Dairy-Free Lifestyle: Three Challenges and Tips on How to Overcome Them

Have you ever thought about going dairy-free? What would it be like to stop consuming milk, cheese and butter? What is your goal when making such a big lifestyle change?

Two weeks ago, I decided to cut out dairy from my diet, as much as possible. Living in Japan and not being able to read/speak Japanese, makes it challenging to know whether or not a dish/snack has dairy in it, but I am doing my best. This decision was a hard one to make but a change that needed to be made. I’ve pretty much have always had acne on my body. However, I’ve always equated it to stress or external factors. I’m not saying that those don’t play a part in my acne, but when I a little while ago I noticed my acne got worse.

Since I’ve been in Japan, I’ve developed an allergy to milk. If I have a little bit of milk, my sinuses flare up, my throat gets itchy and my stomach doesn’t feel well. The next day, I will get a breakout somewhere on my body. The tricky thing was when I ate cheese, ice cream or butter, I never had any of those initial reactions. However, I would have some kind of breakout. It didn’t matter what I used on my skin or how much I exfoliated, I would have a breakout.

Since going dairy-free, my skin has cleared up a lot. It’s not perfect but I wasn’t looking for perfect skin; I wanted manageable skin.

Before I went dairy-free, I didn’t do any research. I don’t recommend doing that at all. You should always do research before making major changes in your diet. If you are considering going dairy-free, here are some changes that might happen:

1. Hunger
Fat helps you stay fuller longer. Having some sort of fat in your meals allows you to digest your food slower. If you cut out those fats, you are going to get hungry faster.
Usually, I don’t eat a lot of fat nor do I cook with a lot of fat. I usually use grapeseed oil for most of my cooking, olive oil for certain meals and butter for baking. I did enjoy a nice ice cream sandwich from 7/11 or topping off dishes with cheese. When I stopped eating those foods, I was hungry. Now, I’m getting better at supplementing those filling ingredients with dairy/lactose free options. For example, instead of eggs with cheese, I’ll eat eggs with avocado and nutritional yeast.

Tip: Research good and satisfying foods/products that can help you during your transition.

2. Cravings
The first three days, I was craving ice cream. I wanted an ice cream sandwich from 7/11. I mean, it’s difficult to cut things out of your diet. If you do want to go dairy/lactose-free, be prepared to fight off the dairy demons telling you to buy that ice cream cone.

Tip: Look up come dairy/lactose free dessert recipes if you are craving something sweet and creamy.

3. Cooking/Eating Out
Cooking at home is fairly easy depending on how much you know about food. I cook almost every day and I know why foods with dairy taste and cook better than foods without. When you take away that dairy option, you have to start researching dairy-free alternatives that will achieve similar results.

Eating out can be challenging. I don’t eat out often, but when I do, especially now, I try to avoid foods that look like they might have dairy in them. If you live in a foreign country like I do and can’t read the language, Google translate will become your best friend. You can easily translate the ingredients on the back of packages to see if the food contains dairy.

Tip: Become acquainted with the local foods in your area. If you know how to make them, then you will know what to avoid.

Overall, going dairy-free has been a good challenge for me. It’s not easy but giving up anything isn’t easy.

Links to dairy-free articles:

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A Guide to Buying Makeup for Darker Skin in East Asia

Being black in China has been difficult at times, however, the most difficult thing has been buying makeup, skin and hair care products. I have darker skin and I cannot find any, foundation, concealer or nude lipstick in China. There are people who sell makeup for darker skin in China. Usually, it’s through a seller who gets small shipments of it imported. I have not tried that, but I also don’t mind paying an extra fee to guarantee that I’m getting exactly what I want.

Before moving to East Asia, if you can, I suggest buying your makeup right before you leave. Makeup products can last anywhere from six to twenty-four months. If you’re like me and forgot to buy makeup for your second year in East Asia, here is a small guide I created to help black people and people with darker skin tones buy makeup in East Asia.

