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It's not about the weight - Weight does not matter much

Monday, February 04, 2013

I find myself saying this all the time. I even hear or read people agree with me and then act the opposite. There are a lot of weight loss challenges on Spark while at the same time there is advice about not stepping on the scales too often. Spark gives the option of recording one's weight or other things like measurements like body fat but most people have a weight ticker.
Most people acknowledge when asked that it is more important to be healthy than to lose the weight but then they try to lose additional weight by reducing salt intake and thereby dropping water weight. Skinny fat (low lean muscle, high fat but normal weight) is not healthy. Walking 30 minutes a day is not enough to be functionally fit or healthy.
Being normal weight is not an indicator of health, in fact many people who are normal weight are still pre-diabetic. I was one of them and did not even know. Many people who are normal weight still have high blood pressure, high triglycerides or low HDL or even all of them and are at significant risk of heart disease or stroke or diabetes.
Gaining muscle is harder for me and is generally harder for women than for men. But I would still rather gain one pound of muscle than lose one pound of fat.
I'm not talking about big or bulky at all, just strong enough for functional fitness. When I can do the monkey bars at the local playground with ease and do a few pushups or pullups I'll be happy with that.
I'll have another body composition analysis at the doctor's office on Tuesday. I hope that my strength training has paid off and I have gained some more muscle and maybe even lost some more body fat. If not I will continue to figure out what to do to make it happen.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KELTIC-CARA 2/25/2013 6:08PM

    Seeing the scales move is great at first, it is only as we get closer to our goal we start to think of the things your are keeping tabs on, like body fat and muscle tone etc.

emoticon

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_RAMONA 2/7/2013 10:38AM

    This is a GREAT blog... I just wish blogs like these weren't so lost in the wilderness... they are never the ones featured by SparkPeople.

The only way that the scale has helped (and continues to help) me is by teaching me just how much my weight can vary from day to day... as much as 10 pounds in my more extreme circumstances (my 'weight' is incredibly hormone driven). I figured out early on that the way I eat cannot cause a 10 pound weight gain overnight, so I've learned to watch for other more meaningful changes (measurements, clothes, definition, general trend). I really like that I can now actually visually tell the difference between the muscle and fat on my body.

"When I can do the monkey bars at the local playground with ease and do a few pushups or pullups I'll be happy with that." Me, TOO!!! :)





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GOPINTOS 2/6/2013 9:19AM

    Oh I know. I guess it is because it is the best way to judge that most of us have. Being so overweight, the scale going down is very motivating. As you get closer to an ideal weight, there are much better measures than the scales. The ups and downs along the way can be very taxing though. I like to weigh often to see the effects of certain foods on me. If I were more of a normal weight, I could probably see/tell it without the scale. And like last week. I just knew I had lost weight. I felt like I had. I was out of town and couldn't weigh. I came home to a gain. Uggh. But I am still eating right so I don't let it get me down. Just surprised is all.

Thanks for sharing!

Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
Melinda
Perfect Health Diet Team
Country Living Team
Dr Oz Show Fans Team
Wheat Belly Team

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JSTETSER 2/6/2013 5:51AM

    Life is such a balance!


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EJOY-EVELYN 2/4/2013 11:18PM

    The scale is a quick measurement, when combined with a host of other measurements and signals that alert me to the status of my health. The scale probably matters more to me only because it's such an easy measurement to take. It's wise that we remember there are many elements to take into consideration. It's all part of the learning process. You've really got a great handle on the information at hand.

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ERIN1957 2/4/2013 1:29PM

    Some of us receive medication by our weight and we all know the more meds we take the more side effects we can have. I have to weigh whether I like it or not. I have a goal to drop weight so I have less medication and maybe even stop meds all together. So I look at is as an important number to work toward, not a game...but a positive tool. I enjoy seeing it as a positive reinforcement.

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WOUBBIE 2/4/2013 12:16PM

    The way my pants fit is much more important to me than what the scale says. We've been conditioned to invest the scale numbers with too much respect. As a reminder, those "ideal weight" charts? They're made up by insurance companies, not physicians, for the purpose of quickly gauging "risk" when insuring someone.

If you're trying to lose fat for looks, then just look at how you look. If you're trying to lose weight for health, then measure your blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin levels, and triglycerides. THOSE are the important numbers that have strong correlations with health. "Weight" is a pretty amorphous number when you come right down to it, and doesn't distinguish between water, fat, bone, or undigested food.

