Today’s challenge is another food-related one…and even though it might not be the most popular challenge, every time I do it I see results!
WEEK 9 CHALLENGE
Cut Out Dairy
You ready for a shocker? Dairy is NOT a necessary food group. That’s right, I practically just committed nutritional heresy. There is lots and lots of research available out there regarding this (I recommend doing some of your own digging online) but the long and short of it is this: you don’t need dairy to be healthy.
Dairy does offer nutritional benefits (especially in its raw and minimally processed forms) but most Americans should cut way back. Do you know why the USDA increased the recommended daily dose of milk on the food pyramid in 2005? Because Americans were lacking in certain nutrients and the USDA figured getting people to increase dairy consumption was more likely than getting them to eat more veggies (read more here). Well duh. I’d rather drink a milkshake than eat broccoli too! Sad, huh?!
Now I realize that this is radical news for the typical American who eats lots of cheese, yogurt, milk and ice cream on the daily. But you don’t have to cut it all out to see results. I find myself feeling healthier and more energetic when I just substitute non-dairy milk and cut out the ice cream. I also try to make better choices when it comes to other dairy products. We use buttermilk for baking and yogurt (only plain- the sweetened kind has SO many added sugars!) as well as kefir (a cultured milk drink that has lots of probiotics) and cheese. But we try to eat these sparingly and not at every meal.
If you’re looking for an alternative food pyramid to follow (heavy on the veggies and light on the animal products), check out this one here!
So if you’re up for the challenge, and you’ve never tried it before, start slow. Try replacing your morning cereal with oatmeal and skipping the cheese on your sandwich or enchiladas. It’s really not as hard as it sounds, you just have to get used to thinking a different way about your food choices. And there are some pretty good non-dairy milks out there (I like rice and almond) as well as ice cream (coconut is fabulous!).
I’d love to hear how it works out for everyone and if you notice feeling any different! Here’s a favorite quote I always go back to when I find myself eating garbage…
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
I’m also getting excited for our giveaway celebrating the end of our challenge in just a few more weeks! One of you guys will win all my favorite health and fitness stuff: the best water bottle on the planet, my favorite healthy snack, the coolest running/walking accessory I use and lots more! Woot!
Head here for week 10!