Navigating diet changes –

It’s funny the lengths people will sometimes go to in order to enjoy something they love.  I will be the first to admit that cheese is my kryptonite.  I fucking love it!  You say the words, “Let’s visit the cheese counter,” and you’re my friend for life.

Problem is, cow’s milk is bad for my body.  My mom revealed to me years ago that I was allergic to cow’s milk when I was a baby.  When I grew older, I drank loads of milk because clearly I started being able to tolerate it.  It didn’t much matter back then because with the dancing, I metabolised anything I put into my body.  It’s only has I have grown older that it has become more of an issue.  But despite knowing that I have a problem with it, I’ve ignored it for years simply because I love cheese and milk so much.  I’ve let myself suffer over and over again for a momentary pleasure.  How stupid is that!

This past week, I decided to avoid having cow’s milk products wherever possible.  For cheese, I selected goat’s milk feta which I’ve been eating in moderation.  For milk, I’ve started using almond or soy milk.  It’s amazing what switching to alternatives for a short amount of time will tell you about how your body responds to things.

What have I discovered happens when I eat cow’s milk?  First of all, my skin looks like crap.  I’ve always had issues with my skin, but I’ve noticed that it’s already clearing up since giving up cow’s milk.  The oil pockets that are in there now are starting to come out which is temporarily making my skin look worse, but they haven’t come back yet once they’ve gone.  The colour of my skin has also improved, particularly under my eyes which are usually rather dark.

The second thing I noticed is how much less sore I feel without cow’s milk.  I’ve known about this one for a while because if I eat something with a lot of it such as pizza, it feels like someone has beaten me with a frying pan.  Even just walking makes my lower back hurt like you wouldn’t believe!  I’m still experiencing some pain because of how out of shape I am, but I don’t hurt nearly as much since I gave up the cow’s milk.

The third thing is that I have more energy.  I don’t feel like I need a nap or to veg out in front of the TV after I’ve eaten when I avoid cow’s milk.  I’m not saying that I feel like I could run a marathon, but I don’t feel like asking my hubby to do the grocery shopping by himself anymore.  It sounds so simple, but that’s a pretty big step for me!

Needless to say, I’m on the right path.  I did make the mistake of having a slice of pizza and some cow’s milk cheese at dinner last night and started paying for it as early as an hour after eating it.  I’m still feeling it, but luckily not that much since I didn’t have a lot of it.  That was definitely a wake-up call, though!

Switching cheeses was easy for me since I love goat’s milk cheese so much.  (Not having as much cheese is going to be the hard part!)  The big question for me with this transition has been what type of milk to use.  I’ve previously tried rice milk and absolutely hated it, so I tried both almond and soy milk this week.  Almond milk has been fantastic in everything, particularly smoothies, oatmeal and coffee.  The soy milk hasn’t been bad (except in coffee – ugh!) but it’s not as flavourful.  I’m thinking almond milk might be the winner for me.  Looking at the two purely from a health standpoint, 1.5 cups almond milk has a couple more grams of sugar and less calcium than soy milk, but it has more protein, less fat / saturated fat and half the calories.  Clear winner as far as I’m concerned.

On that note, I’ll finish this post with my new favourite recipe: Breakfast smoothies!  I’m not a huge fan of a full breakfast unless it’s a brunch situation, as I grew up rarely eating breakfast.  Nowadays, I feel better if I keep it light.  I dusted off my poor, neglected Nutribullet this week and got back into smoothies with a dairy-free twist and am loving it!  This is my basic breakfast smoothie recipe:

  • 1.5 cups Vitasoy Almond Milk Original (113 calories, 6.8g fat, 0.8g saturated fat)
  • 3 tablespoons Nudie Natural Coconut Yoghurt (71 calories, 6.7g fat, 6.3g saturated fat)
  • 1/2 cup sliced banana, frozen (68 calories, 0.1g fat, 0g saturated fat)
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries (20 calories, 0.2g fat, 0g saturated fat)
  • 1 packet Uncle Toby’s Oats Quick Sachets, Original (130 calories, 3.1g fat, 0.6g saturated fat
  • 5 ice cubes

Total Calories: 402
Total Fat: 16.9g
Total Saturated Fat: 7.7g

To ensure consistency day to day, the only part of the recipe I would recommend changing is the berries.  Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are all fantastic, but I’ve also used apple with a bit of cinnamon as well and it’s equally lovely albeit a slightly different texture.  You could even add another 1/2 cup of banana and perhaps a bit of honey or vanilla if you just wanted to keep it simple.  I split up the fruits I use for these into single servings in my freezer, so it takes me about 2 minutes to whizz it up in the Nutribullet and walk out the door.  Then I drink it slowly on the train ride to work.

Until next time!  ❤