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:
https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/dairy-free-diet-skin-effects
https://www.today.com/health/why-fat-your-diet-good-weight-loss-glowing-skin-t102800
https://www.health.com/nutrition/eliminate-dairy-diet?slide=467877#467877

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Running and Last Week’s Meals

Last week, I started using the Couch to 5 K app. I chose the Color Run Unicorn. In the past, I’ve tried running. Every time I’ve tried to run, I’ve made it about 3 weeks and then I stop. Usually, it’s because of knee
or hip pain. Most of that is due to me not stretching before I run. I know. You have to stretch and warm-up before you run.

Since I started using the app, I’ve found solace in running. The brisk fall breeze hitting my face as my Nike’s pound the pavement. I am able to think about more than what I’m going to do post-run. I can think about
the future and where/what I want to do next.

As I enter my second week of running, I’ve set some short-term running goals. My goals are to run four times this week (last week, I ran three times) and to run one time in the morning during my work week. I want to become a morning workout person, but I know that I need to ease into it.

Let’s talk about food. I’m trying to make the final switch to being a vegetarian. I love being a vegetarian. It’s great eating a lot of vegetables. I think that being a vegetarian is more fitting for me. Also, it helps me manage my weight. I’ve felt guilty after eating meat lately and I haven’t enjoyed the taste. However, I won’t be a strict vegetarian.

A black bean burger with roasted Dijon potatoes

When I travel to different places, I will probably eat meat. As a cook, I think it’s important to try as many foods as possible. Lastly, if someone invites me to their home and makes a dish with meat, I’m not going to turn it down. Honestly, unless you have an allergy or the food will make you sick, I think it’s silly to turn down food that someone has taken time to make you.

A vegan muffin and beet smoothie from the Asics cafe in Tokyo

Are you a vegetarian? If so, what do you like to cook and how often do you cook?

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How to Create an At Home Workout

athomeworkoutcollage

For a while, I’ve been making my own  at home workouts. For me, it’s simple because I used to be a Group Fitness Instructor. However, if you aren’t an instructor, or you only workout at a gym, it can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you create your own at home workout.

  1. Know your limits.
  • It’s important to exercise safely, but I think you should take extra precaution at home. Your home isn’t built for working out, so if you need to try some intense exercises, make sure to clear enough space to perform them. If you have an injury, or have a history of injuries, know the modifications of the exercises you would like to try. I have knee issues and some days I have to cut the jump squats and just do a simple squat. Know your limits and listen to your body.

2. Know the difference between different types of workouts.

  • Your workouts will vary depending on the types of exercises you want to do, the length of time you have and how challenging you want your workout to be. If performed well and in a safe way, your workouts will be effective. Personally, I like to vary my workouts by doing a HIIT or a circuit. Here’s an explanation of both types of workouts.
  • HIIT: (High Intensity Interval Training) Creating a workout that has short, high intensity level exercises with periods of low intensity level exercises. For example, performing knee tucks for thirty seconds followed by one minute of squats.
  • Circuit Training: A series of exercises that focuses on one area of the body or the total body. Each exercise is done for a certain period of time, usually thirty seconds to one minute. Then, you either start the same circuit over again or move on to a new circuit.

3. Start simple!

  •  Creating your own workout doesn’t have to be complicated. I’ve created a video that shows the basic exercises you need to know to get started. Once you’re comfortable with these, you can add jumps to or weights to increase the intensity. If you would like more fitness inspiration, you can check out my Pinterest page.

4. Make sure the workout is challenging but not impossible to get through.

  • There is a difference between challenging yourself and being to hard on yourself. Maybe you can only do pushups for thirty seconds instead of a minute. Over time, you’ll get stronger. One thing I do is add an extra ten to fifteen seconds to a challenging exercise until I am able to perform it up to my desired time.

5. Invest in equipment.

  • I workout at home because it’s cheaper than going to a gym. Plus, where else can I blast my music and dance around. However, working out at home does come with a price but it doesn’t have to be very expensive. If you are considering making an at home gym, I would suggest buying a set of weights, ranging from five to twenty pounds, two resistance bands at two levels of resistance, a mat and an exercise ball. With these items you can do various exercises and over time you can add new equipment.

 

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