I have so many people that ask me how in the world I can eat a dairy and gluten-free diet.
I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that I never, ever eat one ounce of dairy because I definitely do have my moments. Hey, I'm only human, I try my best and if it happens, it happens!
So you may be wondering why I choose to not eat wonderfully satisfying foods such as cheese and bread?
Well, around the holidays this past year my skin got BAD. I'm not talking about a little zit or two here and there. I mean FULL FACE whiteheads, bumps, redness....real acne awfulness. I'll get more into my skincare routine and what I did to completely transform my skin in another post but I 100% believe taking away dairy and gluten changed my life. Sounds dramatic but it's soooo true.
When I was a senior in high school, I dealt with similar skin issues (although not nearly as bad as I did recently) and it turned out at the time I was allergic to dairy and corn. Long story short, I stopped eating both of those for a few months and my skin completely cleared! This lasted about 6 months and then slowly started to introduce corn and dairy back into my diet and everything was a-okay until this past year.
Ever since taking away dairy, all of my skin issues cleared up and I just feel SO much better.
I was never a big milk drinker (honestly it grossed me out) but I LOVED cheese. Like so much that you couldn't even leave me alone with a block of manchengo without devouring the whole thing, haha, I wish I was joking ! I'll admit at first it wasn't easy but after you take something away for awhile your body eventually gets used to it and stops craving the foods it once did.
I've lived a life with it and without it and can honestly say as a recovering "cheese-a-holic", I'm doing just fine without it!!
You can do your own research on dairy and why people choose not to eat it. I'll admit going dairy-free is not for everyone and if you do choose to eat it, that 100% does not make you unhealthy.
It has this effect on your skin because in today's world there are SO many unnecessary added hormones in the dairy industry. Personally, my body couldn't handle and process this so it sent my own hormones out of whack....which is where the acne was stemming from. If you're dealing with similar issues, I highly suggest you try eliminating dairy for 60-90 days and see how your body reacts.
So back to making the grocery list...it's pretty easy as long as you know what's out there. You've just got to do your research, maybe spend a few days in Whole Foods and explore your options.
I think one tip that's extremely important when you're looking for dairy-free items is to pay attention to the ingredients! There are soo many vegan options out there but with that being said, just because it's labeled vegan does not always mean it's healthy. Not all vegan products are created equal! Many vegan products are filled with tons of chemicals, SOY and unnecessary preservatives. Basically things that you don't really want to be putting in your body.
**just a disclaimer I am not vegan**
So what I try to do is focus on is finding products with real, simple ingredients. Find what works for you!!
Honestly with these products and ingredients, I've created some of my most favorite meals. I promise you can't even tell these products are dairy-free....and they definitely do not taste like fake cheese, haha! Ain't nobody got time for that nastiness!
So without further ado, here are my dairy-free pantry must haves.
Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk
I mentioned this product in my Fab Four Smoothie Recipe post. This almond milk is THE BEST EVER!!! I never thought I would be able to tell a difference in milks but this one is so creamy and makes any smoothie or coffee better...trust me.
Kite Hill Chive Cream Cheese Spread
OMG OMG OMG RUN TO THE STORE NOW!!!! You guys this stuff is freaking amazing!! You can spread it on some brown rice toast and top with Trader Joe's "Everything but the Bagel" spread for a legit copycat version of an everything bagel with cream cheese. I also like to add it to sandwiches, wraps, dips with crackers...the possibilities are endless. TIP: when you buy it make sure to use the coupon found on the cardboard surrounding the packaging!
Bragg Premium Nutritional Yeast Seasoning
This is for anyone craving that sharp parmesan cheese flavor on your foods. I add this to literally anything and everything...salads, pasta, chicken, avocado, rice, etc. It adds so much flavor! You can usually find it for around $5 at any grocery store and this jar should last you awhile!
Enjoy Life Chocolate Mini Chips
If you know me, you'll know I have a HUGE sweet tooth. These mini chocolate chips are seriously the best for when I'm craving chocolate. They're extremely allergy friendly and taste amazing too! You can use them for baking or eat them by the handful (my personal favorite option!) You won't even taste the difference, I promise.
I hope you guys found this helpful and will add these to your list for your next grocery store trip. Even if there's no way you would ever give up dairy, it never hurts to explore your tastebuds and try different ingredients and products!
As always, if you have any questions don't hesitate to reach out! Leave a comment below and let me know what your favorite dairy-free items are!