About two months ago, there were very few things more comforting to me than nachos. If I could blanket myself in the melted cheese and sour cream and live my life in a dairy cocoon, I 100% would. I would be happy. I would be safe. I would be comforted.
As it turns out, though, dairy cocoons are not a real thing, but the exact opposite of my dream reality, lactose intolerance, is a very real thing.
I went to the doctor with some intense stomach pains and told her I thought I may have either a dairy allergy or an ulcer. She agreed that those are both very logical conclusions, which obviously validated every hypochondriac spiral I’ve ever been on, and now I think I’m a legit doctor. Mom’s gonna be so proud! But that’s neither here or there. My mom became lactose intolerant around the same age I am now, and since there was no blood in my stool—huzzah!—my doctor and I decided to eliminate dairy from my diet. She advised that I can reintroduce goat cheeses or yogurts in small portions to see what was tolerable with my digestive system, but only when I was ready.
And just like that, my dairy cocoon melted away and I was no longer safe, or comforted, or happy.
JK, I actually feel better than ever. But eliminating dairy wasn’t easy. There was a grieving process to cutting off my top food friend, but there have been some great benefits as well, and here are the top five.
Benefit #1: No More Bloat
I'm no longer in a state of constant inflammation. It’s super-hard for my body to digest proteins that it doesn’t have the enzymes to digest anymore, so it felt consistently ballooned. I was uncomfortable, which was ironic seeing as though cheese was my go-to comfort food. The exact thing I wanted to find relief in was causing my body distress. Since eliminating dairy, I feel more streamlined, more at ease with myself and my being.
Benefit #2: Fresh Face
My skin has never looked so even-toned, clear, and fresh. There have been countless studies on diet and acne, some discounting, some showing evidence for the correlation. Studies and data aside, I have found through my personal experience that my skin looks noticeably improved.
Benefit #3: Eating Awareness
I now pay attention to what I’m putting in my body. I was never one to mull over ingredient lists or even give a second thought to what I was eating. In food I trust. And I trusted everything, for better or for worse. Sure, I prided myself on not being a “picky eater” and being nutritiously low-maintenance. But I was not doing myself any favors, I ate anything and I ate it for any reason. Now, I pay attention. I read labels. I know more about what I’m digesting.
Benefit #4: Exercise With Ease
My exercise routine seems lighter, easier and more manageable. My body can work out without feeling overly exhausted. I have more energy and I feel more productive with my workouts.
Benefit #5: Dealin’ with Emotions
Bored. Lonely. Stressed. Lunchtime. Second Lunchtime. Whatever. This wasn’t smart eating. I have since become more aware of what I’m consuming, how I feel when I consume it, and why.
I think more about my food and my body and my emotions. I now recognize my feelings and have become more aware of them rather than turning to my comfort food, cheese.
This allergy is new to me and even though I thought I would rather jump into a dumpster of flames than give up my nachos, I now kinda like this new lifestyle and all the vibes and feelings that are coming with it.
- Do you all have any food allergies?
- Do you love cheeses?
- Are you a new adult allergy sufferer just trying to live your life, like me?