Dairy free. And I don’t miss it.

on March 11, 2013 in PCOS with 18 comments by

Seriously.

If you’ll recall, about a month ago I decided to quit dairy, at my doctor’s recommendation, to help try to deal with some of the symptoms of PCOS. Here’s the start of that conversation.

So here we are one month later-ish, actually more like five weeks but who is counting, and my life is pretty different. Mostly it is sooooooo much better.

For starters, I feel AMAZING. I can’t even tell y’all. My biggest worry in late 2012 and early 2013 was the severity of my fatigue in the afternoons. Had I cared a lick about PCOS, I would have read all the research that shows fatigue is a major symptom of progressing PCOS. But I didn’t care then, I care now. And since I have quit dairy, I don’t even want to nap in the afternoons. Not to be dramatic [yeah right], but there are times when it gets to be around 4pm and I will stop and think, “this is a miracle. I feel like it is 10am.”

In particular, I was driving home one day from the grocery store- after having met with one of my small group members then shopped for dinner then was prepping to lead small group that night. On a normal Tuesday like that, I would have been almost in tears over how tired I felt. But as I drove home, around 5pm, I just couldn’t quit telling the Lord how amazing this is and how grateful I am that He opened my eyes and healed my body of the afternoon slumps.

Do I miss cheese? Barely. I have had it once- the day I turned in my new book Speak Love I ate pizza with friends.

Because here’s the thing, y’all. I can eat cheese all I want. And ice cream. And sour cream. And milk. I could keep having dairy three meals a day and for snacks.

BUT I DON’T WANT TO.

This isn’t a diet where there are all these things I want that I can’t have.

Instead, I know all the things I can have, I just don’t want to feel the way they make me feel, so I’m not going to eat them.

The same is true for my migraine triggers- dark chocolate, pork, red wine. I could have those anytime I want, but they give me a migraine, so if I choose to partake, I know what I’m signing up for.

I don’t think everyone else should quit dairy. I have just learned, in the last month, that dairy and I have never gotten along as well as I thought we did, so the relationship, for the most part, is finished. I thought I was quitting dairy for February, but if I am going to feel THIS good living without it, I don’t want it back!

My skin is brighter and has more color. My afternoons are productive. My clothes fit better. My body is happier.

I don’t know what God has done, but my heart is different, my mind is different. I’ve come alive to the truth that our bodies can heal themselves of a lot of things [like when you get a cut or a bruise], if we will give them the nutrients they need. And my body has a lot of healing to do. About three weeks ago, when I first felt so significantly better, I called my OBGYN and said, “you know all those things you’ve been telling me for years about PCOS? Tell me again. I’m listening.” And she did. So I’m making lots of new choices that I don’t particularly love, but I am going to learn to love- like upping my veggie intake and staying away from sugars as best I can. I’ve watched a few documentaries, namely Hungry For A Change, that have me thinking a lot about what I put into my body.

So.

That’s the update. I’ve added some more info/recipes to my PCOS Pin Board and also a That’s Delish Pin Board. I’m gonna show you my favorite recipe later this week.

. . . . .

Have any good links to healthy food blogs? I’d like more dairy-free recipes if you know where to find them.

Do you have PCOS? Any tricks of the trade to share?

. . . . .

[By the way, tomorrow we’ll discuss the final rose ceremony for our boy Sean. So prepare your hearts for that. We’ll also discuss Women Tell All a bit because AshLee? Tierra? These are things we need to talk about.]

18 comments

  1. posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 9:57 AM  |  reply

    Annie, this is amazing!! I’m so thrilled that you feel great. I also have PCOS and the main thing that has helped me is to eat low carb. Haven’t cut out dairy but I should give that a try. I feel very different when I eat low carb and I lose weight much faster. I don’t always follow this (hello, I love a bagel) but when I do, it makes such a difference. PCOS is so hard to manage because the measures it takes to deal with it often go against every craving and tendency we have because of it. Really happy you have found a helpful lifestyle change and have overcome your affinity to it!! Thanks for sharing this encouragement. It’s good to be reminded that we can overcome our cravings with a little diligence!!

    • posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:21 AM  |  reply

      Yeah- my body hates losing weight no matter how I eat :), but my carb intake has gone down significantly because of how often I partner carbs with dairy! Pizza is the perfect example. So I’m continuing to try to lower carb intake while not “dieting.”

      I wish I could take credit for having a lot of diligence, but the truth is, once God opens your eyes to how He wants to heal you, you don’t want to choose anything else! This is all thanks to Him, not me.

  2. Angie
    posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:02 AM  |  reply

    I was just recently diagnosed by my OB-Gyn. He had mentioned that PCOS usually responds well to a low carb diet, but beyond that, not much more about dietary changes were mentioned. So this no dairy thing intrigues me! I start seeing a general practice doctor who also has a degree in holistic medicine, so I’m hoping to get some more solutions then! I know those feelings of exhaustion so I’m truly excited that you’ve found something that works for you!

    • posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:20 AM  |  reply

      I am also do less carbs, but honestly it is because so many carbs are connected to dairy for me.

      So sorry you’ve been recently diagnosed, but thankfully we have a disease that can be managed! Praying for you on this new journey.

      • Angie
        posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:39 AM  |  reply

        Thanks so much. 🙂

  3. posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:11 AM  |  reply

    I’m so glad to hear it, Annie. I’ve been doing without sugar lately and it makes a huge difference in my cravings and the way I feel. Our bodies are smart if we just give them the fuel they need and not the fuel we want them to have.

    • posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:19 AM  |  reply

      That’s right! I’m trying to learn to give my body what it wants so that it can heal. Going okay so far!

  4. Face
    posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:13 AM  |  reply

    How no-dairy are you? Just ‘obvious’ dairy (cheese, creams, yoguts, milk, etc) or invisible dairy, too (tortilla chips, cookies, random stuff with milk in the ingredient list)? Just curious.

    • posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:18 AM  |  reply

      Hiiii!! I’m pretty rigid about no dairy- I read all the labels at the grocery store. Most of them will list “Contains: MILK” since it is an allergy. So I just don’t purchase anything that says that. But I’m not militant- I’ve had a bagel, some bread for sandwiches, etc. It’s easier at the grocery than out to eat because I can read the ingredients. So there are times, I’m sure, when I’ve eaten something at a restaurant with milk somewhere in it, but I’m doing my best to avoid it in every product.

      But absolutely NO pure cow dairy products. My OBGYN said I can have sheep or goat cheese 4x a week or less, so I’ve done that.

  5. posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM  |  reply

    Congrats! I feel the same about gluten. I didn’t think I had a sensitivity to it, but after some research I quit it cold turkey and whoa. It was crazy how my body felt during the withdrawal phase. Major headaches. I’ve been pretty much g-free for almost 6 months and I don’t crave it.
    I’ll still partake sometimes, and the next day it’s like I’m in a fog. No bueno. I’ve been toying with the idea of dairy free as well, so thanks for this post!

    • posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM  |  reply

      Lots of people have asked if I’m going gluten free next. I don’t *think* I will, but you never know! It seems hard, but gracious- so did dairy-free.

      Thanks for your comment! Let me know if you decide to try dairy-free!

  6. posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 12:11 PM  |  reply

    I was diagnosed with PCOS about 8 years ago, but it wasn’t until this last November that I met with a specialist who really broke everything down for me. He swears by a clean eating diet…so nothing processed. I too am just getting on board with actually doing something about it, but I can tell you that the clean eating has made a WORLD of difference!
    Also, have you watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dying? OMG it’s so amazing and really helped to change my outlook!

  7. posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 1:18 PM  |  reply

    “Instead, I know all the things I can have, I just don’t want to feel the way they make me feel, so I’m not going to eat them.” –Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial? 🙂
    My husband has been exploring paleolithic eating. Don’t know if you’ve heard of that: no dairy, no carbs, no sugar. He’s not being ridiculously rigid about it, but I think it’s helped. And cooking it for him has probably been good for the rest of it too. I keep trying recipes from everdaypaleo.com. Keep up the good work!

