#HealthyHabits2017 week ten was to consume no dairy all week. This weeks write up is a bit of a long one.
Why no dairy you may ask? Well I absolutely love cheese (omg pizza) and ice cream as much as the next person but I do question myself on a weekly basis as to why it’s normal to consume what is naturally intended for other animals. It’s also largely questionably produced when you really think about it, as dairy cows must be kept pregnant to produce their milk and I can't imagine being pregnant all the time feels very nice. For the most part when I really think about it, it really doesn’t feel right on a personal level but there is a very large disparity between my mind set when I think about what I eat vs when I actually eat - where I tend to just think about what tastes good and forget about where all these things have come from.
The first time I even considered what I was putting in my body was after watching Food Inc, which I would recommend everyone watch as it’s good to be educated about where you food might come from (just don't watch it while you eat dinner). What we put in our bodies has a massive impact on our health which is why the Sagitta Immun series works with your gut micro biome and digestive system as this is where your immune system lives in your body. You gut health impacts everything so it’s good to put good stuff in there. Having had bad skin for well over a decade and only in the last two years gaining some semblance of control over it I discovered that dairy and sugar are some of the biggest culprits for bad skin. Both things I consume on a regular basis.
My family is prone to being lactose intolerant too, from my grandad to my niece. I haven’t been tested but every time I consume actual milk or cream I get terribly bloated and have a very sad tummy for the rest of the day, some days being so uncomfortable and in pain that it’s hard to concentrate on anything else.
My brother also recently gave up dairy as an experiment to see how it would affect his asthma, which he’s suffered from pretty badly since forever. He gave it up for two weeks and barely had to use his inhaler. Win for him! He has since been seeing how a vegan diet treats him and so far so good.
I believe there are a lot more health related issues that dairy is related to but these are the ones I’ve had personal experience with which is why this week was interesting to me.
Also for overall health in the long term it’s incredibly important to consider the environment. Now I’m really no expert on the business of animal agriculture, just someone who takes an interest in it. But having watched several documentaries on the food industry as a whole - it seems mad to me that the amount of farming that goes into meat production alone is very, very damaging to the environment. To demonstrate, one third of the entire planets arable land is used for ‘livestock feed crop cultivation’ and in the US alone, 47% of the land is dedicated to food production - 70% of that land is used for cattle feed, and only 1% of that land is used for growing crops for humans so by giving up meat or diary you could significantly lower your environmental footprint. One person does make a difference.
HOW DID IT GO - WERE THERE ANY PROBLEMS?
I’m very much learning I have an issue of sucky willpower around food. As again this week was a slight fail, however I do feel it was mostly because I was not prepared. I must say though, that this week was much easier than sugar. Sugar is in everything.
Now there are fantastic dairy alternatives, thanks to the vegan community. I have for the last four years swapped out dairy milk for oat milk or almond milk only to drink cows milk if nothing else is available, even though it leaves me feeling a bit poop. We also found a great cream replacement recently which I’m very happy about. Vegan ice cream is also amazing and there are plenty of treats which are vegan - Oreos for example. The one thing I’ve had trouble finding really good replacements for is cheese, most recommendations have kindly come from people who haven’t eaten cheese in years and it just doesn’t taste quite right. I don’t want to have to consider if it melts or if it doesn’t, I just want it to be good any way you have it and while lots of new products are being made and becoming more available in supermarkets in the UK, dairy free cheese seems to be the toughest nut to crack.
As mentioned I don’t tend to drink milk. I think if I had have been working at home all week I would have been fine to be honest, as I have a lot more control over what I can consume while I’m here. It’s when I go out I have the mishaps but I can’t be a hermit.
I successfully did 5/7 days without dairy, I didn’t even really miss cheese - only when thinking ‘I’d like a pizza’ which happened about twice.The first fail was the second day of the challenge and I was working in an unfamiliar place only to discover all they had to offer for lunch was one soup ‘Cream of vegetable’ and sandwiches which all contained dairy for lunch. There wasn’t much time to pop out and find something different so I went with the soup. I didn’t make that mistake again. The second time was going out for dinner for a friends birthday, I went with ravioli and while there was no cheese on my plate it did come in a butter sauce which I followed with some ice cream as I’d already broken the rules and having worked in the catering industry for a short stint at uni I know it’s almost impossible to eat out on a whim as most dishes contain butter. I even enjoyed some dark chocolate and instead of inhaling the bar like I would milk chocolate, I just ate it slowly across a few days and really appreciated it.
I did notice my skin was a lot happier over the last week. Usually it’s about this time when my skin decides it’s going to erupt with a tonne of spots but none of that happened. I’m not sure if it’s all the water I’ve been drinking or a combination of these habits building up where I’m being a bit kinder to myself.
Overall, it was fairly easy it’s just hard when you’re out of the house and you don’t have much control, and if you really really fancy a pizza, with cheese on it. Going forward, I think much like sugar, unless I decide I want to change my diet to be vegetarian or vegan (which I may well do following next weeks challenge), I'll just be looking at cutting down my intake of dairy as much as possible which I am already well on my way to doing.
Join us this week for Week 11: Try an exercise you've never tried before.