In February, 2017 I developed intestinal symptoms that sent me in search of a naturopath to find out what was wrong with me. Dr. Sara Thyr in Petaluma diagnosed my food allergies. Dairy, wheat and cane sugar were the biggies. I learned that all kinds of ill things can happen to your intestines, liver, vertebral discs, immune system, and overall general health when you eat loads of the stuff that you are allergic to.
I have always possessed an over-zealous passion for cheese! Another word for it would be addiction. When I was a child, my mother mused that I must have been a mouse in another life. Before I found out about my allergies, wheat and dairy pretty much made up my diet with an occasional salad thrown in. Bagel with cream cheese and sausage for breakfast, quesadilla or tacos for lunch, with pizza & salad at dinner sounds like HEAVEN to me!
So it was no small task to remove dairy wheat and sugar from my diet.
At first, I was absolutely miserable about the situation as anyone would be when told she has to give up her drug of choice. However in my case, the cost to benefit ratio was obvious because as I gave up my allergy foods, my symptoms disappeared quickly, and my symptoms had been significant. Getting rid of them benefited my health, and my life, and increased my ability to continue supporting myself as a massage therapist. So I gave up sugar, wheat, and dairy and instantly began to feel better.
What’s one little cheat?
For awhile I gave up coffee because for me, coffee without cream isn’t worth a cup of beans. I learned to enjoy herbal teas, but I really LOVE just one cup of coffee in the morning! So after I had been symptom-free for awhile, it seemed like a tiny, insignificant cheat to treat myself once in awhile to a delicious cup of creamy coffee.
I carefully measured my cheat so I could say I was ‘completely OFF dairy, except for this tiny amount.’
Of course, over time the occasional treat became my daily habit again.
“Just one cheat a day won’t hurt! It’s so tiny and insignificant, and lovely,” I rationalized.
Allergy foods are insidious.
But the thing about allergy foods is that a tiny bit in your system sets up CRAVINGS for MORE! Because here’s a fun fact: we are usually addicted to the foods we are allergic to! Follow this link to read an article about the correlation between food allergies and addiction.
The cream in my coffee was the one thing I felt I simply could NOT, would not give up forever. But putting that small dose of cream in me first thing in the day set me up to crave more, and soon I was allowing small wheat cheats (with REALLY great reasons) and a little sugar here and there (because I deserve some sweetness, right?). Bottom line was, the cream in my coffee was setting me up for failure and I seemed unwilling to let it go anyway. Can you relate?
Then one day I was talking to my awesome life coach about it. She’s vegan and recommended her favorite cashew cream in a brand I hadn’t tried. Since giving up coffee seemed like the only other, horrible option, I decided to try it.
With my coach’s inspiration, I started thinking.
Google found a simple recipe that called for vegetable broth. Since that didn’t seem like something I wanted in my coffee, I tried adding water. My first batch turned out surprisingly acceptable, but not creamy enough, and the food processor left the nuts coarse, so I had a small beach in my cup at the end. In the second batch I used nut milk instead of water and the blender instead of the food processor. MIND BLOWN!
I blended up the most amazing substitute for half & half! Like, SERIOUSLY credible replacement for hardcore dairy addict!s Not only was it a credible replacement for cream, it was AMAZING. It was delicious! It was coffee lover’s nirvana.
Soak 3/4 cup cashews in filtered water for three hours or longer (the longer they soak, the creamier it is), then drain, put them in a blender and add 1 cup of nut milk. That’s it! Pulverize until creamy and you’re done. So super simple, and I can’t even convey the JOY, satisfaction, and pleasure of my morning coffee with no effects of dairy, and no cheater’s guilt! This was the bridge that sealed my commitment to living dairy-free!
I am not claiming to have invented cashew cream, I am simply extolling the virtues of having discovered that there is life beyond dairy! I went from “NOTHING can replace the cream in my coffee!” to a cashew cream convert in two cups.
Changing what we eat for health reasons can FEEL like we have no choice. But having no choice makes us feel powerless! We do have choice. We always have choice! We choose to honor our body’s individual nutritional needs, or we choose the suffering, inflammation, and health problems that come with eating allergy foods.
Whatever YOUR must-have, ‘can’t ever give it up’ item is, I’m willing to bet you can find something you enjoy just as much when you decide to get passionate about your healthy intentions.
What do you have to lose?
Want help energizing your life? Schedule a free empowerment session with me. 707-515-8324