A while ago, I put up a blog post on going dairy-free (you can read about it here), but I never really followed up. Especially as eating a vegan diet and/or going without milk products has become rather popular, I wanted to share my experience on a dairy-free diet.
Giving up dairy:
Long story short, I adopted a Paleo diet in November 2013 in an attempt to balance out my hormones. Along with various food items to eliminate, dairy was on the top of that list. Before then, I was eating up to 400g of plain yogurt in a day. I have always loved eating milk products, especially yogurt, so the thought alone was a nightmare initially. Nonetheless my health was a priority so I went off dairy cold turkey. One huge improvement I experienced was feeling less bloated & less digestive discomfort overall. I actually didn’t miss dairy as much as I expected- my yogurt bowls at breakfast were suddenly replaced with overnight oats made from almond milk, high-protein oatmeal waffles & eggs. During my hiatus, I also read up plenty on the harmful of effects of dairy on hormones which made it all the more easier to avoid
After doing some blood tests in March 2014, the results revealed that eating a Paleo diet did more harm than good to my health. As a result, I said ‘bye’ to eating a cavemen-style diet & brought back my old favourites including oats, peanut butter & tofu. Although dairy was still out, I became less rigid and started incorporating small amounts into my diet e.g. a few slices of pizza when eating out or the occasional ice cream. Fortunately this didn’t seem to affect me much.
Fast forward to November 2014 (one year after I decided to dabble in Paleo) I decided to experiment again. I ate my favourite yogurt bowl combination (raw oats, plain yogurt, banana & toasted almonds and cinnamon) and I’m not going to lie- I licked that bowl clean! As I felt fine, I continued eating the same breakfast daily for the next 6 weeks. While I didn’t notice any digestive discomfort like before, I noticed a reaction which was a first for me: skin breakout. As eating yogurt regularly was the only dietary change I had made, I was almost certain that was the cause. Within 3 days of quitting dairy again, my skin almost immediately cleaned up (thank the lord).
As for where I stand now:
Especially as our bodies and lifestyles are constantly changing, I’m all for diet experimentation and determining what currently works/doesn’t work. Even though some of the side-effects were unpleasant, I am glad I have had this journey with dairy to learn how it affects me. For now at least, I am keeping my intake of milk-based products to a minimum i.e. when eating out at restaurant & it’s something I really want or for the occasional ice cream. While I love yogurt & cheese, fortunately there are enough other delicious foods & sources of both calcium and protein to enjoy. The temporary breakout was enough to get me serious about taking better care of my skin. From washing my face once a day (terrible I know), I’m now cleansing, toning, moisturising twice a day without fail…at least something good came out of the whole ordeal ;).
Do you notice any adverse reactions from certain foods? Which?
What’s your favourite dairy product?