Is a Dairy-Free Diet Doable?


Lily Connery

As a New Year’s “resolution,” my sisters and I decided to attempt going dairy-free for the month of January– or as far into it as we can get. With no actual dietary restrictions on dairy, we felt this would supposedly aid in less bloating and better skin as promised by instagram models and fitness blogs. To save others the hassle of trying it themselves, I decided to write an honest review on this dietary change in a quest to feel healthier and happier. January brings new promises to better oneself, and if done well, maybe this could lead to a better lifestyle rather than a goal abandoned after a few weeks.
First few days:
To start, we hit up Whole Foods to find dairy-free foods to fill the void this cheese-less month would bring. Most of the breakfast foods we already enjoyed (protein bars, oatmeal, eggs and toast) were already dairy-free so that alleviated some stress. We also already preferred coconut milk yogurt, which we stocked up on for smoothies and snacks. Having already tried dairy-substitute cheese, I knew that would be a hard pass as it tasted so terribly bland it wasn’t even worth eating. The hardest task would be finding a perfect replacement for ice cream, so we decided to try a few different brands for trial and error. We decided on a coconut milk chocolate ice cream, Halo Top dairy-free vanilla, and an avocado ice cream. On top of that, we decided to opt for oat milk which is promised to be a health trend of 2019 and containing more protein than nut-based or coconut based milk.

Foods to have and foods to avoid:
Ice cream was an easy replacement, with the avocado ice cream being the closest replica. My favorite was the So Delicious coconut milk ice cream as it was less calorie/sugar heavy. However with all this ice cream, I felt this was just making sweets more accessible as beforehand, we were not eating ice cream as much as we did with three different substitutes readily available in the freezer.
Oat milk is extremely tasty and there was no difference from regular milk when put with cereal or granola. This was a great alternative however with 17g of sugar per cup, it wasn’t the healthiest option. Instead, unsweetened coconut milk had less flavor, less creaminess, but also the least amount of calories and sugar.

For going out/takeout, the best option was sushi as pizza without cheese is not as satisfying. Checking to see if things were dairy free was frustrating as usually the people on the phone did not know and menus didn’t give great detail into the ingredients.

In the End:
This dairy-free diet only lasted eight days as my family had quit and it had become difficult over the weekend when going out to dinner to find dairy free options or resist the temptation to include things like real ice cream and cheese. I definitely felt better without dairy and it was interesting to try. I would definitely do it again, just maybe work on limiting instead of completely getting rid of dairy as a whole.