Today, I’m excited to share a post with you from my sister about her experience going grain-free and dairy-free! She’s popped up on the blog in the past with a few other guest posts and she graciously offered to write a post this week as I finish up final exams for the semester. Here’s Marissa!Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be writing a blog post on living dairy and grain free. As of the last blog post I wrote, I was eating yogurt for breakfast, cream/cheese/milk/butter with dinner, and sometimes ice cream after dinner, as well as bread, oats, pasta, quinoa, etc. Long story short: I’ve gone through periods before of not feeling great after eating dairy, but it got a lot worse this fall. I’d eat yogurt for breakfast and feel sick the rest of the day. I completely lost my appetite and had to force myself to eat just to keep my strength up. Maybe TMI, but my stomach was constantly extremely bloated (I had to convince my husband I wasn’t actually pregnant…), to the point that it felt like my stomach just couldn’t stretch anymore.
I was a firm believer that good quality, organic/grass fed dairy is healthy and even much-needed for its healthy fats. But as I struggled with my health and tried to understand why I felt so terrible, I realized I might not be able to digest dairy well. After doing some research, I decided to try cutting out dairy to see how I felt. I figured, what’s the worst that could happen besides missing yogurt and ice cream?
After about 2 weeks of not eating dairy, I felt so much better. My bloating had mostly gone away and I felt like I could breathe again. I regained my appetite (thank goodness!) and had way more energy. It was so crazy to see my body switch so quickly just from cutting out dairy.
However, I noticed my body would still react a bit when I would eat grain. I remember one night in particular eating a bowl of pasta, and the next day, I had severe bloating and overall sickness. So I decided to cut out grain, as well, and that helped a bunch, too.
With all of that being said, I don’t think going dairy/grain-free is for everyone. Many people are able digest dairy and grain just fine– Liv and my husband both can! But I think that cutting out dairy and grain can really help a lot of people who have have sensitives. I’ve heard countless stories of people cutting out dairy and grain and seeing huge improvements in their health (decrease in acne, losing weight, better breathing, etc.).
I’ll be honest– it’s been a challenge to adjust my food habits to not eat dairy and grain. I’ve done a ton of searching on the Internet for good grain-free/dairy-free meal plans and haven’t found a lot that I’ve loved. So, I wanted to share a peek into a week of meals for our little family now that I’m grain and dairy-free. Below is my meal plan for next week, as well as how Alex modifies the meal to add dairy as desired.
Sample Grain-Free & Dairy-Free Dinner Meal Plan
Monday- Stuffed Acorn Squash
Tuesday- Grilled Chicken Hummus Bowls
Wednesday- Sweet Potato, Lentil, and Black Bean Chili
Thursday- Burrito bowls (We just copycat Chipotle by putting lettuce as the base, then adding chicken or steak, beans, and toppings. Alex will typically add cheese and sour cream to his.)
Saturday- Chicken Parmesan (Alex adds cheese on top and has pasta on the side.)
Sunday- Wild salmon and roasted yellow potatoes. No recipe here– we just put some ghee or pesto on top of the salmon and bake it in the oven. We cut up the potatoes and toss them in avocado oil, then sprinkle rosemary, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
As you can see, we have been able to find meals that we can both enjoy, and a lot of them can be eaten with or without grain/dairy. Alex has been such a trooper as I’ve figured out how to eat meals that don’t destroy my stomach. Of course, Alex still indulges in ice cream after dinner, and I’ve found some yummy coconut ice cream I’ll have a bite or two of.
As far as other meals go, breakfast has been the hardest for me to figure out since I started eating grain and dairy-free. I started off having gluten-free toast with eggs and/or sausage, but it didn’t keep me full for long, and it probably didn’t provide my body with all the nutrients I needed. Plus, I’m typically tight on time in the mornings trying to get out the door for work, and making eggs/toast/sausage took awhile! I also tried making grain-free energy bites — these were good but also didn’t keep me full for long.
I’ve settled on drinking smoothies in the morning, and I think they’ll be my go-to breakfast for the foreseeable future. They’re easy to make, I can drink them in the car on the way to work, and they provide my body with lots of good nutrients.
I’m currently making my smoothies with Dr. Axe’s Chocolate Keto Protein and this protein has been a game changer. It tastes so good and has incredible nutrients. I add in half a frozen banana and half a can of coconut milk for healthy fats. It is simple and tastes better than a Wendy’s chocolate frosty (I seriously crave it all day now). It’s been encouraging to finally have a breakfast that’s easy, great for my stomach, and tastes good!
Lunch is typically leftovers from the night before, and I’ll have a some combination of an apple, energy bites, hummus, and almonds for snacks. When I get home from work, my husband typically makes a pan of roasted broccoli and/or cauliflower with organic ghee (note: ghee has been an absolute lifesaver. It’s clarified butter so all the lactose is removed) before we go to the gym.
I’m not sure if my decision to eat grain and dairy free will be permanent. I’m still working to find the root cause of why my stomach can no longer tolerate these foods. I’d ideally like to incorporate some dairy and grain back into my diet at some point, but I’m thankful I’ve been able to figure out ways to also survive without it. Let me know if you have any questions about eating dairy or grain-free!