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YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test – Part 5 – Product Reviews and changes I’ve made

16 Aug

Note: This is my last post in a series about YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test. You can find the earlier posts here:

Part 1 – http://bit.ly/M8QPne  Part 2 – http://bit.ly/L7okuY  Part 3 – http://bit.ly/N2T92g  Part 4 –bit.ly/MqTQj8

As I had mentioned in my previous post, once I found out from my YorkTest Program results that I needed to avoid cow dairy, I decided to try non-dairy alternatives to supplement my diet. There are so many products out there and while I had a great time trying them, some were certainly better than others! I’ve reviewed some of the products below: 

Almond Breeze Original (sweetened)

I tried this beverage first, simply because it’s readily available at major grocery stores. I was pretty happy with the smooth, slightly creamy taste it provided however it was a little too sweet for my liking. It looks like milk but it certainly doesn’t taste like milk. It is however a decent substitute!

Uses: In cereal, oatmeal, coffee, smoothies and homemade ice pops.

Would I buy this again? Maybe (only due to the amount of sugar in it).

 Almond Breeze Original Unsweetened

I loved this beverage as it’s (obviously) the unsweetened version of Almond Breeze Original. Wherever possible, I like to be in control of the amount of sugar I’m consuming, so I appreciate that they’ve created an unsweetened version.  

Uses: In cereal, oatmeal, coffee, in soups, smoothies and homemade ice pops.

Would I buy this again? Absolutely!


 Almond Breeze Chocolate (sweetened)

I enjoyed this beverage as it is really tasty, creamy and has the right amount of chocolate, giving me the same satisfaction I used to get when I drank a glass of chocolate milk. It’s not very low on the calorie scale, so it’s more of a treat, but it’s definitely a great product to keep on hand for when a chocolate craving strikes.

Uses: Great chilled on its own but also tasty in smoothies and homemade ice pops. It’s also delicious when heated up, for a “hot chocolate” treat.

Would I buy this again? Absolutely!

Rice Dream Enriched Vanilla (sweetened)

This beverage was just okay for me. It was thin, watery and had more of a milk-like texture than Almond Breeze but it didn’t give me the same satisfaction I used to get when I drank milk. I also found the vanilla flavouring to be a bit odd.

Uses: In cereal, oatmeal and smoothies.

Note: Since Rice Dream is sold at every major grocery store, I assumed it would be fabulous. Perhaps I need to try the other flavours?

Would I buy this again? Maybe

Coconut Dream Original Unsweetened

This was my least favourite non-dairy beverage. Some of my friends really like it because it’s “creamy” but I actually found it kind of oily. I didn’t enjoy the coconut flavour in the background, even though I  usually love coconut.

Uses: In cereal (I found it tasted really odd with my Cheerios), oatmeal (the oatmeal did mask the flavour) and smoothies (everything gets hidden in a smoothie!).

Would I buy this again? Probably not, however I would be willing to try other coconut beverages to see if there’s a difference in flavour.

Becel Vegan margarine

If you’re looking for a mainstream, non-dairy margarine than this is it. It looks like margarine and tastes like margarine. This is also one of the only non-dairy products my husband will consume because it’s made by a brand he trusts.

Uses: Anywhere you would use margarine.

Would I buy this again? Absolutely. P.S. Well done Becel for creating a specialty product and putting it on major grocery store shelves. Kudos to you!

Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

After hearing so much about this product on Twitter, I finally had an excuse to try it. It’s very interesting in that it looks like cheese, it (sort of) smells like cheese and it (sort of) melts like cheese. I applaud the creators of the product at it really does mimic the real thing quite nicely. The flavour however is different and it’s a lot more pungent.

Uses: I used it in pizza, on nachos and in veggie fajitas with success.

Would I buy this again? Yes, but I’d like to try the “cheddar” flavour next.

Note: Once opened, it has a short lifespan in the fridge but it does freeze quite well.

Liberté 1% Goat Milk

I felt like I was missing out on the calcium that’s in cow dairy so I decided to give goat’s milk a try. A few of my colleagues (and their families) drink it in place of cow’s milk. It is quite expensive though, as I paid almost $4 for a one litre carton of it. You can buy it in bags as well and save a few dollars.

Uses: I’ve only tried it in smoothies so far (I’m not brave enough to drink it straight up yet.)

