My Dairy Free Month of June
All I have to say is THANK GOD it is July and I can eat dairy again! Yessss! Wahoo! Weeee! Wha wha! I’m clearly happy to be back on the dairy train (at least temporarily).
During the month of June I did a little experiment on myself and went dairy free. I’ve always been resistant to giving up dairy as I am a big believer in simply eating a balanced diet and generally avoiding processed foods. That being said, I do admittedly understand the logic behind WHY many nutritionists and fad diets are anti-dairy: we are the only species in the world that continues to consume milk-based products post the breast-feeding stage. When you think about it – it’s kind of weird. And with everyone touting how much better they feel going anti-dairy, and me being the competitive person that I am, I decided to give it a go.
Aside from the fact that I LOVE my cheese (and honestly, “love” may be an UNDERstatement…), dairy has been a really critical source of protein for me. I put Greek yogurt in my oatmeal in the mornings, I eat cottage cheese a lot of times for lunch, and I roll a slice of deli meat and cheese together for mid-day snacks. I do drink protein drinks, but I don’t really like relying on those as my KEY source of protein, and typically try to limit my shake-ness to 2-3 times per week.
So…how did it go?!?! – I am sure you are all wondering.
Actually giving up dairy was a lot easier than I expected it to be. I didn’t crave it like the way I crave red meat and vegetables. I found I felt better and did genuinely feel like my body was a bit less swollen.
However, I also found it really really super duper ridiculously crazy difficult to find a natural protein source that could replace my dairy-based, protein-filled snacks throughout the day. I’m a big grazer, so in place of dairy I was constantly munching on nuts, beans, vegetables, nut butters smeared on bananas and rice cakes as well as a boat load of hard boiled eggs.
But none of these snacks were able to curb my hunger or my cravings in the way my dairy delights do. Because I wasn’t getting enough protein, my cravings were through the roof. Under my normal diet, I felt like I really striking a wonderful balance – I rarely had cravings for carbs, and I just felt like I was providing my body with what it needed – most of the time. During DFJ (“Dairy Free June”), the only thing I wanted..all the time… was sweets and starches. My overall hunger went way up, and my feeling of being satiated – even after I had stuffed my face with food – went way down. I couldn’t find the balance I had been able to achieve in months prior, and it was very frustrating for me.
The net net is that for ME dairy is a significant and important component of my diet. That doesn’t mean I am not wary of trying to limit its consumption (for example I drink almond milk in place of regular milk), but my body clearly needs a lot of protein, and dairy provides the goods. Sure I saw some benefits in eliminating it, but I think the actually negative overall effect on my dietary balance was more significant that any positive benefits gained.
Today (Tuesday, July 3rd) I am going to begin working with a new nutritionist here in LA. I know he is anti-dairy, So, I am going to have to do my best to convince him that diet with dairy = happy Sarah, and hopefully he will let me stay on the dairy train.
I’ll let you know how everything goes, but rest assured – I am Pro Dairy all the way!
Until next time. Don’t Dream It. Be It.