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MARITIMER3 2/4/2013 12:01PM

    I seldom weighed myself most of last year... and I regained 14 lbs. I need the discipline of weighing myself regularly... and for me that means once a week. I understand that weight naturally fluctuates, and that if I have too much salt I can retain water, but still, over a month, I want the scale to go down a bit. If not, then I step up my exercise and make sure that I weigh, measure and track what I eat very carefully.

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HOUNDLOVER1 2/4/2013 11:42AM

    It is hard indeed to ignore the scales if everyone around us is talking about what the scales say. It is just as hard as saying NO to donuts when everyone or what seems like everyone around us eats them. It starts with the awareness that we want to be different and then systematically putting reminders and positive reinforcements in place throughout our lives that will help us to make the switch in thinking and acting.
It is true that the scales are very easy to use. But the tape measure would only take 30 seconds more, not a huge time commitment either. Alternatively we can take one picture from front and one from the side once a month. This will show the difference between muscle and fat quite well. emoticon

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-LINDA_S 2/4/2013 11:13AM

    I want my fat percentage to go down and lean body mass go up. If I look good and feel well, I think I'll be happy. But I'm still more obsessed with the scale than I should be. It's so hard not to be!

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TIGGERJEAN 2/4/2013 9:32AM

    emoticon

I think the key word is healthy. Everyone has different body types, a different health history, different gene pools. The problem comes when people equate 'skinny' with healthy. There is no magic number on the scale that makes you healthy or more beautiful. It's about what your body can DO - whether 110 pounds or 220 pounds. We have amazing bodies and we are powerful when we choose to exercise them. Forget the scale - do you feel good about yourself and what your body can do?

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BROOKLYN_BORN 2/4/2013 9:21AM

    While I also want to be strong and gain muscle, I wouldn't go as far as to say weight doesn't matter much. Somehow when I lost weight, the body fat % went down right along with it. I don't stress about either of them. My ticker is maintenance weeks.

I know it's a lot easier for me to run up hills without the extra pounds I was carrying. At my age (65) I probably can't expect to get faster, but I want to maintain that 10 min/mile pace (or a little less) as long as possible. That extra weight wasn't doing my heart muscle or my joints any good.

Cardio, strength training, flexibility and balance. I want to maintain/improve all of them for quality of life.

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NELLJONES 2/4/2013 8:33AM

    Weight is the easiest indicator to track, so that's what most do. You have to figure out what you want, and how much you are willing to do to get it. Only you can determine that.

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NKOUAMI26 2/4/2013 6:19AM

    emoticon

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JSTETSER 2/4/2013 5:59AM

    I agree. I'd rather gain a pound of muscle too. Low weight is not my ultimate goal, optimum health is!
I hiked around Hillsborough enjoying the Stone Arch Bridges and the ice jams. Check out the photos!
http://www.sparkpeople.c
om/mypage_public_journal.asp?id
=JSTETSER

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TINAJANE76 2/4/2013 4:04AM

    I tell myself that again and again, but it is so hard to really get my mind focused away from the numbers on the scale and more on my other indicators of good health now that I know I'm well within a healthy weight range. Good luck with your body composition analysis!

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PINKEUROGIRL 2/4/2013 1:16AM

    Very wise words there

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ZRIE014 2/4/2013 1:11AM

  you need to control you weight but watching the scale too much will only get you down.

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Finally - Long Run

Sunday, February 03, 2013

The weather was beautiful and my resting pulse was down another 7 beats this morning, so cutting out dairy seems to be working.
I decided to give a long run a try. I made it easy on myself by waiting until midday when the temps were around 50 degrees and sunny.
I ran 8 miles in 1hr. 52min.20sec., average pace 4.27 mph, avg. pulse 135
The running felt effortless and my breathing was better than ever. It felt like I was getting more air and my throat felt clear without any mucus production for the first time that I can remember. I never had asthma but always noticed having some trouble breathing at higher heart rates and I do remember having mild exercise induced asthma/shortness of breath even when I was high school age. Now I'm wondering...
I looked at my running records from a year ago when I was preparing for the same half-marathon and my 8 mile run was at a 4.2 mph pace. The fact that I'm at about the same place is encouraging given that I did very little running over the last 3 weeks.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KELTIC-CARA 2/25/2013 6:04PM

    emoticon

emoticon

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GOPINTOS 2/6/2013 9:19AM

    emoticon Thanks for sharing!

Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
Melinda
Perfect Health Diet Team
Country Living Team
Dr Oz Show Fans Team
Wheat Belly Team

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CINDYTW 2/4/2013 5:22PM

  emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 2/3/2013 11:36PM

    Glad to hear about your great progress.

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-LINDA_S 2/3/2013 10:05PM

    emoticon Wish being off dairy solved my mucus problems. It's going on 5 weeks and no improvement...

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SAILOR64 2/3/2013 8:53PM

  Great Job!

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MARJORIEWRIGHT 2/3/2013 8:30PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Running Progress on day 4 of dairy-free

Friday, February 01, 2013

I ran for 4.4 miles at an average heartrate of 132 on mostly level ground.
Total time 61min. 40 sec., avg. pace 4.28
I did notice that my calves were slightly sore at the end, not surprising given that I had not done a whole lot of running while my pulse was so high.
I hope to get a long run in on Sunday.
Breakfast was some blueberries and a handful of macadamia nuts and a glass of almond milk, a little later a cup of broth to increase salt.
Lunch will be coconut pancakes. But first some of the dogs deserve a walk. It's sunny outside so I'm looking forward to getting out there again. emoticon

Birgit

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHADOW38 2/5/2013 6:01PM

    Houndlover, I hope you'll continue your blogs regarding dairy. I'm curious to see what difference it makes.

I'm going to try this experiment myself and see how it goes. Not sure how I'll survive without cheese and butter, but I'll be strong. If it causes my heart rate to go down, its definitely worth it. Mine may be dairy, or it may just be my age (49)and getting near menopause.

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LOSER05 2/3/2013 8:55AM

    emoticon

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-LINDA_S 2/2/2013 7:30PM

    Mmm...coconut pancakes! Sounds like you're doing great!

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SCHNOOTIE 2/2/2013 11:07AM

    coconut pancakes sounds amazing!!!!! Have a great day. You started out strong!

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CINDYTW 2/1/2013 6:34PM

  I notice a lot of improvement when I can stay dairy free. I went a couple weeks before I caved in today. emoticon emoticon

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3rd dairy-free day, short run

Friday, February 01, 2013

I managed to not get tempted by dairy, but it came at a cost. I increased my berries to 3 servings and I had more almond milk and nuts than what would have been ideal carb-wise. But one step at a time.
I did get a 2-mile run in and an hour of strength training. I hope I'll finally feel like a long run this weekend.
Mile 1: 4.3 mph
Mile 2: 4 mph

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARITIMER3 2/3/2013 3:51PM

    My daughter gave up wheat and dairy a year ago (she was already a vegetarian), and feels great. I've been drinking soy milk for about a year and like it; haven't tried almond milk yet. I gave up wheat a month ago, and feel a lot better (no bloating, gas), and have lost 5 lbs. I'm really learning a lot about nutrition and about tweaking what I eat, little by little, until I find the right mix for myself.

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-LINDA_S 2/1/2013 7:40PM

    Thanks for keeping us up to date on your dairy-free experiment. I'd like to try some of those coconut options if I can find ones really low in sugar.

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HOUNDLOVER1 2/1/2013 10:36AM

    The China study that you mentioned was conducted using powdered casein, not natural unprocessed raw milk. It shows only that processed animal products from animals that were fed unnatural foods (grain instead of pesticide-free pasture) are dangerous. I know many people who are in excellent health who use raw dairy without any negative effects. My own sensitivity to dairy was caused by leaky gut syndrome which is a result of consuming grain and soy.
I would recommend to people who want to eat the healthiest kind of dairy and are not sensitive to it to try A2 milk that is raw, not homogenized and from non-sprayed pasture-fed animals.

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ERIN1957 2/1/2013 10:11AM

    I stopped dairy right before the new year and I have felt so good every since. I loved it, but now am so glad I stopped all dairy and am loving the way I am feeling.

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JSTETSER 2/1/2013 6:28AM

    Amazing! You have a great heart and a great start!
Enjoy those wide, open spaces! Nature and exercise together is a great combination!!
http://www.sparkpe
ople.com/mypage_public_journal.
asp?id=JSTETSER

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KERI414 2/1/2013 1:42AM

  Good for you! Have you read The China Study? That'll help you not want to eat dairy again!

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JANTWO 2/1/2013 1:10AM

    I switched to soy a long time ago and I really like it.