Would I buy this again? Absolutely.

 Liberté Plain Goat Milk Yogurt

I’m South Indian, so when we have a traditional meal we always end with rice and plain, unsweetened yogurt. This is meant to cool the stomach at the end of a spicy meal and it’s one of my favourite things to eat. With my new diet, I knew I needed a backup option and I found that Liberté goat’s milk yogurt was a perfect substitute. It is a little pricey at almost $5 for a 500 g container of it but a little goes a long way with this product. Bonus: It’s high in probiotics!

Uses: So far I’ve had it with rice (as mentioned above), in smoothies and as a snack with fruit. The flavour and texture is similar to sour cream, so I think it would be great on a baked potato too.

Would I buy this again? Absolutely.

President’s Choice Soft Unripened Goat’s Milk Cheese

People (including me) often forget that those with dairy issues usually only have an issue with cow dairy. A good goat cheese is made strictly from goat’s milk, making it a pretty safe bet.

Uses: I’ve had it on pizza, in salads, mixed into pasta and in sandwiches. I’m looking forward to trying it in dessert recipes too.

Would I buy this again? Absolutely.

 President’s Choice Formaggio Di Bufala (Buffalo Milk Cheese)

Another product that’s perfect for those who cannot have cow dairy as it’s made from water buffalo milk.  It’s delicious but quite expensive, so you have to use this product wisely!

Uses: So far I’ve only used it in a salad that consists of sliced tomato, sliced buffalo milk cheese and fresh basil with fleur de sel, fresh pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. It’s delicious!  You can also use it on pizzas and in pasta dishes.

Would I buy this again? Absolutely!

I know there is a whole world of other non-dairy possibilities out there. If you have any products to recommend, I would be happy to try them out!

Overall, I am so very thankful that I participated in the YorkTest Program. If I had not taken the test, I would have continued to consume foods and beverages that were causing harm to my body. Even if I had wanted to figure out what foods/beverages were causing a reaction, it would have been almost impossible to identify the specific items by trial and error. The YorkTest Program results were clear, easy to read and only required a quick finger prick and a drop of blood to provide me with the detailed information I needed.

By replacing cow dairy with alternative sources, I’ve found a huge difference in my body and I no longer feel the bloating and stomach discomfort I used to face on a daily basis.  My clothes fit better now and I have a lot more energy. I’m certainly looking forward to continuing on this path and I would sincerely encourage others to look into this test as it can really change your life for the better. Thanks YorkTest Program!

Want to learn more about the YorkTest Program? Visit their website at http://www.yorktest.ca/ or follow them on Twitter and Facebook

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this series of blog posts, I’ve received a free Food & DrinkScan and enrollment into the program. The opinions expressed are my own.


YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test – Part 4 – My call with the Nutrition Advisor and the “No Cow Dairy” diet

13 Jul

 Note: This is Part 4 in my series of posts about YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test. You can find the earlier parts here:

Part 1 – http://bit.ly/M8QPne  Part 2 – http://bit.ly/L7okuY  Part 3 – http://bit.ly/N2T92g

A few days after I received my results, it was time for my first call with one of YorkTest Program’s Registered Naturopathic Doctors, Dr. Michelle O’Neill. She took me through my results chart and helped me to understand that I didn`t need to eliminate all of my main AVOID (RED) items immediately, specifically Cow Dairy, Yeast and Lentils, and advised that it would be best (and easiest) to start with the worst offender, cow dairy. Cow dairy was the top item on my AVOID (RED) list and therefore was the food that my body was fighting the hardest against. I was slightly surprised as I thought that by only including lactose-free milk, yogurt (the amount of lactose apparently reduces during the fermentation process) and hard cheeses (apparently also lower in lactose) that I had things under control. Clearly not!

Dr. O’Neill was so easy to talk to and asked what my current diet consisted of, so we could work together to pinpoint the key sources of cow dairy. From there, she walked me through potential substitutions for cow dairy and I was so happy to hear that I actually had options!

The plan – eliminate all sources of cow dairy for two full weeks and see if I felt any different. Dr. O’Neill was quick to point out that it would require a lot of willpower and planning ahead to make this work, as many of my daily food and beverage choices would be affected. She mentioned that in addition to the straight and obvious sources – milk, yogurt and cheese – I should look out for modified milk ingredients and related ones such as whey and casein when making choices.