Buying Products In-Store
Lipsticks, lip glosses and eye shadows can be easily bought in East Asia, especially at Sephora. Most lipsticks are shades of pink or orange, but you can find nice, bright shades of eye shadow and some that blend well with darker skin tones. The makeup at Sephora in China is a little more expensive than in the U.S, but the products I’ve listed below are, at most, ten dollars more than they are in the U.S.
Eye Shadow Pencils:Kaki, Purple, Brown, Call Girl
Kiss Me Balm in Melon Sorbet
– Colorguard Eyeshadow Primer- I couldn’t find the link, so I’m not sure if they sell it in the U.S.
Full Effect Extreme Action Mascara:Blue

Etude House
I have not bought products from Etude House, but a friend of mine, who is a black woman, has and is very pleased with their products. She has purchased eye shadow, mascara and a lip liner from Etude House.

Buying Products Online
e.l.f Cosmetics
If you don’t have a Sephora or an Etude House near you, it’s pretty easy to buy makeup online. My friend who lives in Japan uses Amazon to buy the majority of her makeup. I have not had any luck with Amazon China; I mainly use it to compare prices of imported goods. I only have experience buying cosmetics through e.l.f Cosmetics and I am quite pleased with my order. The products shipped through Borderfree.com and this service works with different cosmetic and clothing companies.
lfcosmetics.com/p/complete-coverage-concealer” target=”_blank”>Complete Coverage Concealer,Dark,$6.00
Perfect Finish HD Powder,Sheer, $12.00
Mineral Infused Face Primer,Brightening Lavender, $12.00
Volumizing & Defining Mascara,Black, $4.00
Moisturizing Lipstick,Wine Tour, $6.00
Moisturizing Lipstick,Bourdeaux Beauty, $6.00
Aqua Beauty Radiant Gel Lip Stain,Rouge Radiance, $8.00
– These prices are a few dollars more than they are in the U.S, but they are cheaper than the makeup at Sephora China.

I hope this will help other people buy makeup. If know you of any makeup brands that ship to East Asia, feel free to share them in the comment section below.

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I’m Not Buying SheaMoisture Products

Typically, I don’t write posts about beauty products, but the recent SheaMoisture controversy has me feeling distraught. If you aren’t familiar with SheaMoisture, it’s a brand of hair and beauty products. Typically, women with curly hair use their hair and skin products. Although they don’t specifically state that their products are for black women, many black women use their products. In April of last year, they made a different commercial addressing the stigmas in the beauty aisles. So, for me, and many other black women, it was surprising to see them release this new “inclusive” commercial.

In the most recent commercial, there was only one woman of color. I was upset that a company that caters to black women had very little black representation. However, they had a more progressive commercial with one of my favorite natural hair bloggers, Naptural85.

As I was looking at the commercial, the only woman of color said that people used to throw paper balls in her hair. The woman with blonde hair just didn’t know what to do with her hair, and the redhead always felt the need to dye her hair blonde. I understand that learning how to embrace your natural hair is important. I’ve had to learn the same lessons, but I find it shocking that SheaMoisture didn’t create a space for the black women with different hair textures. White women have many hair care options, both domestically and abroad. Don’t even get me started on makeup. Try finding a dark or deep foundation in Sephora in East Asia.

Also, it’s frustrating that one of their excuses was to expand their market, thus becoming more profitable. I understand wanting to expand your line to make more profits. I’m all about making a profit, but you need to make sure that the customers who made you are satisfied. There are still so many stigmas around natural hair. Black and women and men could lose their jobs over not having the right hair texture. People still think that our natural hais looks unprofessional and unkempt. I think that SheaMoisture should have included two black women, or even two black men, with different natural hair textures. This way we could have seen ourselves represented in beauty.

If you are still upset by the SheaMoisture commercial, here are some links to companies that I trust, companies that I’ve seen recommended due to the controversy, as well as a black owned business directory.

Products and Companies I trust

Eden Body Works– The Pepermint Tea Tree conditioner is a good wash day conditioner. It soothes my scalp and keeps my hair smelling nice.
Taliah Waajid– The Curl Sealer works well on my hair. It lasts all day, even in humid conditions, and it never hardens my hair
Cantu – Their products are generally affordable and can be used year round. I enjoy the Moisturizing Rinse Out Conditioner, Sulfate-Free Hydrating Cream Conditioner, Moisturizing Cream Shampoo and the Coil Calm Detangler.

Recommended Companies and a Black Business Directory
Ixora Botanical Beauty
Kyra’s Shea Medleys
Delish Condish
Black Business Directory

If there are any products you recommend, comment below!

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