Dairy-Free for 30 Days

Benefits of Going Dairy-Free

As I mentioned HERE and HERE, I decided to try going dairy-free for a full month to see if it would help clear up my skin. Milk has never been a big part of my diet (I actually far prefer almond and rice milk), but I love me some cheese, yogurt and ice cream.

I successfully went the full 30 days, and it was actually pretty easy. There was one Sunday night where I desperately craved Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns ice cream and another Sunday when I stared longingly at a plate of cheese and crackers, but other than that, I didn’t miss dairy at all. I’m an out-of-sight-out-of-mind eater, so as long as I keep it out of my refrigerator, it’s super easy for me to cut things out of my diet.

Benefits of Going Dairy-Free

So did eliminating dairy from my diet improve my skin? You bet your ass it did. I still got a pimple here and there (I have incredibly oily skin; I think I need to just accept a certain level of zits in my life), but the texture and look of my complexion improved noticeably. No little bumps. My skin tone looked more even. My face felt smoother.

And the health benefits didn’t stop there. Without going into too much detail (you’re welcome), the biggest improvement I saw in going dairy-free was with my digestive system. It was so unbelievably efficient. And as an added bonus, I saw a noticeable decrease in bloating throughout the day. Usually I start the day feeling like a babe and end the day feeling like I’m with babe-y, but eliminating dairy also seemed to eliminate the five-months-pregnant bloat I’d frequently experience.

It goes without saying that I loved the results of going dairy-free. But I’m in no way villainizing milk products. It could just be that I have some mild lactose-intolerance. People have different levels of lactase (the enzyme that digests lactose), and if your levels are low, you can only process a limited amount of dairy at a time.

So where do I go from here? I’ve now proven to myself that, in several ways, my body functions better without dairy. It seems only logical to continue with this dairy-free diet. But I don’t like the idea of putting foods off limits and will most definitely eat dairy again. Everything in moderation.

In fact, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I ended St. Patrick’s Day by putting ice cream, cookies, cereal and chunks of bagel in a big bowl and stuffing it in my face. It was delicious. And probably gave me cancer.

ice cream, cereal, bagels and cookies.


I’m now going to treat dairy the same way I treat sweets: They’re no longer allowed in my kitchen unless I’m making a specific dish for an event. This helps keep it out of my regular diet without putting anything totally off-limits. If I’m at a restaurant, I’m not going to stress over whether something was prepared with butter or oil. If I’m craving ice cream, I’m not going to think twice about walking to a grocery store or fro-yo shop and indulging. During Boozy Book Club, I’m going to eat the mother-f*@#ing cheese.

Bottom line: Going dairy-free was awesome and I’m now living a low-dairy lifestyle from here on out.

Have you guys tried going dairy-free? How’d it affect your health?



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  1. I need to try this diet. I’ve always had major digestive issues and I KNOW it’s probably dairy. I don’t have much to begin with, but I indulge in cheese and lattes far too much.

  2. I had to cut out dairy several years ago while breast feeding my daughter who had a cow’s milk protein allergy. My skin never looked better!! I now just keep dairy limited. I’m not a huge dairy person, I don’t like milk at all and could easily pass on cheese and yogurt, but ice cream and ranch dressing are loved! I too love almond milk or rice milk! I even found a local place that made ice ice cream “milk” shakes! Yum!!

    • That sounds delicious! And I think limited dairy is the way to go–I could never completely say goodbye to ice cream 🙂

  3. My body is very sensitive to dairy, so I’ve slowly tried to weed out dairy items that I was eating on a daily basis. My biggest hurdle is going to be giving up (or at least limiting) frozen yogurt. I lovvve frozen yogurt, especially in the summer. Hopefully I’ll be able to treat myself every once in a while so I don’t get crazy cravings. Like you said, everything in moderation!

  4. Your comment re: Cheese made me laugh so much!
    I’ve never been ‘good’ with diary and often had a food baby (Uck why is nature so cruel?) so I switched to soya and feel so much better! I just can’t kick my diary chocolate habit 🙁

  5. I’ve developed a lactose allergy later in life. The Ben and Jerry’s is definitely difficult to let go but the other benefits are amazing. I love your babe/babe-y comment.

    • Nicole says:

      Agreed–the benefits almost (emphasis on “almost”) make up for the lack of B&J’s in my life 😉

  6. I also went dairy free for about 3 weeks and noticed really similar results. It was actually much easier than I thought it would be. Now, I also have cheese or yogurt from time to time, and I enjoy it so much more because it feels like a treat. I try to stay away form milk, mainly because after I stopped drinking it, the flavor became really repulsive to me. I just discovered your blog and I really like it 🙂

    • Thanks! And I agree about it feeling like a treat–I don’t crave it, but when I do add a little shredded or crumbled cheese to top a salad every once in a while, it’s oh-so delicious 🙂

  7. Ever since I started running, I’ve developed an intolerance of dairy–to the point where if I have it at ANY point in the day before I go running, the run is horrible. I’ve limited myself to 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt a couple of times a week in otherwise plant based smoothies, and occasionally cheese (feta or goat) , or a scoop of ice cream (which I have to walk over to the ice cream parlor to get). By doing that I can still have the occasional dairy “treat” but my skin, stomach, and legs all feel better.

