Whenever I get offered ice cream, cheese, or anything that includes dairy, I now decline. I always get the question “What! why?!.” Well, there’s a lot of reasons actually… Follow along and I’ll share with you reasons why I chose to go dairy free. Along with tips on how I cut out what some people would consider the hardest thing to leave behind. Whether you are lactose intolerant or doing it for the health benefits, cutting out dairy can be a hard transition, but I am here to try and help with that.
WHY, am I dairy-free?
When I was a freshman in college I found myself feeling very sick and constant stomach pains whenever I drank milk or ate ice cream. I never ever thought I would ever be lactose intolerant until… I was! After about 30 minutes to an hour after consuming dairy, I felt abdominal bloating, pain, or cramps. I did not realize it was dairy causing these symptoms until I tested it out. I had a bowl of cereal every day for one week with my regular milk that I always drink. I then ate cereal for breakfast for one week with almond milk. The results were insane. I no longer felt bloated or crampy after about an hour of eating the cereal. I then realized that dairy was the cause of this uncomfortable abdominal feeling.
65% of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. So it is way more common to be lactose intolerant than people think because it isn’t natural. Although some of the nutrients in dairy can be beneficial, there are much better ways to get them. I take calcium vitamins every day so I still supplement my bones with it. Potassium, protein, and fats can all be replaced with certain veggies, fruits, seaweed, whole grains, and certain seeds.
Skincare experts are known for telling clients to cut down on their dairy intake to help clear up the skin. Dairy is full of hormones and is mucous-forming. Hormones cause excess sebum to be produced which causes acne (ick, I know). This interesting read is someone’s experience who indulged in dairy after being vegan. Super interesting read!
HOW, can I handle being dairy free?
Dairy product alternatives
Being able to cut out “milk” products from your diet is almost impossible, especially after living with them for 18 years of your life before realizing you can’t have them. We now live in an age where being vegan, dairy free is so so common! My go-to is almond milk, but oat-milk is very similar and is another alternative I am interested in trying.
Ice cream was something I did NOT want to give up. Luckily there are so many different vegan/dairy free ice cream options on the market today. Halo top recently made a vegan line of ice cream that I find myself buying occasionally Ben & Jerry’s is my favorite because it tastes so so similar to actual ice cream. Life is good if you can still eat ice cream!
I know it is not an easy thing to remove from your life. If you feel uncomfortable when eating dairy or having bad skin days, give a dairy-free lifestyle a try.
The first time I was ever introduced to meditation was my freshman year in an “Intro To College Life” class. An instructor came in and discussed ways to help live a stress-free life. She turned off the lights and had us sit in the dark with our eyes closed while she spoke in a soft voice telling us how to focus on our breathing. I remember during that moment how relaxed I felt and how everything I was worried about during that time just went away for awhile. I recently have been stressed with my class schedule and everything else I have on my plate. A couple of weeks ago, I recently came across a post on Instagram mentioning guided meditation. I figured I would give it a try and see if it made me feel as peaceful as it did almost 2 years ago.
Whatever guided meditation you listen to will include tranquil meditation music that will help you to relax even more deeply. Your meditation guide will have you sit comfortably, or sometimes ask you to lie down. You then listen to your guide while they lead you through a series of relaxing visualizations and have you focus on your breathing. As you start to relax and become more still, your stress will fade away, and your mind becomes clearer and clearer. The only way to really understand what guided meditation is to try it yourself! Guided meditation can be experienced either in a class with the help of a meditation teacher, or by listening to a guided meditation through a podcast or other type of recording. I found that I prefer doing it in the comfort of my own space and, I don’t have much time in my day to go to a meditation class. I go onto Spotify and search for Guided Mediation and go through the playlist. Spotify guided meditation collection offers a variety of practices. I choose ones that are shorter in time because I don’t usually have time to do a session for 40 minutes. There are 10 minute, 20 minute, and 30-minute options.
I have been dedicating at least 10 minutes a day to guided meditation and I am so so happy that I do. During that 10, 20, sometimes 30-minute sessions all the stress and thoughts in my head drift away. I feel at peace whenever I am done with the sessions. What I have been loving doing lately is doing a session while in bed before I fall asleep. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get caught thinking about everything I have going on in my life and it is hard for me to fall asleep. Doing a quick guided meditation before bed helps me fall asleep easily, and peacefully.
Mind-and-body wellness is something I am always interested in and improving upon. Ever just wake up with low self-esteem, bloated and just uncomfortable? Today I am going back to the basics and discussing my 5 go to wellness tips to help me start feeling better!
- When I wake up I always try and get a good stretch in. It makes me feel more awake and limber. Stretching will help with your flexibility and jump-start your mind and body as well as increase blood flow. Some days I feel lazy and tired I always stretch and I feel so much better. Waking up and going to a yoga class or even watching a yoga video at home is a great way to get your body moving.
- Do Something Physical
- On days I wake up feeling not quite like myself, I always try and fit in something active into my day. You can go to the gym and have a full workout or even just a 30 minute walk outside. You’ll never regret any kind of workout when you’re done with it. Physical activity targets brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and relaxed.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!
- On days I’m not staying hydrated, my skin feels dry and I feel drowsy. So making sure I keep drinking liquids throughout the day is very important. I find that putting lemon in my water makes me want to drink more water during the day. Lemon water helps aid in better digestion and makes me feel fresh. Drinking water is a natural way to detox. Sometimes I mistake thirst with hunger so drinking water helps me eat less during the day too!
- Green tea is another drink I prefer on days my gut isn’t feeling good. Hot drinks, like green tea, relieve my cramps and uncomfortable gut feeling. Green tea helps with your metabolism and will make you feel full. And since there’s caffeine in green tea I have more energy!
- Mindful eating.
- Days I want to feel better, I eat better. Eating whole foods, and avoiding processed foods make me feel happy and healthier. I usually gravitate towards foods that are lighter, full of energy, and that won’t make me feel bloated. And while I am eating my meals I slow down and enjoy the meal. I try not to watch or read anything while I eat so I don’t get distracted and overeat.
- Put the Phone Down.
- This is something that I have just recently started to do. I notice whenever I am browsing on my phone I go on Instagram or Pinterest and look at other users. I always compare my life or body to others even if I don’t realize I am doing it. I am always so concerned about who is looking at my story or who just liked my Instagram. Sometimes just putting the outside world away can really help clear your head.