July: No Dairy

photo credit: More Arm tasting via photopin (license)

June was awesome! I feel great after a month with no meat. I am so glad I stuck with it despite a few difficulties along the way. For the full update, read the post here.

During July I am challenging my diet again. A few years ago I was diagnosed with fairly severe acid-reflux which causes dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). After a procedure to stretch out my throat I was told that I had to take pills for the rest of my life to control it (basically a Prilosec every single day). I didn’t want to accept that medication was the only option. I read some interesting books and sites over the next year or two and slowly changed my eating habits. I chose to change my diet and guess what? The acid-reflux is almost non-existent! Sometimes it still flares up and I have difficulty swallowing from time to time. It’s a work in progress, but with only a few simple changes and NO pills, I am in control of my reflux.

This month I am not going to eat any dairy products. Because of the prevalence of milk products in food, I won’t be eliminating all dairy from my diet. I don’t have the time or resources to do that right now. I decided that anything with dairy as one of the 4 or 5 top ingredients doesn’t make the cut. If something has a little buttermilk or whey down at the bottom of the ingredients list, I’ll still eat it this month.

The Plan:

Don’t eat dairy during the entire month of July. No milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, cream, whipped cream, cheesecake, etc. I will be eating other sources of calcium and protein, such as beans, broccoli, some meat (possibly eggs, fish and chicken), and other healthier foods. I want to take note of how I feel after this month is over. Are there any changes in how I feel before and after I eat? Any change to energy, weight, swallowing, acid-reflux?

Challenges:

Since I already don’t consume milk, I think the big challenge will be in sweets and snacks. I tend to eat a lot of cheesy snacks (Cheez-Its) and dairy treats (ice cream, cheesecake). Cutting these out will be a challenge this month. I also foresee hidden dairy as an issue (things that you wouldn’t think of at first, like cream or cheese in pastas, salads, sandwiches, or things like cream of chicken soup in a recipe).

The Outcome:

I hope to have more energy by cutting out dairy. When I have cut out dairy in the past I have noticed that I sleep better, I have more energy and it’s easier to swallow. I have also noticed that my skin is clearer (less acne) when I eliminate dairy. I’m hoping to see these benefits this month. This month is also a tribute to my father and nephew who are both allergic to dairy. I want to know how it feels to eat like they do, at least for a month.

Bonus:

My wife and I signed up for the Salt Lake City Color Run 5k! This is the first race I have ever signed up for. Just a few months ago I was a devout hater of running. Now we’re training for a 5k because I’m so out of shape. This month we’re taking on the adventure of getting into running. Fun times!

I am also experimenting with a different morning routine (I know, this is a lot for one month!). I want to start writing with pen and paper in the morning as a journal exercise. I have also started switching to cold water for the last 30-60 seconds of my shower. Yes, you heard that right. Cold water. Not lukewarm or kind of cold. I mean cold like the opposite of hot, like the water you drink on a hot day to cool off. This past week has been awesome! I am convinced that there is no better way to wake up in the morning. If you need to wake up in the morning, take a cold shower. The cold shower is a very hard thing to do. It helps you learn to overcome the fear of doing hard things first thing in the morning. If you convince yourself to take that cold shower, you can do anything that day! It helps you learn self-mastery and strong discipline. Try it out! Seriously!

Join me this month with any of these challenges. Share your No Dairy experiences with the hashtag #NoDairyJuly or use @quiethabits. Share any ideas, suggestions or experiences you’ve had in the comments below, or on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

 
photo credit: More Arm tasting via photopin (license)

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