She was quick to point out that although cow dairy was off limits, I could try goat, sheep or buffalo dairy instead. Almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk and other non-dairy sources were also easily available now at my local grocery stores. I was not only happy to hear that I had options but I was also looking forward to exploring new foods and beverages.

I decided to start Week 1 properly the following Monday, as I not only wanted time to prepare but I felt that my best chance at making this work was to start with a full week ahead of me. I sat down to make a list of all of the items I consume regularly with cow dairy in them and I realized just how big that list was. I was regularly consuming milk, plain yogurt, fruit yogurt and having cheese. Just as I started to pat myself on the back for having such a short list, I realized that many of my beloved sweet snacks, specifically chocolate, usually contained cow dairy as well….yikes! As painful as it sounded I knew I had to do this for the sake of my health. I was sick of feeling tired and having an upset stomach pretty much all the time.

I knew the only way to make this happen was to plan my own meals and cook at home as much as I could for the next two weeks, so that I could control the ingredients. I also knew that I would have to think of every food and beverage choice to make sure that I wasn`t putting cow dairy into my system. This was going to be fun and scary…

I headed to the grocery store and probably spent a good hour and half going through the aisles (this is not unusual for me, I love browsing in grocery stores), reading packages and filling my cart with the items I needed and wanted. I picked up the following alternative products to try:

I also stocked up on fruits, vegetables, tortillas and English muffins. I spent a FORTUNE on groceries that day, as alternative products are often a lot pricier, however I didn’t mind as I was excited to have an excuse to try some new products.

I spent the first week eating the following items (not all at once of course):

Breakfast Options:

  • English muffins with almond butter and/or jam
  • Breakfast wraps with egg, goat cheese or Daiya cheese and veggies
  • Oatmeal made with almond milk and fruit
  • Coffee with almond or soy milk OR a Starbucks Soy Americano Misto OR a soy latte

Lunch/Dinner Options:

  • Rice with veggies and tofu
  • Quinoa with veggies
  • Pastas with veggies and Daiya cheese
  • Wraps with egg, goat cheese and roasted veggies
  • Vegetarian maki rolls (Japanese)
  • Indian curry dishes, all made without dairy
  • Homemade soups
  • Salads
  • Noodles


  • Fruit
  • Veggies
  • Smoothies
  • Chocolate almond milk (heated)
  • Homemade frozen ice pops

While I enjoyed the challenge of Week 1, it was also exhausting. After eating whatever I wanted that was lacto-ovo vegetarian for so long, I had to stop and think about everything I was putting in my mouth. This sounds simple enough, but when you look forward to having a small coffee with one cream and one sugar every morning, taking it away is rough. I’ll admit, on more than one occasion, I poured cream and sugar into a cup and was just about to add coffee before I realized what I was doing and had to throw it out.

Dealing with the food situation was okay, partly because my husband was away on a business trip and I didn’t have to cook for both of us that week. I also didn’t have many social engagements to deal with, which was a blessing as I’m sure that I was getting a little testy with some people : ) Week 1 helped me to realize just how much food I used to put into my mouth without thinking about it. Being a vegetarian is pretty easy once you get used to it but taking away the dairy and eggs just made it harder. For someone who loves food, it was a great exercise in restraint for sure. I wasn’t sure if I was exhausted because of the amount of effort or from what I was eating, so I asked Dr. O’Neill for her thoughts on how I was feeling. She advised that it was common for participants of elimination diets to feel tired in the first few weeks of making changes to their diets, as the body works to adjust.

By Week 2, I definitely noticed a change in my system as I did feel less bloated and wasn’t experiencing as much discomfort in my stomach. It was quite amazing to feel these changes as I had lived with my symptoms for so long that they started to feel normal to me. My pants started to feel a bit looser and the heavy feeling that used to drag me down all the time was lifting. I wondered at first if it was psychological but my stomach symptoms had clearly subsided! It was truly surprising. Now what was I going to do?

Want to learn more about the YorkTest Program? Visit their website at http://www.yorktest.ca/ or follow them on Twitter and Facebook

Stay tuned for my next post in the series – YorkTest Program’s Food & DrinkScan, a Food Intolerance Test – Part 5 – Product Reviews and changes I’ve made

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this series of blog posts, I’ve received a free Food & DrinkScan and enrollment into the program. The opinions expressed are my own.


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