What’s the Deal with Going Meatless?

You guys had the BEST responses and questions after I shared an article like this about the dairy-free life, and your next question was about meat. 

I love that some of you still eat meat, some of you are eating less, some of you are not at all. Do you.

Going away from dairy probably gave me the most dramatic results on my health & weight loss journey, and meat was a close second.

People are leaving the meat world for a number of reasons: long-term health, excess weight gain, ethically not wanting to harm animals, possible carcinogens, it’s creepy when you think about it, connections to pollution and animal agriculture, etc. Some of these are my opinions and some are connections I learned in here.

But there are TWO ways to eat less meat at first:

#1. Go to the store and buy all the fake burgers, tacos, nuggets, and make them all the time because you’ll miss them so much. I did this in the beginning and actually gained weight. More on that below.

#2. Plan your meals around MORE fruits and veggies, use recipes that look good, focus on what you can eat MORE of and you’ll automatically think about meat less. This is the MOST effective way to do it health wise, and the full breakdown on how to do this easily is allllll in here. 

(Plant-based coaching masterclass by me, challenges, goal-setting, 30 EASY recipes to get started)

But this article is about what you can do with option 1. The Meat Alternatives. 

I love option #2 but sometimes a girl wants a burger and she doesn’t want it to taste like veggie burger garbage. Not too much to ask, right?

So here are my BEST recommendations to help you ease into the meatless or meat-less life, manage cravings if you miss something, or if you’re open to trying something new.

Disclaimer though: this is one of the times where vegan does NOT always = healthy. I learned this the hard way when I overdid it on fake meats just starting out. Once in a while is great. Many of these are processed / not super healthy but I love them when I’m in the mood to indulge. 

Burgers

I HATE VEGGIE BURGERS… at least, the ones that taste like sh*t. You’ve all seen a weird vegetarian eat a brown blob of something scary and think to yourself, I could never do that. Well, neither can I.

Thankfully, technology & demand for good-tasting plant burger options saved the day and I can 10000%, genuinely recommend three brands of plant-based burgers that I can eat all day, errryday.

Beyond Meat has a delicious one that’s easy to cook with and I’m obsessed with the ingredients inside, even if it’s processed. The Impossible Burger is a close second for me. It’s also available at so many restaurants now, making it easy for me to feel like I’m treating myself even in non-vegan places. Last one I love is Gardein’s beefless burger.

Tacos

Shameless plug: I don’t care what you put into a taco, MINE ARE THE BEST. Just look at them: 

My Chipotle Potato Lettuce Tacos are soooo pretty. And so delicious, so healthy, so easy. Frying potatoes with the right spices is actually a great healthier swap for real taco meat.

Full recipe + 30 more to make your life easier right here. 

Back to the program.

Another taco meat alternative I can get behind is the beefy crumble from Beyond Meat. You can season it however you want and put it into chili, tacos, nachos, whatever. It’s the same exact texture as the “real” thing.

Nuggets

I feel like all I wanted to eat growing up were chicken nuggets, and obviously we crave them sometimes! I’ve actually found a few different kinds I like:

Gardein makes easy tenders you can use with pasta, wraps, roasted veggies. Morningstar makes Buffalo and regular nuggets I love to snack on.

Chicken patties are a thing too, and I’ll enjoy this one on a random craving.

Hot dogs

This one’s kind of a joke because hot dogs are the scariest thing in the world to me. If you’re going to miss them, I don’t know what to tell you, sorry!! LOL

Sandwich Meat

We like fillers when we make sandwiches – texture to bite into. So what I personally use are things like tempeh, tofu, I’ll cook them and flavor them however I want and call it a day. Brand-wise, Light Life makes some options and so does Tofurky. Honestly though, I don’t eat these much.

Pulled Pork

JACKFRUIT. Okay here’s a story for ya. One day I bought a cookbook to help me make more vegan food and fell in LOVE with the pictures and the recipes for alll the things I thought I’d miss. It had it all. Turns out, the author was a chef from California who owns an all-vegan restaurant – one that attracts people who AREN’T vegan, the food is that good. I literally must have loved & looked at this cookbook daily for months.