  8. posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 8:24 PM  |  reply

    I have done a Gluten/Dairy Free diet before and feel amazing. As a runner it is hard to do without gluten because I need some of the carbs, but diary seriously messes me up. I am still figuring out what it looks like to do without diary. I love love Almond milk and can do without yogurt and cheese most of the time. However, froyo is a really hard thing to give up!

    But I did need to hear some of your wisdom, because food is a big issue with my soul right now. I like “Instead, I know all the things I can have, I just don’t want to feel the way they make me feel, so I’m not going to eat them.” I need to remember that as I am thinking about my eating.
    🙂

  9. posted on Mar 11, 2013 at 9:39 PM  |  reply

    This is awesome, Annie! I am so happy for you. I have been struggling with feeling as though I need to give up some foods for the disease I am fighting but have been downright rebellious about it. The thing is, my doctor told me changing my diet won’t help, so I’ve used that as my get out of jail free card, but I’ve read SO much stuff online that leads me to think otherwise. But like you said, it is stupid that I would want to hang onto something that isn’t good for my body and doesn’t make me feel good (because ultimately, any time I eat a lot of junk, I wish I hadn’t). You’ve given me a lot to think about.

  10. posted on Mar 12, 2013 at 12:30 PM  |  reply

    Annie – I flipped when I read this. I know we have talked about dairy free, but I never knew you had PCOS and that going dairy free was inspired by paying attention to what will help your body.

    I have PCOS as well. Shocker.

    My GYNO told me to read South Beach and be better about my health and nutrition – he said if I gained 30 lbs I would kick myself right into Diabetes. Of course, I didn’t read the book and I haven’t taken care of myself. The only thing I have done to help PCOS is take the pill. That was a train wreck because I always forgot to take it, or I took it at different times, etc – so my body and hormones were CRAZY! In December I switched to Nuva Ring and I like that a lot.

    I have been on Whole30 for 14 days and feel GREAT. I DO miss dairy, gluten, and sweets – but I LOVE not having my afternoon slumps or a cloudy head in the morning. I also have ADHD and struggle with anxiety and I think my clean eating has (obviously) helped with all my symptoms.

    I have been thinking about how I cannot wait to eat dairy again, but since I’ve come so far without it, and have now learned that it effects PCOS, I may just ask the Lord to help me learn to live without it. I would rather be functioning at a greater percentage than eat dairy. I think? Eek.

    Thanks for sharing all of this. It’s so encouraging to know other people who have this same issue/diagnosis and I am inspired by everyone’s posts, ideas, and feedback.

    Will you just start a PCOS walking club now? I gotta get my butt on the move. That’s next on the list.

    One. At. A. Time. sigh.

    you’re a soldier, Annie!

    -etf

  11. posted on Mar 12, 2013 at 7:21 PM  |  reply

    I don’t have PCOS, but I’ve been dairy free for about 5 months because I’m nursing a baby girl who has a milk protein allergy. It ended up not being nearly as hard as I thought! I even found a good Starbucks substitute — my fav used to be an Iced Mocha, now I get and Iced Americano with Mocha in it… and even if my daughter outgrows the milk protein allergy I think I’m going to keep it!

    Also, dairyfree.org is an EXCELLENT place for recipes and restaurant recs, in case no one has mentioned it yet.

  12. posted on Mar 12, 2013 at 7:21 PM  |  reply

    I don’t have PCOS, but I’ve been dairy free for about 5 months because I’m nursing a baby girl who has a milk protein allergy. It ended up not being nearly as hard as I thought! I even found a good Starbucks substitute — my fav used to be an Iced Mocha, now I get and Iced Americano (espresso with water, not milk) with Mocha in it… and even if my daughter outgrows the milk protein allergy I think I’m going to keep it!

    Also, dairyfree.org is an EXCELLENT place for recipes and restaurant recs, in case no one has mentioned it yet.

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