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Go Dairy Free [Book Review]

Posted Jun 30 2009 4:05pm

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I’m still doing some catch-up in the blogosphere, so please and thank you for bearing with me this next week or so! I want to catch up with all of you!

Today I want to introduce a new feature on Eating Bender: book reviews. I’ve talked about many books in the past, and there is also that Food Blogger Book Club (I posted a discussion today!) for those who would like to get new ideas for good reads. But recently, I decided that since I have so many books to talk about, it might be fun to create an entire “book review” section on the blog. They won’t necessarily be food-related (although most probably will be), but I hope you enjoy!

The inaugural review is one that I have been meaning to get up for quite a while. A fellow blogger, Alisa Fleming, contacted me a few months ago and sent me a copy of her book, Go Dairy Free.

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Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org and has quite the story, which you can read more about in her book. I was very intrigued when she first approached me because in the past two years, I have had a long and painful bout of unresolved stomach issues. Having had an endoscopy and several food allergy tests that have come to no solid conclusion, I still struggle to figure out what the root cause of my occasional bloating, cramping and overall “disgusting” feeling after a meal can be attributed to.

I found it interesting that Alisa has had her own history of health issues caused by what she was putting into her mouth. She consumed dairy products despite being diagnosed with a milk allergy as a baby, in order to ensure she was getting enough calcium. As a result, her health continued to suffer, until one day an alternative doctor made the “insane” suggestion to try giving up dairy. After her husband convinced her to try it by going dairy-free with her, Alisa found that her symptoms had disappeared within three days. She has been healthy and dairy-free for over five years now, and this book is her way of sharing what she has learned with others who will benefit from her expertise.

The book is broken up into several chapters that fall under the following key sections:

  • Understanding Dairy & Dairy-Free From a Health Perspective
  • Eating Away From Home
  • Grocery Shopping & Preparing Your Kitchen
  • All You Ever Wanted to Know About Dairy Substitutes
  • Time to Eat! – Recipes & Recommendations
  • More Recommended Resources

Breaking the book up in this way makes Alisa’s book easy to navigate, and each section is full of valuable information regardless of whether you have a dairy allergy or are just looking to learn more. In the first section, Alisa goes through the basics of dairy and dairy allergies. For me, what stuck out most was her chapter on autism.

If you’ve been reading the blog long enough, you’ve likely seen me talk about the fact that my brother is mildly autistic. He is very high functioning and if you met him on the street, you would likely never make such a connection. He has come a long way from when he was first diagnosed, and our family attributes this to many different factors, one of which was a special diet that he was put on when he was about five years old: gluten- and dairy-free.

As Alisa points out in her book, 49% of parents who chose a dairy-free treatment option found it to improve their child’s symptoms, and the gluten-free/casein-free diet is becoming more and more mainstream as well. I thought it was incredibly thoughtful and meaningful for Alisa to include this aspect of dairy-free living in her book, and the attention she gives to other areas such as ADHD, weight loss and other general health topics is just as well written and researched.

Alisa’s book goes on to describe easy ways to live the dairy-free lifestyle, from eating in restaurants and at social events to buying and preparing your own dairy-free foods. The end of her book provides more recommended resources as well as an entire section of incredible recipes, many of which I have bookmarked for when I get back to Chicago :) How does this sound: Oatmeal Blender Waffles, Cocoa-Nut Scones, Perfect Peanut Butter Bread …and that’s just a small part of the first two recipe chapters! Like all good books (in my opinion), this book is worth picking up just for the ending!

Fortunately for you, the entire book – beginning to end – is well worth your time. Whether you are thinking about going dairy-free or are just interested in reading about a delicious and healthful way of living, Go Dairy Free is a must-read for a foodie. In the past couple of months, I have been eating less dairy (cutting out Greek yogurt and eating a lot less cheese, for starters), and have seen a dramatic improvement in terms of less bloating and cramping. Without going into too many details, I can honestly say that while I have never gone completely dairy-free (since I have never been officially diagnosed with an allergy), limiting my intake has helped me considerably. Big thanks to Alisa for giving me the chance to read and review her latest work. For more information, check out GoDairyFree.org or visit her blog, One Frugal Foodie.

I hope you all enjoyed my first “official” book review. I’ll be back later with some more Papa Bender treats and a couple of new product reviews!

Your book worm,

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