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When I got the inspiration to write this blog entry, I realized I needed to give some background information first. My son was diagnosed as having a milk protein sensitivity. He has to have special formula without milk or soy in it, and I also had to eliminate all milk and soy products from my own diet as long as I wanted to breastfeed. The thing of it is, eliminating milk and soy from your diet is ridiculously hard! You can’t just look at the ingredients section of an item and instantly know if it has milk or soy in it. Milk and Soy ingredients have many names. I’ve had to research constantly to find out what products have milk and soy ingredients and what’s safe for me to eat. 

The conclusion? WHOLE FOODS. No, not the grocery store (although that has been one of the places I’ve been shopping lately). Literally whole foods. Fresh meat, fresh fruits and veggies, everything fresh. Trying to eat anything processed is asking for trouble as there are so many hidden dairy and soy ingredients in there that its easy to slip-up. Case in point: I’ve been eating grilled chicken that had a teriyaki glaze on it. I didn’t realize teriyaki was made up of soy sauce as I’ve never really eaten much teriyaki. Because I slipped up, my 8 week old son has been fussy with an upset stomach and I’ve felt like the worst mom on Earth! So staying away from processed foods is the best bet. 

Some of you might be wondering how this post has anything to do at all with beautyonadime. Well, I’ve always believed health is directly related to beauty. You can’t look or feel your best if you’re constantly putting crap inside your body. And because I’ve been forced to drastically change my eating habits, I’ve also been forced to shell out a bit more money for my groceries now. However, I’ve found ways to buy groceries on the cheap and I wanted to share them with you in case you, or anyone you know, has had to go through what I’ve been going through. 

Tip #1: USE COUPONS

I know many people who absolutely loathe using coupons. Whether it’s because they hate taking the time to cut them or print them out, I don’t know. Either way, they really can save you money. $.50 here and there really does add up. With my special diet restrictions, it’s important now more than ever to really save where I can. Most grocery stores will have in-store coupons for you to use; and many stores these days have coupons you can print out online. Keep an eye on sales as its an even better value to use a coupon you have with an item that’s also on sale. I’m in no way an extreme couponer; but I am definitely cost-conscious. 

Tip #2: BUY IN BULK 

If you know you’re going to be eating a-lot of something, buy it in bulk. Meats, fruits, breads. These are all items that can be frozen so they don’t go to waste. You can take out what you eat on a daily basis without worrying that your items will spoil. You’ll be eating quite a bit of these items anyways, so if its cheaper to buy in bulk, I highly advise you to do so. Costco is a great resource for this, as well as Sams Club and Smart and Final. Even Target has been adding bulk buys to their aisle shelves. 

TIP #3: TROLL FARMERS MARKETS

The great thing about Farmer’s Markets are that many vendor’s produce is farm fresh and organic. You don’t have to worry about ingesting harmful pesticides. You’re also supporting local businesses by spending your money there instead of a corporate grocery chain. Also, farmer’s markets tend to have great buys on produce which makes shopping there a better deal. 

TIP #4: YOU CAN HAVE VARIETY

I know one of my first thoughts was “Oh crap… I’m going to have to eat the same thing again and again”. While to some extent, that’s true, you can learn how to switch things up! Maybe your sick of eating avocados. How about some avocado dip with pita chips? A bit of avocado, cilantro, lime juice, and tomatoes will make a zesty dip that tastes great on hearty pita chips. Or try a lettuce, tomato, avocado sandwich on dairy/soy free bread. And of course, there’s always the much-loved guacamole. It’s quick and easy to mix up a batch! It is possible to use what you have without getting bored by it. It’s all about variety. 

No matter what diet restrictions you may be on, you aren’t alone. Mine is only a temporary one, true, but who knows. This may inspire me to keep on having a healthy diet even after I’m done breastfeeding. 

There really are plenty of products out there to utilize, no matter your diet restrictions. For me, I miss coffee and ice-cream. Lucky for me, I found a company (So Delicious) that makes dairy/soy free ice-cream and coffee creamer. They also make a killer coconut milk that I use to put on cereals. 

Have you ever had any diet restrictions? If so, what were they and how did you cope? Thanks for reading. Stay beautiful! 

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