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HOUNDLOVER1 2/1/2013 12:47AM

    Candypa, thanks for mentioning this. I've seen it at the store and it is a little higher in carbs than real yogurt, even the plain version, but I might have it occasionally. emoticon emoticon

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CANDYPA 2/1/2013 12:41AM

  I like dairy too, but I have a dairy allergy among other things. I don't know if you can use this or not. I found a yogurt type food made from coconuts. It is pretty good. I added more fruit. It is not the consistancy of greek yogurt but not as thin as some of those other brands. It is called So Delicious and it comes in vanilla, blueberry, and strawberry/banana. I've only tried the blueberry one and it was good. So Delicious also has a coconut milk and it is okay. I haven't had dairy in over a month. I miss it, but not the problems.

Comment edited on: 2/1/2013 12:47:27 AM

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Ditching Dairy

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Not by choice, but because I seem to be sensitive or allergic. I had noticed in the last few weeks that some of the symptoms I had left behind since giving up wheat and then grains were returning. In particular a bloated feeling after eating, some stiffness in my feet when getting up, but most of all a higher resting pulse, higher heart rate at lower levels of exercise, poor sleep in spite of going to bed early etc.
At first I thought the reason was caffeine that I was not used to any more and one day I had 3 cups of decaf and a hot chocolate. But after a week of experimenting it turned out that it was indeed the dairy that affects me.
Today was my second dairy-free day and my pulse is about 20 beats lower for a comparable activity level, my resting pulse is 25 beats lower.
I would never had made the connection if I did not run with a heart rate monitor (using the Maffetone method to prepare for a Half-marathon in early March).
One day after a big dairy breakfast I started my warm-up and just walking brought my heartrate up to 115, normal would be in the 90's. I thought that maybe I was getting an infection or cold but nothing of that kind happened. That day I realized that I could just wear my heart rate monitor around the clock for a few days and see how my body was doing. So for the next few days I observed how my body responded to temperature, rest, caffeine and dairy. Everytime I ate dairy I felt bloated within an hour and my pulse went up within about 2 hours.
The last 2 days have been interesting. I was a little concerned about giving up dairy because I love cheese, cream cheese, butter and cream as well as home-made ice cream. I had already given up grain and legumes and sugar.
But the strategy that helped me to give up grains worked well so far: finding substitutes for the things I like. I had almond milk with my fruit and nuts in the morning yesterday, today I tried coconut milk. I had canned coconut milk in my decaf. Instead of cheese, for which I don't think there are very good substitutes, I had uncured salami, eggs or bacon. I also bought a 10 lb box of macadamia nuts that will be one of my favorite snacks. I've started drinking broth and herbal teas more. Keeping the carbs quite as low as I want to is going to be a little harder but I stayed under 50 grams the last two days.
So I guess now I can say that I am officially going paleo as well as low-carb.
I'm beginning to wonder if my thyroid issues may have been in part related to the dairy as well. I may still consider trying to reintroduce at least raw dairy again in the future and/or get allergy testing but for now skipping dairy is not as difficult as I thought.
I would love to hear from anyone what your best strategies are to stay away from dairy.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_RAMONA 2/8/2013 10:24AM

    Once again, THANK YOU... I had read the stuff on Weston Price a while ago (it's what got me really thinking about the milk issue), but I hadn't thought to check for a local chapter of the Foundation. This may help me in my search.

I'm in Canada... and a province away, possibilities for raw milk abound... which means a 16 hour drive round trip twice a week... not doable. Here... nobody's talking yet, LOL!

So, in your experience, raw milk hasn't made any diffference? Is your raw milk from exclusively grass/hay fed cows? Were you making our own cheeses and yogurt as well as the ice cream?

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_RAMONA 2/7/2013 11:05AM

    I'm a lot like you, and I've been eating 'primal' for that reason... I really didn't think I had a problem with dairy. It's only recently that I'm noticing that I seem to be reacting to dairy as well. My theory is that as my body sorts itself out I may find that I can notice other subtle reactions as well... when I started down this path I was one huge reaction, so discerning one thing from another was nearly impossible. Along with the dairy, my nightshade sensitivity is much more obvious.

Conversely, I'm also hoping that as I experience more and greater healing (two years down the road... I'm patient, LOL), that there are foods I may be able to reintroduce.

