The Dietary Changes That Have Changed Me The Most


Healthy Food, Healthy Skin As of yesterday, it has been 5 weeks since I quite drastically changed the way I eat, by cooking “clean foods”.  I want to preface this post by saying that I have not completely eliminated some food items from my diet altogether, however, I have made quite drastic changes and can easily say I’ve changed and/or eliminated these items out of my regular way of eating for at least 75% of the time.  Or in the case of juicing, added in some items in the form of lots of fresh fruit and veggies. Aside from my detox saga, which you can read about here, through learning to cook over 30 new “clean eating” recipes, I’ve made changes I never thought I would be able to make.

Between a mix of stubborn tenacity and an honest love of food, things I never thought I could or would give up included all things dairy, red meat, and carbohydrates.  I wanted to share with you the few real changes I’ve made, that I’ve discovered weren’t that hard to change after all, once I had discovered some other alternatives.

Dairy – a self proclaimed lover of cheese and all things dairy, I had long heard that giving up some/most/all dairy would and could benefit you with clearer skin, better digestive processes, and let’s be honest, a few extra pounds.  While those things all sounded wonderfully fab, I never thought on earth I could possibly make any cut backs.  Well, I have indeed made cut backs, and it turns out it hasn’t really been that hard.  I’ll never be one to pass up a good cheese plate, here’s a few areas where I have been easily able to cut back.

Milk.  I now drink primarily almond milk with my cereal, my coffee and in many recipes that call for regular cow’s milk.  Almond milk is a great source of calcium and protein, at a fraction of the calories.

Cheese, and skipping it when I don’t need it was something I never did, on sandwiches, and burgers (had my first bit of red meat in 5 weeks just the other day!), in my eggs.  Where cheese plays just a supporting role, rather than the starring role, I’ve just started skipping it all together basically.

Butter and Spreads.  I’ve now consistently made the switch to Vegenaise and olive oil margarine spread, and use it on all things toasted and sandwich related.  Again, in areas where butter is more of a supporting role, I haven’t missed it at all.  I’m still in search for a real butter alternative when baking haha, but for now I’m experimenting with different recipes in the book, using coconut oil and other forms of dairy replacement nonsense 😉

Yogurt.  While I haven’t given up yogurt entirely, I have switched to goat’s milk yogurt, which has been shown to be more gentle on the digestive system than regular cow’s milk yogurt.  It has a tart and tangy flavor, much like Greek yogurt, although is more expensive.  Because of this I eat it sparingly now, when I am truly craving it, not just to have a snack like I normally would do.

So has dairy truly affected my health? It’s hard to really say since I’ve made several changes at once, but I have most definitely been free of many stomach aches and cramping that I experienced on an almost daily basis, and my skin seems to be taking the heat and summer sun much better than it normally does. I haven’t had any blotchiness like I normally get, and my skin feels hydrated and the texture overall smoother than usual. I have also had fewer sinus issues, like a stuffy nose, which I normally got quiet often.

Juicing – Making my own fresh juices each morning has most definitely made the biggest impact on my energy levels and stamina. And I swear when I add some extra ginger, it makes my skin GLOW! Or at least it feels that way. Drinking all that extra liquid definitely keeps me more hydrated, which in turn keeps my skin more hydrated. It may be all in my head, but I really feel like most days my skin is more dewy. If you’re a friend of mine in real life, please don’t tell me otherwise, if it is all in my head. And while there is some debate about whether juicing is all that much better for you than say, eating your veggies, I will simply say this. For my morning juice today, I had an entire raw beet, 3 carrots, an apple and a slice of ginger. Do I lose some nutritional value when juicing? Of course! But would I ever sit down at breakfast time and actually eat all those fruits and veggies in one sitting, raw? Of course not! I’m doing more good to my health, by adding juicing in, than harming it. I’m not eating less veggies because I’m juicing, it’s just an added benefit. I really don’t get why some people have to find every little thing to pick apart and try to be argumentative about (I actually got in a debate on Facebook last week about juicing).

Vegan Cooking – We will never become a Vegan family, but it has been liberating to learn to cook vegan, and discover that we as a family, could survive a dinner without some form of meat. The meat we have started to eat is primarily all organic and/or grass fed, and we’ve drastically cut back on our red meat consumption. Again, for me it was about finding alternatives, so once I started trying main dish recipes which were vegan, yet still supplied plenty of protein and nutrients, and didn’t lack flavor, I was happily on board to cook this way as often as possible.

For me, discovering a new way to eat and cook isn’t so much about getting and seeing dramatic results in weight, skin, overall health, but is very much about finding other options and better educating myself. Some days it’s about showing myself that I can do it more than anything. The other health benefits that come from it are the added bonus, and ones that I’ll gladly take.

So, have you found making changes to certain aspects of your diet have indeed affected your skin health, your digestive health, mental health even? What changes have you made that changed you for the better?


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Andrea is the founder of For The Love Of, a lifestyle blog dedicated to approachable, modern living. She writes about style, her love of DIY, and living a healthier life through wholesome, nutritious cooking. She is also a regular contributor at Babble. Get in touch: Facebook, Twitter You can find Andrea on Instagram @andreavhowe and @gwynethmademedoit

  • Jenifer says:

    But butter is so much better for you than veganaise and any spreadable like butter tub! I promise 100% if you research a bit you’ll see! Pure grass fed butter to be exact! Costco sells kerrygold butter! That I believe is one downfall people make is to sub butter with something like it with a long ingredient list!

  • Karri says:

    Grassfed butter is the one splurge I make. I swear the real thing is sometimes better than fake, and I use it so sparingly that I can justify it.

  • Crystal says:

    I was coming to comment on the butter thing too but I’ve been beaten to it! Kerrygold for the win! My family went strict vegan for about a year, and while we did feel a lot better, I started getting bothered by all the ‘substitutes’ we were consuming (vegan margarine, vegan cheese, etc). I started thinking ‘real’ food (like grassfed butter, raw cheese, etc) has to be better than these highly processed substitutes. I’ve read, and researched, and came to find a balance with ‘real food’ eating. Including yum grass fed butter ;).

  • Julia @ cuckoo4design says:

    I really would love to try juicing. It’s been on my list. Maybe after I’m done traveling I can do it. You look great!

  • Myndi says:

    So glad you are feeling so wonderful! I definitely want to check out Gwenyth’s book! I’ve had a similar experience recently with Mark Bittman’s new book, “VB6.” It’s another great resource for tons of family friendly vegan recipes that we’ve had great luck with. Sara Forte’s book and blog, “The Sprouted Kitchen” are also fantastic!

  • JT says:

    Good for you!!! I’ve been off dairy since Char was born, about a year and its been great! I miss cheese the most but I have found I lost all the baby weight and no more stomach issues. I am starting to loosen up a bit here and there but think I’m going to continue not to have it as part of my diet.

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