My mother has always forced me to have milk. If I didn’t budge into her various ideas of feeding milk to me, she would tell me that Barbie, my favorite toy then, had milk and that is why she was so beautiful and tall. Obviously, when it came to Barbie, I had to listen to her. But then I grew up, and my Barbie didn’t, making me realize that maybe the milk was not for me. In a country which treats milk as the holy drink and a complete meal, going dairy-free is almost a taboo. Your grandparents will disown you and your parents may consider your thoughts as ‘too liberal.’
Whenever I had milk, I felt bloated for at least one and a half hour and my ‘wheatish’ skin tone never changed to white, not that I wanted it to. Instead, I somewhere blamed milk for my pimples. Whenever I told this to my mother, I was told that it was an acne issue and nothing to do with milk. So, I decided to go off dairy for 21 days. I chose 21 days because that’s the amount of time our body requires to form a habit. Even though we have been made to believe that there is no replacement for milk, yogurt or paneer, there are plenty of healthy options available out there that we can try out if we think that milk or any dairy product does not suit our body. In my routine, I replaced my regular dairy milk with soy, almond milk, and coconut milk. For yogurt, I tried to make soy milk yogurt and for paneer, I replaced it with tofu. I also included a variety of beans, legumes, vegetables, fruits to make for the loss of nutrition I would otherwise get from milk.
Here are the five things that happened to my body:
Since I had a persistent problem of feeling bloated, this feeling of heaviness completely went away by the second week of going dairy-free.
My acne prone skin started to show diminished signs of pimples, and I felt that my skin glowed and felt smoother.
Prior to going dairy-free, my energy levels used to dip drastically by mid-afternoon. But to make up for the nutrition I was getting from dairy products, I included plenty of vegetables and different types of protein sources. In the first seven days, I realized a difference in my energy.
I lost 2.5 kgs: I have been an athlete for the most part of my life. Due to this, I was constantly told to consume milk to develop better muscle strength. My weight which was stuck on 58 for the past year dropped down to 56.5 kgs during my 21 days dairy-free stunt.
Even though we have always been told that milk before bedtime is a good option for deep sleep, it somehow never applied to me. When I went dairy-free, my sleep quality was better and I woke up fresher with no bowel issues in the morning.
Sometimes we tend to stick to our primeval practices because we are given the ‘everyone does it, so should you’ scare, most often by the grown ups in our house. But the foremost thing that I learnt from this experience was that going dairy-free made me realise the root cause of a lot of my body problems and also made me consume a lot of vegetables and fruits I wouldn’t earlier!