Dairy-free Journeys: Heather
Dairy-free Journeys: Heather
Our second fan feature during our dairy-free challenge is Heather K. Thank you Heather for sharing your story to a dairy-free lifestyle.
My Dairy Free Journey
Name: Heather Kessler
Hometown: Milton, WV (from Arthurdale, WV)
Dairy-free for: 2 Years
Tell us about your journey to becoming dairy-free.
I have suffered with chronic migraines for over 15 years and discovered that I had an atrial fibrillation and tachycardia in 2007. In 2008, I had surgery to attempt to fix my heart problems, but it was unsuccessful, so I started taking beta-blockers to control it, but I still had lingering issues. Around Valentine’s Day 2013, my husband bought me an ice cream cake. One evening, while watching TV and eating a MASSIVE PIECE of ice cream cake, my headache was insane and my heart was beating out of control. I decided the next day to make some drastic changes to my diet, and eliminating dairy was part of that decision!
What benefits have you felt since you stopped eating dairy?
My migraines are now very few and much less severe, and my a-fib is under control to the point that I am no longer on medication and have very few flare ups. I’ve also noticed that my skin is clearer, and the lingering bloating and gastro-intestinal troubles that I had just accepted as part of life are practically non-existent!
Is everyone in your home dairy-free? If not, how do you compromise?
No! My son is definitely not dairy-free, and my husband eats dairy occasionally. Since my issues are not allergy-related, I’m ok with keeping the things that they like around the house. If I’m cooking for all of us, I make things that are dairy-free. Sometimes, I’ll make two similar versions and add cheese for them if they want.
What is your favorite dairy-free holiday dish?
Basically, anything! I’ve found that I can make pretty much any dish dairy-free with some easy substitutions. We love cookies in our house, and being able to easily find products like dairy-free butter and chocolate chips makes it so easy to convert my favorite recipes into dairy-free deliciousness!
Do you have any tips or tricks that help you enjoy dairy-free life more?
Don’t stress it! If there is something that you want that would typically have dairy, there are so many great products available that you can find. I live in a small area, so sometimes I have to search for things or find recipes to make it myself, but there is almost always a way!
Anything else you would like to share with our dairy-free community?
Being dairy free can be a fun adventure if you let it! For me, the best part of becoming DF has been that it’s made me more aware of what I’m eating. I read every label, I actively search out different and new products, I am constantly looking for new recipes. It’s made me be more creative and step out of my comfort zone. I’ve learned so many new techniques and tricks to cooking and baking. And when I find something new or come up with a delicious recipe, I get so excited! Yes, there are “traditional” things that I sometimes miss, but I’ve learned to love the things I CAN have. Plus, I love how I feel!!!