That’s right…no more ice cream, milk, and yes, even cheese. Sounds like torture right. Well, oddly, it’s been a great step towards adding to my goal of being happy this year. But, it wasn’t a smooth road. After a meeting with my doc and going over some tummy troubles, she suggested trying 2 weeks with no dairy. At that moment, I felt like it was a blow to my psyche…I am a foodie, how would that be possible? After a super gluttonous trip to Chicago, I finished off my last known piece of milk-laden tres leeches cake (which literally means 3 milks). The next day, thanks to some almond milk in my coffee and asian food, I made it through the morning and afternoon. That is, until I ended up driving 6 hours from Chicago in the middle of the midwest. A stop at a service area was shocking, and I only came out with peanuts and Pringles (original) for dinner. Day 2 was less intense, being that I was home, I just omitted cheese and butter from my normal food, and even found a great dark chocolate which is dairy free (Endangered Species Dark Chocolate) to curb any of my sweets cravings. To be honest, up till this point, I felt great. Super light, like I was barely eating even when I was, though I generally was less hungry in general. It was awesome. Until day 3. Day 3 I felt like crap…like I was doing a no carb diet, with headaches and general lethargy. I thought it was because I had not slept enough, but as I kept my body steady by munching on almonds and raisins, and some of my dark chocolate, I knew it was not. Nothing was curbing the awful feeling. Not even a nap. I perused the internet to figure out why, and I learned about casein, which is a milk protein that has properties similar to opiates, which basically means it sends happy signals to your brain like morphine. When you don’t have it, your body wants it back, and struggles to let it go. Now I am not a scientist, but I know the way I felt was really bad, and it made me think of how good detoxing from this would be for me. (sorry for the very primitive info here, if you want to learn more check out this post by the Nutritional Therapy Association). After that, the two weeks were much smoother (thanks to a trip to Miami Beach), and I honestly remember thinking I would not be able to avoid my favorite sweet, ice cream, but somehow my cravings for a lot of these things has gone away. I don’t have that amazing super light feeling I had before, but I do feel lighter and I am consuming less calories, which I would never have noticed before. I think I used to make excuses to eat more dairy for protein, or calcium, probably exceeding my daily limit for some awesome Manchego, but now I know I have to find other ways. I am not a vegan, or a vegetarian, but I have found leaning on some vegetarian recipes and forums has been great, as well as embracing things like coconut oil for cooking, and notifying restaurants when I go out (and I do go out). It’s amazing how awesome and accommodating some places are, and how others sneak butter and cheese into everything, even italian dressing which I mistakenly ate yesterday with a salad. Oh and I can’t forget those salt and vinegar chips which had lactose in them! Why?! Seriously though, it’s not bad, and is actually a good discovery in what goes into our food to actually read the ingredients label in detail. I don’t expect other people to follow me in this journey, but it is one I am taking on for the time being. And while ice cream may not be in my near future, I won’t say we will never meet again. I just know that I am going to try to live a dairy-free lifestyle in the best way I can. Would love to hear about other experiences as well, feel free to share your comments! Wishing you happy and haute eats, and an awesome weekend ahead!