Ditching Dairy




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Back in the day, pre-kids and during my disposable income point in life, I sometimes thought a legit dinner was a board of fancy cheeses paired with some grapes and liquid grapes. Many moons ago, I spent quite a bit of time both living in and commuting to Manhattan. I felt fancy and did fancy things. One of my favorite restaurants by the apartment I was living at was a cheese and wine place. As in that is all they served. I was a regular. Cheese and wine for dinner. The fancier and creamier the cheese, the better. Back in Chicago, my bestie D and I would often frequent whole foods for a selection of cheese and wine and spend our nights on the balcony of the condo chatting and cheesing.


Fast forward to a time when my cheese and wine days are infrequent, and my days and nights are spent with my tiny humans instead of a balcony, a bar, and disposable income (and a 20-something metabolism). When we switched B from nursing to milk at 13 months, he immediately hated it. He never wanted to take a bottle anyways (lucky me) and when he finally started milk, he was crabby. Then he started to get digestion sick. Like really sick. We tried almond milk, soy milk, and lactose free milk, and he refused it all. He is a peanut and he needed the calories, so we switched him to a special drink for him per his pediatrician. He started eating more and more cheese and yogurt, and the drink did the trick. No more terrible diapers and crabby boy. At 20 months, he decided almond milk was ok and started drinking it! Thank goodness! We got a $100/month raise when we didn’t have to buy his special drink anymore! Woo hoo! He still does fine with cheese, yogurt, and almond milk which is great!


So about 23 weeks into this pregnancy, we discovered that dairy and me do not get along. I spent a lot of time sick, feeling sick, and just feeling off. Immediate relief from the vomiting came as soon as I went dairy free. So that was good.  I admit that I have a poor attitude about my love for cheese being taken away from me because it was a hard thing to give up. Milk was not that bad of a give up as I don’t really love milk like I love cheese. Its actually pretty stressful and difficult to go out to eat with a food allergy. Cooking has become easier, but dining out is near impossible. I find that looking at a menu ahead of time makes it easier to figure out something that is safe and that I will actually enjoy. Cooking is admittedly becoming boring because of the limits, but I’ve learned to substitute. (thanks to N, one of my wonderful friends and clients who went dairy free for her little guy and is just a ROCKSTAR!) If I mess up and have dairy now, the effects are magnified presumably because I have been off of dairy for long enough for my body to be really pissed at it. I ate a chicken rub with dairy in it last weekend by accident and I paid for it in excessive barfing for 2 hours. It didn’t even taste dairy at all. 


All this said, something crazy happened when I gave up dairy. I started feeling better in ways that I hadn’t known I felt bad about. It has taken about 2.5 months to realize these things, but it is really eye opening. I think 8 weeks is about a proper detox amount of time for most things anyways. Here is what I have learned about becoming dairy free:

  • My gut feels MUCH better now that I am not eating dairy. I didn’t even realize that I was bloating up after dairy but I was. Like adipose tissue bloat. The kind that makes your pants tight, but everywhere in your body. As weird as it sounds, my pants fit better 10 weeks further into my pregnancy than they did before. 


  • My recovery from workouts have gotten better. I am less sore and my muscles recover easier. I used to eat a greek yogurt after a workout and now I fuel with almond milk and granola. 


  • Though part of this is hormonal, my skin has cleared up a ton. Ths baby brought me teenage skin, and almost immediately after cutting out dairy, my skin had cleared up for the most part. Was this dairy? Maybe partially. Was it hormone changes? Maybe. My guess is that it is both. 


  • Faux cheese products are not my thing. They don’t taste natural to me. The closest to “worth it” for me is the Trader Joe’s Almond cheese and Daiya. And even then, I don’t need a lot of it, nor do I want a lot of it.


  • I have no intention of drinking cows milk ever again. And I don’t envision myself buying cows milk again. Cheese, fro yo and MAYBE yogurt, however, I do hope to enjoy again if my body allows.


  • Food allergies suck. Ive always been sympathetic to food allergies- especially for kiddos. We do the teal pumpkin at Halloween and I monitor B’s eating of dairy like a hawk to make sure he is ok. Now, I’m just plain mad at food allergies.

Published by alimfinn

30 something mama of 3 looking to crush motherhood and share some stories along the way!

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