Also, as far as dairy goes, I'm not yet giving up entirely... I am giving up the real baddies, but keeping things like homemade yogurt, kefir and heavy cream (home cultured and fermented seems to not incite a reaction), minimally processed cheese (I look for super clean products... I seem to react less to unripened cheeses, and even less so to the really expensive stuff, LOL... 'Christmas' cheese didn't bother me, but our every day cheese does). Also, if you make Ghee from your butter (removes the milk solids), I suspect there is less a reaction, if any... so you get the richness and flavour, but not the troublesome components.

Do you have the book 'Nourishing Tradtions'? I find it incredibly helpful and supportive... SO MUCH MORE than a cookbook:

http://www.amazon.ca/Nouris
hing-Traditions-Challenges-Poli
tically-Dictocrats/dp/0967089735

I'm also curious about the difference between grain/grass-fed and raw/pasterized dairy products... I'm trying to find a source of grass-fed raw milk to see if I still react. As you can imagine, since farmers can be jailed/bankrupted for selling raw milk, this is not easy, but I'm getting closer!


Making GHEE:
http://www.veggiebelly.com/2012
/01/how-to-make-ghee.html



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RUSSELL_40 2/1/2013 10:51AM

    I am not sure what people mean when they say dairy. I eat eggs which I buy in the dairy, and I don't have any issues with butter, but cheese I have to limit. I don't drink milk, eat yogurt etc. because it makes it harder for me to breath due to excess phlegm being created. I also try to avoid lactose, and fructose, which are sugars. So not much dairy.

I have felt better with longer aged cheeses, and heard they have almost no lactose, but love cheddar, so I have it rarely, and in 2 oz doses.

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GRACEMCDOG 1/31/2013 7:02PM

    Thanks for this, Birgit. Glad you were able to isolate the problem. I'm going to try the heart rate test and see what happens. I ate some yogurt in the evening and had poor sleep and terrible morning congestion so, I suspect I am going to have to forgo the dairy, too. Have you ever tried the chia-piocca to replace yogurt to have with fruit/nuts? We make it with 1/4 cup white chia seeds and 1 small can of coconut milk, 1 tsp vanilla or you can add spices like cinnamon if you like. I sometimes add extra unsweetened coconut as well. You stir it well then let it sit for several hours in the fridge. Best if eaten within 2 days.

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CINDYTW 1/31/2013 5:42PM

  Brigit you are correct. The allergy symptoms WILL cause an elevated heart rate. There is a test (Coca Pulse Test) that you take your pulse before and after eating anything you suspect and if it is elevated you have an issue. I personally find my pulse immediately going up after eating dairy, within minutes. If you are less sensitive it might take some time. I also feel my intestines rebelling within minutes...even though it is not in there yet! Dairy can be an addictive substance as well just like wheat, and for me it is worse than wheat! I just can't seem to shake it for good! PS I also get dandruff, sebhorrehic dermatitis and perioral dermatitis from it. It resolves if I stay off a good amount of time.

Comment edited on: 1/31/2013 5:50:31 PM

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HOUNDLOVER1 1/31/2013 12:57PM

    Just to clarify, I don't know why my heart rate went down exactly but assume that an allergy/sensitivity to dairy causes inflammation which leads to a raised heart rate. It might be worth experimenting with for people who think they might be sensitive to dairy. I assume that inflammation can affect any part of the body incl. hormone-producing glands and any organs and the brain, all of thich could affect heart rate. Other people may have totally different symptoms as a result of dairy intolerance. emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/31/2013 12:59:20 PM

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KAPELAKIN 1/31/2013 10:06AM

    Interesting blog! I've been trying to stick only with fermented dairy and less dairy overall, but can't seem to give up cream in my coffee. The coconut creamer isn't the same, but I might have to give the canned stuff a try, or just learn to like black coffee. I really love the almond/coconut blend milk that comes in the 1/2 gallon milk cartons. Really good with paleo granola! Well done on figuring out what was at the root of the issues you were experiencing.

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GETSTRONGRRR 1/31/2013 7:52AM

    Thanks, I hadn't made the association before either....I'll read up more about it!

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JSTETSER 1/31/2013 5:41AM

    I had no idea that dumping dairy could lower your heart rate. Thanks for the post!
http://www.sparkpeople.com
/mypage_public_journal.asp?id=J
STETSER

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LINDY2013 1/31/2013 12:28AM

    I am drinking almond milk...I use SILK Pure Almond unsweetened Original...it is 30 calories a cup, and I use it in my cereal, or when I make a Greek Yogurt/Strawberry smoothie in my blender (yum)

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