I just realised it has been almost 3 months since I stopped eating dairy products of any form. Or at least attempting to. Apart from some minimal dairy consumption at Christmas (I couldn't pass up some clotted cream with my pudding, or some of the fabulous Cheddar we'd been saving all year, which by god was the most delicious cheese I think I've ever eaten...), and some minor incidences with products that contain milk in small quantities, I've been pretty faithful to the mission.
Since coming back to work though, I've made a specific effort to be stricter with myself, and check labels obsessively. A vegan friend came over to dinner and she gave me some pointers for vegan treats, which was really really helpful (who knew that Manner Schnitten were vegan?) and recommended some vegan cheese, which is delicious and tastes just like the real thing. She also made me feel a little less like the odd one out at a party for not eating dairy; even though I am not vegan, chatting about food options with someone who is was quite grounding and reassuring.
It is also 4 months since I cut out sugar, and although I haven't stuck to a no sugar diet, I do try and keep my consumption to a minimum. Unfortunately I did discover that I can't eat large quantities of glucose or other high GI sweeteners, because of the fast acting insulin response. A little is ok, but actually regular sugar which is 50% fructose is better for me. I just try not to eat it too often.
How do I feel? I feel great. One of the best things to happen this year is that since quitting dairy, I haven't been ill. I had a mild sniffle over Christmas and it did threaten to become something major, but it didn't, and I could enjoy the festive period. Before Quitting Dairy (BQD), that cold would have gone straight into my sinuses and laid me low for a few days. This time it didn't even touch them.
I also just feel cleaner. Like my system isn't clogged up with gunk. I don't ever want to become a preachy ex dairy consumer, and obviously if you have no issues with dairy consumption then go ahead, at least someone should enjoy the delicious cheese, but for me, no dairy equates to no spots, and a feeling of inner peace. All very zen and hippy like!
As I mentioned, I did have a bit of dairy over Christmas. While I didn't see any immediate reactions, I did notice a gradual deterioation in the state of my skin (which I put down to too much alcohol and not enough water at the time), then I reacted badly to the Clarins oil. It was only this week when I've been eating really good food, that I could truly appreciate the impact dairy and sugar has on my skin in a longer term sense.
A week of really watching my gluten intake, moderating my carbs, eating lots of vegetables, drinking loads of water and pretty much having nothing with sugar in have made such a difference to my skin. I also found I could really push myself more in the gym this week, so maybe there is something in this.
Substituting things with dairy in isn't always straightforward and sometimes requires some creative thinking, especially if you also want to avoid soy like I do. I'll do a separate post on my favourite substitutes at some point - it is possible to subsitute most things in some way.