My Experience Living Dairy Free

Deciding to incorporate a dairy-free diet into my daily life was never with the intent to lose weight, get clear skin, or to feel like I was a part of something bigger than myself. Simply put, my goal of going dairy free was never a goal but rather a spur-of-the-moment decision I made one morning last summer after watching a "Why You Shouldn't Drink Dairy" video.

 

At first, I didn't really do anything intense, but I cut out drinking milk and opted for rice milk whenever I could. It wasn't until I started my freshmen year and had a friend who was lactose intolerant persuade me to try drinking skim milk, and then later soy milk. These changes, while subtle, were noticeable to me. I didn’t realize how much dairy, and at the same time, how little, I was consuming on a daily basis. But what I did notice was the difference in energy, mood, and overall day when I opted for soy-based products rather than dairy based.

I won’t bore you with the gritty facts, but just like with any diet change, there are many variables to consider. In my case, I didn’t consider many of them and just went for it, because I knew that anything “positive” that came out of dairy could easily be substituted in another product.  

 

With so many new diets and trends these days, going dairy free might not seem like a big deal. But, to me, these statistics were the very facts that led to me stop consuming dairy cold turkey:

 

 

Honestly, if that wasn’t enough to make me put the glass down, what really got me is the simple fact that cow milk is created for the development of baby calves; not for me!

Now at this point, you would think that I would have had some life-altering physical change occur or some outrageous miracle happens to me that would lead me to promote this kind of diet. But that’s just not the case.  As luck would have it, going dairy free didn't do anything miraculous to my body. Unlike going vegan, trying keto, or even being paleo, my lifestyle and my body did not change drastically. In fact, going dairy didn’t really change anything about me. In all honesty, there was no real "drive" for me to go dairy free, either. I just did it.

 

The biggest concern, rightfully so, is that so many people are worried about the difficulties of going dairy free. To be frank, going dairy free is not hard at all. This day and age there are dozens of dairy-free substitutes that taste just as good, if not better, than the usual dairy containing foods you will be used to. (Um hello, an iced chai is amazing without dairy). But the bottom line, collegiates, is this: Like with anything else, you shouldn’t decide to change your habits under the premise that your life will make some drastic change. You should make the change based on how you want to live. I guarantee you that going dairy free for even a week will make you feel so much better, but it will feel ten times that if you go into it with the expectation that anything can happen.