I Cut Out Dairy From My Diet & Here's What Happened

Mozzarella, gelato and caramel macchiatos—what do they all have in common? My undying love, for one, but also dairy.

I wasn't always a diehard dairy connoisseur. A childhood of food allergies left me splotchy and closed-throated after any run-in with milk. But as I got older, the pizza parties became harder to avoid. Test runs with a slice of cheese became full-blown gorge sessions on baked goods and chocolate. In the summer of 2014, I enjoyed my first double-scoop of ice cream free of any throat itch. I was overjoyed—I had seemingly conquered my dairy allergy after nineteen years of conditioning.

But coincidentally, my newfound love of ice cream correlated with excess (and practically unstoppable) weight gain. And as my dairy consumption increased, so did a bout of cystic acne on my lower cheeks. The weird part? I'd never had acne there, nor had I ever had cystic acne to begin with. Still, if it hadn't been for my consistently bloated belly (resulting in sharp stomach pains whenever I sat for extended periods of time) I may have never accepted the dreaded possibility that maybe my dairy allergy wasn't gone after all.

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In deep regret, I decided to get to the bottom of my body changes by spending an entire month completely dairy-free. The incentive? If nothing changed, I could go back to my caprese panini obsession free of guilt.


The Results

By the end of week one, I was largely unimpressed. And so, in a lapse of willpower, I splurged on a creamy, chocolate crepe during my girls' night in. A few hours later, I came to a realization—this was the first time I'd felt sharp and gassy (hold in the giggles, girls) pains in days. Coincidence? Unfortunately not.

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Week two brought a pleasant surprise: two less cysts taking residence on my jawline. On week three, my scale read three pounds lighter. And as the final days winded down, my skin was virtually clear.

But what really drove these results home was what happened when my dairy-free days ended. The end of the month correlated with my return to campus following winter recess—a campus full of flavorless food that only cheese could save. Naturally, I embraced my newfound dietary freedom and indulged. And can you guess what happened? The belly bloat returned with a vengeance.

The Takeaway

My takeaway? I likely suffer from dairy sensitivity, and I'm far from alone. USA Today once reported that as many as 60 percent of adults across the world struggle to digest milk. Khloe Kardashian claims to have lost 11 pounds by cutting out diary alone, and countless beauty editors have endorsed the clear-skin effects of ending their milky love affairs.  

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Does this deem milk as an evil substance? I doubt it, and I will absolutely be comforted by a pint of Ben & Jerry's in the near future. But if you've been struggling with unexplainable weight gain, acne or digestive distress, it might not hurt to reduce your dairy intake. I'll definitely be cutting back.