So, as part of an experiment inspired by Maria Emmerich’s book “The 30 day Ketogenic Cleanse,” I cut out dairy for the month of February. She says that as many as 50% of her clients have dairy sensitivities, and many don’t know it because they’ve always eaten dairy. So I wondered – is that me? I’ve eaten dairy basically since birth, so I’ve never known a life without it. Thus, #DairyFreeFebruary: no cheese, no butter, no cream cheese, no cream… none of my beloved Wake Shake protein. No dairy, full stop.
Basically… nothing. I didn’t lose more weight. I didn’t feel better. My acne actually got worse, which was a real kick in the teeth. My waist got slightly slimmer, but not a big enough change to chalk it up to anything but weight lifting, which I do 3x a week. I wasn’t less bloated (I’m never bloated to begin with) or any of the benefits that some people report when they cut out dairy.
So it’s bittersweet – on the plus side, I’m confident now that dairy doesn’t cause me to stall, or negatively affect my body. I’m one of those lucky people who just metabolizes dairy really well! Which is awesome, because cheese is the love of my life (my boyfriend and I joke that our wedding vows are going to be, “I love you and cheese the same amount.”) and creamy coffee is the reason I get out of bed some mornings.
But I can’t pretend like I’m not slightly disappointed. I went *hard* on being strict this month – keto without dairy is a real challenge! – and I lost a pound and a half. Yeah, that’s a bit of a bummer. I also cut out artificial sweeteners and stayed under 30g total carbs a day – aka strict strict keto – and my results weren’t any better than how I was doing it before (crystal light, diet coke, low carb tortillas, etc). It does feel like a lot of effort for not a lot of payoff, and I think anyone would be frustrated by that. I’m human. I’d seen people cut out dairy and lost 7 pounds in a week! There was definitely a part of me that hoped for a big whoosh like that. It didn’t happen.
And – as added proof – I weighed myself this morning after a full day of dairy (literally in every meal I had) yesterday – and I’m down 0.2 lbs. No regain from going hard in the paint on re-introducing dairy right away. Maria Emmerich recommended easing into it, adding in goat cheese first, then butter, etc – nah. I just went for it, and I not only didn’t gain weight, I lost it! That’s firm proof to me that dairy and I are pals, and I can go back to eating cheese and cream and butter with no worries.
Overall, it was an interesting experiment – but it was just that, and experiment. I don’t plan on trying this again. I gave it a full month with NO dairy, and I didn’t see improvement. I’m glad that I learned more about how my body tolerates food, I’m ecstatic that I can go back to eating my beloved cheese on the regular, and I’m proud of myself for making it through a whole month with no dairy!
If you’re interested in trying it, I say go for it! We’re all different, so your body may react differently than mine; you might feels worlds better and lose a bunch of weight, and discover a food sensitivity you didn’t know you had. Or you may be like me, and not see a change. You won’t know until you try it!