Over the past weekend I got to spend a lot of time around my family. My two sisters have both been avoiding dairy for a few years now… and my mom also mentioned that she had undergone a two week trial period and decided to continue without dairy in her diet. Wait, what? Why is everyone giving up this magical food group that gives us ice cream? From feeling heavy, bloated, and having an upset stomach to wanting a glowing complexion I’ve noticed people are giving up dairy pretty willingly once they see the wonders it can do for them.
Well shoot. Allegedly, adults lose the ability to correctly process milk as they age. We’re technically not supposed to drink it out of infancy. Being able to properly digest it is more of a genetic adaptation than a normal digestive trait. LESS THAN 40% percent of the world retains the ability to digest the lactose (sugar) found in milk. Fun fact: the most lactose TOLerant (able to digest) country in the world is Sweden.
Most people have heard of what it means to be lactose intolerant. But there’s actually another item in milk that immune systems have a reaction to, the proteins: Casein and Whey. These proteins can cause reactions known as dairy allergies. Whey protein is digested quickly and causes a spike in insulin rapidly. Casein is digested very slowly and puts a strain on the digestive system, causing excess mucus production, gas, bloating, and skin irritation to name a few side effects. Some studies have linked casein to the growth of cancer cells. Doesn’t this all make you want to down a large glass of ice cold milk? Oh, and for those thinking goat milk products are better than cow milk, they actually contain around the same level of casein.
Anyway, I’ve definitely learned a lot about dairy and its potential to literally weigh you down in the last 24 hours. So I decided to give myself a challenge. A dairy free two weeks. According to some who have gone before me on this journey (those I have read counts of in magazines like Vogue, Shape, etc.) I may see reductions in bloating, clearing of skin, a general boost in energy and a good chance of going dairy free for much longer (and treating it as a “treat” if I do have it).
But guys, I like LOVE ice cream. When I told my husband I was going to attempt this… he told me to think about him. How cranky would I be if 50% of my food intake (again, lots of yogurt, cereal, ice cream going in this body of mine on the regular) was suddenly removed and unable to be replaced or replicated? Would I turn into the Hulk if I couldn’t have my almost nightly serving of ice cream or skinny cow? How about those “snacks” of ice cream cones from McDonald’s or greek yogurt and blueberries? I think he’s fearing for his life noting the challenge I am going to be undertaking. It’s probably going to suck quite a bit, but if I get half the results my sisters, mom, and strangers on the interwebs got, I think I will be happier and healthier for it. Soooo, two weeks. Today included. I’ll keep you posted.
Oh, and just for an example of how this has affected my daily diet in one day here’s a rundown of what I ate today that had to be altered.
- Breakfast: 2 eggs, turkey and spinach (normally would have had cheese on top)
- Snack: Normally would have had a greek yogurt or a protein shake. Both have dairy. I had almonds instead.
- Lunch: I don’t like cheese on my sandwiches typically, so I was OK here.
- Dinner: Since we got back from our trip and hadn’t gone grocery shopping yet we had Jimmy Johns. No cheese!
Grocery Shopping: Didn’t make eye contact with the cheese, bought almond milk and almond ice cream (it’s not too bad. I tried the Almond Dream Toffee Almond Fudge…) Also, every stinking kind of granola bar seems to have dairy in it. I opted for some Kashi something or other protein bar that did not contain it on the allergen list. And some Nature’s Own Bread. I don’t think you have to go super clean if you’re going to give up dairy for a challenge and literally avoid it in every item you buy (like bread, chocolate, cereal, etc), but I want to try and do this as true as I can. You can learn a lot about what to buy from milkfreepantry.com
For more info on the facts I provided earlier, here’s a short article from ABC News. Or check out this site for more information.
Here’s to a dairy free 14 days.