Go Dairy Free [Book Review]

by Jenn (eating bender) on June 30, 2009

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I’m still doing some catch-up in the blogosphere, so please and thank you for bearing with me this next week or so! I want to catch up with all of you!

Today I want to introduce a new feature on Eating Bender: book reviews. I’ve talked about many books in the past, and there is also that Food Blogger Book Club (I posted a discussion today!) for those who would like to get new ideas for good reads. But recently, I decided that since I have so many books to talk about, it might be fun to create an entire “book review” section on the blog. They won’t necessarily be food-related (although most probably will be), but I hope you enjoy!

The inaugural review is one that I have been meaning to get up for quite a while. A fellow blogger, Alisa Fleming, contacted me a few months ago and sent me a copy of her book, Go Dairy Free.


Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org and has quite the story, which you can read more about in her book. I was very intrigued when she first approached me because in the past two years, I have had a long and painful bout of unresolved stomach issues. Having had an endoscopy and several food allergy tests that have come to no solid conclusion, I still struggle to figure out what the root cause of my occasional bloating, cramping and overall “disgusting” feeling after a meal can be attributed to.

I found it interesting that Alisa has had her own history of health issues caused by what she was putting into her mouth. She consumed dairy products despite being diagnosed with a milk allergy as a baby, in order to ensure she was getting enough calcium. As a result, her health continued to suffer, until one day an alternative doctor made the “insane” suggestion to try giving up dairy. After her husband convinced her to try it by going dairy-free with her, Alisa found that her symptoms had disappeared within three days. She has been healthy and dairy-free for over five years now, and this book is her way of sharing what she has learned with others who will benefit from her expertise.

The book is broken up into several chapters that fall under the following key sections:

  • Understanding Dairy & Dairy-Free From a Health Perspective
  • Eating Away From Home
  • Grocery Shopping & Preparing Your Kitchen
  • All You Ever Wanted to Know About Dairy Substitutes
  • Time to Eat! – Recipes & Recommendations
  • More Recommended Resources

Breaking the book up in this way makes Alisa’s book easy to navigate, and each section is full of valuable information regardless of whether you have a dairy allergy or are just looking to learn more. In the first section, Alisa goes through the basics of dairy and dairy allergies. For me, what stuck out most was her chapter on autism.

If you’ve been reading the blog long enough, you’ve likely seen me talk about the fact that my brother is mildly autistic. He is very high functioning and if you met him on the street, you would likely never make such a connection. He has come a long way from when he was first diagnosed, and our family attributes this to many different factors, one of which was a special diet that he was put on when he was about five years old: gluten- and dairy-free.

As Alisa points out in her book, 49% of parents who chose a dairy-free treatment option found it to improve their child’s symptoms, and the gluten-free/casein-free diet is becoming more and more mainstream as well. I thought it was incredibly thoughtful and meaningful for Alisa to include this aspect of dairy-free living in her book, and the attention she gives to other areas such as ADHD, weight loss and other general health topics is just as well written and researched.

Alisa’s book goes on to describe easy ways to live the dairy-free lifestyle, from eating in restaurants and at social events to buying and preparing your own dairy-free foods. The end of her book provides more recommended resources as well as an entire section of incredible recipes, many of which I have bookmarked for when I get back to Chicago :) How does this sound: Oatmeal Blender Waffles, Cocoa-Nut Scones, Perfect Peanut Butter Bread…and that’s just a small part of the first two recipe chapters! Like all good books (in my opinion), this book is worth picking up just for the ending!

Fortunately for you, the entire book – beginning to end – is well worth your time. Whether you are thinking about going dairy-free or are just interested in reading about a delicious and healthful way of living, Go Dairy Free is a must-read for a foodie. In the past couple of months, I have been eating less dairy (cutting out Greek yogurt and eating a lot less cheese, for starters), and have seen a dramatic improvement in terms of less bloating and cramping. Without going into too many details, I can honestly say that while I have never gone completely dairy-free (since I have never been officially diagnosed with an allergy), limiting my intake has helped me considerably. Big thanks to Alisa for giving me the chance to read and review her latest work. For more information, check out GoDairyFree.org or visit her blog, One Frugal Foodie.

I hope you all enjoyed my first “official” book review. I’ll be back later with some more Papa Bender treats and a couple of new product reviews!

Your book worm,


{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 brandi June 30, 2009 at 12:55 pm

great review Jenn! I’m glad to hear that limiting dairy has helped you feel better! I have weird stomach stuff sometimes, too, but the hardest thing is I can’t pin it down to one thing. I keep track of what I eat, but the weirdness doesn’t always happen after I have “this” or “that” – it’s kind of random. It may just be me, but I just don’t know.


2 VeggieGirl June 30, 2009 at 1:01 pm

FABULOUS book review!! I’m a little biased since Alisa is a good friend, and I have recipes of my own in there, but it really is a great resource and cooking guide.


3 Anna June 30, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Thanks for the book review! The publication with which I’m currently interning (Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing) frequently consults her for their articles. She knows her stuff!

I actually just fact-checked a piece about autism that reinforces what you said about the importance of diet in managing the disorder. I came across an article by someone whose name I can’t remember (of course), talking about how autism should be looked at as affecting every system in the body, not just the brain. It seems like there has been much progress made in the field lately!


4 Maria June 30, 2009 at 1:11 pm

That sounds like a great book, Jenn, thanks for the review. I’ve been on her website (godairyfree.org) for product review and recipes, so this is especially wonderful review for me :). I try to limit dairy myself for stomach issues too, but i do have the occasional yogurt or cheese.


5 Krista June 30, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Thanks for the great review, Jenn! I’ll have to be on the lookout for that book as I also suffer from “something” very similar to yourself. I’ll be going for allergy testing in October which I HOPE will provide me with some answers!