So a year later when I spontaneously flew to California to go on vacation with someone I’d never met (story here), I HAD TO GO TO THE RESTAURANT. I did, I died, I went to heaven, and it was because of jackfruit.

I ordered a jackfruit risotto and it was cooked and seasoned so well, the jackfruit tasted like the most tender meat I ever had. I officially never missed pulled pork, steak, or any other red meat again. You can cook jackfruit at home in place of these and season however you want.

Meatballs

Here’s another random one that people ask me about sometimes. Unless you’re a passionate home chef, I would just get store bought meatballs. I’ve only tried these from Trader Joe’s and love them.

Also worth mentioning: the meatball sub from byChloe. OBSESSED.

SO ladies, LMK.

You gave me the best responses from my little dairy-free guide, I need to know how this helps you as well. 

Anything missing? Anything you still have questions on & want to see next? You know where to find me.

XO – Lupe

Certified Holistic Health Coach

P.S. – There’s a full MONTH’S worth of info, guides, challenges, and step-by-step on how to eat more plant based available to VIP’s. Why not make it easy on yourself & get started?

Click here to join as a VIP & access ALL guides, recipes, & more.

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+ 30 EASY Healthy Plant Based Recipes for Energy, Bloating, & Weight Loss

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5 Immunity Hacks for Flawless Energy

Whatever you do, don’t take this as me bragging about how not sick I am. There’s a point to this post.

I’m suuuuuuper lucky to be a generally healthy person. Most doctor’s visits go well, I feel great most of the time, etc.

BUT… A couple of small health scares and issues over time (and with people I love) have reminded me that you can’t always control what happens to you. There are SO many reasons people get sick: genetics, environment, you name it.

One thing you CAN control is being proactive about your immunity so that if you CAN fight something off, you do. With all the things that could happen TO me outside of my control, the least I can do is make the effort to go out of my way and keep my immunity high.

And it works. 

In the past, I used to get the same things every year: a nasty cold every time the seasons changed, brain fog, sluggish feelings when people around me were sick, stomach issues, and I caught whatever was around me.

NOW… I haven’t had that cold in almost two years and haven’t been SICK sick for over a year. The occasional sinus issue happens (like if I go running in the rain), but my bounce back rate is 1-2 days. 

I will give 99.9999% of the credit here to switching to a plant-based way of eating, I won’t lie to you. There’s effort involved.

But here are my OTHER immunity hacks, all in one place: 

Turmeric

Turmeric is the anti-inflammatory, immunity boosting magical root powder. You can sprinkle and hide it in almost all of your cooking, and the key is to mask it’s subtle flavor with more powerful ones. You only taste its bitterness if you use a LOT of it, which you don’t need to. A small amount goes a long way. Grab some here & thank me later.

I’ll put turmeric in a hot tea, my smoky tofu scramble, stir-fries, roasted veggies, rice dishes, my turmeric cauli, and I’ve even had it in shakes. 

Ginger 

Ginger is one of those things you have to use based on your own taste, but it’s so beneficial to your general wellness and immunity. You can hide some in a smoothie, make ginger tea, candied ginger, or simply use the powder to hide it like I do with turmeric.

ACV

Apple cider vinegar tastes like SH*T, and smells even worse. IMO. I feel nauseous even smelling it when I go to drink it plain in water. HOWEVER… You suck it up because ACV is by far the best all-around general health booster you can use for yourself.

One tablespoon a day is what I aim for. I either put some in a glass room temp water and call it a day, but a great way to sneak some in without the flavor is to make a hot cup of green tea and add ACV, lemon juice, honey or agave. That’s my favorite warm drink when I have a cold or feel one coming on.

Essential Oils

Ahhhh I just LOVE my oils. Essential oils are one of those things you don’t think you need until you start using them. Something about a soothing smell does wonders for your mood, and it’s even better that the oils are truly beneficial to your health and immunity.

