A Month With No Dairy

My month with no dairy has come to an end. If you follow this blog at all, you’ll know that my Year of Change Experiment only has 5 months left and that things have gone incredibly well this year!

This month was fantastic. Of all the experiments that dealt with my diet, this one was probably the easiest and my favorite one. As you may know, I had an endoscopy a few years ago that revealed that I have acid reflux which causes dysphagia (difficulty swallowing food and drink). At the age of 20, this was both confusing and disheartening. Now I’m not going to die from acid reflux, but it meant some serious changes had to take place.

Three years later, I still have problems from time to time and maintaining my dietary changes is difficult at best. After further dietary experimentation, I think that I may have either an allergy or intolerance to milk, nuts and potentially a few other things. My dad was recently told that he has an allergy to milk, legumes, nuts and a few other food products. I am going to have some tests done later this year to check for sure if I have allergies or not and check the status of my acid reflux and dysphagia.

Anyway, this month proved to me that allergy or not, milk and I do not get along. My body feels great! I am sleeping better, I have clearer skin and I feel like I have more energy. Now, I didn’t consume many dairy products in the first place, but cutting them out entirely opened my eyes to the many effects that dairy has on my body.

With any dietary change, it took a few days to feel the full effects. I noticed clearer skin after a couple of weeks and I feel less tired now.

Despite what the doctor tells me about allergies, I am going to either eliminate all dairy or use it very sparingly.

Throughout all of my dietary experiments I have learned several important lessons:

  1. Planning is key. If you don’t plan for the change, you will fail. Do what you must to keep the momentum going. If you’re trying to avoid junk food, throw it all away and avoid that aisle at the store. Plan healthy snacks. Prepare for parties, family gatherings and other events by eating before or bringing healthy alternatives. Plan, plan, plan!
  2. Family support is awesome! Your family and friends are often the best support group for your change. Tell them what you’re eating or not eating. They might not agree with the change, but they’ll usually try to help out. Have them keep you accountable.
  3. Make it through the day. Some things are harder than others. Sometimes you crave those potato chips, or a hamburger or a soda. Just make it through today. Then make it a week. Then a month. Just keep going day by day and you’ll be amazed at how quickly the cravings go away.
  4. Do your research. Find alternative foods that fill the same basic need. I drink soy milk instead of dairy milk and my wife and I use it in most recipes. There are almost always alternatives to use. You don’t have to give up your favorite foods just because you’re changing your diet.

I hope you’ll join me for the last 5 months of my Year of Change. You can find out more about the remaining experiments here.

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