I had quite a reaction the first two weeks I went off dairy. I have gone dairy-free before but that was when I still had some digestive symptoms and was gauging a reaction based on those. This time without any digestive changes, I noticed other effects.
The first thing that happened is I quickly lost weight. The first week I lost at least 5 lbs. I’m pretty sure it was due to lack of calories. I should have prepared snacks better, got some shredded coconut, bananas, avocado and nuts ready, but for some reason I just didn’t think to. The second week went better and I started gaining some weight back.
The second thing I noticed was my hands started cracking. I ended up with about 6 ‘cuts’ on my hands that I thought at first was from cutting myself with a knife while preparing food. But I quickly realized it was just my skin splitting. It was painful but only lasted about a week. A few people on Twitter said they had the same thing during periods of stress, so I’m assuming it was that.
The third thing I noticed was how my appetite seemed much more normal. At first it felt like I was hungry all the time, but now it seems like an appropriate hunger feeling. I feel hungry (but still energetic) before breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don’t know if I ever felt normal hunger before.
And finally, I noticed the first week my skin did get a lot better. The acne on the back of my shoulders disappeared and my face stopped getting new pimples. Then, all of a sudden it all came back. I woke up one morning a couple days ago with a fresh batch of acne. Sigh.
If I didn’t have such a crazy reaction when I went off dairy I probably would have added it back into my diet by now, but I want to keep it out a bit longer. I’m not sure if dairy was contributing to nutritional deficiencies (I have read it can block zinc absorption – important nutrient for acne) and I don’t want to take any chances.
I have gotten a lot of help from people commenting here about acne. So I plan on trying a few more things nutritionally before looking into anything else. I’m remembering to take my B-complex more often. It’s a low dose one that I can take a few times a day, so I seem to do ok with it. I’ve added to that a B5 (pantothenic acid) which is supposed to help with acne, hormones and fat metabolism. I also am taking a zinc supplement most days, cod liver oil and fish oil. My next naturopath appointment is this week and I’ll be sure to ask her about other things I can try.