Just an example, I’m obsessed with using Peppermint oil for ANYTHING cold or sinus-related. You can smell oils, you can steam water and put a drop in to breathe them, you can diffuse them so your whole room smells like them, and you can put them on your wrists so your body absorbs it.

Dark Leafy Greenz

You shouldn’t need convincing to eat these if boosting your immunity is that important to you. Try shooting for 3 servings a day, and work your way up to 5-6 if you’re feeling ambitious. Ways to eat them (and make them taste good) right here. Many of them are also high in Vitamin C, another immunity essential.

So you don’t need to go chug a smoothie with greens, ACV, ginger, & turmeric while inhaling oils, but start including more of these as you go. Doing this along with eating more plant-based is going to show you a noticeable difference in your immunity, energy and help you feel more in control of what you CAN be doing.

XO- Lupe

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+ Losing 40 lbs, healing from chronic illnesses, & eating more plant-based

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Eating for Abs

If you’ve ever done 100 crunches a day and patiently flexed in the mirror for weeks at a time, you’ve fallen into the trap of waiting for abs to pop right out and stay there.

I’ve done it, everyone I know has done it, so don’t feel bad when I say it just doesn’t work that way.

Even though core workouts and ab exercises are something you can build every day, the way you EAT is what will give you the fastest results, less bloating, make your muscles visible, and make the MOST of your workouts.

When someone’s eating inflammatory, processed foods, their stomach is usually the first place they see excess weight start to form.

MOST people trying to lose weight the wrong way say that their stomach is the hardest place to see results. When you do it the RIGHT way, it’s actually the place you may see results the fastest.

This post isn’t about which workouts to do for abs because I have my favorites in here. If you do these as consistently as possible combined with eating for abs, you’ll see the best results.

<< Access my 30 go-to recipes that beat bloating, help reduce excess weight, & boost your energy >>

My best hacks to eat for abs and make the MOST of the muscles already there go like this:

Anti-Inflammatory Foods.

Foods that reduce inflammation are SO easy to find and SO easy to include in the recipes you’re already making for yourself. Turmeric can be added to just about anything . Berries, nuts, spinach, avocado, ginger, green tea will keep your inflammation down so that your body can do it’s thing.

Dairy is also not helping the cause.

Beat the Bloat.

Processed food is one of the #1 culprits of extra bloating – especially around the stomach. Why? FILLERS. Chemicals, gums, fillers in super processed food take up space where “whole ingredients” could be and they slow down your digestion because your body takes longer to break these down. Hiiiiii stomach bloat.

But it’s OK. If you focus on MORE whole foods, you’ll naturally start to see results and you won’t even be thinking about processed foods as much. Promise.

Plant Protein

If you’re doing those crunches and planks, you’re doing awesome work to build those abdominal muscles. Usually when people grow their muscle, they’re alllllll about protein… especially lean protein. So for the longest time, I thought I needed to eat lots of chicken, eggs, powders, fish, etc. to get my protein levels up and tone my muscles. Animal fat, hormones, cholesterol, fillers, no thank yewwwwww. 

I never saw the results I LOVED in my abs until I focused on the plant protein: quinoa, nuts, lentils, seeds, spirulina, dark leafy greens, hemp seeds, etc.

The leanest of the lean – these will supply you with the protein you need if you’re eating mostly whole foods AND burn / digest just about perfectly so there’s less bloat, MORE benefit to your muscles, more fat burn, and quicker results that last.

Dark Leafy Greens

Nobody likes all these veggies by themselves (unless you’re a die hard) but ANYONE can like them when you learn how to make them taste good.

When you think about burning fat and toning your body, you want to burn food like it’s CLEAN fuel, not a dirty tank. Dark leafy greens alllllll dayyyy longggggg.

I know it can be confusing to think of EASY recipes that make these taste normal / indulgent / delish, but I’ve already done the work for you. Check out my crowd favorites right here.

Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV is worth mentioning here because out of allllllll the benefits (immunity, skin, hair, weight loss, etc) it’s SUCH A GOOD WAY TO BEAT THE BLOAT. Sorry for screaming.

I know it tastes like sh*t but let’s be real, some of us drink other things that taste like poison too and we don’t complain at all.

Put a tbsp of ACV in your water daily and know it’s working hard to help you digest correctly and get to your healthiest weight.

OH, & one more thing: DON’T DO A JUICE CLEANSE FOR ABS.

Here’s why: there’s a difference between enjoying a juice and its benefits vs. drinking all juice for days at a time. You might even see results in your abs from a cleanse like that but what you’re losing is probably water weight and your digestion is freaking out because it needs fiber to actually make the most of all the nutrients you’re digesting.

Juice definitely helps you with more real food and less processed stuff, just make sure you’re also getting enough fiber.

So there you have it BUT that’s not all. I’ve been thinking of making you guys a short meal plan that’s easy to follow and that HELPS you eat for abs… 

But I need to know if that’s something you’d LOVE.

Share or comment on this post to let me know if a short & easy meal plan would help you stick with eating for abs and I’ll make it happen. Love giving you what you love, so LMK.

XO – Lupe

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Grocery Hacks You Need This Week

I think I need to stop drinking coffee before I go grocery shopping because I get a litttleeee bit too excited.

I’m a foodie to my core, even though yes, this blog is fun and I create recipes FOR you, this is really what I eat – all I have to do is document. I love to cook, I love making it easy, I love making it healthy, I love taking pics, I love to eat. lol.

<< Download 30 EASY Healthy Recipes for energy, healthy weight, toning, & your best routine yet >>

So I guess if you’re a psycho foodie like me I will always have your back, but if you’re a normal person just looking to eat a little healthier, you’ll always have a place here too.

Before I share the hacks I use to keep my grocery shopping healthy, affordable, and easy, I should probablyyyy point out some mistakes I’ve also made so maybe you can avoid them.

BIGGEST GROCERY MISTAKES:

  • Following a grocery list you didn’t edit & buying tons of food you won’t use this week. It’s tempting to get it all, but you’ll be overwhelmed if you overdo it and start wasting food.
  • Restricting yourself to only healthy food because we all know treats have to be part of the equation if we want this to really work.
  • Not trying anything new each week to keep it interesting
  • Not planning actual meals or at least having an idea of what you’ll cook that week. The worst is when you have all these ingredients and no idea what to do with them.
  • Going to the grocery store hungry
  • Going to the grocery store with no idea in the world of what you’ll get. Don’t get sucked into the vortex like that.

SO with those out of the way, here are my best hacks to not waste food, get the most for your money, and start with a healthy foundation. Get your pen & paper out and brainstorm. 

OH. And if you want the FULL GROCERY LIST I use every week, download it here. All ingredients on one printable page just for you my love.

START W. YOUR GREENS.

Most of you are reading this because you want to eat healthier, reach a healthy weight, or get into a great routine. All of those goals can be reached by starting out with MORE greens in your day. So what I like to do is pick 4-5 essential veggies that can be used in a few different ways and get some meal ideas going for them. For example, spinach = stir frying, tofu scrambles, smoothies. Broccoli = roasting, stir-frying, curry. Spring mix = my daily salad. Red cabbage or raddichio = salads, stir-frying, garnish, etc. Now you know that maybe a few meals this week can be salads, stir fries, curry, roasted veggies. Great place to start.

WHAT FRUITS DO YOU ACTUALLY LIKE?

Now for the fruits. I personally love to have a fruit as part of breakfast and then snack on some later in the day. So I only pick fruits that make sense and that I know I’ll use. I love smoothies, so bananas. I eat toast with healthy fruit jelly & peanut butter, I eat oatmeal bowls, so berries. I like to snack, so grapes and maybe oranges or mangos. I drink lemon water, so that’s easy. Anything else is either a treat or me trying something new.

