Dairy Dilemmas

Dairy is a big part of the American diet. Just about anything we eat can be topped with cheese or have a splash or milk or a pat of butter. Dairy is defined as being any food that is made from milk. Many milk products are comfort foods such as milkshakes, macaroni and cheese, ice cream, chocolate, etc. Although these treats are delicious, many women have problems digesting milk; it may be due to the lactose or casein or the many other factors that go into tolerating and digesting milk. Experiencing body aches, headaches, strong body odor, bloating, or stomach pains may mean you do not tolerate dairy well. Dairy also causes inflammation. Joint pain, acne, allergies, congestion with mucus, and difficulty losing weight are common symptoms of inflammation and may be due to dairy. It is important to always listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel after eating. While many find omitting dairy completely difficult, symptoms may improve by reducing one’s dairy intake. Here are some healthier alternatives to classic comfort foods without dairy.

A. Ice Cream: This is a favorite for almost everyone I know. A bowl of ice cream may sound delicious but can be getting in the way of your health goals. It is possible to have your little indulgence at the end of the day and not consume dairy at the same time. There are many healthier dairy free options for ice cream in the frozen food section of your grocery store. Try ice creams that are made with almond, coconut, or cashew base. These treats tend to be lower in sugar and overall calories, higher in healthier fats, and do not promote inflammation. Instead of topping your ice cream with sprinkles, try chia seeds instead.

B. Pizza: A slice of warm, crunchy pizza is the go to for a fast and easy meal. Pizza is delicious, flavorful, and filling. It would be shame to have to deal with acne and painful joints just because we don’t want to give up our favorite foods. When ordering pizza, ask for sauce and no cheese. This is an extremely simple solution to cutting down on fat and decreasing total body inflammation. You can add toppings to your pizza to make it even better such as mushrooms, broccoli, peppers, or eggplant. I also love ordering salad pizzas which is simply a crust with your favorite salad on top, sometimes with or without sauce. If you are looking for a protein, more places are offering chicken and vegetables as a pizza topping.

C. Cheese Burgers: Packing a double inflammation punch with red meat and cheese, cheese burgers can really do a number on your digestion and sinuses. This food tends to be greasy, fatty, and high in sodium. The obvious first step would be to order a plain hamburger with no cheese. If you want to go a step further, opt for a vegetarian black bean burger instead of a beef one. Consciously choosing this healthier choice will make your stomach a lot happier, reducing bloating and supporting weight loss. After adding the lettuce, onion, and tomato, you won’t really be missing the beef burger. Try a black bean burger at home and add savory spices such as paprika, crushed black pepper, garlic, onion, and coriander. These will deliver those typical beef flavors without the negative effects of red meat.

By making these ABC changes, you can cut out the dairy products entirely. You can still eat many of the foods you love even if you are decreasing or getting rid of dairy.