I went through a phase when I was addicted to dairy.
Seriously. Some people are addicted to drinking beer, or traveling to new countries, or even watching Netflix. But, my addiction was cheese. And yogurt. And eggs. But, mostly cheese.
After I spent some of my summer in the South of France, I got used to adding Brie on top of my bread (or salad). I found myself craving that weird smell, and strange aftertaste. And, when I returned back to New York, I missed the laid-back, French way of eating. I started to frequent Murray’s Cheese Shop (or more often, the less fancy *cheese* section at Trader Joes).
But for a while, I didn’t go a meal without dairy.
I didn’t really notice my strange, new obsession until the holidays. Because, it wasn’t like I was packing on the pounds either; I was just tired. Lazier. And, too often my stomach didn’t feel so great.
Ironically enough, I’ve always been super interested in my Health — but I’ve never been into those “fad” diets (e.g. Gluten-free). So, when I realized that my almond milk substitution wasn’t cutting it, I decided to go cold turkey: No More Dairy.
I chose to try out my new commitment for at least two weeks, because there was no way I could indefinitely end my relationship with cheese. I wanted to test this idea out, and see what effect it would have on me.
Sadly, I have to say: I haven’t felt this good in a really long time.
Here’s my take on what cutting dairy out of your diet can have on you — and why I’m going to try keeping it up.
I consider myself someone who has a ton of energy — but I do love me some coffee.
Yet, almost immediately after I stopped eating dairy, I noticed that my afternoon coffee break wasn’t necessary (except for the vent-session part). So, even though I’m not a big tea drinker, I soon switched it my workday drink. My favorite: La Colombe Golden Turmeric Tea.
Kicking my coffee habit wasn’t all — I started was waking up without an alarm. Early. Like 7am early. Which just left me generally happier, because I wasn’t running to catch the subway while simultaneously brushing my hair.
Less weird stomach issues
Okay, this might be TMI but feeling bloated is never fun. And, for a while it felt like every day was that time of the month if you know what I mean.
Of course, everyone’s bodies are different. We all react uniquely to certain types of food. But, since I had never had an issue with dairy growing up, I didn’t think it would develop in my mid-twenties.
This 2-week test proved me wrong.
Since I stopped adding feta into my salads, and cut out my midday chocolate pick-me-up, I started to feel normal again. Like — I still felt good in the outfit I picked out that morning by the time I was leaving work — type of normal (is that so much to ask?!).
I realized that when you’re dealing with weird stomach stuff, you don’t realize what a toll it takes on your body Everyday. Feeling normal never felt so good.
Better looking skin
I am a skin fanatic. Just ask my boyfriend how many times a week (day?) I put on a face-mask. I think he’s scarred for life.
But honestly, I’ve found there is no better skin remedy than adjusting your diet — especially eliminating dairy.
As my two-week experiment went on, I noticed an overall glow that is hard to find during the winter in NYC (let alone ever). I received more compliments on how “dewy” and “glowing” my skin looked than ever before.
I think this was my favorite part of my two-week elimination experiment. Of course, feeling great is always a plus, but there are so many other factors that get in the way of how energetic or “normal” you feel throughout the day. Seeing my skin take on a glow of it’s own — now, that was progress.
The most important thing I learned from this experiment was to listen to your body.
I never force myself to do anything. But, this proved that sometimes, in order to get to a better place you need to set some boundaries. And, health isn’t always about your weight. It’s about how you feel. It’s about preserving other organs (aka your skin). It’s about having more energy to do the things you enjoy.
So, who knows if I’ll be able to keep this up forever. I sure hope that I don’t end up dropping everything I’ve learned for a Melt Shop sandwich, but hey — it’s never too late to get back on the bandwagon.