August 11, 2013

Being Dairy Free Rocks. ~ Shirley Plant

For years I was constantly ill.

I had digestive problems, was always constipated and felt tired most of the day.

Visiting my doctor yielded no solutions, as all of my tests came back normal. I felt that this was my lot in life and got used to feeling this way and struggling through my days.

One day when I was outside our home, our neighbor asked how I was doing. I told him of my continued health issues and he made comment of the dark circles under my eyes. He suggested I go for allergy testing, something neither I, nor my doctor had ever thought of.

I tried two types of allergy testing.

The Standard Skin Prick test with an allergist where the upper arm or back is pricked with a needle and a drop of antigen is placed where it can be absorbed into the skin. If the person is sensitive to the antigen, a bump or red area will form on the skin and the allergy will be noted. This tested me mostly for outdoor allergens like pollen, grasses, dogs, cats and mold.

I also visited an environmental doctor who did sublingual testing for food allergens. This is where a baseline pulse rate is taken before testing. The test antigen is then placed under the tongue of the patient and is held there for one minute. This helps with faster absorption into the bloodstream.

After five minutes, the pulse is measured and compared with the first baseline pulse. Also noted are any symptoms in the patient like headache, sore muscles, stuffy nose, etc. If there are symptoms, a positive is said to have occurred and then either a stronger or weaker dilution of the same antigen are administered until the patient’s pulse is back to the baseline and symptoms have disappeared.

Well, what a surprise!

In the food category I discovered I was allergic to dairy, wheat, yeast, eggs, corn, pork, sugar, and soy. I also found out that grasses, molds, cats and pine trees were an issue with me as well. No wonder I wasn’t feeling well—every time I ate something I was allergic to, my immune system revolted.

Years later, I also found out I was Celiac, which meant I had to avoid gluten in my diet, as well.

What a learning curve this was.

Most of the foods I ate on a daily basis like cereal, toast, pasta and sandwiches were no longer an option.

I was left with the question, what the heck was I going to eat now?

First I did a little research, then, I went to a local health food store. I had never been to a health food store, yet they were happy to help and give me suggestions as to what to eat. I was a little leery to try some of the new foods they suggested, like hemp seed, agar and rice milk, but I did buy a few items—and with lots of errors and failed recipes, I did eventually come up with tasty, alternatives to the foods I could no longer eat.

Dairy Free Options

I was amazed at all the dairy-free options that were available to me. Rice milk, flax milk, hemp milk, coconut milk and almond milk were all products that I could use. It was simply a matter of trying them out and seeing which ones I liked.

To my astonishment I liked all of them. Some worked better in baking and coconut milk became a favorite for me when I made smoothies.

Eating Healthier

What started to happen was that I no longer ate food out of a box, can or package. I started to cook and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I made up a weekly menu plan for myself, which helped me when I went grocery shopping and, and, also, meant I wasn’t eating the same thing night after night. Vegetables became the bulk of my meals, along with organic meats, nuts, seeds and fruit. I knew by eating this way, I was improving my health.

I no longer felt bloated and ill most of the time and those very embarrassing, smelly toots were a thing of the past.

Throughout my research, I learned that dairy was very acidic to the body.

Once I started to incorporate many more greens into my diet and help my body to be more alkaline, I noticed that my eczema started to improve as well. Keeping your body alkaline by eating more alkaline foods like kale, spinach, leafy greens, zucchini, cilantro, parsley and avocados is a great way to ward off disease.

Dairy seemed to be the cause of many of my health issues and once I started to avoid it and change my diet it became clear that if I had stayed eating certain foods I might have become a very sick individual.

Isn’t it amazing how you think some things are such a pain, but end up being a blessing?

Here is one of my favorite “go to” treats that is dairy free. Enjoy!

Cocoa Banana Hemp Pudding

¾ cup shelled hemp seeds

3 bananas

1 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp cocoa powder

¾ cup pure coconut milk

Mix all ingredients in your food processor until smooth.

Dish into small dishes and put in the fridge to cool.

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Asst. Ed./Editor: Tawny Sanabria

{photo: via Pinterest}

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