Naturally Better Breathing…And a Recipe for a Vegan Chocolate Shake

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I had asthma.

Now I don’t. Or at least I don’t struggle with the need for daily medications and too-frequent courses of steroids.

Now I can run 10 miles without an inhaler. I can get a cold and just have a cold.

What was the miracle that made these changes in my health? Changing my diet, of course!

My whole life, I struggled with asthma. I went to lots of doctors as a child. I took daily inhalers. Two or three times a year, I had to take prednisone to get my breathing under control. I didn’t outgrow it. Even though I exercised regularly and ate a somewhat healthy vegetarian diet, my symptoms continued.

When I was pregnant with my first son, 10 years ago, I took part in a research study to look into the effects of asthma medication in pregnancy.

Then, my son developed food allergies. Because I was nursing, I also gave up milk and eggs, changing my vegetarian diet to a vegan one. At first, I didn’t even notice that my breathing was better. It wasn’t until a co-worker told me that her doctor suggested she give up dairy for her asthma that I realized I had not had a problem in months!

I have followed a vegan diet ever since.  I had a vegan pregnancy.  I have not had to take prednisone even once since I made these dietary changes over 8 years ago. I feel strong and healthy.  An added bonus was that my cholesterol levels also went down due to my new lifestyle.

I am not a doctor or a scientist. I can only tell you that in my personal experience, changing my diet, by eliminating all dairy products, in particular, changed my health and my well-being.

How hard is it to give up dairy?  Way harder to gear up to do it, than it is in reality.

First of all, there are some really high-quality dairy substitutes out there that make it easy to enjoy your favorite recipes with just a little tweaking.  Non-dairy “milks” made with soy, rice, nuts, oats, coconut and hemp are readily available. In the years that I have been vegan, there have been some amazing strides in non-dairy cheese alternatives, too.

Giving up dairy also gives you the chance to rethink favorite foods. If you need to make some adjustments to a recipe, you can re-evaluate to improve the wholesomeness of a favorite dish. Why not add in extra fruits, vegetables, whole grains or legumes to a beloved dish?

It is with that in mind, that I created this chocolate “milkshake.” I think quotes are necessary for a milkshake that contains neither milk nor ice cream, but does contain sweet potatoes!

Vegan Chocolate Shake

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup sweet potato, baked, mashed and refrigerated
1 cup frozen pineapple
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons date paste (pitted medjool dates either pre-soaked in hot water and pureed, or pureed with a little water)
2 cups non-dairy milk drink (I used unsweetened coconut milk beverage.)
1 cup ice, or more to taste

Preparation:

In a blender, combine all ingredients, except ice. Blend until well combined.
Add ice, and blend until thoroughly combined.

More vegan recipes to try:

Kid-Friendly Green Smoothies
Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups

Lovely Lemon Snack Cake

Kim Lutz is the author of Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. Kim is the co-author with Megan Hart, MS, RD, LD, of The Everything Organic Cooking for Baby and Toddler Book and The Everything Guide to Cooking for Children with Autism and the gluten-free, allergen-free, vegan website, welcomingkitchen.com.

 

28 Responses to Naturally Better Breathing…And a Recipe for a Vegan Chocolate Shake

  • Ricki says:

    Man, this sounds amazing! And so glad to hear how your health has improved because of dietary changes. Food is incredible, isn’t it? :D

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    @Ricki, In so many ways!

    [Reply]

  • Alta says:

    Oooh, this sounds good! I would have never thought to put sweet potatoes in a “milkshake” but I love the idea of this.

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    @Alta, Surprisingly, Alta, they really lend some creaminess to this.

    [Reply]

  • Robyn says:

    Love the recipe! When my youngest son was born with eczema/asthma we had to look at changing our diets/lifestyle as well…I remeber reading Fit For Life about 20 yrs ago and they said why would you drink cows milk your not a cow(well that was the changing thing for me!). It took a few yrs, but were able to get his asthma under good control(no meds) and his eczema improved tons,,now as a young adult it is non-existant:-) Can’t wait to try your yummy shake…thx

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    @Robyn, Robyn, I’m so happy to hear how things got better for you son!

