Dairy and My Gut Health - A Love Story

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Growing up in a Iranian household, I was taught to always have a dish of something ready on the table. Whether someone was stopping by for a quick second or staying for a few hours, my mom would always remind me (even to this day) to “never leave the table empty.”

By Ashkan Hobian, Collaborator Ashkan Hobian

Welcome to the world of Ashkan Hobian. In Ashkan’s world, there is always a chair waiting for you at the dinner table because when you’re here, you’re among friends. Through his content, Ashkan hopes to motivate and inspire, helping you discover that life is all about his experiences. It’s not just his journey, but a journey for us all. As a full-time content creator and photographer, Ashkan is passionate about sharing his love of fashion, lifestyle stories, travel, and most importantly, food.  

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Ashkan Hobian

Being in a home that loves to cook I've taken the initiative to learn and replicate certain recipes passed down to me from previous generations. And I must admit some of them have become weekly favourites. One being my grandmother's saffron chicken. It is such a staple in our household, and I kid you not, anyone that tastes this chicken is immediately obsessed! Key ingredients include saffron, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and most importantly: Yogurt! 

I was surprised to see the amount of yogurt being used in Persian cuisine. It is actually used in multiple marinades, and a popular dip called “masto khiar” (mixed in a bowl add plain yogurt, dried mint, a pinch of salt, and diced cucumber-- you can thank me later).

Today, cooking has become an essential in bringing everyone together at home. It's a tradition I plan on continuing with friends and one day with a family of my own.

However, I have to admit this is something new for me -- my relationship with food hasn’t always been so inviting. Having been on multiple diets with crazy limitations, and forcefully restricting myself from a lot of different foods, I didn’t realize that I was doing more harm to my internal system than good. 

Today marks three years that I made the conscious decision to change that. I wanted to build a stronger and healthier gut, one that was able to moderate symptoms and help with digestion. Totally restructuring my nutritional intake I started to incorporate certain foods like dairy back into my diet. And the result? Life changing. 

This reinvention has educated me a lot on the benefits that dairy can have towards building a stronger and more balanced digestive experience. Yogurt with live bacteria and fermented foods like cheese provides healthy bacteria that benefit the gut.

Embracing this new lifestyle and adding more colour to my meals, cooking has become so much more than what it used to be for me. Today, at this very moment, I'm making myself some waffles topped with brie, blueberries, and a drizzle of honey, and to be honest I'm loving it. 

The lesson learned is that: balance is key. Adding that tablespoon of yogurt to your marinade, or cutting into that waffle and enjoying that sweet and tangy piece of brie can be good for you. At the end of the day your body deserves to feel good. Don't deprive it, nourish it!