Growing up, I drank more milk than water.
I didn't just love milk, I craved it. I drank it with every meal, snacks, and most nights, right before bedtime.
I loved it so much, I could've modeled for the "got milk?" posters-- I was the literal poster child for milk.
With that said, you can imagine my distraught one year ago when my gastroenterologist urged me to cut milk and yogurt from my diet.
I turned to him a year ago in a state of desperation after some bad Mexican food gave me food poisoning for two weeks. I begged him to cure my overly-sensitive stomach.
Sadly, there is no one magic pill, but he was curious if "cutting dairy out" of my diet would alleviate some of my symptoms.
At this time I'd like to disclaim that I do not have a milk allergy, and I use the words "cutting out" loosely. Thus, consuming milk is not life threatening, it's just that the more I eat it, the worse I feel.
But for a whole year I have not drank cow's milk or eaten any ice cream, custard, or yogurt.
I do, however, occasionally still eat cheese though, because 1) I live in Wisconsin, 2) Pizza is yummy and 3) The doctor told me that I could.
Here are things that I have learned over the past year:
1) Milk was actually the easiest thing to cut out.
Even though I've always found it weird how humans drink another mammal's milk, I used to drink several glasses a day. For the past year I've replaced cow's milk with Almond Milk and Coconut Milk. Almond Milk has good calcium and protein (like milk) and coconut milk has healthy fats (like milk).
2) The best brand of non-dairy yogurt is Daiya.
Daiya is a Canadian food company that believes in plant-based diet. Their food is made without dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, peanuts, fish, and shellfish. Although the yogurt selection is limited at only 4 flavors, it is by far the best texture and taste I've had when it comes to "non-dairy" food. I would love to see them come out with a "vanilla" or "plain" flavor.
3) I feel better.
Having an upset stomach and being bloated isn't just embarrassing it...HURTS. A LOT. The last time I ate custard, it was so excruciating that my mom found me crying on the bathroom floor at 3 a.m. A fun night at Culver's for 1 hour had painful consequences for me for the the next 18. I also feel healthier, and have more energy.
4) I drink more water.
Without milk to drink, I drink more water at meals and throughout the day. I'm sure the benefits for this are limitless.
There are many reasons to be pro-dairy and anti-dairy. I'm not a dietician and one diet is not right for everyone, but not drinking milk has helped my health a considerable amount over the past year. If you're curious about what it could do for your health, it may be worth a shot. (Ask your doctor of course, first).