Try It Tuesday: Ditching Dairy

My take on Try It Tuesday involved cutting all dairy from my diet for the week. Initially, I thought this diet would be a piece of (dairy-free) cake, especially compared to what some of my fellow Food Insighters tried out (ugh, hi, juice cleanse). Turned out that this dairy-free week just wasn’t for me. Before I give too much away, let’s see how each day played out during this dairy-free week.

Day 1: Monday, 8:42 a.m.

Data Points:

  • Baseline measurements
    • pH: 5.75
    • Pulse: 66
    • Mood ring color: blue. Acording to a highly scientific method—cough, cough, a mood ring—this means that I am in a good place with my emotions and am feeling happy and social. Interpret this as you best see fit.
    • Perceived mental acuity (on a scale of 1-5; 1 being dense as fog and 5 being sharp as a nail): 1 … it was a Monday!

Foods:

  • Breakfast: I modified my go-to, packable breakfast: waffles with Greek yogurt and fruit. I like this breakfast since it’s portable, hits carbs (waffles and fruit), fats (waffles and yogurt), and protein (yogurt), and keeps me full until my mid-morning snack. Unfortunately, yogurt didn’t fit into dairy-free living, so I had to find an alternative: Enter soy yogurt!
  • Lunch: Office lunch out at a local burger and shake joint. I love me a cheeseburger and shake. But again, that wasn’t in the cards for me, so I got a regular burger, fries, and diet soda. Side bar: I’ll be back soon for a shake, though!
  • Dinner: Another meal out with a good friend. Since we were trying out a new restaurant, we decided to split everything so that we could try more food. Then next thing you know, I ate mussles in a wine and butter sauce (oops) and bread pudding with gelato (double oops).

General thoughts from the day: While it was easy for me to plan going dairy-free, spontaneous food outings were much more difficult to navigate. I am a big foodie and found difficulty in turning down food that sounds good just because I am on a set diet. Day 1, I am beginning to realize why restrictive diets don’t work for someone like me.

Day 3: Wednesday, 9:15 a.m.

Data Points:

  • Baseline measurements
    • pH: 5.75
    • Pulse: 56
    • Mood ring color: blue
    • Perceived mental acuity (on a scale of 1-5; 1 being dense as fog and 5 being sharp as a nail): 3 … getting into the week’s groove
    • Weight change: -0.14%

Foods:

  • Breakfast: Had a little more time in the morning, so I made a fave of mine: dippy eggs. Put the eggs on some whole wheat bread. Normally, I put a slice or two of cheese in the mix, but since this was dairy free-week, I slathered hummus onto the pieces of toast.
  • Lunch: Sad leftovers. We ate all the shrimp the night before, so while my lunch was supposed to be blackened shrimp and Caesar salad, my lunch was plain ol’ Caesar salad. Now before you ask “I thought Caesar had dairy,” the dressing was dairy-free.
  • Snack: I was sooooo hungry from my measly lunch and found myself extremely hangry/ravenous around 3 p.m. Going through my snack supply, as well as some of the snacks around the office, I ended up eating a pack of cheesy crackers and chocolate peanut candies without realizing both had dairy. Womp womp womp.
  • Dinner: Baingan bharta + brown rice + naan. Since this dish is pretty spicy, I like to top it with yogurt—but again, it just wasn’t in the cards.

General thoughts from the day: Today was another hard day in terms of the dairy-free diet. While I made it dairy-free on Tuesday, sticking to a dairy-free diet meant that certain meals got smaller or altered (usually for the worse), and then I was extremely hungry and needed food—stat!

Day 5: Friday, 8:37 a.m.

Data Points:

  • Baseline measurements:
    • pH: 5.75
    • Pulse: 56
    • Mood ring color: blue
    • Perceived mental acuity (on a scale of 1-5; 1 being dense as fog and 5 being sharp as a nail): 4 … things always seem better on a Friday!
    • Weight change: -3.18%

Foods:

  • Breakfast: Went a little lighter for breakfast since I wasn’t hungry—cereal + shredded coconut + blueberries + soy milk. While I often don’t have cereal and milk for breakfast, on Friday, it was calling my name. Good thing I had soy milk as a dairy-free option!
  • Lunch: Office lunch takeout from a sandwich shop. Went for their vegan option to play it safe, which is fine by me, since it is one of my faves.
  • Dinner: Work week is over. Enter all the dairy!

General thoughts from the day: Having the home stretch made it much easier for me to make sure I stuck to being dairy-free, but by the end of the week, I really missed all my dairy faves and was looking forward to alllllll of the cheese, yogurt, milk, and ice cream.

General thoughts and outcomes from the week

Let’s first talk about the “data.” The pH of my mouth did not change nor did my mood (based on the extremely scientific mood ring). However, my pulse, weight, and mental acuity fluctuated during the week, depending on the day.

Most interesting was my weight fluctuation. By Friday I had lost more than 3 percent of my total weight. Although weight fluctuation in this range is completely normal, since I rarely check my weight, I thought this was pretty interesting to track.

Moving on to the actual diet, I am so glad to be back on my usual habits. I think it was pretty evident that I am not really able to stick to such a restrictive diet. I find limiting foods that I can and cannot eat takes the fun out of eating. Instead of looking forward to each meal, I focused on what parts I couldn’t eat. So because of this (and since I didn’t experience any crazy health benefits—shocker, I know!), I’ll stick to enjoying dairy as part of my daily routine. 

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