I’ve mentioned a couple times in my updates that I’m giving dairy-free SCD a try. The decision has been a long time in the making. Last October my Naturopath suggested it and I lasted a few weeks. This time I plan on trying it for over a month.
Dairy-Free in the Past
Before starting SCD I had already been dairy-free for over 2 years. No butter, no cheese, no milk, no yogurt for over 2 years. It was a miserable time I have to say! 😉 I was pretty much terrified of dairy because of the many scientific studies and natural health sites saying that it caused digestive problems, cancer and heart disease (along with red meat and fat in general). The first month on SCD without yogurt I was probably lacking in calories. I did end up eating nut butter baked goods earlier than I should have simply because I was always hungry. I was still scared of meat too so really the first month was just a lot of light meals and I lost a few pounds that I really didn’t want to lose.
The SCDiet places quite an emphasis on the homemade 24-hour yogurt and I was both underweight and not responding to probiotic capsules. So I decided to try it and did well with it. I used only organic, hormone-free milk and also tried goat milk thinking that I did better with it. Off and on for the next 2 years I used high fat cow’s milk or goat’s milk to make my yogurt, and ate some SCD-legal raw milk cheeses.
Last November I decided to finally get off the Birth Control pill and work on addressing some hormone and menstrual problems naturally. My naturopath told me how dairy, even organic, can affect hormones and is implicated in endometriosis and that it might be worthwhile to go dairy-free at least to start with. I was also having signs of my liver not doing a good job of detoxing and stopping dairy could help. I did but only for a few weeks. Once my cycle returned and was completely pain-free (yay SCD!) I added the dairy back in. With going off the pill, my acne became worse and has persisted.
I first got mild acne in my early teen years that cleared up completely when I started on the Birth Control pill. My late teen years I saw it come back and seemed more difficult to manage. I have never had cystic acne so I always thought I had a mild case of acne, but really it has been quite severe at times with spots all over my face (even though each spot is small). So I started trying all the commercial things like different soaps and cleansers (Nutrogena, SpectroGel, Clearasil etc etc) and even Proactiv which chemically burned my face upon first application (I stopped using it right away). I used spot treatments that worked but didn’t prevent breakouts. My doctor prescribed Retin-A which irritated my skin and made it flake off.
When I started learning more about natural health I tried quite a few natural remedies, usually one at a time. Apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, natural cleansers, selenium, zinc, magnesium, drinking lots of water, taking fish oil, vitamin D, getting sun on my face, avoiding sun, exercising/sweating each day, steaming, probiotics, oatmeal mask, honey mask, yogurt mask, egg mask, avocado mask, coconut oil, and finally a short trial with the oil cleansing method. Nothing worked. Some made it worse.
The more I read, the more I realize acne starts from within and will never ‘go away’ until the real problem is addressed. I’m sure some people can manage their acne with strict cleansing routines using gentle products but it hasn’t worked for me. So, I finally decided I’m going to focus on addressing it through nutrition starting with giving up dairy. Here’s a ‘before’ picture during the two weeks I was trying the oil cleansing method. It actually got a bit worse after this, but has evened out back to this state with the first week of being dairy-free. I also have a bit of ‘bacne’ (acne on my shoulders) which I have never bothered trying to address with cleaning techniques.
I was trying to be patient and let hormones balance out themselves while following full SCD but it seems like I need to try something different again. Since going off the pill, my cycle has not been regular and my acne out of control. The fact that these two problems are occurring and both can be related to eating dairy makes that a good place to start with tweaking my diet. I realize there is an expected period of time after stopping the pill for things to return to normal, but I want to try what I can to speed up that process. I have also gotten a lot of advice on what else to try for acne, and will keep those things in mind for later.
I stopped eating all dairy over a week ago (July 26th to be exact) including butter. After one week of that I realized I don’t do well AT ALL without a good dose of saturated fats. I was feeling cold all the time and cranky. Butter has always been the easy fat to use in cooking, baking and just eating on its own so I was having lots of it. I decided to make clarified butter, called ghee, and include that as my one dairy food. No butter, no cheese, no yogurt for all of August now.
I plan on posting an update halfway through August. I’ll also try to post some examples of what I am eating for a day doing SCD without dairy. I only eat nuts in small quantities and not every day too. Hopefully I’ll see some changes in my skin and I’ll also make note of any changes in my digestion. In September I will reassess if I want to try adding dairy back or if I want to give it a bit longer. If I do start back on it, I will try butter first for 2 weeks, then yogurt for a month, then raw milk cheese, then raw fluid milk (not SCD-legal) and try not to overindulge in anything.
So far I have been feeling pretty motivated. It helps that on Twitter right now, over two dozen people have joined in an “August Primal Challenge” about following a diet very similar to SCD, eating cleanly, exercising, and supporting each other. Also with the upcoming cooking class on meat & seafood, I’m hoping I’ll be busy creating delicious meals and won’t even notice that I’m missing the dairy.