Dairy-Free Conclusion

I MADE IT.

You can read the first post here. The other updates are here:

Dairy-Free Update #1

Dairy-Free Update #2

Dairy-Free Update #3

I’m glad it’s over. I didn’t see any drastic changes and I don’t see why it would be beneficial OR pleasurable to continue. Now the breakdown.

Challenges

Now is a good time to address this question: Was there cheating involved? Yes, a few times. I’d be lying if I said I was 100% perfect for the whole month of February. There were some weak moments when I just needed REAL CHOCOLATE and not fake crap. I had several small “fun size” candies (i.e. a mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cup, a Dove chocolate square and a mini Twix bar). I had about 5 total the whole month. I felt mildly guilty for giving in and having chocolate but I tried not to beat myself up too much because overall I did very well resisting things that had dairy or gluten in them.

What I Liked

I actually did discover a lot of things that I enjoyed and will continue to eat. The Omission gluten-free beer was a really good alternative. Almond Milk is something I will continue to drink instead of regular milk. It was a delicious enough substitution that I never felt like I was missing out on something.

Frozen grapes were an excellent dessert option, as was frozen banana slices with peanut butter on them. I loved the RiceWorks chips we bought and will continue to buy those in the future.

What I Disliked

I hated how much processed foods I ate in February. I was trying to find gluten and dairy free options and while I did eat a lot of natural things (fruit and veggies), I also ate more foods that came out of a box. Gluten-free crackers, chips, dairy-free cookies, etc etc. I did not like that aspect of it.

I also disliked feeling restricted. That lead to feelings and desires to binge. I couldn’t wait to be done with diet and I planned all the dairy and bread I was going to eat! I don’t like feeling like that. I think counting my calories and eating whatever I want that fits into that calorie range works best. This experiment is just another confirmation of that.

Weigh-In and Measurements

When I started this challenge I weighed 145.2. I wasn’t expecting any weight loss, so I was happily surprised when I stepped on the scale after one week and saw over 1.5 pounds lost. So what was my final total? 143. I lost 2.2 pounds, which is decent but not mind-blowing enough for me to continue this diet.

As for measurements, there wasn’t a lot of change:

February 1st February 28th
Hips: 37 inches Hips: 36 inches
Waist: 34 inches Waist: 33.5 inches
Thighs: 18 inches Thighs: 18 inches

 

I wish there was more of a drastic change but I did lose an inch around my hips, so that’s something.

Final Thoughts/Observations

It didn’t take long for me to conclude that I could pretty easily go gluten-free but never entirely dairy-free. I didn’t really miss the bread (despite the two food p0rn dreams I had about eating freshly baked bread). My mom commented that when she gave up gluten, she stopped craving sweets and the second she ate it again, those cravings came back. I experienced something similar. I didn’t really crave sweets or candy or chocolate (except for a few crazy cravings in the beginning) and definitely didn’t miss bread or pasta.

gluten-free-jpeg

The dairy was another story. I craved cheese and sour cream. I didn’t think about Greek yogurt or milk as much as I thought I would. As the month stretched on, all I wanted was pizza or a grilled cheese sandwich!!!

Something else I did notice: it did not take very long to adjust my thinking and get used to looking for gluten and dairy free choices. It took about a week and a half and then I just became that person that was gluten free. It felt normal and familiar and not awkward like it did the first week. It almost feels strange to go back to eating the way I used to!

I will probably do another update as I re-introduce gluten and dairy back into my diet and let you know if I felt anything different. Other than that, I’m pretty glad I’m going back to normal.

chocolate

I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t feel any differently or see a drastic change because that means I don’t have to continue the diet.

Now pass me the ice cream!

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

One of the hardest parts of doing this February challenge is learning how to read labels to find ingredients that may be on the “no” list. It’s really nice when the manufacturers make it easy and label a package as gluten or lactose free. Of course, that doesn’t always happen so you have to have an eagle eye. I look for basics like: wheat, flour, semolina, etc. Thankfully the ingredients lists I’ve seen have been pretty straight forward. You can find a more comprehensive list here. I also found a super helpful list provided by New Seasons (kind of like Whole Foods) with a list of gluten and dairy free items.

url

What about milk? I’m finding that it’s harder to find dairy-free items. Look for things that have milk, powdered milk, any word that contains “lactose” or some variation in it, whey, casein, to name a few. Those aren’t the only no-no’s. This list has them all.

As you can see, it can be mind-numbing standing in a grocery store trying to read teeny tiny labels with a bunch of words you don’t understand. But going in with a few keywords will really help. I’m definitely getting better at it but I wouldn’t say it’s fun. It’s still pretty frustrating trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Michael picked up some chips at Costco this weekend that are freaking good! They are gluten and dairy free and totally addicting. They’re called RiceWorks and they are made from brown rice. But they are crunchy and taste just like regular chips. We got the sweet chili flavor and I love it. In fact, I like them so much it may be a bad idea to have them in the house very often…if you know what I mean.

url

By the time Sunday came around, all I wanted to do was make something homey in the crockpot. I had a recipe for black bean and chicken soup but it just didn’t have the pizzazz I was looking for. I found this recipe instead. It was super easy. I love crockpot recipes where you simply dump ingredients in from a can.

I added a can of black beans to the recipe and of course, a little more garlic than the recipe called for. Reading the comments of the recipe it seemed that the general consensus was that it was ok to put the chicken in raw or frozen instead of pre-cooking it. So that’s what I did. I also used canned corn instead of frozen because that’s what I had.

IMG_4231

I will have to admit, I was slightly bummed I couldn’t top my tortilla soup with cheese and sour cream. 🙁 But some avocado was a good alternative I guess…

IMG_4236

I also bought small corn tortillas. To make the corn tortilla strips, I used this recipe. The crunchy tortilla strips didn’t stay very crunchy very long in the soup, unfortunately. But it still tasted great. The soup was hearty and flavorful but not spicy. The chicken fell apart without much effort so it made shredding it very easy. I probably should have added a little more liquid to it since the chicken soaked up some of it.

IMG_4233

I really wish I could have put cheese and sour cream on top. I think it would have made the recipe even better. Despite that, I liked the flavors a lot and the avocado on top gave some great texture to the soup. I would make this recipe again but I want it spicier. Maybe adding some jalapenos?

url

Finally, Michael and I saw “Identity Thief” this weekend. I really recommend it! It was a funny, cute movie. The plot was pretty clique and predictable but I still liked it. I love Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy is a scene-stealer in every movie she’s been in. Go see it!

QUESTION: Are there any topics you wish I would write about?