Whole30 Reintroduction Day 7: Dairy

I made the decision the night before that I was going to do my dairy reintroduction on the scheduled day.  I had originally thought to postpone it due to yesterday being Mother’s day but I decided I would rather suffer any effects on a day when I have the option to go home and chill than today when I have to work.

For dairy, I stopped on the way to church and picked up a Starbucks grande Flat White (my favorite), I had a glass of milk with lunch (awful), and had ice cream with dinner.

Shortly after drinking my coffee and again after drinking milk with lunch I noticed that I kind of ached all over. Both times it went away within an hour or so. Most of the day my lower back ached. My lower back is normally where my joint pain starts, so this isn’t surprising. Additionally, my menstrual cramps were worse all day.

After lunch I started getting the old familiar belly bloat and carried that until bedtime. Oh, my old nemesis, I did not miss you. By the end of the day, I also noticed my sinuses were stuffy and my eyes were scratchy. I’m still dealing with that today. It feels like allergies.

I didn’t notice any extra special side effects from the ice cream. That said, let me spend a moment here talking about the ice cream. First, I was surprised to find ice cream on the dairy list. Yes, it’s dairy but it’s also a dessert with lots and lots of sugar, or so I thought. But, Whole30 counts it as dairy, so who am I to argue? Second, I’ve been craving ice cream (desserts) for days and days and days (and days).  I haven’t given into the craving because I know it’s a stress craving but I knew I was going to have a bowl of ice cream soon.  I just thought I might have a bowl at the end of my Reintroduction, not as part of it. Even when I saw ice cream on the list for dairy, for me it’s still a ‘sugar/dessert’ category item so I didn’t plan to have it on dairy-day. But then I changed my mind. I was tired of the craving and it was on the list after all, so theoretically it’s a safe choice, not an ‘off-road’ or a ‘craving cave-in’. Even coming at it from that angle, I was nervous that this would be the moment it all got ruined.

But it wasn’t.

I ate my ice cream. In fact, I ate two bowls of it. And then I was done. With well over a half a carton of my favorite ice cream in the freezer, the craving was gone and I stopped. I’m relieved. I’m ecstatic! I feel in control and more powerful than my cravings. I now know it’s possible to not only resist a craving until it goes away but also indulge one that doesn’t without it taking over my life. The best part? I don’t want to eat ice cream. I don’t have the urge to continue testing my newfound strength and willpower. I don’t feel like I have to prove to myself that I really am in control.  I don’t need to go eat another bowl of ice cream just to see what will happen. My craving is satisfied, I carry no guilt over what or how much I ate, and outside of journaling it here, I’m not thinking about it. It’s done. It’s not an obsession. I’m not mentally beating myself up over it.

It’s so incredibly liberating!

As for the side effects of my dairy-day, I slept absolutely dreadfully last night. My back ached, I tossed and turned and kept waking up. It was horrible. My knees and hips are a  sore this morning, my lower back is still aching, and I have a mild headache.  I expected the bloating from the dairy but my joints aching? And how quickly it started giving me trouble? I didn’t expect that.

I really have no desire to eat dairy again but I’m sure I will on occasion. To be truthful, the Starbucks Flat White was delicious. I enjoyed every. single. drop. My coffee with coconut milk this morning is just….eh. A friend suggested I try nutpods for coffee. I’ve see them mentioned in a few Whole30 blogs but haven’t looked into them yet. I think it’s time. (Apparently this is a Whole30 compliant liquid coffee creamer that comes in different flavors. There may be hope for my coffee, yet.)

Like everything else I’ve reintroduced so far, I can see that having a non-compliant food once on rare occasions isn’t going to cause me major difficulty but it needs to be rare occasions. If my back and knees are already this sore from only one day of dairy, I can’t imagine what eating non-compliant foods two or three times in a week will make me feel like. Not to mention the GI-tract repercussions I’m dealing with today.

I’m glad I did this before heading to Europe. I planned to avoid dairy while there but now I know how much I really need to. The amount of walking we are going to do will not mix well with aching joints.

Dairy reintroduction was the one thing that had me the most concerned. Pre-Whole30, I loved dairy. It was the one thing I was convinced I would never survive giving up. But give it up I did and I’m better for it. I still miss taco’s. And I still miss a great cup of coffee. But as I sit here typing, my hips are aching to the point where I need to hurry up and close this blog and get up. On top of that, I’m tired from not sleeping well. I don’t miss taco’s or a great cup of coffee enough to deal with this on a regular basis.

So, this coming Wednesday, I will eat gluten-grains. I’m not worried about those triggering any bad habits. I gave up gluten for close to a year when my gut issues started getting really bad. I don’t really miss bread but it will be interesting to see what their effect is when isolated from other things, like dairy and sugar.

I also realized that I should have used non-compliant oils on gluten-free grain day. I was wrongly thinking seed oils was a separate reintroduction day. So, since I failed to do so, after gluten-grains are finished I’ll wait two days and do a day of seed-oils to see what happens.

I’m already ready for this process to be over so I can get back to eating right and feeling good and not having to think about what the food I’m eating is doing to me.

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