My Four Month, No Dairy Anniversary

Today marks four months without eating dairy. (Yes, I am a geek and keep track of these things. I also celebrate my stereo’s birthday every year by giving it a new CD. Cards on the table: it’s just the type of person I am.)

 I think four months is the longest stretch I have ever done… practically anything related to food. I have gone off wheat before, but that lasted about three months before something wheaty (who knows what?) snuck its way back onto my plate. I have curbed my sugar intake before but inevitably went back to courting it. (It’s the chocolate that gets me every time.) I’ve even taken dairy out of my diet a few times before, but I don’t know– I never really considered dairy to be a full blown allergy in the past and thus wasn’t too concerned when cheese and yogurt and butter became staples on our grocery list again. 

This time has a different feel to it. I’m taking my food intake more seriously (in terms of food type, not at all in terms of food portions or amounts. I will eat as much kale as I please, do you hear? And I don’t care how many calories are in my dried mango slices. Life is too short!) I’m also paying really close attention to how dairy makes/made me feel, aka not very well! Every time I find myself wishing for a little bit of cream cheese icing (I know, classy) or gazing longingly at the Liberté full-fat Greek style yogurt, I just remind myself that dairy causes my digestive system pain. Intense, wholly uncomfortable, inconvenient, and oftentimes embarrassing pain.  It’s not worth it!

Kate Moss was once quoted as saying that “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. It’s a horrifying quote, I know, and I’m not standing behind her words at all– I’m just altering and appropriating them here for my own purposes. In my experience, I’ve come to realize that no amount of dairy, however tempting or delicious-looking it seems, is worth the trade-off for how I end up feeling after I eat it. Kate would rather go hungry than gain any amount of weight. Me, I’m finally accepting the fact that I would rather pass on the spanokopita or say ‘no thanks’ to a silky chocolate truffle than I would suffer through severe abdominal distress for who knows how long afterward…

Getting to this point has been a process, for sure. Making as many meals as I can in our own kitchen has helped immensely, because so many store-bought vegetarian items come with cheese. Even soups so often have milk or cream (if not beef or chicken boullion) in the broth. Demoting my full-blown love affair with butter to a quiet, measured, and distant respect for it has been a key element, too. I still miss butter but have somehow (somehow!!) managed to get by without it. (It’s a tough life, I know.)

I’m hopeful that I can stay on this non-dairy-laced path well into my future, not because I have to or because I should, but because I choose to and because I truly appreciate the benefits that a lifestyle free of milk products affords me.

7 responses

  1. You had me at “I also celebrate my stereo’s birthday every year by giving it a new CD.”
    THAT is the best thing I’ve heard in a long time.

    Congrats on 4 months! When you’re eliminating something as yummy as dairy for a good reason (what better reason than to avoid pain?) it becomes easier hey?

    Not that this matters in your quest for healthier choices, but have you lost any weight since eliminating it? I ask because when I eliminated wheat and dairy I lost a good 12 pounds right away.

    • Weight loss: yes. A whole ass’ worth of weight! 😉 I only came off dairy, not wheat, and I dropped 15 pounds nearly instantly. It was insanity. My body isn’t large to begin with, so it was really disorienting to have so much weight come off so quickly. I had my coworkers very alarmed and concerned– they couldn’t/didn’t believe that such a drastic change could mostly be attributed to not eating dairy– but now that my weight has been stable for almost 3 months, they’ve stopped the daily harrassment and not-so-subtle shoving of snacks in my general direction.

      From an outsider’s perspective, it might seem like losing that much weight so suddenly is dangerous and/or unhealthy, but from my own body’s perspective, it’s like my digestive system is saying “AT LAST!! I don’t have to toil away trying to digest this junk that makes me feel sick and gross. Now I can focus on being efficient and clean. Check out just how efficient I can be!”

      In summary: I celebrate my stereo’s birthday and have imaginary conversations with my large intestine. I am so cool.

      • I have a bad addiction to milk, but not just 2%, oh no. My entire life I have really loved milk mixed with Nestle Quik chocolate.
        I am SO weak.
        For me, life without chocolate is not worth living.
        And yet I know my body feels better and I sleep better without it.
        I just need a new replacement. I’ve tried a variety of juices which I like, but nothing comes close to my chocolate milk. Aaaaaarrrggghhhh.
        I’ve left instructions for my epitaph to read:
        He loved chocolate and it killed him

        • And somehow, almond milk with carob or raw cacao powder just isn’t the same as Quik…

          I love chocolate too, but I am managing just fine with dairy-free, dark chocolate now. Rogers has some good ones up the street, Denman Island chocolate is to die for, and even Lindt has some excellent no-dairy options (like the Madagascar bar– so delicious!)

  2. STOP IT! You’re seriously making me laugh out loud at work and my workmates are glancing over…..

    (I gained back 6 pounds in two weeks when I started eating wheat again.)

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