    [Reply]

  • I love hearing stories like yours – so inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing :-)

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    @Kelly Brozyna, Thanks, Kelly!

    [Reply]

  • robin says:

    I wonder if today’s dairy allergies are largely caused by processes invented by man to supposedly make the milk healthier. Pasteurization kills living enzymes & helpful bacteria in the milk which aid digestion in our bodies. Homogenization breaks up the naturally larger fat particles into abnormally tiny particles, which some believe contribute to atherosclerosis in humans. Feeding dairy cows grain instead of grass totally changes the bacterial flora in their gut. Giving cows bovine growth hormone increases milk production up to 40 percent, but causes mastitis, and adds pus to the milk we drink and necessitates also giving them antibiotics. Raw milk, from healthy, grass-fed cows, cleanly “harvested” is best, in my opinion. However, I don’t disbelieve that other factors have contributed to our bodies being more readily susceptible to allergies, such as GM foods, plastics in our lives, and damage from a myriad of other man-made chemicals.

    [Reply]

  • Kathryn says:

    Like your family, our family’s health totally improved when we stopped buying “healthy” milk. Allergies, focus, digestive issues all improved. Your shake sounds awesome!

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    @Kathryn, I’m glad to hear you are all feeling better!

    [Reply]

  • Katrina says:

    Does this taste chocolate-y? I’d love to sneak a sweet potato into my kids!

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    @Katrina, It’s kinda tangy

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    @Kim, Sorry, I didn’t finish typing! It’s kinda tangy, but still chocolaty. When we made it with vanilla flavored coconut milk, my kids REALLY loved it, and they liked it with the unsweetened milk, too (just not as much)!

    [Reply]

  • Michelle says:

    Sounds yum! To pack extra protein, I would also add soaked quinoa flakes. Yum!!

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    @Michelle, That’s a great idea, Michelle!

    [Reply]

  • Emily says:

    Good for you! I hope people continue to awaken to the fact that a clean diet equals a clean bill of health. Congratulations!

    PS
    I really quick and easy 100% healthy “chocolate milk” can be made by juicing carrots and romaine lettuce together. Sound unbelievable, but it tastes like just like Chocolate Milk. All you need is a juicer, carrots, and lettuce!

    Cheers to your health!

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    @Emily, What an interesting idea, Emily. I have to give that a try!

    [Reply]

  • Mari says:

    I had the same experience when I gave up dairy…but with my sinuses..they cleared up and no more issues. The Doctors would never let us know this. I must try this shake..love sweet potatoes in my juice!!!

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    @Mari, I’m so glad you’re feeling better, Mari!

    [Reply]

  • Kim, I’m so happy that you asthma is a thing of the past. So many who make similar dietary changes see the same, but diet is very rarely mentioned to asthma patients. I have actually talked to one of our area’s best allergists on the topic.

    Love the shake! Have been making a similar one myself. Love using sweet potato. When I use dates, after I soak them, I just throw them in with everything else. ;-) Anyway, love the flavor combo! :-)

    Shirley

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    @Shirley @ gfe, Thanks for the tip, Shirley!

    [Reply]

  • Hey wow, thanks so much for sharing your story. I’ve been thinking along those same lines lately too. As a kid and especially as a teenager I used to really struggle with any form of cardio exercise, not because I was unfit, but because I struggled to breath (not diagnosed with asthma but something going on there! Since being strictly gluten and dairy-free for 2 years and now only eating a very limited amount of dairy, exercise is easy for the first time in my life!

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    @Emma Galloway, Yay, Emma!

    [Reply]

  • Kim!
    This was DELICIOUS! Thankyou :)

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    @Tess Masters @theblendergirl, So glad you liked it, Tess!

    [Reply]

  • Heidi says:

    I have sensitivities to sweet potatoes (sigh) what a bummer! What are your thoughts on using a regular potato?

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    @Heidi, I think you could substitute banana or pumpkin. I, personally don’t like bananas, so I am always looking for ways around them and that’s how I got to the sweet potato! It just might work in the reverse!

    [Reply]

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