Dairy-free Journeys: Holly
Dairy-free Journeys: Holly
We asked some of our fans to send us their stories about transitioning to a dairy-free lifestyle. Stories tie us all together, and we are very excited about the fans who will share theirs during our 21 Day Dairy Free Challenge. Today we are featuring a Q&A with Holly from Ontario, Canada.
Name: Holly P.
Hometown: Ottawa, ON
Dairy-free for: 8 Years
What led you to a dairy-free life?
I was a colicky baby who had chronic health problems. The doctors asked that my mom feed me soy formula as they suspected a dairy allergy. At age 4, they told my mom I had “outgrown” my allergy, and so she started making me have a glass of milk with dinner. Until the age of 21 I had asthma-like symptoms, chronic ear infections, inflammation/weight issues, mood disorders, tonsillitis 3 times per year, chronic sinus infections, migraines and cystic body acne. When I was 21, my dad got diagnosed with a Casein intolerance. My doctor (a different doctor than the one from my childhood) suggested this intolerance may have a genetic component, and challenged me to do an elimination diet. I went dairy free for 2 weeks and then went back into his office with a piece of cheese curd. I ate the cheese in his office and fell asleep! I woke up with sinus pain, post nasal drip, aches, a bloated stomach and a migraine. I have never looked back, and completely eliminated dairy from my life.
What benefits have you felt since you stopped eating dairy?
I have lost about 45 lbs, I no longer snore, I haven’t needed an inhaler or antibiotics since eliminating dairy and I am NEVER sick. My skin is luminous and soft with no painful acne. My hair and nails are stronger and healthier. I sleep 8 hours per day instead of 18. I no longer need to nap. I have come off of ALL of my mood medications and am migraine free. My chiropractor even has an easier time adjusting my spine! My body is so much happier being dairy free.
Is everyone in your home dairy-free? If not, how do you compromise?
No. My father is dairy free, but I do not live with him. My partner and I live together, and he can tolerate dairy just fine. We don’t keep milk in the house, as my partner is ok with using almond or coconut milk. He also doesn’t mind daiya cheese, so I use that in my cooking sometimes. He does love artisan cheeses, and so will sometimes buy himself a treat in the form of a ‘fancy’ cheese. In those cases, he is very careful to wash the cutting board and knife thoroughly, and to wrap his cheese well before putting it in the refrigerator.
What is your favorite dairy-free party dish?
I recently perfected a dairy free pumpkin mac and cheese that I am crazy about! I also make a mean pumpkin pie.
Do you have any tips or tricks that help you enjoy dairy-free life more?
Don’t think about what you can’t have. Think about what you CAN have! There are SO many delicious foods out there that I don’t even miss dairy!
Anything else you would like to share with our dairy-free community?
Kindness is the most important thing in this life. If you’re struggling with letting dairy go and you know you need to, be kind to yourself. If you have others in your life that have food intolerances or allergies, be kind to them. Life contains many struggles, but kindness and compassion go a long way to making things easier for us. In the group that I co-founded and administrate with my friends Heather and Mandy (Deliciously Dairy Free on Facebook) we focus on kindness, compassion and support as a way to help people succeed on their dairy free journey.