I stopped eating dairy a year ago. Here's what changed.

Posted July 27, 2017 in dairy-free, giving up dairy, vegan, dairy-free eating, dairy free cooking

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It's been nearly a year since I stopped eating dairy! 

Honestly, when I first gave up dairy products, I didn't think it would be a longterm lifestyle change. 

I stopped eating dairy products after consulting with a functional medicine doctor about my frequent headaches and hormonal migraines. A full blood panel showed that I had a sensitivity to casein, a protein in milk. 

In addition to giving up dairy, I also went off of synthetic birth control. My functional medicine doctor and I have been working together to balance my hormones over the past year. While I do have a food sensitivity to casein, dairy products also contain hormones. 

Before I tell you about what's changed since I stopped eating dairy, I want to be totally transparent...I've eaten dairy probably 10 times over the past year. 


Giving up an entire food group can be really challenging on your mindset. It feels restrictive, which can lead to bingeing and giving up.

Which is why I kept an open mind about eating dairy when I truly craved it. Knowing that pizza or cake or ice cream was available to me whenever I really wanted it actually made not eating dairy easier. 

So I enjoyed pizza on occasion or a slice of cake at birthday parties. Or if a restaurant didn't have many dairy-free options, I was flexible with what I ate.

This is in line with my philosophy about healthy eating. Eat whole, nourishing foods the majority of the time, but allow room for conscious indulgences on occasion. 

So what's changed?

  • I stopped getting headaches and migraines. There have been a few times when I've eaten dairy in the past year that it caused a headache, which is evidence that dairy is a headache trigger for me. Knowing that eating dairy will most likely make me feel sick makes it easier to avoid it. 
  • I'm less bloated. Just a few weeks after giving up dairy, I noticed that my stomach was flatter and my face was thinner. Dairy is one of the hardest foods for our bodies to digest, which is why it often causes bloating or gas. While I haven't lost a significant amount of weight, I just feel lighter. 
  • I have less phlegm. Whenever I would eat ice cream in the past, I would get this disgusting phlegm in my throat. It hasn't been a problem since I stopped eating dairy.
  • I have more energy. This was something I noticed after just a few weeks after giving up dairy. 
  • My skin is clearer. I used to break out around my chin right before my period. I don't even remember the last time I had a break out! My skin just looks healthier and more glowing. 
  • My digestion is better and more regular. 
  • I experiment more with food. I've made cashew cheese, my own salad dressings, vegan cheesecake, vegan ice cream and so much more. Trying new recipes has been a lot of fun, especially around the holidays when I made delicious vegan holiday cookies and vegan side dishes. 
  • I became a pro at ordering at restaurants. I live in rural Nebraska where most restaurants don't have vegan options. Now I can scan a menu and pick out a few items that I can order with one or two adjustments. 

I'll be totally real. There are definitely times that avoiding dairy is hard and it sucks. Like going to someone's house for dinner and they don't have any dairy-free options. I've definitely just eaten fruit or carrot sticks at events, then eaten an actual meal when I got home. But those situations don't happen often. 

I never imagined that it would be a year later and I would still be going strong with no dairy. But I feel good, so I'm going to keep going!

My documentary recommendations:

  • Cowspiracy
  • Forks Over Knives
  • Vegucated
  • Hungry for Change

You might also like:

How to give up dairy without feeling deprived

Quick Vegan Meal Prep

Dairy-Free Vegetarian Dinner Recipes

My Experience with Functional Medicine

Want more healthy living tips, inspirational stories and healthy recipes? Go to bit.ly/sweet-success

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