6 Fitzalan June 30, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Thanks for this post. And for the book recommendation. I have Crohn’s disease and have been off and on dairy since birth. Dairy and my stomach do not mix well…never ever have. But I also crave ice cream while out with friends in the middle of the summer. It is an ongoing battle.

This will be an interesting read for me! Barnes and Noble here I come over tomorrow’s lunch break!

Happiness Awaits


7 ksgoodeats June 30, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Thanks for the review!! Lately I’ve been eating a lot of dairy and I don’t think it’s agreeing with me very well! I’ve been thinking about cutting back on my consumption.

Perfect PB bread? I can’t wait until you get back to Chicago so we can see this 😉


8 Marisa (trim the fat) June 30, 2009 at 1:46 pm

That was a terrific review, Jenn! My younger daughter was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy at birth and remained on a dairy-free regimen until she was 5 at which time she outgrew it. I spent countless hours researching what to feed her and found so many wonderful recipes that my family still enjoys to this day! Wish I had this book at that time, too! The recipes sound delish :)

Looking forward to more book reviews!


9 lilveggiepatch June 30, 2009 at 1:50 pm

I love the idea of an special Book Review section on Eating Bender!!! I ended up failing at the blogger book club first time around (second semester senior crunch time, you know how it is!) but I can’t wait to see what you’re reading.

Those recipes sound so good, especially the peanut butter bread and blended waffles!


10 Erica June 30, 2009 at 1:52 pm

I like the idea of the reviews! I’m always looking for a good healthy eating/life book. As you know, I have also struggled with the tummy issues- I def want to read this


11 Diana (Soap & Chocolate) June 30, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Great idea! You know I love me a good bookworm, and if I can combine my interests of reading and food, even better! I haven’t gotten to participate on Goodreads yet, but I will some day! Sigh. Thank you for sharing this review – I would love to read more like it. 😀


12 ttfn300 June 30, 2009 at 6:35 pm

already on my list to check out :) better get crackin’!


13 Heather Eats Almond Butter June 30, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Thanks for the review Jenn. I loved Alyssa’s book, and she really did her research. So glad you’re feeling better on less dairy…me too. :)


14 broccolihut June 30, 2009 at 10:19 pm

As a fellow bookworm, I love this new feature! I reviewed two books a few months ago under the title of “Foodie Lit.” I love reading and food–a perfect combo!
I might have to check out this book, even if I don’t really plan to go dairy-free anytime soon. It sounds like it has plenty of useful information!


15 Lara (Thinspired) July 1, 2009 at 1:50 am

Wonderful review, Jenn! This book is on my amazon wishlist. For years I have contemplated going dairy-free, I am partially there, but struggle with the notion of giving up yogurt! I really do believe in the benefits though. Thanks for your take on this!


16 Melissa S. July 1, 2009 at 7:11 am

great book review babe! i can’t wait to see you try some of the recipes because i want to steal them! being lactose intolerant on and off all my life has made things kinda hard going dairy free, but it was always worth it w/ all the health problems i ended up with!


17 E July 1, 2009 at 9:24 am

awesome job. my brother has learning disabilities, with a touch of ADHD and autism too, and he’s been gluten-free and dairy free since he was about 4. Unfortunately, he’s also allergic to soy. Our family does not completely follow his diet – my doctor would have a fit if i gave up dairy, considering I am already vegetarian – but his diet has significantly influenced our lifestyle. I’m definitely going to go find that book :)


18 snackface July 1, 2009 at 9:25 am

Cutting out dairy has definitely helped my tum! Every time I ate yogurt I’d feel a bit nauseated afterward, but I had no idea it was the yog until I quit it!

I don’t mean to be tacky, but I’m letting you know that I’m having a Blogiversary giveaway! Knowing you’re a journalism kid, I thought you’d enjoy the chance to win a free 1-year subscription to VegNews magazine, along with other goodies! Check it: http://snackface.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/vegnews-celebration-giveaway/

Okay, again, sorry if that’s tacky to post that in your comments!

Have a joyous week!


19 The Healthy Apple July 1, 2009 at 9:30 am

Great post! I am lactose intolerant and gluten intolerant so I completely know the feeling!!! Great book review.

Have a good day.




20 glidingcalm July 1, 2009 at 10:31 am

lovely review!!! yogurt doesn’t seem to bother me (at least not greek), but cheese and milk often do. Too bad cheese is SOOOO GOOOOOOOOOD


21 Kelly July 1, 2009 at 12:37 pm

I had no idea there was a food blogger book club. Too fun! I read a ton of food related books anyway so I’ll have to check it out.


22 Meghan Telpner July 1, 2009 at 4:51 pm

The book is fantastic! As is Alyssa and I am not just saying that because my review landed on the back cover. It is great and I use it with my clients all the time!


23 burpexcuzme July 1, 2009 at 7:53 pm

This sound interesting! Being an avid cheese-lover, I always wondered why anyone would wanna go dairy-free. Now I can understand more. But not so that I’ll give up dairy! I dont think it’s for everyone!


24 Katie July 2, 2009 at 9:50 am

This one looks interesting although I think I love my dairy too much to be swayed. lol Love the idea of your book review section!


25 kahluaabba July 2, 2009 at 12:55 pm

I found this post super interesting. I didn’t know any of the health benefits that a dairy-free or low-dairy lifestyle can provide. Particularly I was interested in the aspects ad information on autism as my older brother has Asbergers which is like mild autism.

Ayways this might be a book i look into. Take Care!


26 janetha July 2, 2009 at 3:40 pm

great review. i have been meaning to pick this book up and your review reminded me that i need to get it! thanks so much!


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