Skylar Griggs is a clinical nutrition specialist based in Boston, MA. I interviewed Skylar recently to discuss her career in nutrition, dairy-free living, and any advice she may have for those considering or already experiencing a dairy-free diet.
Kylie Piotte (KP): What led you to a career as a nutritionist?
Skylar Griggs (SG): My mother had breast cancer when I was in high school. She saw a dietician at the Dana Farber Institute who changed my mother’s life. This was my first exposure and inspiration in the field of nutrition. I attended Syracuse University and earned a degree in dietetics, then completed my Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition from NYU.
KP: What would prompt you to advise a patient to adopt a dairy-free diet?
SG: Ultimately, this decision is up to the patient. If you’re experiencing bloating, skin issues, stomach problems, an elimination diet may be a good option. No matter what is going on, dairy may either be the problem or is intensifying the problem. However, you MUST keep a food diary. This is a step most people ignore or forget; it’s impossible to find the root issue without keeping track of what you’re eating and how you feel afterward. It’s also very difficult to know what the issue is in a short period of time. Under two weeks is certainly too short so I would make it a minimum.
KP: If someone has chosen to eliminate dairy, what advice would you offer?
SG: Be vigorous in your label-checking. Also, calcium and vitamin D are the obvious concerns for me. Osteoporosis prevention, especially for women, is so important. Keep an eye out for sources of protein, calcium, and vitamin D for sure. Also, watch out for milk alternatives. Coconut milk can raise your cholesterol, especially if you have a family history. Soy is also risky – it’s highly processed and contains a high concentration of isoflavones, a type of plantestrogen (phytoestrogen) that is similar in function to human estrogen but with much weaker effects.It can also be full of GMOs. Almond milk is still processed but is a good milk alternative, as well as ripple milk. Ripple milkcontains 8g of protein per serving!
KP: What would prevent you from advising a dairy-free lifestyle?
SG: If a young child has no personal reasons or health issues to remove dairy, there is no reason to cut dairy out. As I mentioned before, osteoporosis prevention is so important, and starts very young. No matter what, there should be a reason to cut out dairy, whether that be due to health, environmental, or religious reasons.
KP: Are you dairy-free? If so, what foods do you miss the most?
SG: Yes, my husband and I live a dairy-free lifestyle that we adopted over the course of a few years. I phased out gluten as well because I react poorly to most sources of gluten, especially wheat. I definitely miss ice cream and Greek yogurt the most.
Thank you, Skylar! Please take some time and check out her phenomenally helpful and informative blog www.newburystreetnutrition.com. Also, follow her on Instagram @newburystnutrition, too.
If you have any questions for Skylar or myself, feel free to comment below! Thanks for reading. As always, follow me on Instagram here and make sure you’re subscribed to the weekly recipe newsletter!