GRAINS, NUTS, SEEDS, OILS, SPICES.

Now that you have an IDEA of what some meals will be this week, which grains, nuts, etc. do you need for those specific meals if you don’t have them already? For a stir fry, I’d need brown rice. For my salad, I’ll need quinoa. For my breakfasts, I’ll need flax seeds, cacao nibs, nut butters. Oils and spices I usually already have, but do a double check.

HEALTHY SWAPS & SNACKS:

My general rule is to pick about 3 healthy snacks that I can pick from all week. That way you KNOW there are healthy options around, right? Mine are usually a flavored hummus (this one is what I got this week), multigrain chips, a cucumber or peppers to chop and dip in the hummus, and then avocados to make guac and add to salads. THEN once I have the healthy options, I’ll try something new also, (usually more processed) like the quinoa puffs I tried this week or a new flavor of popcorn.

CONDIMENTS:

I always base condiments off the meals I have plans for. So maybe a soy sauce for the stir fry. Creamer for my iced coffees. A clean dressing I enjoy for the salads. But usually those are already around, and are the last thing I double check after I have some meals planned.

DON’T RESTRICT: TREAT YO’SELF.

Finally, the indulgences! Guys. Please don’t restrict yourself and try to never snack at home again on something unhealthy. What would be more effective is if you pick 1-2 and have them around, so you KNOW you’re going to indulge a couple times and can plan ahead for it. Do what you know how to do: enjoy it, savor it, stop when you’re full, and feel good about it. For me, that might be an ice cream, wine, or a vegan meat alternative if I’ve been craving something like a burger or chicken nuggets. Do what you’ve gotta do, girl.

SO check out some of the meals you thought of when planning this way. Notice that you automatically thought of veggie-based meals. Isn’t it easier to START with a stir fry that includes veggies instead of planning some elaborate pasta meal and THEN trying to figure out how to add more greens?

At least, that’s what works for me.

If you’re feeling good and want my full grocery list, you can download it here and print it out.

For more hacks like this, you can also try the weekly health planner and how to create a balanced plate.

These are skills you need to make your healthy eating last, feel in control, and love how you feel. I hope these hacks help you out and if you want more, just say the word.

XO – Lupe

DON’T FORGET: Download your FULL Healthy Grocery List right here for more ideas. 

Self-Control: We Need To Talk.

I’m a super easygoing person. I try to share everything I know in a fun way, an easy way, a positive way so that you guys can feel like getting the body & lifestyle you want is doable AF.

BUT… every good coach knows that sometimes we need tough love, a kick in the ass, something to give us that reality check so we can stop making excuses.

The other day, I was having a convo with the sweetest girl in the world (let’s call her Ashley) about how she was having a terrible time losing weight. Ashley always tried to eat better but there were times where she would say “screw it”, “I’ll start over tomorrow” because that pizza, those fries, those chips were just calling her name.

And then Ashley would feel bad about herself for a few days, hop back on the grind and be super disciplined for a few days, and then a wine night happened, or a meal out happened that made her tell everyone she “just wasn’t meant to lose this weight”.

So my girl Ashley has a lot going on, and there’s a lot of room to be nicer to herself…

but she also had the biggest crutch in the world.

And we’ve ALL used this crutch before to give ourselves a reason why we CAN’T reach that goal every time…

My old favorite line to say (and new worst nightmare line to hear): “I have no self-control”.

It’s the easiest thing to say when you’re about to do something unhealthy, or when you regret a choice you made. I just have no self-control.

But here’s the thing: you actually have a TON of self-control.

It’s just that when you make a choice you regret, you take the power away from yourself and put it on some self-control bullshit that makes you feel like you can’t help it.

I say this in the most loving way because I loooooooved saying this to myself, and for me, it was all about FEAR.

I was SCARED of truly reaching that healthy weight and hitting my goal because part of me was scared of NOT hitting it and looking like I failed. Ashley’s scared of missing out on foods she loves, so the self-control crutch helps her keep those foods into her life. If you say this, I’m sure you have your own little fears that are stopping you from going all in and building a lifestyle the healthy way.

