I Gave Up Dairy for Four Months
Here’s my plan for bringing it back–and what I’m hoping to avoid
Sick of congestion and post-nasal drip, I gave up dairy for four months. Now I’m introducing it back to see how much of a relationship there is between my mucus, phlegm, and nose crud and my love of yogurt, butter, and ice cream.
My four-month dairy detox
This isn’t the first time I’ve gone off dairy temporarily, although it is the longest test run. I went without dairy for 30 days when I was traveling in Alaska, because I wanted to save on food costs and everything there is expensive, due to the high cost of shipping. I noticed I was less phlegmy than usual, then repeated the experiment at home to see if I’d get the same results in my usual environment.
I could breathe clearly and the awful post-nasal drip was gone. But it was so difficult not to eat dairy products that soon after my thirty-day mark, I ended up going out for pizza with my book club. My throat closed up that night while I was watching television.
Panic that I was choking subsided once I realized it was just the phlegm, returning in a big ball. If I doubted there was a link between dairy and my constant congestion, this had just confirmed it. But as a mostly-vegetarian, yogurt and cheese were some of the most reliable protein sources. I knew I’d find something veggie-friendly on every restaurant menu and it’d usually be loaded with cheese.
This winter, I decided to really give the dairy-free thing a test. Winter was the season I was most likely to be congested, so why not give up dairy for the entire season? I wasn’t 100 percent off dairy–when on holiday or visiting family members, I ate dairy–but at home, I avoided it altogether. I tried all the substitutes–fake butter, coconut milk yogurt, almost milk ice cream, pea protein instead of whey, and so on.
Maybe the third time’s a charm, but it was much easier to stay away from dairy this time than it had been before. Going into my dairy detox, I’d been mourning about not having any ice cream for four months. But once I’d transitioned away from it (and back to a gloriously congestion-free nose and throat), I realized I didn’t miss it as much as I thought!