It has been several months since going dairy-free (the last time I had dairy was in Costa Rica) and I’ve never felt better. I asked you in the caption of this picture if you wanted to hear about the changes I’ve experienced since and that’s why I’m sharing my story. I want y’all to feel just as good as I do now. Outbreaks, bloating, diarrhea or an uncomfortable feeling after eating – if you have experienced any of these, reading about my experiences might help you.
Disclaimer: I will be writing about the health aspects, not the ethical ones, even though they’ve also played a part in my decision to go dairy-free.
For years, I suffered from digestive issues, acne and bloating. I wouldn’t always feel that way and experience those symptoms, but when I did, I would ask myself why. After years, I have found out that the solution was to eliminate dairy from my diet. Easy, right?
Easier said than done. You might be thinking “I will never give up cheese” or “not eating cottage cheese will kill my gains”, haha. If you’re a vegetarian, not a vegan, you might have replaced meat cravings with dairy. That’s because dairy, especially cheese, is addictive. Cheese contains two types of protein: Casein and whey. It is made up mostly of casein though. Casein is what ultimately makes you keep coming back for more. When it breaks down, casomorphins are released which then attach to opiate receptors in the brain. As with any other theory, you will find studies supporting as well as declining this effect, but I can only speak from my own personal experience.
Why did dairy make me break out, and why did it cause bloating? Lactose intolerance is one of the most common allergies of mankind. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and dairy products, a sugar that the body is unable to break down without the enzyme lactase. Now you might be asking yourself: “Why would my body not produce that enzyme?” It does, but only in the first months after you’re born. Babies need it to drink breastmilk. As you grow up, your body produces less lactase or stops producing lactase altogether as you grow older because nature did not plan for us to continue consuming dairy as adults. Nature never figured we would be as crazy as to milk cows, and drink their milk, milk that is meant for calves.
So without this enzyme, undigested lactose passes to the colon, where it is broken down by bacteria. This process is what causes gas and bloating.
Now, I want to talk a little bit about the industry behind dairy. I remember that growing up, I would come back from soccer practice in the evening, and my mom would make my brother and I two huge milk shakes. It was a ritual, and right after, our bodies would produce lots of gas, and we would feel defeated and bloated. Here I am, remembering I would have trouble falling asleep every night.
In school, there was a truck that would deliver chocolate milk and plane milk every day, and every kid was encouraged to “subscribe” to get their favorite milk delivered every day for breakfast/lunch. Why is that? Because milk has been advertised as a health food for years, and I am sure it will be continued to be advertised as that wholesome vitamin bomb it is certainly not for a long time.
This blog post is not supposed to make you feel bad because you eat dairy. I wrote it because I personally know a whole lot of people that suffer from bloating, skin problems or IBS, but only a few people that are educated about dairy and its effects on our bodies.
Let me know if you eat dairy and why/why not, and feel free to ask me anything in the comments!