Going Dairy-Free | My Personal Journey

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.

There are many plant-based options you can replace regular milk with, such as almond milkoat milkrice milk and, my personal favorite, coconut water.

Let me know if you eat dairy and why/why not, and feel free to ask me anything in the comments!

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6 Comments

  1. Ellen
    February 1, 2018 / 6:54 am

    Be proud of being dairy free as me just starting out to be dairy and gluten-free this article is very inspiring which I’m hoping to be successful I been saving tips and recipes like this https://pastreez.com/pages/the-recipe and read about dairy-free diet.

    • Alexa
      Author
      February 13, 2018 / 2:33 pm

      Yes, we can all be proud! ♥️

  2. Tammie
    March 22, 2018 / 6:56 pm

    Alexa, I started following you when you arrived in Bali. I did not know about you before that, and for that I am thankful! Since then you and Laura have inspired me with your vegan lifestyle! 🌱 At first i thought it was for the love of animals! So, anyway I started to order vegan very recently, I had a latte with organic milk, used to be my favorite, but it tore my stomach up!! I just know it’s from the dairy!! Last night, I had a piece of cheesecake, also a favorite of mine, and the cramps it produced made me wish that I didn’t. So I’m experiencing the effects of dairy and being able to isolate the problem! Today, I came across this article you wrote. It’s decided!! I grateful for the information and I am exited to begin my own dairy-free journey!! I’m looking forward to dairy-free cashew nut cheesecake! Now, where to find some? Ah, I know, Bali! 😄💕

    • Alexa
      Author
      March 23, 2018 / 2:43 am

      Oh Tammie, I‘m smiling so hard right now it’s ridiculous! Your decision makes me so happy, I‘m more than proud of you. I cannot wait for your life to transform. ♥️😘

  3. Tammie
    March 25, 2018 / 4:14 pm

    Yay! 😄Smile away, beautiful, you are radiant!!! Alexa is proud of me? Wow, sweet, you made my day! Thank you for your encouragement!! I’m hoping it will also transform my waistline! 😂 Looking forward to seeing what life has in store for you and your journey next, Alexa! Thanks for taking us along with you!✨🙏🏻✨

  4. Aleksa
    August 11, 2018 / 5:46 pm

    Hi! I was looking for a post on your insta and i haven’t found.. (there are a lot of them 😍)
    I’m also vegan 🌱 and my body actually use to get weight in a short time so I’m interested if you count your calories? And maybe you have some short tips for me 🙏😍 thank you!

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