This is me. A normal 20-year-old who suffers from something that is not seen from the outside yet can be completely debilitating – chronic migraines. So many others like me have struggled for years to find a cure for the chronic pain.

As a last ditch effort to get some relief, I decided to cut out something I was eating daily and get allergy tested. Trust me, this decision was not easy because cheese is something I always thought I could never live without, but one month later, I am practically headache-free and loving life.

The Beginning

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Photo by Ellie Zumstein

Don’t get me wrong, this month has been quite the struggle. In the beginning, I thought the cravings would kill me. Learning what to order when going out to eat, making sure everything I ate contained zero dairy and just sitting and watching people around you eat it was torture.

I started small, replacing those bowls of cereals with rice milk (verrry different than my reg 2%) and taking that good cheese off of everything. I think through this whole process that the lack of cheese has been the hardest part. I think I went through actual withdrawals.

Having a slight headache every day was getting extremely old which is what prompted me to start this journey. After two weeks I was feeling results, my headaches were only a few days a week with minimal pressure. This slight relief was what kept me pushing through the rest of the month to see how much better it could get.

The New Normal

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Photo by Elizabeth Faile

Reality hit me like a train, my life as a food lover was officially changed for good. I would forever be asking if things were cooked with butter, contained dairy and spending a little bit more on food. Those were things that make it hard for me to commit to this in the beginning but now me and dairy are donezo, ties cut, never, never getting back together.

Getting past the little things was the hardest and then it was smooth sailing. I started buying more fruits,veggies and following a diet similar to Whole30.  The guidelines to this diet have been helpful in the process of eliminating foods that shouldn’t be in my diet anymore.

To Be Continued

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Photo by Elizabeth Faile

There is no ending to this because this diet change is something I’ll be keeping for the rest of my life. As this month has passed, I have found myself with more energy than ever and feeling healthier than before. I have read a lot about the unhealthy things that can be found in dairy products and I can say my body is very happy I no longer consume them.

My digestive tract has been better than it has ever been, so yes, I poop a lot. Many dairy products are very rich in fats so one month without them has meant 12 pounds of lost weight for me #winning. The last positive effect I have seen to this change is that my daily headaches I typically experience are almost gone.

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Gif courtesy of tumblr.com

As I mentioned above, I did get allergy tested to see if I was actually allergic to diary and that is what was causing my headaches. Guess what? I am NOT allergic to it. So how have I experienced all those positive effects and not be allergic? Because most people are intolerant  to gluten, dairy, egg or many other foods and don’t know it because intolerance doesn’t show up on an allergy test. So for people who have the same problems I have experienced, keep that in mind.

Easy Substitutions

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Photo by Elizabeth Faile

For those reading this, I know the only thing you are actually thinking about is, what the hell do you eat then? Well, I’ll be honest, it’s not impossible to be dairy-free. Cereal is one of my favorite things to munch on at any given time of day so milk is very important for me, and rice milk is the alternative of my choice.

There have been recent studies about health concerns of almond milk and soy milk so I would highly recommend rice milk. There are so many options out there of things to eat that don’t contain dairy and you can still get some dank eats.

Conclusion

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Photo by Elizabeth Faile

So to recap this past month, it’s been amazing to see how my body has reacted to something as simple as dairy being taking away. We have all heard the horror stories about why everyone should cut out dairy and for me, it has only been a positive experience. Your willpower is going to be at an all-time high when all your friends get the craving for extra cheesy pizza but power through it is worth it.

I have been drinking milk since birth and now I am happier without it. The habits that I have formed over the past month have set me up for a lifetime of a healthier lifestyle and a life with less headaches. So for all migraine sufferers out there, there’s hope.