So if you want to ditch the crutch, still enjoy what you love, and have the freedom to not be perfect, here’s what I told Ashley:

Remember that you ALWAYS have self-control. Even when you choose something unhealthy and crave things and listen to those cravings, you are CHOOSING to do so. In the moment, you want the food and you’re choosing it. So it’s self-control, it just gives you a result you don’t like.

You can slowly learn how to choose the healthy option if that’s what you want. Using future pacing (imagining how you’ll feel after eating X vs. X choice), making a specific plan on how you can pick something next time if your choice made you feel unhealthy or bloated, and just planning ahead before you’re in that situation (did you eat a nourishing lunch? did you drink water? etc).

You can still control the snacks, indulging, and treats. You can eat these things with ZERO guilt if you just decide that okay, this is an indulgence, I’m going to REALLY enjoy this, stop when I’m full, and move on with my healthy day.

Remember that this is a long game. Your health journey is going to last you for life, so enjoy it and be present. The more you take the power away from yourself and blame self-control, willpower, whatever, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Instead, just focus on what you ARE in control of, in this moment, and take it one step at a time.

So Ashley went ahead and decided to ditch the crutch, be a little nicer to herself when she has a learning moment, and she’s deciding to do what makes her FEEL good in the moment. Be like Ashley.

If this feels like you, and you want a REAL pep talk from someone who knows how to deliver the tough love with so much love, you’ll need to check out this episode of H&H Radio: Heal Your Relationship with Food. I promise.

So with that I’ll send you on your way, babes. Remember you have all the self-control in the world, you just need to give some of that power back to yourself.

XO – Lupe 

Was this the pep talk you needed? LMK.

What’s the Deal with DAIRY FREE?

Let me just complain for a sec.

If you want something badly enough, you can take all the time in the world, experiment all you want, and go at your own pace until you make it happen.

Something that kills me a little is when someone complains about excess bloating, feeling too uncomfortable after eating something cheesy/creamy, or being unhappy with the results they are seeing while eating dairy frequently.

Now that there’s so much evidence to back up the connection between dairy consumption and symptoms such as bloating, indigestion, long-term chronic health issues, and general illness, it’s worth experimenting with a dairy-free lifestyle.

“BUT… CHEESE… PIZZA…. MOZZARELLA STICKS!!!!”

I knowwww, dude. I was devastated when I realized that some of my favorite foods were slowing down my results and making me feel worse than I needed to.

So this blog is for the girls who are OPEN to trying something new in order to feel incredible. Here’s what I can tell you about MY own changes to eating dairy-free, and why it’s helped me so much.

There are a few reasons why people choose to eat less dairy or go dairy-free. Digestion is one, since many of us are a little intolerant to lactose without even realizing. Bloating is another, as many dairy products are processed and include chemicals and sodium that contribute to bloating. Healthy weight is another, as dairy contains SOME vitamins & benefits, but they are wayyyy overpowered by the damages dairy can do to us and our long-term weight + health (read more about this here).

I guess I’ll mention the animals, too. I’ve become more and more conscious about how my choices are affecting the environment and causing unnecessary harm to animals & the communities affected by animal agriculture, so it made sense for me to try and reduce my consumption.

I can’t speak for everyone, but when I was trying to lose weight, I hit a plateau after about 8-9 lbs lost. I had gone vegetarian and included SO many more greens into my diet. But I didn’t think I could really go more plant-based than that. Cheese, mac & cheese, pizza, coffee creamers… you name it, I loved it.

The thought of “giving something up” was more powerful to me than the idea of hitting my goal and FEELING my absolute best.

But after some time feeling like I was “settling” and that I really might be able to feel even more amazing… I committed to just trying the dairy-free thing for a month.

Andddddddd I haven’t stopped since.

