The first couple of days without cheese were REALLY hard! I definitely had an emotional attachment to cheese and felt upset that I couldn’t come home after work and have a big chunk for a snack like I was accustomed to. Then after about a week it was suddenly easy – way easier than I had expected! I definitely had a withdrawal period where I was grouchy, but now that I am past that, it is actually pretty easy.
Day 10 – So I’ve survived ten days of NO dairy! How do I feel? Well, hungrier and more tired than usual! What does this mean? Could giving up dairy not be for me? Is it too early to tell? Is my body detoxing and this is a good thing after all? Or do I need to revamp my dairy-free diet?
I have also not noticed any improvement in my skin, in fact I feel like I am breaking out pretty bad right now. It is probably just too early to see any improvement and/or my body could be detoxing making things worse before they get better.
Since I have gone dairy-free, I have relaxed my restrictions on gluten somewhat. I didn’t want to feel like I couldn’t eat ANYTHING and end up giving up on my dairy-free quest. So maybe my lack of energy has less to do with eliminating dairy and more to do with eating more gluten? As gluten in my diet has increased, so has sugar. I have not felt full after eating my lunch, so have grabbed a soy chocolate milk as a snack three times at work this week. Looking at the label today, I realized my chocolate milk has 15 grams of sugar! I try not to eat much sugar – maybe I feel tired because I have been crashing after eating more sugar than normal!
Also, I “remembered” that butter is made from milk fat – so I should be avoiding all butter as well. At home, I cook predominately with coconut oil so this isn’t an issue. I don’t eat out often, but sometimes I get food at work if I didn’t plan ahead and bring enough snacks. I need to ensure that nothing I buy at work has butter or is cooked with butter to ensure that this experiment will really show results! If I am eating hidden dairy sources, I may not see the results I am looking to get.
If I truly want to see how eliminating dairy from my diet makes me feel, I need to make sure I am still getting enough fats and proteins to make me feel full while not increasing my gluten and sugar. This is going to take some work, but I need to get my diet back on track to really see the effects of being dairy-free. It will take some creativity and planning ahead, but I am confident I can come up with meal and snack plans to achieve these goals! I found a great website with gluten-free dairy-free recipes to help me along the way! (http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com)
Today is Day 22! I have to admit, I still don’t notice many benefits yet. I have had some mood swings and maybe that is related. I have had bouts of almost giddiness, where I feel like laughing out loud for no reason, and I have had episodes where I feel like crying for no reason. Maybe this is my body detoxing?
I am finally feeling like my skin is beginning to calm down. I felt like breakouts were worse at first, but maybe that was due to detoxing as well. I also wonder if I will really see the benefits in my skin if I am still eating other animal products such as chicken and beef. To clarify, “dairy” refers to anything that comes from mammary glands – so I still eat eggs and meat.
I have read about dairy making you congested and tired. I never had a noticeable problem with congestion so I don’t notice any changes there. I may have a little more energy, but nothing drastic at this time. I want to give it at least two months, maybe longer, so I make sure I see results before I cut my experiment too short. I think the real test will be when I introduce dairy BACK into my diet after having it out for so long. Then I will decide from there if I will keep dairy out of my diet, or maybe allow myself to have a moderate amount- maybe only goat products instead of cow.
Giving up dairy has been surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. At first it was frustrating and I felt like I couldn’t eat anything. But now that I am used to it, I have been able to make food choices that are not too high in carbs and sugars while omitting dairy. I don’t miss cheese nearly as much as I thought I would! Replacing regular milk with coconut, almond, or hemp milk works great for me. I really didn’t eat much ice cream before, but if I want a treat coconut milk ice cream is wonderful and soy ice creams aren’t bad either. When cooking at home I used coconut oil or ghee butter, so the only change I had to make was to cut out the ghee butter – easy enough, one less thing to buy!
I have lost 3.5 pounds so far, however have also been looking more closely at calories I eat in a day, so this may not all be due to dairy avoidance.
Day 28 – I gained three pounds back. Apparently I just fluctuate quite a bit and can’t say that I have really lost anything. My skin is also going crazy – definitely can’t say it is any clearer than when I ate dairy products! If dairy isn’t the culprit, I will have to find out what is – maybe sugar.
Day 26 of being dairy-free, I had a dream that I felt amazing without milk products and had so much energy I could even fly! Maybe this is a sign to stay on track even if I’m not sure if there’s much of a difference.
That was month one; stay tuned for more details of my dairy-free roller coaster!