…and then I quit dairy

dairy cattle

Another 30-day challenge

I’m doing a little experiment: I’m quitting dairy for at least 30 days to see if it might be an allergen for me and to give my digestive system a little break. I don’t eat that much dairy to begin with, so it shouldn’t be too difficult, except it means I can’t eat feta cheese.

I AM HEARTBROKEN.

I’ll probably never quit feta cheese completely (and it is goat cheese after all, which is a lot better than anything made from cow’s milk), but for the sake of this elimination diet, it has to go… Tears have been shed, that’s all I’m sayin’.

cheesecake and berry tart

So, why would I choose to quit dairy?

Basically, I want to see what all the fuss is about…!

When you start reading up on nutrition and health, the “dairy debate” pops up all over the place. Everyone seems to think that in order to achieve optimal health, you must. quit. dairy. right. this. second.

There’s no getting around it. Like I said, I’m not a huge dairy-eater to begin with. I take my coffee black, I don’t drink milk, or eat dubious amounts of pizza with cheddar cheese. It’s basically going to be feta cheese, butter, and yoghurt that I’m giving up.

I want to be strict about this for 30 days to make it a bit of cleanse and see if I can tell a difference. I’m don’t know if I’m expecting anything major, but it’ll be interesting to see if I end up discovering that dairy needs to go for good.

Ice cream

My main points for motivation:

  • Most people cannot digest dairy. After the age of 4, that is. You then stop producing the enzyme lactase – which is the enzyme that digests lactose (the main sugar in milk). The fact that we (Westerners…) can digest it to some extent is a weird form of gene mutation. From a biological standpoint, I’m just not convinced that we’re meant to be drinking milk as adults… especially not milk from another species.
  • Osteoporosis. The countries in the world who chug down the most milk, actually have the highest rates of osteoporisis… Say, whaaat? I know, I know. This goes against everything we learned as kids. Read The China Study – it’ll answer all your questions.
  • Cows are often given steroids and hormones to produces more and “better” milk. These hormones can negatively affect the human hormone balance.
  • Calcium. I knew you were going to bring that up. “But what about the calcium???” You get calcium from plants too, you know. For instance, kale contains more calcium per calorie than milk. Milk made from sesame seeds contains up to 10 times more calcium than cow’s milk.
  • Cows are often fed inappropriate food. Cows eat grass – we all know that. Well, factory cows, or commercially fed cows, don’t get to eat grass. They’re fed grains and soy and corn and all sorts of genetically modified ingredients , and all this can often make them sick. To keep them from getting sick, it’s very common to keep them on antibiotics constantly – putting two and two together, all of that goes into the dairy that we consume.
  • Dairy is mucous forming, which means that – among other things – it can contribute to respiratory disorders. I’ve had asthma my whole life, and a long-term goal of mine is to see if I can heal myself and stop taking asthma medication.

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Ready, set, go! 

As I’m writing this, I’ve already gone over a week without any dairy at all. Can’t say I feel much different yet, but I’m thinking that I’ll find out more when I try to put dairy back into my diet after a month without it. That way I’ll see how it affects me.    

I’ll keep you posted on the no-dairy experiment as time goes by!
Hopefully I’ll learn something useful from it 🙂 

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An accidental vegetarian

Alright, so I’m not actually a vegetarian.

I’m just someone who is increasingly fascinated by all things diet and nutrition related, and who recently discovered that her eating habits mirrored those of a… well, vegetarian.

IMG_1126

I had a conversation with a few friends friends about it recently and I told them how I was really surprised when I realized I’d hardly eaten any animal products at all in a month’s time and I hadn’t even noticed. Granted, I’ve become much more aware of the things I stuff my face with, but I have not thought about what kind of ”bracket” that would mean fitting in to. Is it possible that I’m becoming an accidental vegetarian?

This spring, I’ve been really focused on teaching myself how to take better care of the ol’ machinery and to actually learn about nourishment. I don’t want a life where I have to elimate things in my diet, where there are things I can’t or won’t eat. Who does? Sounds miserable to me. What I do want is a long and happy life with good health. Lightbulb moment: ”Well, in that case I should probably eat more things that are not made in a laboratories.”

This naturally lead to eating a lot more vegetables, because when you’re trying to avoid processed foods they become your obvious choice 90% of the time. And the more you eat vegetables, the more you crave vegetables. It’s really quite nifty! I never consciously made the choice to not eat chicken or fish or even meat, but I find that at this point I don’t really miss it and I’m feeling really good and happy about my salads and veggie dishes.

collage food accidental veggie

‘But oh no, you’re not gonna get enough protein and you’re gonna whither and die! Best fetch you a T-bone steak,’ cries the meat-eaters out there. Oh, please. If elephants, gorillas and 50% of dinosaurs can figure out how to get big and strong without eating fried chicken, I’m pretty sure I can work it out too. It’s not about eliminating, it’s about adding 😉

Here’s the thing: I don’t like the label ”vegetarian.”

  1. It tends to make people kind of judgemental of you and quick to point out if you’re ”doing it wrong.” If the mood strikes me next week and I really really want bacon with my toast, I’m gonna eat bacon. And I’m gonna enjoy it.
  2. People often automatically assume you’re an animal rights activist – or at the very least an animal lover. I’m not. I know that’s not really what people expect to hear, and I like puppies just as much as the next person, but I don’t really get emotionally evolved in the lives of animals. It doesn’t break my heart to eat a cow – that’s honesty for ya.
  3. I have no quarrel with meat. If I called myself a vegetarian, doesn’t it sort of imply that I made a conscious choice to stay away from it? I don’t think I’ll ever consciously make that choice.

Can I just be a person who is becoming more passionate about eating real food? Foods that nourishes me? Foods that don’t come with an ingredients list?

If that means I’m turning into an accidental vegetarian, so be it.

I’m sure I’ll make some cow very happy.

Xx Christine