Of course, there have been some foods and scenarios along the way where I made an exception, didn’t plan well, or didn’t notice. But these have been farther and fewer as time goes on and I’m so thankful I didn’t quit or think I “ruined it”.

I reached my goal and lost 17 lbs, I found foods that were just as delicious and didn’t make me feel gross after, and I was able to focus MORE on plant-based foods, which of course helped me get more toned, more energetic, and overall more confident.

SO in this blog post, I felt like I wanted to show you some of the hacks and easy swaps I made that helped me really ditch dairy products. You don’t have to do it all at once, but I highly recommend that your OVERALL way of eating includes less and less dairy. You’ll thank me later. 🙂

Here are my favorite hacks & vegan swaps that I’ve found so far. Everything is linked so you can do your own research & figure out where to start:

COFFEE CREAMER:

Califia is my DREAMMMM creamer when I make coffee at home. It’s just as creamy as dairy AND they have flavors you can pick from. You can also decide if you prefer coconut milk, soy, almond, etc. My personal favorite is the Pecan Caramel one. All day long. When I go to Dunkin, I order an iced coffee with almond milk and when I go to Starbucks, I order an iced coffee with soy milk.

MILK:

Almond milk alll the way. I’ll either use Califia’s plain almond milk or Silk’s vanilla depending on what I’m using them for. These are great for cooking things like vodka sauce, making cereals, and blending into smoothies. For something heavier, you might want to use soy milk because when it cooks, it thickens pretty well. For pancake batter, I’ll mix almond milk or soy milk and a little vinegar and let it sit to become a “buttermilk”. I also will use coconut milk when I’m making something like a curry.

ICE CREAM:

I’m actually not a big ice cream girl but I do miss it sometimes. One thing I’ll get in the summer are these coconut almond ice cream bars. They’re really the only ones I’ll get for home, but then I recently tried the Ben & Jerry’s new vegan flavor and 10000% approve. THANKYOUUU B&J.

CHEESE:

Okay so this one’s complicated, but I make it work. I never liked plain cheese slices, but I hear awesome things about the brand Follow Your Heart. I can’t really review anything from them since I’ve never tried them, but my vegan friends seem to use them a lot. For pastas and meals where I want parmesan, I use this alternative and it’s pretty delish. To season things like roasted veggies and random meals like soups, I love using nutritional yeast because the taste is a bit cheesy and it contains vitamin B12, which you need (especially if you don’t eat animal products). Mac & cheese: I use Daiya brands…. it’s basically the same as the dairy kind – you make it in a box and it’s gooey/delicious.

PIZZA:

One of the restaurants by me will make a full “veggie pie” if you ask ahead of time – veggies like eggplant, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, sauce, on a crust with olive oil and seasonings. That’s the IDEAL dairy-free pizza for me, where it’s REAL food & not as processed. When I’m in the mood for something more like junk food, I’ll use Daiya Margherita frozen pizza. 

CONDIMENTS:

So I really loved dressings like Ranch, Caesar, etc. But honestly, so many brands are moving towards the plant-based lifestyle anyway so you really CAN find an alternative that tastes similar. To be real though, the dressing I make for myself basically every day is just oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. I would recommend that because it’s probably the least processed out of most options you’ll see. If you’re looking for brand ideas though, try this vegan ranch or some of Daiya’s flavors.  One last thing I’ll put into this category is butter. I love using vegan butter when I’m indulging a little, and Earth Balance has been the one I’ve used since I switched over.

SNACKS

SO many kinds of chips, crackers, and snacks contain some sort of milk/cheese in them for flavor. BUT like I said before, brands are getting the hint and giving us what we luvvvvvvv. I’ve recently been obsessed with these quinoa puffs (be careful bc they ARE a little spicy), these cheesy chickpea puffs, and vegan popcorn (I was dreaming of this day). One last thing I’ll mention is chocolate – if you’re dairy free just be on the lookout because milk chocolate and some dark chocolates do contain dairy, so it depends on how serious you are about what’s in it. One healthier option is actually cacao nibs, which are WAY better for you and I sprinkle them in things like oatmeal, granola, smoothies, etc.

