I’ve recently come across Dr. Oz’s 28-Day Dairy-Free Challenge in my search to live a “cleaner” lifestyle and improve my diet. When I first came across this challenge, I immediately thought to myself…how can you NOT eat dairy? It’s in everything! Although dairy products have been known to cause health problems such as weight gain, high cholesterol, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it still is the main ingredient in products such as cheese and cookies!!! How can anyone give THAT up??!!!!
Never one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to research what dairy free-living is all about. The way Dr. Oz has his challenge structured; participants begin changing their diets slowly over the course of 4 weeks. Week 1 is all about ditching milk. Despite its bad rap, milk is a good source of Vitamin D. So in order to make this work, you will need to find an alternative like almond, coconut or soy milk and plan on eating an extra serving of greens or something leafy to make sure you have enough vitamins in your diet.
Week 2 is probably the easiest since it only requires participants to give up yogurt. I use to be a huge fan of Dannon’s Light and Fit strawberry yogurt until I realized what was really giving my favorite snack its red color (trust me, you will crawl out of your skin when you find out). Replacements for yogurt can include Greek yogurt and other plant or grain-based products such as rice or soy milk. At this point, Dr. Oz suggests keeping a diary of what you’re consuming and how your diet has changed since starting this process.
Weeks 3 and 4 are the hardest! You have to give up ice cream and cheese! I’m not a huge ice cream fan, but I do enjoy a vanilla ice cream cone every now and again. And cheese is one of my favorite things to eat…period! It is also a challenge to give up cheese because it’s super hard to find a non-dairy alternative in local grocery stores and if you do find it, it is likely to cause a small fortune. It hardly seems worth it to pay all that money for something you know won’t taste as good.
So hearing all of this…could you go dairy-free for 28 days?