Becoming Dairy Free.

*Note: I drafted this post over a month ago but never hit the publish button. This is my most recent health development.

I gained almost 20 pounds in two months without explanation. I could tell my clothes weren’t fitting correctly but more so I could look at myself in the mirror and see the changes. At first I assumed I went overboard eating and drinking in my new city, but when I looked at my plate (or salad bowl for that matter) I saw the same healthy food I had been eating for the past few years. Then I saw the three digit number on that unnamed-thing many women fear, which often stands proudly on the locker room floor of gyms across America. I was repulsed.

Most of my weight seemed to accumulate in my midsection – much like a pregnant woman. A friend from home can attest to this next instance – a woman even tried to give her seat up on the subway for me one day. Yes, that is correct and it was one of the most humiliating and devastating experiences of my life. Granted, she was being very nice to offer her seat to a “pregnant” woman, but I was NOT preggers. After visiting many, many doctor’s offices and getting no answers (Well, one doctor, who is also a professor at a very well know medical school in New York, told me to eat 800 calories a day while continuing to work out like a crazy person – yep, great medical advice I know. Mind you, I was only eating maximum 1200 calories a day AND working out so I was netting much less than 1200 cals.), I started experimenting on my own with any potential food allergies.

I switched off, and am still off, of processed foods, for the most part. Still no weight loss but at least I was feeling better. I tried going gluten free. Nope, that wasn’t it. I stopped drinking my beloved coffee. Still nothing. I drank lots of green tea. Did yoga every other day. While I love yoga and it makes me a better person all around, my answer did not lie in Savasana. My answer was hidden deep in my love of cheese, my daily yogurt, my cup of milk with peanut butter toast, those oh-so-delicious creamy mashed potatoes, ice cream, the thing that makes a pizza a pizza, the great comfort food that is mac-n-cheese, those warming winter cream-based soups and more CHEESE! Yep, you guessed it – I developed a lactose intolerance. And when I eat these foods my stomach turns into an unknown abyss in which a gremlin-like creature takes up residence and screams at me (literally, I could hear it moving and sloshing around roaring at me). Not to mention my belly puffs up as if I have a baby bump – definitely not an attractive sight for someone who is indeed NOT pregnant.

I could not remember what a happy stomach felt like. Now that I have been off of dairy for a few months I feel one thousand times better – with a much flatter stomach. So for now on, it’s no dairy for me. As sad and upset as I was, it truly is for the best to squash that little monster living inside me. I am a happy, dairy-free, woman these days!

You would be surprised at all the little places dairy sneaks into, but my stomach will let me know. All those salads I was eating with low-fat Caesar dressing were really just adding to the problem and the yogurt with fruit for breakfast didn’t help much either. Oh and the milk I put in my daily cup of coffee definitely wasn’t helping. It’s things like soup, salad dressings and restaurant prepared meals you really have to watch out for. What I really miss is gooey pizza (hot or cold I love[d] it just the same).

I’d love any information, tips, et cetera that any of you fellow dairy free/vegan souls could provide. I can’t eat a ton of soy-based products (never could) but would still love any insight. 🙂

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~ by Hilary Walsh on April 20, 2012.

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