Alisa Fleming is the founder of the largest dairy-free website, Go Dairy Free, and author of the best-selling special diet book, “Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living.” She is also a freelance writer for several publications and a recipe creator for the natural food industry with an emphasis on dairy-free living and other special diets. Follow Alisa on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
1. Since 2004 you have been sharing recipes, reviews and information on eating dairy free. Not all of my readers eat dairy free however most of us do try to eat healthy. Tell us why you first decided to go dairy free.
– I was born with a severe milk allergy, and though it lessened, I never completely outgrew it. So you could say the need to be dairy-free has always been a part of my life, it was never really a decision, but I am very happy this way.
2. What are some of the benefits to eating dairy free?
– This really depends on the person. I don’t believe in a one-size fits all way of eating. Some people might see their congestion and infections clear up, their acne vanish, their migraines resolve, but others may just choose to cut out dairy because it makes them feel more energetic and they are concerned about disease prevention. For myself, the symptoms of my milk sensitivity are quite severe, so the benefit is daily health.
3. Some people may think it’s impossible to go completely dairy free. What would your response be to them?
- Wow, impossible? I’m quite certain we will all face much bigger challenges in life than cutting out dairy! There are so many amazing foods to eat; I think people often forget that milk really is a single food. Most people will actually enjoy a more varied diet without dairy since it can be far too easy to rely on milk products in the American diet. Whenever I feel in a rut, I peruse cookbooks with an international flare. Most other nationalities use far less dairy (even the French!), so they offer an array of flavorful recipes that don’t even need adaptation, but taste amazing. And of course, if all else fails, there are now so many alternatives to dairy foods that it makes my head spin!
4. My husband and I eat primarily vegetarian, but also limit our dairy consumption as well. One thing I still haven’t been able to give up is cheese. Are there some good dairy free cheese alternatives out there?
- As you have phrased it, my answer is yes. If you said “Are there any good dairy-free alternatives to cheese,” my answer would be “not really.” No single food tastes identical to another, and expecting a soy-based product to taste exactly like stringy cheese? Well, that would require some major laboratory intervention. However, some of the cheese alternatives are pretty good in their own right, and I do find cream cheese to be extremely easy to substitute, whether it’s homemade or store bought. The main problem is that people jump right from dairy cheese to cheese alternatives, and in 9 cases out of 10 that will lead to disappoint and possibly a relapse. Since cheese is so addictive (another topic for another day), I typically recommend that people who are trying to go cheese-free skip the alternatives for a while. Go cold turkey. After you lose that cheese craving and memory, your taste buds will usually be more open to the tastes and textures of cheese alternatives.
5. Do you have a favorite vegetarian (dairy free) recipe that you can share with us to try?
– Oh, I have so many! My book is actually 100% vegetarian-friendly (all of the 200+ recipes were tested vegetarian, and all but two were tested vegan). Since we’re on the dairy-free topic, I’ll mention a couple of my creamy favorites.
- Potato Miso Soup (http://www.alisacooks.com/
- And this Rich Peanut Butter Ice Cream w/ Homemade Peanut Butter Chunks (http://www.alisacooks.com/
6. You have a book available on Amazon called, “SMART SCHOOL TIME RECIPES: The Breakfast, Snack, and Lunchbox Cookbook for Healthy Kids and Adults”. Tell us a little bit about that book, why you published it and why you are offering it for free on the Kindle.
– Basically, one year when I saw all of the ads for “back to school” food, and everything was complete garbage, I got fed up. I don’t have kids myself, but it is truly important to me that the upcoming generations receive proper nutrition to grow, develop, make their own good choices, and be healthy. I decided that I would help in the one way I knew how, to provide recipes.
I thought that by compiling healthier breakfast and lunch recipes into one central place, it might make it easier for parents to learn about good nutrition and provide it for their children. Because everything that I do is dairy-free, and I wanted to share it with my own audience, all of the recipes are dairy-free-friendly, but I made sure it is an ebook for everyone, dairy-free or not. It also includes many gluten-free recipes. You can get this book on Kindle for free here.
7. Finally, tell our readers where they can find out more about you and the books and resources you have to offer.
– My book, Go Dairy Free, is a full guide and cookbook. As I always say, people buy it for the recipes, but end up relishing in the information within it! I like to create good food, but I love providing tons of real world information. Both Go Dairy Free and Smart School Time Recipes are available via PDF through Go Dairy Free the website, but are also available for all e-readers, including apple, kindle, the nook, and more. Go Dairy Free is also available in print via Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
I also run www.GoDairyFree.org, which has grown to be the largest dairy-free resource on the internet. There you will also find some helpful ebooks that we have to offer and my (almost) daily posts of recipes, reviews, news, and more. I also have a wonderful and active following at Facebook (www.facebook.com/godairyfree) where I encourage people to ask questions and help one another out.
Thank you Alisa for sharing your time and your expertise with us!