What I Ate Week: Dairy-Free Edition

So last week I tried a little experiment: I cut out dairy.

I initially decided to do so for my skin. I’ve heard rumors around the blogosphere that dairy has been linked to things like acne and inflammation. As a secondary reason, I’ve noticed lately that my go-to unhealthy meals (when I’m in a pinch, when I’m emotional, when I’m tired) usually revolve around cheese: pizza, nachos (be still my heart), that sorta stuff. I don’t drink cow’s milk (almond milk FTW!) but I am a cheese freak.

boohoo2

It’s become just a little too much. As we all know, “all things in moderation, including moderation.” But a little half and half here, a sprinkle of cheese there became more than an occasional occurrence: I rarely had a meal that didn’t involve some kind of dairy!

So the experiment began. So for today’s WIAW, let’s take a sneak peek at what a dairy-free week looks like.

Veggie scramble with a side of avocado/sea salt whole wheat toast + black coffee (tough to get used to again, to be honest)

Veggie scramble with a side of avocado/sea salt whole wheat toast + black coffee (tough to get used to again, to be honest)

TJ's black bean soup + avocado + sea salt

TJ’s black bean soup + avocado + sea salt

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This + pb was a staple snack last week

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Blackened tilapia + brown rice + roasted sweet potatoes

Kodiak cakes + scrambled eggs

Kodiak cakes + scrambled eggs

Celery + hummus

Celery + hummus

Whole grain bagel + pb and black coffee

Whole grain bagel + pb and black coffee

Homemade pumpkin chili (sans cheese!)

Homemade pumpkin chili (sans cheese!)

Almonds, raisins and semisweet chocolate chips (yes technically chocolate chips have dairy but I didn't think about it to be honest)

Almonds, raisins and semisweet chocolate chips (which I don’t believe have dairy in them)

Veggie omelet with potatoes and avocado (sorry for the recycled photo but man it was a great cheese-less omelet)

Veggie omelet with potatoes and avocado (sorry for the recycled photo but man it was a great cheese-less omelet)

PB/chocolate chip toast + chia seeds

PB/chocolate chip toast + chia seeds – again there’s confusion as to whether or not semisweet chocolate chips have dairy in them but Livestrong.com says no.

Results? My skin is the same. Granted, it was only a week. My body, on the other hand, felt great. I felt less bloated overall and started to notice how many calories I was cutting by not adding cheese here and there. I gave myself a lesson in what NEEDS cheese and what can do without it. And now that I’m halfway through a week where I’ve reincorporated it into my life again (hello, beautiful) it’s been nice that I haven’t turned back to adding dairy to everything by default. I’m using coconut milk creamer, for example, and it’s blowing my mind.

Questions:

  • What’s your opinion on dairy?
  • Have you ever gone dairy-free?
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37 comments

  1. I could never ever give up dairy- I’ve gone on an unconventional diet experiment recently (will explain more next week) and ironically, the protein component for me has been a hunk of cheese. every morning.

    I love how livestrong told you that about chocolate chips. Livestrong told me I am a beautiful bright woman the other day.

  2. I tried going dairy free a few years ago in an attempt to clear up my skin…yeah, that didn’t last long. I didn’t see that great of results. At least, not comparable to keeping myself away from cheese and milk. It was probably just my weird body though. Hope you have better results!

  3. I love going dairy free too! I do notice a difference in my body and the bloating as well. And those stomach cramps seem to lessen but I still love a cup of yogurt. I have been using soy cheese on my dinner salads as well and it is just as great as cheese without the crazy lactose that seems to cause the discomfort!

  4. i’ve read so many things about dairy – it’s not needed for the human body etc etc. personally, you do what works for you. if you like dairy and feel no adverse effects, then eat it in moderation.

    i don’t really eat dairy anymore; i’ll have some cheese once in a while and maybe some greek yogurt but never every day; at most maybe once a month but just a little bit. i have found that when i eat too much dairy, my eczema acts up.

  5. Coconut milk creamer? UGH that sounds amazing. I’ve never given up dairy but I have heard that it clears up your skin…. my skin is hopeless and I don’t imagine dairy is the cause, but I do eat a lot less cheese than I used to.

  6. I am mostly dairy free but I do LOVE ME some fro yo on summer nights : ) When I don’t have dairy, my skin, stomach, and overall body feel so much better. But I could never give up ice cream for good…ha ha!

    1. Yeah being strict about eliminating a certain food group just isn’t something I like the idea of. But cutting back and noticing how it affects your body is really cool! MY stomach did feel lighter last week when I wasn’t having any dairy. Now I just need to get back in a balance 🙂

  7. I totally hear you, I am the same exact way with cheese! I’ve talked about cutting out dairy for around a month for awhile… but then I haven’t done it because I like it and it seems like it’ll be hard work going from vegetarian to vegan. Strike that, I’ve gone vegan before for a short period of time, and it does feel much harder to me. I think you’re right that it’s all about balance, and cutting it out totally for a week seems like a great way to check your cheese consumption and become more mindful about it.

  8. hahaha i am so on the “including moderation” part of that expression this week. I’ve been starving and happily eating all the food. but to answer your question- yes, ive gone dairy free and it was ok. i didnt feel any better or worse off it so i started eating it again.

    1. Can you imagine a life without moderation, aka allowing yourself treats every once in awhile? And by every once in awhile I don’t mean “a square of chocolate every night.” I mean a real treat, a realistic amount haha.

  9. My skin has been going a little crazy and maybe it’s due in part to the yogurt that I’m eating as I read this post, haha 🙂 I’ve done days without dairy and I do feel better. With that being said, I love cheese. And ice cream.

  10. I have never tried going dairy free and I think it would be so hard! Actually your eats look great. I would definitely not be able to drink black coffee and giving up cheese would be tough. I could probably do it for one week if I was at least allowed almond milk in my coffee since it is technically non-dairy!

    1. Thanks – it was a great eats week. Coffee NEEDS something, I’m sorry. Now I’m adding coconut milk creamer and am loving it so far. I’ll keep experimenting! Almond milk in coffee just isn’t creamy enough, even though I normally love it.

  11. Dairy – more specifically Greek yogurt and the occasional bit of cheese – is the only thing that keeps me from being fully vegan. From the way I feel like when I eat too much of it, though, I do believe the sources that say dairy wasn’t 100 % ideal.
    Your PB chocolate chip combination completely changed the way I see toast in a second, haha. Honestly, it looks SO good. And regarding the dark or semisweet chocolate chips: it depends on the brand if they’re dairy-free so if you checked the package you should be fine.

    1. PB + chocolate chip toast is life-changing 🙂 and it fills me up so much. I’m totally with you that dairy isn’t totally ideal in our diet – it’s just a shame that so many amazing things incorporate dairy. I just think it’s important to omit things that there are awesome replacements for – like me, I don’t drink cow’s milk – always almond milk. So that substitution makes me feel a little better about being head over heels in love with pizza 😉

    1. Honestly it didn’t make me want to be vegan or anything haha but it did reset my tastebuds and realize that not everything NEEDS dairy. Eggs don’t always need it and there are plenty of non-dairy substitutes for coffee. Overall I have noticed a little more “activity” with my digestive system, if you catch my drift, now that I’ve started eating more cheese again. When I was dairy free my stomach made a lot less noises and bloating went down. But again, that’s not enough to make me swear off pizza or anything crazy like that. I’ll probably do it every few weeks though because it helped me regain my balance with dairy.

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