WOW that was way longer than I expected. I just feel like I had a really hard time getting  organized when I was trying to go dairy free and I realized I’ve never actually made a list like this, even though you guys ask me for the hacks all the time. Please let me know if this helps you out and which ones you try out along the way. I actually now have a pretty long list of ALL the hacks in one place right here if you want to follow as I add more when I find good ones.

I’ll update this if you guys still have questions or need swaps for anything else dairy-related. I’ve got youuuuuu.

What tips can you give someone reading this who’s trying to go dairy free?

Bye Bye, Bloat.

Feeling bloated is one of the most irritating feelings, in my opinion.

I used to be so confused as to why I sometimes felt a little bloated, or VERY bloated.

A little sluggish, a little foggy, and just off. A little uncomfortable in my clothing & a little unhappy with how I felt.

I honestly thought most people automatically just felt like this all the time after eating… and that’s just how it was.

WRONG, wrong, wrong Lupe. 

Like many other people, I just wasn’t in tune with the right foods for my body and how to actually control certain times where I could avoid that annoying bloating feeling.

There are some factors we just can’t control: periods, hormones, water retention, medication side effects, etc.

But we CAN control a few easy lifestyle hacks that can make a great difference in your bloating if this is something you struggle with:

MORE FOOD, LESS INGREDIENTS

I cannot stress this enough, you guys. It’s easy to fall into the habit of eating “easy”, “fast”, processed foods and packaged foods. We all know how convenient they can be and they’re great sometimes. But on a regular basis, too many of them are full of “fillers” and preservatives that are actually just chemicals that don’t NEED to be in your body. Bloating can be a side effect of too many of those making their way throughout your digestive system and confusing your body.

My advice? Try to keep 90% of your foods composed of 5 ingredients or less. When comparing packaged brands, the list of ingredients is a HUGE telling sign of how real the foods you’re looking at are (and how they might affect your bloating later on). Real food, less ingredients, always.

STAY HYDRATED AF

I knowwwwwwwww YOU knowwww this already. I’m preaching to the choir, but I also know that we all forget to drink enough water. 64 oz daily is ideal, and if you make drastic changes to your water intake you might experience bloating for a day or two while your body adjusts.

My advice? Keep your water intake consistent, don’t dehydrate yourself, and make H20 a part of your routine.

PROCESSED DAIRY IS NOT OUR FRIEND

I know many of you are not vegan, but are interested in learning more about eating plant-based when you can.  Processed dairy is one of the first things I ask clients to get away from if they’re open to it (and it’s one of the first things they see results from leaving). 

Not only are cheese/cream/milk products MORE damaging to your body than they are beneficial, the excess sodium in processed dairy adds insult to injury. If you can find yourself a plant-based milk, creamer, or cheese alternative, you might find yourself feeling much less bloated. Pay attention to how you feel after eating dairy, too. Many of us are slightly sensitive or intolerant to dairy without realizing. 

DARK. LEAFY. GREENS.

If there’s ONE kind of food that promotes your best energy burning, your easiest digestion/calorie burning, and your healthiest weight, I’d have to go with the dark leafy greens.

Instead of thinking about foods you need to eat LESS of to avoid bloating (which can seem negative), challenge yourself to base as many meals as you can around dark leafy greens and see what happens.

Stir-fry? Salad? Pasta night? Taco salad? Roasted veggies? The list goes on and you’re never out of options.

So if bloating is a challenge for you, I think you might find some luck experimenting with one of these small changes this week. Try it out and see how you feel after each meal. I know one of these will help you kiss your bloating goodbye (at least – the part you CAN control). You’ve got this.

xo – Lupe

Certified Holistic Health Coach

BTW – If you’re still not sure where to get started when it comes to REAL food, EASY meals, & healthy options to help beat your bloating…

WYD??? Download > 30 EASY & Healthy Recipes right here to plan some meals and feel amazing after just one week.