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I talk a lot in class about listening to your body. During Bikram practice that means paying attention to your strength and flexibility on a given day, in a given posture; it means paying heed to your breathing, your balance, your emotional state.

Outside the studio, listening to your body means paying attention to the food you eat. I was completely floored when a friend who went for a lactose intolerance test told me she found a bunch of articles online — including those published by official medical bodies — that recommend people who are lactose intolerant KEEP EATING DAIRY. Seriously, folks. If your body is trying to tell you something about your diet — LISTEN.
If you are sensitive/allergic/intolerant to a particular food or food group (e.g. dairy, gluten, nuts) listen to what your body is saying. Despite what the heavily subsidised and advertised dairy industry would like you to believe you do not NEED dairy in your diet. Sure, eliminating dairy (or gluten, etc) is inconvenient, given the prevalence of these foods, but that in itself should tell you something. Dairy and gluten are ubiquitous in the Western diet not because they are essential nutrients, but because they are the basis of hugely profitable industries.

Nobody is going to die from dairy deprivation, despite what the marketing campaigns would like you to believe. If, like my friend, your stomach balls up at the mere thought of the white stuff, ditch it. We are fortunate to have an abundance of healthier alternatives (almond, hemp, coconut, oat or rice milk, say) that also happen to be better for the environment and kinder to animals.

Food is fundamental to our well-being and our bodies are smart enough to know what works for them. Let’s listen.

Have you changed your diet based on listening to your body? Tells us about it in the comments!