How I found my way to ‘Go Dairy Free’ & a Giveaway

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In 2004, I read a single fact that changed the course of my life … 30 to 50 million people (in the U.S. alone!) live with lactose intolerance and another 1 to 4% of us have a milk allergy or sensitivity (at least another 4 million people).

I had just spent nearly a year collecting bits of information on dairy-free living for my own health needs (I am allergic to the milk protein casein, and have been since birth). At that time, no major resources had been written and only a couple of websites (or pages on websites) existed on the topic, so the data was scattered about, and recipes were far and few between. After discovering how many people have issues with milk I thought, “Where the heck are all these people getting information for living without dairy?”

So, I gathered everything I had, and organized it into a little website, called Go Dairy Free. It was a relatively small effort … I paid $10 for the domain, and my husband put up a generic template. But I thought, “Surely the information I’ve put together will help at least a few other people.”

Honestly, I thought I was done. Nice little informational website up, runs on its own, read away people! And they did. But little did I know how many people would find my modest site and that they would want more. The traffic grew and questions started pouring in … What are the best milk alternatives? How can I replace cream in my family’s favorite recipe? How am I going to get over these cheese cravings? I need a birthday cake for my milk allergic son; do you have a good recipe?

For each question, I created another page of information, and another, and another. I began cooking, and baking, and posting recipes, and … well, you can see where this is going. Today, Go Dairy Free, the website, has well over 5000 pages of content. Yes, I’ve been busy.

In late 2008, purely based on reader requests, I launched Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. Intended as an offline resource to the website, I ended up going a bit crazy with additional information and new recipes. Trust me – the book goes way, way beyond the website. I actually had trouble stopping myself from adding more so that we could publish it!

The website has now grown to host well over a MILLION visitors a year (sense my excitement!), and Go Dairy Free the book has become the best-selling guide and cookbook for dairy-free living. Honestly, there are even more of you out there seeking this information than I ever could have imagined.

My childhood ambitions did not involve writing, nor at any point in my early adulthood did I anticipate a career in the food and nutrition world. My work revolved around numbers, logic, and corporate structures. Yet, here I am, and I’m glad I made it.

I continue to add content to GoDairyFree.org daily, and am working on my next book. I welcome reader submissions for Go Dairy Free (you can contact me via the feedback page) and definitely look forward to meeting some of you at upcoming events. I just returned from presenting at the Gluten-Free Allergen-Free Expo in Chicago, but you can also come by and say hi at the following events:

May 14, 2011 – Celiac Disease Conference in Los Angeles (I’ll be with Attune Foods, snacking on handing out samples of delicious probiotic chocolate bars and certified gluten-free cereal!)

May 20-21, 2011 – BlogHer Food in Atlanta (We’ll be discussing adapting recipes for special diets – from dairy-free to gluten-free to sugar-free, and beyond)

Next month, here on Attune’s Daily Digest, I’ll be posting more about my own milk allergy, the signs of a dairy issue, and how milk products can affect digestion, so stay tuned!

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Alisa is going to be joining us this weekend at the Celiac Disease Food Faire as we sample our Erewhon cereals & attune bars and will also be selling her book “Go Dairy Free”. Interested in checking out her book? Leave a comment here telling us why you would like to win the book. We will select three winners and announce them on Friday. Good luck!

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Alisa

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