I knew that
My skin was breaking out and not clearing up, I knew I had to change up what I was eating. In particular, my forehead was breaking out. Which was not normal for me. This was a sign of a digestion problem- slowly I have been cutting dairy out.
Now...before you start thinking I've gone crazy. I still haven't cut out EVERYTHING. I love cheese. I would eat cheese every day if I felt like it, so I still have cheese. If you offered me ice cream, I'd still probably eat it. My general goal is to eliminate the things that I can easily substitute with non-dairy options, on a daily basis.
My biggest challenge was finding something to put in my morning coffee that could take the place of half and half. I had tried coconut creamer a few years ago, the French vanilla kind, but I just didn't care for the taste. So, I went back to the half and half.
I was at Whole Foods a little while back and I saw the same creamer- but there were different flavors available. So Delicious Coconut Creamer- Original. I bought it thinking "What the heck? If it works, awesome. If it doesn't, I'll just cook with it."
It ended up being just the thing I needed to eliminate the half and half from my morning coffee. It is by NO means half and half, but it is 10 kCal per tablespoon and it is the best non-dairy option that I have been able to find. ( and I am pretty sure I have tried them ALL.)
I've used this in my scrambled eggs as well, I use to throw in a touch of half and half- so i put a little of this in one day to see if it would still give a nice 'creamy' texture to the eggs. It did. No weird coconut flavor.
I have found this at Kroger and Whole Foods. They have 3 different flavors: Original, French Vanilla, and Hazelnut.
My next obstacle was to substitute my 8 ounces of low-fat chocolate milk after I worked out. I knew that this wasn't something that I could just get rid of, or my muscles would have a hard time repairing. I needed to find a non-dairy solution to my protein needs.
Enter: Sunwarrior Classic Protein (chocolate)
I was extremely skeptical about this stuff. Again, my plan was that if I didn't like it, I would either send it back or use it to bake with. I mix one scoop of this with 8 ounces of unsweetened chocolate almond milk in a blender bottle and 'shake it like a Poloroid picture.' With other non-dairy proteins I've tried, its like drinking a mixture of sand in milk. Totally gross.
This stuff is SMOOTH. It has the texture of powdered sugar. Sunwarrior Protein is made from fermented brown rice protein, which is the difference between it and other brown rice proteins on the market.
Does it taste super amazing? No. It is tolerable, absolutely. I have been using it for about 2 weeks now and have noticed that my stomach is less bloated and that I am looking a bit leaner. The taste takes a bit of getting use to, but its well worth it.
Bottom line? I have ordered another bag in the vanilla flavor to use for baking and smoothies at home. I'll continue to order the chocolate to use after workout ( just because I feel like chocolate is a nice reward after a hard lift session). Its not too expensive and it digests really well (aka no bloat or gas like with most dairy).
Now...what can I use to put on my cereal and use for milk in my smoothies or baking?
Blue Diamond Unsweetened Almond Milk
This is the stuff I like to mix my protein powder with. I buy it when it goes on sale and stock up. I always have a few in my cabinet, and a few in the fridge. It is inexpensive and it has a good shelf life- also dairy free. I use the original or vanilla flavor on cereal or my smoothies- I keep the chocolate strictly for mixing with chocolate protein.
Cutting out dairy can seem like a daunting task, it's not for everyone. From my personal experience, making these small changes has left my skin 'glowing,' bags under my eyes are slowly going away and I have more energy ( possibly because my system isn't bogged down with trying to digest dairy all day). I still won't give up cheese, it won't happen.
Try substituting something you eat with a non-dairy option, notice how you feel, maybe taking some of the dairy out of your diet will benefit you as well.
Lots of love and coconuts,
***DISCLAIMER: I HAVE NOT BEEN PAID TO ENDORSE OR GIVEN ANY OF THESE PRODUCTS FOR FREE. THIS IS MY PERSONAL OPINION.***