Every since I can remember, I’ve always hated milk. Hate is such a strong word that I try not to use often but this is how strongly I felt about the taste of milk. I remember getting teased in kindergarten for not drinking milk like the other kids in class. Thankfully, my parents never forced me to drink it despite the claims and advice that I needed it for strong bones and teeth. Maybe just maybe I was on to something back then but the world around me just didn’t respond well to my attitude towards milk. Now it’s more common for people to say that they have a dairy allergy. It’s even more common for children to refuse milk and it’s socially acceptable. There are many milk alternatives readily available in just about every store now.
While I could never drink a full cup of milk, I did fall in love with cheese, ice cream, milk chocolate, and breads with hidden dairy in them as a kid. As an adult I gained a preference for condiments such as ranch, sour cream, and mayo. My journey to slowly eliminate dairy from my diet began in 2013. Living on my own, I didn’t buy milk by the gallon because it would spoil. I would buy it occasionally in a smaller quantity if I needed to make something like boxed macaroni. (Whew! My cooking game has come along way from boxed recipes to basically making everything from scratch now.) My aunt and dad had mentioned lactose free milk to me. With them identifying as lactose intolerant, I decided to give it a shot to use for cereal and recipes. I still couldn’t drink a cup of it but I thought I was making progress.
A year and half later I was pregnant with Jarvis Jr. My mindset began to shift, adjusting to the frequency this new life carried. I knew immediately that I would breastfeed and that I would not introduce my baby to cow’s milk. By this time I didn’t want to use the lactose free milk anymore either. I was over it. I would cringe at every prenatal appointment when I was advised to drink a certain amount of milk to ensure that I would get enough calcium to make sure my baby’s bones would grow strong. I decided to take a calcium supplement and eat more ice cream. Best of both worlds right?
I continued making changes to my diet such as adding soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and almond cheese over the next few years. I stopped eating eggs too. It wasn’t until I got pregnant with Legend and I stopped eating meat that I completely let the dairy go. Shortly after I eliminated meat from my diet, I knew I had to let go of all of the dairy including the cakes, pies, cookies, and milk chocolate. I’ll admit cheese was the hardest one for me to let go of especially moving back to Louisiana where I could easily get the best homemade macaroni and cheese. I had to make my health a priority though and finally say goodbye to it all. These are some of the changes I’ve noticed since.
I use to struggle with my skin breaking out often. When I started eliminating dairy I noticed that my skin was getting clearer. Now I see this change in full effect. The only time I get so much as a pimple on my face now is when I need to cleanse my liver which doesn’t happen very often. There was a time when I couldn’t fall asleep or start my day without doing my night and morning routine to achieve clear skin. Now if I fall asleep putting the boys to bed without cleansing my face I’m not doomed to waking up with zits the next day. Seriously my skin glowed my entire pregnancy with Legend and I only used coconut oil and witch hazel versus the full list of cleansing and acne fighting products I once had to use before.
Not only did I struggle with breaking out in acne, I had a severe case of eczema. This started when I was a baby when I had to go to every dermatologist around for my parents to get some answers. I would scratch my eczema patches so bad that I would bleed. I remember at times I had to wear socks on my hands to keep from scratching and someone had to sit with me all night. I get sad thinking about those times but happy that those days are long over! When I was diagnosed with eczema the dermatologist told us that I was allergic to any products with tomatoes, strawberries, oranges, or chocolate. Being someone that loved ketchup, pizza, strawberries, and chocolate, just imagine how many times I broke out over the years after eating those foods. Again eliminating dairy I noticed that my eczema flare ups got better. Since completely eliminate it I haven’t had a single flare up in over a year now. I also eat tomato products, strawberries, and dark chocolate with no problem now. I am healed!
I noticed my digestive system was working better after eliminating meat. After giving up the dairy too it was like a bonus. I cannot complain at all!
All of my senses heightened when I let go of meat. When I let go of dairy I noticed that I could breath better and smell better. My “pregnant nose” worked even better than it did before which helped me taste my food better too and appreciate it more. My vision got clearer as well as my hearing. Dairy has a lot of mucus and I could definitely feel that mucus draining from different parts of my body.
Less colds/sinus issues
That mucus drainage helped me in this department too. Since childhood I caught colds all of the time no matter what season it was. It didn’t matter how much vitamin C I took I was going to catch at least 1-2 colds a month. I kept Kleenex with me! Now I only catch one every blue moon and they stem from being around sick kids at school or sudden weather changes. Not too bad huh?
Stronger Bones and Teeth
There is an argument that milk helps with strong bones and teeth but there are new studies that find this information to be conflicting. Either way there are more ways to get calcium with spinach being one of them. (Nod to Popeye for dropping the subliminal messages back in the day.) I personally noticed that since I gave up dairy my bones, joints, and teeth are much stronger. I don’t get cavities anymore and I feel that I get better use out of my bones too.
Boost in Energy
After ditching meat, my energy levels went up. When I ditched dairy too, those energy levels were maximized once again.
I was in my toughest trimester when I gave up dairy. The first trimester is challenging when it comes to balancing hormones. My first pregnancy I had so many mood swings that I’m not sure how Jarvis still likes me or really anybody that I was around. I didn’t like myself during that time. I wasn’t very nice and I was always super emotional. I remember crying for hours one time because I messed up a batch of pancakes. Yeah it was bad. This pregnancy was different. I was able to control my emotions and my mood swings were few in number. Other things I did helped too but I know that eliminating the hormones in dairy was a big help also.
I didn’t notice this until postpartum of course but my menstrual cycles got better. I only have mild cramps on the first day. After that the cramps are gone and my flow isn’t heavy at all. Also my period synced with the moon which is important for tapping into the divine feminine.
Seeing how good I feel now and learning of how well my body works without meat and dairy, I could never go back to feeling the way that I once did. If this post interested you in anyway, check out my last post What Happened When I Stopped Eating Meat for more information on the benefits I’ve experience from consuming a plant based diet.