Monday, July 12, 2010

Dairy-Free Me


Aaaaahhhh cheese...my self-proclaimed favorite food group for many many years now. I have had a love affair with cheese for as long as I can remember. Cheddar...feta...pepperjack!! I love them ALL!! But, as I continue on further down my path to wellness and better health, I have come to realize my addiction to cheese might not be helping me any. While I've never actually had any digestive problems, that I know of, related to eating/drinking dairy, I am aware of the hormones that occur naturally in milk (even organic milk). I have been trying to eat and drink in a way that will balance my hormones and get my body the nourishment it needs and avoid any extra imbalcement I can.

For a while I was only eating organic cheese, and not drinking milk or eating any other dairy at all. This seemed to be ok, as far as I could tell, in a lot of ways, except one...my skin. I have had patchy redness on my cheeks since my whole life. It is never very noticeable to anyone but me, after washing my face, but I have always wondered why. The more I researched the topic, the more I found people saying their skin cleared up after eliminating dairy from their diets! While there are PLEANTY of other excellent reasons out there to avoid eating dairy, I have to say, finding the solution to my dry, redness and acne-prone skin is definitely on the top of my list. So, I have embarked on another dietary experiment...eliminating all dairy from my diet in an attempt to clear up my skin. As I am already very active in doing all the other things associated with having clear skin from the inside out, like drinking lots of water and eating lots of green leafy vegetables, I am anxious to see how this will effect my health and my skin.

But, I am not too sad about losing my long time pal, cheese. I am actually more excited to try some of the nut cheese recipes I have! Last week, while camping, I also tried some great vegan cheese-style spread, marketed to those of us who still like a cheesy dip for veggies or crackers, called, "We Can't Say It's Cheese," by Wayward Farms.



Here are the simple, and not chemical or terrifying ingredients of the spreads:

*Cheddar-Style Spread — 2 tbsp. = 60 calories, 5g fat, 190mg sodium, 1g fiber, 0g sugars, 2g protein; Ingredients: Prepared non-GMO Whole Grain Oatmeal (water, oats), vegetable oil blend (may contain the following: coconut, safflower, and olive oil), sesame, pimentos (pimentos, water, citric acid), nutritional yeast, sea salt, calcium carbonate, onion powder, evaporated cane juice.

*Hickory-Smoked Cheddar-Style Spread — 2 tbsp. = 60 calories, 5g fat, 190mg sodium, 1g fiber, 0g sugars, 2g protein; Ingredients: Prepared non-GMO Whole Grain Oatmeal (water, oats), vegetable oil blend (may contain the following: coconut, safflower, and olive oil), sesame, pimentos (pimentos, water, citric acid), nutritional yeast, sea salt, natural hickory smoke flavor (water, natural hickory smoke concentrate), calcium carbonate, onion powder, evaporated cane juice.
This is the one I tried, and I was VERY pleasantly surprised! It has a very pleasant hickory-smoke flavor that was satisfying and curbed my inner cheese beast!

*Cheddar-Style Sauce & Dip — 2 tbsp. = 50 calories, 4g fat, 180mg sodium, 1g fiber, 0g sugars, 2g protein; Ingredients: Prepared non-GMO Whole Grain Oatmeal (water, oats), vegetable oil blend (may contain the following: coconut, safflower, and olive oil), sesame, pimentos (pimentos, water, citric acid), nutritional yeast, sea salt, calcium carbonate, onion powder, evaporated cane juice.

*Mexi Cheddar-Style Sauce & Dip — 2 tbsp. = 50 calories, 4g fat, 180mg sodium, 1g fiber, 0g sugars, 2g protein; Ingredients: Prepared non-GMO Whole Grain Oatmeal (water, oats), vegetable oil blend (may contain the following: coconut, safflower, and olive oil), sesame, pimentos (pimentos, water, citric acid), nutritional yeast, sea salt, calcium carbonate, onion powder, evaporated cane juice, spices. I'll probably try this one next, as it appeals to that other wonderful cheesiness in life, the mexi-flavor! I'm not sure I will ever quite be over missing that white Mexican cheese dip, but hopefully this will provide some relief to my palate when I get a craving! I will update this post once I've tried a few more of these.

So, that's where I stand on my journey to a cheese-free lifestyle. It is seriously like leaving an old friend, or quitting smoking cigarettes, for me. I am going to try and stay strong with this and I will report back with the findings of my experiment, until then...have a happy, cheese-less day!


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