    • Isn’t it crazy how much better you feel without dairy?? I was amazed. But I definitely agree a little cheese/yogurt treat now and then is necessary 🙂

  8. I realised that cream wasn’t agreeing with me and decided to give up dairy. Had tried before and switched to goats milk but to no avail. This time, within days, I could feel the difference – skin cleared, sleep improved, less tired overall but the dramatic change in my digestive system was unbelievable. I now carry a little bottle of soya milk and a pack of rice cakes everywhere. Looking forward to being skinny some day soon (I visit people in their homes as part of my job and often ‘have’ to eat the sweet treats supplied!). Tried a real pizza last week, missed them so much, but suffered for 4 days afterwards – made a dairy free pizza this week and it actually tasted fine. Hurrah.

    • It’s crazy how much of a difference it makes! Finding dairy-free versions of my favorite cheesy snacks is my new obsession–next up, pizza! 🙂

  9. Ladies, no need to suffer! Green and Blacks 70% is dairy free as is Swedish glaze ice cream – both really really good! For the frozen yoghurt crew why not make your own from the soya yoghurts out there?

  10. When you ended your St Patrick’s day story with: “It was delicious. And probably gave me cancer,” I fell over laughing!! You cracked me up!!

  11. Hello! New reader here and I think I will also try the dairy-free experiment! I have been wondering about my skin lately and maybe I just found the answer. The hardest thing for me will definitely be my daily greek yogurt fix and eggs! What do you eat for protein in the mornings? I’m sure there are other things to eat but eggs are so easy!


    • Eggs are dairy-free so you’re golden! Other ideas for protein in the morning include adding hemp protein powder to smoothies, quinoa oatmeal, and toast with nut butter (almond butter + bananas on toast is my favorite). Good luck with your experiment–I hope you have the same great results I did 🙂

  12. WHAT?! Bagel in the ice cream? Was it amazing?

  13. Question for you… if you nix dairy, what about protein shakes? Like whey? Do you think those should still fall on the no-no list?

  14. Hey Nicole!

    I’m on day 9 of my own 30 day dairy challenge. My biggest challenge has been butter in cooking. It’s tough to control when eating out or pretty much anywhere other than your own kitchen. It has definitely made me gain more respect for people with food allergies. But other than butter, it’s pretty easy! I love these challenges (I did 30 days meat free a while back) because they help me become more aware of everything I’m eating. I think I’ll continue to limit dairy when I’m done, but I miss cheese!

    • I totally agree! You become so much more aware of what you’re putting into your body and so much more in tune with how different foods make your body feel. And I had the same problem with butter in cooking–it sneaks into everything outside the safety of your own kitchen haha

  15. I’ve prob been dairy free for about 6 months now. I say probably because it’s so hard to check everything esp when eating out. It took me a while to realize what contained dairy and I was devistated to find out that even foods like flavored crisps had dairy in them :0( I have had acne for about 20 years, been on three courses of isotet, and other creams, lotions, pills etc. none worked. I can say that for me dairy free is doing the trick. My skin (and hair) is less oily, my pores are smaller, spots are not as frequent, numerous, sore and don’t last as long. I was always one for t and chocolate, not to mention puddings. I do miss them but can resist with ease as I know for me they are not worth it. If I have dairy I can tell by my skin the next day or two. Give it a try if u have acne probs, you’ve nothing to lose!

  16. I’ve been dairy free for about four months now and notice a huge difference in how I feel. My digestive system has improved a lot, and overall I feel so much better. I’ve even lost a few pounds and that bloated feeling that never really went away. Earlier this year I started getting a lot of headaches and some nausea and those immediately went away when I cut out dairy. I also have a lot more energy and don’t get that tired feeling right after I eat. I can immediately tell when I eat something with whey in it since I get a little headache right after. If I eat a small amount of dairy very sproadically (once a week) I’m ok, but if I eat more than one food item with dairy in short amount of time, I feel awful (tired, headahce, sore throat) for a few days afterward. It’s really surprising to me that it has such a huge effect. I would definitely suggest going dairy free to anyone who’s having digestive troubles or who feels “off”. You never know – it could make a huge difference!

  17. My specialists says butter is Ok as it’s entirely fat rather than the milk protein. Milk, youghurt and cheese are out, as would be ice-cream. Supposed to help tendons as they age (well, minimise the degradation). Maybe it helps with arthritis- we’ll see.

  18. Cutting out dairy completely totally cleared up my skin. I now have a little here and there, but don’t eat milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice cream etc. As a side note, I’ve also noticed my hair is less greasy, which is awesome

  19. I am trying so hard to be dairy free, milk was easy and this read from a health retreat I just stayed at made sense to me http://www.cabaritaoceanhealthretreat.com.au/dairy-free-diet/ so I cut it out no questions asked, but I love cheese, its the hardest one to ditch so far. But my bloating has also gone down and my sinus issues are becoming less hectic also, so will keep at it.

    • I agree–cheese is tough! I find that I still reap health benefits from just reducing the consumption of it (rather than eliminating it 100%). So glad to hear you’ve seen improvements from going mostly dairy-free!

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