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Living lactose-intolerant, loving life eating dairy free

Ice cream, frozen yogurt, milk and cheese, give me all of those things. Dairy products can easily be a part of students’ every meal in a variety of ways. However, if you are lactose sensitive, your body probably says, “No, thanks.”

There are many students who are highly intolerant to dairy consumption.

When FGCU freshman Paige Blauschild, a health science major, reaches for a dairy product, she needs to have something else handy.

“I am able to eat any dairy products without any trouble as long as I take a Lactaid pill with the first bite of dairy,” Blauschild says.  “Being lactose sensitive heavily affects my diet. I have to always be watching out for dairy. You’d be surprised by how many processed foods have dairy in them.”

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Being lactose sensitive calls for many changes and smart choices in one’s diet. Even without the food restrictions, some people choose to alter their lifestyle to a plant-based, vegan diet.

Freshman Kristen Bodniza, a communication major with a focus on public relations, did just that. However, Bodniza had another motivation too. She plans to be an animal rights activist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA some day.

“I choose the Vegan lifestyle primarily because I do not feel superior to the animals and therefore feel that doing harm to them is only senseless and unnecessary,” Bodniza says. “We are all earthlings, ones who inhabit the earth and equally have the amount of desire to live just as humans do.”

Bodniza also believes in the amount of health benefits veganism can have. When it comes to grabbing a bite while in school, the options are limited, especially when one wants to go with healthier options over junk food. Thus, prepping food can be tricky for college students.

Many think that healthy options are difficult and take a long time to prepare. But, Bodniza and Blauschild learned to see otherwise.

Here are some quick, easy and nutritious non-dairy and vegan snack ideas the two FGCU students say they can enjoy guilt-free any day at any time.

Quick morning booster ice cream shake for energy

Bodniza usually starts off her morning with an energizing, what she likes to call “chocolate frosty” because it tastes  like a Wendy’s frosty — but healthy and cruelty-free.

Blend together frozen bananas, vanilla soymilk or any non-dairy milk such as almond, cashew, hemp, coconut, oat or rice milk, which you can get at a local grocery store and add a few teaspoons of cacao powder.

Bodniza says she likes to start her day off with raw foods and slowly ease into a cooked meal for dinner.

Oil-free baked sweet potatoes

They are easy to make, and you can say goodbye to a large amount of fat ingredients. Buy fresh sweet potatoes at any grocery store. Peel the skin, and cut the potatoes into slices or cubes then place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle a tablespoon of oil, garlic and basil, and bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. For a crispier taste, leave it in for another 15 minutes.

Raw vegan caramel apple cookies

For a combination of sweet and crunchy, try this easy and healthy recipe. Slice your favorite apple. Blend a bunch of gooey dates in the food processor with some water, which turns into the sweet caramel taste, and put the caramel spread onto the sliced apples. To jazz it up, finish the cookie with coconut, raisins and chocolate chips, the non-dairy version, which can be found at any local grocery store.

Peanut butter on celery or sliced apples

Blauschild and Bodniza both agree that peanut butter on celery is a quick snack to munch on. You can also alter peanut butter with any almond or hazelnut butter. Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Blend is an alternative Bodniza recommends because it’s dairy free.

Chia seed Smoothies

Blend chia seeds with almond milk and any fruit, and it’s ready to enjoy.

“I like them because they are quick, healthy and don’t give me stomach pain,” Blauschild said. “I think eating dairy free can really help with energy. I become very sluggish every time I eat dairy.

If you have a hard time resisting sweets, there are ways to keep a good balance and keep your blood sugar low. Buy a mix of berries and sprinkle them with cinnamon or stack up on some frozen grapes, which are healthy and convenient snacks to have on a long day of classes.

Being intolerant to any food ingredient can make one’s life tough at the beginning. Changes in diet and different food restrictions are sometimes hard to live by; however, seeing how Blauschild and Bodniza have come to find ways to make fun and healthy choices shows that being lactose-sensitive is not that horrible after all.

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