SO, I did it! I finished up my sugar and dairy cleanse challenge (minus about two cheats – one bite of an ice cream sandwich and one 100-layer donut, the latter of which was beyond worth it). A few people had asked me to share what I thought so I figured now would be the best time. Note: I ended up being more strict about cheese than general dairy, but I don’t eat yogurt or drink milk, so that really just left any sauce/butter used at restaurants.
- What did I miss the most? Cheese. 100%. Until about 3 weeks in. Then, the desire decreased and I actually didn’t have any until yesterday’s slice of lobster quesadilla. It was amazing, but more because of the fresh seafood and salsa on top than the cheese.
- Cheese is addictive. You guys. This is a straight fact. After a few weeks, I really didn’t crave it the way that I had before, and to be honest, I don’t have much of a desire to start eating it again. This is coming from a girl whose favorite foods are grilled cheeses and cheese plates. Will I still eat those things? Absolutely. I’m not about cutting things out completely – especially when you really love them like I do those two. However, whenever I can, I’ll be skipping the cheese on salads, sandwiches, etc.
- What are the best foods to eat as pescatarian who doesn’t eat cheese? This was difficult. I was essentially vegan? Plus seafood + eggs (I would die without eggs – pretty sure that’s a fact, too). A few tips if you want to give it a try: 1) Curry is your friend. I ate a ton of Thai Curry, extra spicy. It seemed like this was my best comfort food when I’d had a long day or was especially hungry. (I’m an emotional eater, no doubt.) 2) Mexican food is easier than you think! Fill up on tons of guac and salsa, skip the cheese on your taco, and treat yourself to a margarita. 3) You can order pizza without cheese! I really wasn’t sure about this one, but I did it at both Monza and Indaco and was incredibly satisfied with my meal each time. At Monza, you can add an egg to your pizza which gives it this amazing creamy factor, and I actually don’t think I’ll order differently there from now on. 4) Avocado toast, all day, everyday. Duh.
- What about sugar? So, I really didn’t miss sugar all that much. The problem was feeling not as satisfied with my meal (because of the lack of cheese) and then wanting a little more after dinner. Hidden sugar is everywhere, though. I ordered 1-2 cocktails that I then realized absolutely had sugar of some type in them. But, I was actually more excited to order dessert this week than I was about eating cheese. That really surprised me!
- Okay, but what were the benefits? You guys…so many. First, and I think this is more of a state of mind thing, I felt so much thinner. I probably lost 5-6 pounds, but it felt like much more. A lot of the bloating that I’m usually feeling disappeared, and my face definitely thinned out some. I’m not sure if I have an allergy of sorts to dairy (this is likely – I’ve never tried giving it up until this month!), or if it was a combination of the sugar/dairy cleanse. Regardless, I loved it. Cutting out something that’s bad for you makes you feel better and therefore exude more confidence. This was probably my favorite aspect! Also, my face and scalp for the past year or so have been abnormally dry. Like, my skin would be peeling off my nose for absolutely no reason. This is gone!!!! What?!!! If nothing else, the cleanse really helped me realize how important a well-rounded and healthful diet is for your body and skin!
- What were some of your go-to foods, drinks, snacks, etc.? I started eating more bananas and sometimes cherries or strawberries. I didn’t want to cut this type of sugar personally, though I know some people go cold turkey in a cleanse like this! Like I mentioned, takeout Thai was a lifesaver. I also started making homemade guacamole to snack on (I’m over hummus ATM), devouring sriracha popcorn (okay, I can’t buy this anymore because it’s so freaking good I eat it in like 2-3 sittings), really savoring a glass of wine when out with friends, and drinking a whole lot more water. A Mango or Grapefruit La Croix (or the Strawberry-Kiwi for a seemingly sweeter option) really helped when I wanted something sweet after dinner.
- Anything else you learned? I think one of the more important take-aways I had is that no matter what – there’s always another good meal coming. Obviously, from my Instagram, blog, etc. I really enjoy a great meal. I like to plan weekends, trips, and time with friends around them. However, I found myself thinking often, “Okay, this is not the last good meal you’ll ever have at Indaco. You don’t have to order your favorite thing on the menu every single time.” Meals are meant for nourishment and community, but that doesn’t mean they have to be indulgent every time. I firmly believe they should be sometimes, though 🙂 There’s a happy balance and moderation, which I’m still learning (and putting into practice).
I have no idea if this is interesting or not, but I had such a good experience giving these two things up, I had to share. Overall, I just felt better and healthier and thinner. I definitely wouldn’t ever give both items up for good, but I will be much more aware of how often I eat them and try to limit them to just a few times a week. Have you ever given up a food that made you feel better? Worse? I’m really interested. I stopped eating meat about 2 years ago, and I don’t know if I’ll ever go back. Maybe I’ll share more about that sometime soon! Anyway, happy Tuesday!