Monday, April 8, 2013

Making Some Changes- The Musings of a Cheese Lovin' Mama Going Dairy Free!

I am 25 years old and haven't ever had any big deal health issues. I think I am pretty healthy and in pretty good shape. I work out  at least 3 times a week, and I drink lots of water. But I've started to have some health issues that aren't life threatening or anything, but are forcing me to make some changes in my lifestyle. 

About a month ago I thought I had a stomach bug. I wasn't throwing up but kept having to go, if you know what I mean. I felt fine other than that. This kept up for over a week, and then went on for two weeks! I finally decided to see a doctor about it. I felt completely fine, but every time I ate anything or just at random times of the day I would get some stomach cramps and have to go to the bathroom. The doctor told me I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome and gave me two types of medicine, one to stop the diarrhea and one to control the cramping and other symptoms of IBS. 

I wasn't exactly convinced it was IBS, but I figured I'd give the meds a try to see if they helped. I was desperate for some relief. The meds did help some. The diarrhea medicine stopped my symptoms almost immediately. I also started taking some probiotics to help my stomach heal and they helped a lot. My symptoms went away for about two weeks but then returned all of the sudden! 

I tried the meds again but I noticed that they started to make it so I couldn't go at all and would give me awful cramps from not being able to go! So I took matters into my own hands. I noticed my symptoms were worse when I ate dairy and greasy foods. For about a week I tried to just cut back on the greasy foods but was still having symptoms. So after much contemplation and a little sadness, I've decided to go dairy free to see if that is what is causing the symptoms. 

 I LOVE cheese, and I love a bowl of cereal with milk. I love dairy! So this is quite tough for me. But I've been using Pinterest and some other good resources online and finding some good replacements for dairy! I found some delicious meals that are dairy free too! I've been dairy free for about a week now and guess what, no symptoms! This makes me a little sad, because it could in fact mean I have a dairy intolerance, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. The good thing is, going dairy free has caused me to eat a lot healthier! I have to think about what I'm eating! I've been eating a lot more vegetables and fruit which is always a good thing! I'm sure I'll get used to being dairy free, but I miss cheese the most! Oh how I love cheese! 

I'll update again on how being dairy free is going in the next few weeks. I'm curious to see if my symptoms return at all as I continue to be dairy free! 

Have you ever given up a major food item for health reasons or for a family member? How did it go? Was it hard? If you are dairy-free I'd love to hear any tips you have! 


  1. I had to go dairy free when breastfeeding b/c my daughter had a dairy intolerance. It's hard but can be so good for you!

  2. I could never go completely dairy free. However, we have started drinking much less cow's milk, instead drinking soy, almond, hemp, coconut, and oat milk. I just could never ever ever give up cheese.

  3. I can SO relate to this. I suffered from IBS throughout my teens and early 20s. It's weird, but having babies really helped. I also found that mine was heavily stress related - I feel all my emotions in my stomach. I struggle with foods that are high in fat, greasy, or heavy on the cheese still. I highly recommend Eating for IBS by Heather Van Vorous and visiting her website. She really helps you understand about soluble and non-soluble fibers, the effects of carbonation, coffee, milk, etc. SHe also has great recipes. I also found that yogurt was fine for lactose intolerance and I definitely prefer soy milk to other alternatives.

  4. I have partially given up dairy. Sad day.

  5. This is right up my alley! I had (have) IBS, but it's mostly stress related. However, my little girl Lily is dairy and soy sensitive, so I gave up dairy in November. I gave up soy around Christmas. :) It's a lot easier when you realize that dairy means you will hurt. I've had a disdain for ice cream for many years because of my own dairy intolerance.

    My favorite replacements for dairy are all coconut milk products and by-products. Olive oil or coconut oil are some great replacements for baking with butter, too, though Earth's Balance is also an awesome replacement. I've found that the key is to replace, replace, replace. When you have a new favorite (no-bake cookies, anyone?) it's a lot easier to let go of the old ones. And thankfully the dairy-free, soy-loaded cheeses taste pretty good as an imitation. (Daiya is dairy and soy-free, but the taste is definitely acquired!)

    I tend to post some of my favorite recipes on Instagram (@sistersncloth_j), so I'll tag you in a few. :)

  6. I have tried giving it up so many times. I do think it helps, but it is so hard to stick to. I fell off the wagon last week and need to do better again. Ugh.

  7. I gave up milk because it bothered my stomach and like you I love eating cereal with milk. I than tried Lactaid Milk its lactose free and fat free which really helps with my IBS but when eatin on cereal still tastes alot like regular milk. Also if you have IBS I have found the best way for me to control it is making sure I get plenty of fiber and more soluble than insoluble really helps.

  8. My son's food allergies for me me go milk & nut free for more than a year. It was torture. As a New Yorker, I grew up on whole milk and pizza!

  9. We're having to make some adjustments, as my daughter has a milk intolerance. However, my son loves milk and cheese so much that we should have our own cow. This means that we're starting to keep goat's milk products around for our daughter's benefit. I haven't tried cooking with goat's milk cheese yet, but that time will probably come.

  10. You could try goat. Many people who are intolerant to cow dairy are able to tolerate goat dairy. We do goat milk and goat cheese with no problems.

  11. I have celiac disease. My early symptoms were quite similar to this actually. I had to cut out dairy. As it sounds I can only tolerant lactose free milk. I am okay with cheese and yogurt. My son is fine and was ebf.

    On the other hand, my mom is lactose intolerant. She can only drink lactose free milk. She is allergic to soy and almond so no soy and almond milk for her. My little brother is also lactose and soy intolerant.

    I think the best thing to do is a) find substitutes for what you love and b) try new things and recipes. There is so much good food out there!

  12. The website really helped me when I was DF while nursing. There is a list of all the dairy ingredients that can be in different foods. I took it with me when I went shopping the first few times until I was more familiar with the ingredients.

    Almond milk is AWESOME. Don't even bother with dairy-free cheese, it was much better for me just to give it up since it wasn't even close to satisfying.

    Ask about dairy free products when you go out to eat--everyone was very understanding when I told them I couldn't have dairy. I either did research online for different restaurants, or they were able to provide me with an ingredient list once I was there. One time, at Panera, they even cleaned down their machines when I wanted a soy latte!

    Good luck! It's tough at first, but easy once you are used to it.


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