My name is Hilary and I am lactose intolerant. Ugh. The first step is admitting your stomach can’t handle it. For a long time, I was in denial about this fact despite feeling awful after consuming some of my favorite treats like fettuccine alfredo, milkshakes and macaroni and cheese for the first few decades of my life. It was only a couple of years ago that I started listening more to my body and realizing that I had control over feeling satisfied versus miserable after a meal. There are lactose aid pills available and I do keep them at home and in my purses for eating meals out. But it’s not very hard to avoid milk products when there are so many alternatives available. There is lactose free milk, coconut milk, rice milk, and others. For a while, I tried Silk, the soy milk brand but I found it to be too sweet with the added sugar. I also wasn’t crazy about the idea of so much soy in my diet because some scientific research links it to breast cancer. Then I discovered unsweetened almond milk and decided to try it. I never looked back. I like the Blue Diamond brand because their unsweetened almond milk comes in small, individual-use containers so I don’t have to come up with ways to use a half gallon of it before it goes bad. I use it in smoothies, chai tea lattes, baking recipes, and even recipes like macaroni and cheese in a pinch. It works very well as a milk-alternative and I encourage you to try it out, even if you aren’t lactose-challenged (although 30 million American adults are!). Almond milk has no saturated fat, and is low in calories. But keep in mind that unlike whole nuts, it does not contain a lot of protein, nor a lot of calcium like cow’s milk. So drink up, but don’t forget your leafy vegetables and lean protein on the side!