The Fruitful Life

BeaBettyBea | A Dairy-Free Queen

BeaBettyBea | A Dairy-Free Queen
Have you ever wondered about what life would be like without cheese? Today the Fruitful Life welcomes grad student, small business owner of Crafted in Columbia, and Culturally Tailored wellness blogger, Beatríz, to discuss her life as a dairy-free queen. 

FY: Hello Bea! Tell us a little bit about who you are.

Bea: Yes, I was actually born and raised in Colombia. I migrated to the US when I was 7 years old. We lived in Florida for a few years before settling in Tennessee. I’ve been here for over 13 years now and call Tennessee my home. I grew up with my mom and stepdad in a very Colombian household, so there was always a high value put on food. If you ate everything off the plate, that meant you were a healthy kid. Everything is centered around food and family!
[Personally,] I was very studious, loved school, learning and playing piano. I'm currently working on my masters degree, which focuses on health and society. This propelled me to go more of the holistic route. So, that's how I take care of myself and how I want to take care of others, which I can help promote through Instagram. People always ask me, "Hey, what are you eating?" for this or that. It’s always good to be a source of information for others.

FY: Definitely! How and when did your journey to dairy-free start?

Bea: It started when I was a junior in college. I started to feel terrible when I'd eat something! We weren’t sure what it was at the beginning. My physician thought it was GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), but I wasn’t getting any better with those pills. They did a myriad of exams and blood work, but everything turned out fine. It was during that time I went to Colombia over winter break. In Colombia, I lost a lot of weight but got E. coli. After the E. coli had cleared up, my physician suggested that I try a dairy-free diet. My physician had started prescribing me lactase enzymes that actually never worked. Eventually, I decided to go completely dairy-free.
Now, there's a difference between dairy-free and lactose-free. [Dairy-free means no milk or milk byproducts] vs. lactose-free, which means removing the non-digestible milk sugar: lactose.

FY: What has going dairy-free taught you?

Bea: I learned to go to the grocery store and read every ingredient on the label. Sometimes, milk ingredients can slip by. For example, recently, I found out that whey is dairy! I also research a ton of recipes. the hardest part was learning to replace my yogurt with a non-dairy alternative.

FY: Do you have any tips on shifting your perspective from a traditional diet to a dairy-free diet? 

Bea: Oh yeah! First of all, it's realizing you’re not limited. When you share that you‘re dairy-free with others, the first reaction is, "Oh, I'm so sorry!" People see it as a negative, but that is so not true. Rather than limitation, opt to try things you never would have otherwise.

FY: How has life changed since you learned this?

Bea: One of the main things I saw was I lost weight because I stopped eating the fats that dairy normally carries. Now, that was the main thing, but I also shifted my perspective as I started to read labels. I started to think, I don’t even know what this ingredient is. It made me more conscious of other things I was eating. I stopped eating a lot of artificial ingredients, and began to focus on more natural, non-GMO ingredients. Otherwise, I never would have started paying attention to what is in my foods.

Do you have any closing wishes for our dairy-free readers?

Bea: I'd say to be open to trying new foods, whether dairy-free or gluten-free. People don’t usually go that route because they think it’ll taste bad, but in reality, people who try my snacks say, "Hey, that was actually pretty tasty!" For those who consume dairy with no issues, my wish is for them to just be more understanding of people who have those dietary restrictions, and maybe be more attentive to their needs. Listen and learn what the difference between dairy-free and lactose-free is. You can learn something new. Also, it goes such a long way at a party when someone decides to put the cheese on the side [instead of in the salad]. You can eat healthy, and good, and delicious!
Thanks again for joining us, Bea! Did you like today's interview? Feel free to let us know, or ask Bea more questions, in the comments below! You can find her website at www.culturallytailored.com, or follow her adventures as BeaBettyBea on Instagram!

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