I gave up dairy for a month and this is what happened!
So some of you might have seen that this month I did a 21 day fast! If you are unfamiliar with what a fast is, it simply means giving up food (or something else) for a period of time to focus more on God. This is different than a cleanse or a diet because of the intention behind it.
We have a lot of exciting changes happening this year and I wanted to take a step back from my own ambitions, fears and expectations to better connect with my creator and His purpose for my life. A fast is amazing for anyone who is seeking connection to their purpose and looking for clarity on God’s will in your own life.
My fast breakdown was no dairy for 21 days, no social media for 14 days and no alcohol for 7 days! In moments where I struggled or would want those things out of habit I would use that as a time to pray and be thankful instead!
So now that you know why I gave up dairy, let’s get into what happened and how I felt throughout these 21 days!
It wasn’t life changing.
To be honest, I thought I would notice more of a difference. I do think I am sensitive to dairy but it wasn’t as obvious until I actually added it back in to my diet that I noticed a difference. You see, I was kinda hoping it’d be the magic cure to my bloating and digestion but it wasn’t. In some ways I am sure it helped, but it wasn’t a cure all.
And the truth is, it reminded me of a really important point. For most of us, it’s not going to come down to one specific change that gets us all the results we are looking for. It’s a combination of choices that create the overall lifestyle that matter. Cutting out dairy actually did help with my digestion and tummy issues but I still had bloating and cravings outside of that which dairy had nothing to do with!
What this means, is that it’s all about your body and your specific make up. See, even if dairy was life-changing for me, doesn’t mean it would be life-changing for you. The only way to determine the foods and activities that make you feel your best and worst is to try things out and pay attention! Don’t take my experience for truth and assume the same will happen to you!
I know we all want the magic code to a healthy life but what it comes down to is eating more real food and paying attention to how it makes your body feel. Stop wasting your time on things you hate just because it worked for someone else. Sure, there are things that are good for us that we might not enjoy but there are a lot of yummy and wonderful things out there that we will like more if we listened to our own bodies and not someone else’s! So sure, maybe cut out dairy and see how you feel. But if your body can process it and you don’t notice a difference, don’t worry about it too much!
I ate it a lot more than I realized.
I honestly know I’ve said the words “I really don’t eat that much dairy” like 100 times. And, honestly that’s really what I thought! I thought that I probably ate it every now and again but for the most part my diet was already dairy free. Oh boy was I wrong!
This was eye opening for me in more ways than one. You see, I realized just how much dairy I was consuming mindlessly without noticing. It was in salads, sauces, on the side of things, dips and the mother load of course on every cheese board of my dreams. It was everywhere. Only until I had to find foods without it did I realize this.
I am not a fan of restrictive diets and cutting out entire food groups for the sake of weight loss but I am a fan of bringing awareness to your habits and sometimes the best way to do that is to try and eliminate it for a short period of time.
This helps in two ways:
Brings awareness to how much you are eating certain things (whether you realized it or not)
Helps you see alternatives that you otherwise would not have chosen
Removing dairy from my life was eye opening and helped me see all the ways in which I was mindlessly consuming it. It helped me see creative ways to ease up on all the dairy I was eating and expose me to new recipes and dishes I would not have tried otherwise.
I missed it…but not that much.
It was challenging to avoid dairy but I realized at the end of the 21 days I didn’t miss it that much. I missed a couple of dressings, queso and cheese boards but otherwise I didn’t miss it on sandwiches, salads, or in bowls! It helped me see all the yummy alternatives I could be eating and opened my eyes to a variety of other food options.
It helped me see that cutting back on this, for the sake of my gut health was possible and only occasionally inconvenient. I am lucky enough to live in a city that is very accommodating so I am thankful for that! Only by removing it and trying new things was I able to see how much I didn’t actually miss it and those times that I really did!
At the end of the day, giving up dairy wasn’t really about my health but I got that benefit anyways. I got to see how adding it back in felt (not amazing) as well as how mindlessly I had treated some of my food choices. Giving up dairy benefited me both physically, mentally and spiritually so I am thankful I took the time to do it!
Have you thought about doing a fast or giving up dairy? Let me know in the comments below!