it wouldn't make a difference at all. I know 5 lbs isn't a lot but it was to me when I couldn't fit into my jeans some days!
This may not sound like much but it was enough to affect me deeply and control my life. Anyone who has experience with stomach problems I'm sure could agree.
I always thought dairy was good for me and that's what kept it in my diet. I always bought organic, and had a love for good quality yogurt and cheese, of course. I'm not talking Kraft singles and Yoplait here... so for years (almost my whole life) thought this was just something I had to deal with. I tried so many diets (even tried gluten free), exercise routines, etc....but nothing worked.
Once I started to really learn about nutrition and the dairy industry, I had a major eye opening experience which led to the decision that I didn't want to consume dairy anymore. Technically making me a vegan.
I loved cheese. No, I LOVED cheese. I'm Italian so it's in my blood right?!
I thought this would be SO hard but the desire to not consume dairy was way stronger than my cravings for it so it was pretty black and white for me. I simply don't eat dairy. Period. And once I made that decision it was so easy.
I started to really study the benefits of healthy fats like avocado and nuts and the difference that the switch made was absolutely incredible. I saw a difference right away in my skin becoming clear and smooth and bright...and my stomach was flat with no bloating and, most importantly, ALL of my digestive issues were gone completely! I lost some weight in bloat and especially saw it in my face. I was like a new person! It turns out that it was a lie that I had to live with those issues. No one should have to live that way, and we certainly weren't designed to.
Healthy fats can actually help reverse the damage that dairy causes on the body!
Here are some comparisons:
1.Dairy - artery clogging and causes high blood pressure that can lead to heart attacks
Healthy Fats - help clear the arteries and help lower blood pressure, very good for heart health
2.Dairy - Causes acne due to the excessive hormones and unhealthy fats
Healthy Fats - Helps clear acne and greatly reduces inflammation that causes acne and aging, very good for anti aging and clear skin, gives skin a healthy glow
3.Dairy - Can cause weight gain due to the unhealthy fats getting trapped in the cells and hormone imbalances leading to weight gain
Healthy Fats - Aids in weight loss by burning the fat that the body doesn't need, good for balancing and nourishing hormones (especially coconut oil for thyroid)
4. Dairy - Causes build up in the stomach leading to blockages of the bowel, or in other cases diarrhea for the lactose intolerant, leading to inflammation
Healthy Fats - Helps clear the blockages in the digestive tract, helps the body absorb nutrients in food, anti inflammatory
5. Dairy - Causes inflammation at a cellular level leading to disease like diabetes and cancer. All diseases thrive in an acidic enviornment
Healthy Fats - Alkaline which is the opposite of acidic, disease can not survive in an alkaline enviornment
Well if that isn't enough to cut dairy I don't know what is!
Healthy fats are the ultimate beauty food, they keep the skin nourished, balanced, ageless, radiant and beautiful! Healthy fats are even good for your hair!
Some of my favorite fats are avocado, coconut and coconut oil, walnuts, cashews, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and almonds.
And don't worry, you don't have to give up cheese to ditch dairy. This is coming from a cheese snob so trust me I wouldn't steer you wrong.
There are some brands that make plant based butter, yogurt and cheese so good, that you'll wonder why you waited so long. Some vegan cheeses just aren't good and it gives plant based (vegan) cheese a bad name (sorry, Daiya)
At the bottom of this I will give a full list of good, quality plant based cheeses, yogurts and butters.
Also, here is a homemade Cashew Parmesan that will knock your socks off!
Oh, dairy free tip, get some nutritional yeast and add it to foods that you would add cheese to. It's ridiculously good for you and full of necessary B vitamins and tastes so so SO good. Trust.
Cashew Parmesan Recipe:
-Grab a handful of organic raw cashews
-Chop them up
-Drop them in a Bullet
-Add about 1/3-of-the-cashews-worth of nutritional yeast
-Sprinkle on everything
Ok now here are some plant based goods! ( I don't like the word vegan too much, I like plant based, which means it came from plants )
-Cheese for cheese plates, pasta, bagels, toast, pizza or anywhere you would use fancy cheese:
- Cheese for tacos, pizza, grilled cheese, sliced, shreaded or shreadable, bakeable, cookable:
- Cheese for Mac & Cheese and or pasta sauces:
even Ben and Jerrry's and Breyer's make dairy free now!
I'm sure I'm forgetting some because there are alot. Also you can make own. I have 2 very easy fool proof DELICIOUS recipies on The Happy Beet Cookbook, one for a creamy cashew cheese and one for a macadamia riccotta
Another great option is to substitue your dairy cheese for avocado or coconut cream. Have you ever had a grilled avocado instead of a grilled cheese?! Or cooking with coconut cream instaed of dairy cream? So yum, you definately wont be misssing out!
I hope all of this information was helpful! And I hope to inspire you and help guide you to a well, balanced, whole and healthy life