Often, in the process of introducing my clients to living a dairy-free lifestyle, they make the assumption that I simply hate cheese, milk and ice cream. I mean, that’s the only way someone could give it up, right?
Wrong. The truth is that I love cheese, and all things dairy.
When I say I love cheese………..I mean, I LOOOOVE cheese. Back in the days where I had a very bad relationship with food, my go-to comfort foods were actually a brick of colby jack cheese and bag of kettle cooked potato chips. Cheese was my homie.
Only, it wasn’t.
The reality of my situation was that cheese (and the other dairy I was eating) was wreaking HAVOC on my body (from my skin to my digestion), but it took me a LONG time (up until 3 years ago) to give it up completely. This was despite my wealth of knowledge on the topic as a nutrition coach! WHY?
Maybe it was because I was married to someone from Wisconsin (in case you didn’t know, they LOVE their cheese!), or maybe it was the fact that I had been eating mass quantities of it since I was a kid……..whatever way you looked at it, I just wasn’t ready to break up with my bestie.
However, once I faced the reality that I needed to breakup with my longtime pal I began to eliminate ALL forms of dairy from my diet, and within 2-3 weeks I began to see the start of what would become MASSIVE changes in my health.
Here are some of the biggest improvements I have have been able to report by going dairy-free:
- My skin improved (I have battled with ketosis pilaris, or “chicken skin” on the backs of my arms and legs since childhood)
- My seasonal allergies improved (I wasn’t sneezing, my eyes weren’t itching and my perpetual runny nose went away)
- My acne disappeared (I battled with jawline acne off and on for years)
- My join aches and stiffness significantly decreased
- My body odor was significantly less noxious when I would sweat
- My bathroom trips became “normal” and I shifted from horrible irregularity and explosive diarrhea to regularly being a 4-5 on the Bristol Stool Chart, which is were you want to be (more on this another day!).
The breakup has been permanent, needless to say. Although I have tried to visit and say “hello” from time to time, I will tell you that not one of those visits has ever ended well.
Because of my journey I am dedicated to bringing simple (and delicious) recipes to my readers that are free of the things we commonly see in the Standard American Diet. These are also the same things that are keeping us sick and overweight. You can hang out with me every Monday at 2:30pm CST to see me make these recipes LIVE in the AKOS Nutrition Community group on Facebook.
One Pan, Dairy-Free Pesto Chicken with Veggies
1 cup raw pine nuts (walnuts work well too!)
3 Cups fresh basil leaves
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
4 Cloves garlic
2/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast (this is the replacement for parmesan cheese that is traditionally found in pesto)
1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
sea salt and pepper
Italian seasoning (to taste)
Nutritional yeast (to taste)
4-6 cups veggies (broccoli, carrots, zucchini, potatoes, a mixture……it’s totally your choice!)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2. Add all of the pesto ingredients to your food processor or blender on high until a creamy consistency is achieved and you are left with no chunks of basil or spinach. (you can store this pesto in the refrigerator for up to 1 week)
3. Place the chicken in the center of a well-greased of parchment paper lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
4. Spread the pesto over the chicken, giving a generous layer and top with italian seasoning and a pinch of nutritional yeast.
5. Select 4-6 cups of veggies to cook with your chicken. Before placing on the pan, toss the veggies in 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil and season with italian herbs, or you can simply use the remaining pesto as a dressing for the veggies, tossing them in a bowl to get a good coating before placing around the chicken.
6. Bake at 400 F for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through completely.
So, in addition to this yummy recipe, the other thing I wanted to make sure you knew about this week was the LIVE Zoom workout that I am going to be hosting this Thursday, 4/16 at 6am and 2pm!
I’ll be teaching a 30-minute flexibility class geared at improving your mobility, strengthening your core and is great for ALL ability levels!
To join in on the class, make sure you have the Zoom app on your phone or tablet, or visit www.zoom.com.
To start the workout, simply click this link just before 2pm CST on Thursday (no password required):
Did I mention, this workout is FREE? Hope to see you in there!