Monday, 11 January 2016

Going Dairy Free: My Thoughts So Far

I made the decision to go dairy free after reading about it a lot online and deciding that it would be a good dietary decision for my body. I told myself that I'd cut out all dairy where I could and not punish myself for slipping up every so often. I did this with the goal to lose a bit of weight and feel better about myself. So far, I've been mainly dairy free for over a week now and I'm really enjoying it. I've had a few slip ups and I've found that I forget that I'm dairy free when someone offers me a coffee at work or if I'm adding lashings of condiments to my salads and then I have to hastily check the label.

It has also been quite hard in a household full of meat eating, dairy guzzling, gun toting, northerners who just don't really get the whole dairy free thing. I started out by replacing milk with almond and soya milk and also butter with a dairy free alternative. These were the easy steps as I already love soya lattes and almond milk on my cereal and butter alternatives don't taste much different when cooking or on a sandwich.

Since doing this, I've thought a lot more about what goes into my food and all the processed crap that I'm putting into my body. It's made me appreciate cooking more as I have to think about alternatives and recipes that I can eat that won't make my body inflate and that my boyfriend won't moan about. I'm eating a lot more wholemeal things and using a lot more vegetables in my daily life that has just made me feel better all round. Cutting out fatty dairy such as cheese and replacing it with lean meat or vegetables has made me feel a lot better. I've been trying to cut down on tea and coffee at work and replace it with water and green tea, to cut down my dairy intake there. I allowed myself those little discrepancies owing to the fact I didn't want to cut everything out immediately and risk my body reacting badly. I've found myself craving dairy less and less and even though I do miss cheese, oh boy do I miss cheese, I've found that I don't crave it as much and I can think of alternatives.

I'm dairy free and trying to lose weight which means that I definitely don't need cheese in my diet and I think I still have some stored up after everything I ate over Christmas anyway. I've found that Nakd bars, almonds and fruit are becoming my snacks rather than an afternoon chocolate bar and crisps which is a much healthier swap. For lunch, I'm either making a wholemeal pasta salad or having rice cakes with peanut butter and banana. For tea, I'll make either pasta again or go for a hearty concoction of steam veggies, sweet potato and some form of meat or fish. It might appear pretty repetitive to some people but I feel great for it and my body is thanking me after the overindulgence of Christmas.

I will admit on Saturday I kind of went "fuck it" and had a cheat day of sorts and ate basically loads of crap with dairy in it such as chocolate and a Greggs sausage roll (keeping it classy) and I felt so crap the next morning. I was bloated and my stomach hurt and I just felt sluggish. I felt guilty and my body hated me. I don't want to restrict myself from treats or slips, but I went hard on the dairy that day and I definitely didn't feel good for it. I'm seeing this as a lifestyle change rather than a diet and so I need to find dairy-free treats that will satisfy my urge for sugar. I'm going to look for dairy free/vegan ice cream recipes and dessert recipes to have around so when I need a treat or a sugar fix, I'll have that on hand.

Overall, I'm loving being dairy free so far although people don't really get it when I say I'm going dairy free to help me lose weight. I will admit that the more I've settled into the lifestyle of dairy free the more I've been researching dairy farming and the vegan lifestyle. I'm definitely not ready to take the plunge to veganism or vegetarianism, just because I need to get in the swing of cutting a major part of my diet out to begin with. But, I am considering it further down the line. Animals are something I feel passionately about and I feel like a giant hypocrite saying that when I eat meat. Hopefully, I can change this in months and years to go, but for now going dairy free is me trying to help in whatever way I can.

I don't weigh myself, although my boyfriend thinks I should just to mark my progress, but I go on how my clothes fit and how I feel and so far so good. I don't know if this is down to me eating cleaner or cutting dairy out, but either way, I feel good and I am definitely going to continue on my dairy free journey.

My advice for those thinking of going dairy free:

  • Research research research
  • There are so many recipes online, use them!
  • Try all the milk alternatives before you rule them out (almond milk in coffee is a no)
  • It's easier than you think, daily staples don't include dairy such as most breads, pasta and crisps!
  • Don't go all in, take it slow and steady.
  • The cravings will pass
I'd love to know your thoughts on this and if you have ever thought of cutting anything from your diet before whether it be dairy, meat, sugar or anything else. I'm going to continue posting this sort of thing and update you all on my progress and I'd love to know if you like this sort of thing!

Til' next time! XOXO


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