I mentioned on Twitter recently that I have seen some improvements in my physical health since I became vegan. This lifestyle has always been beneficial for the environment and for the animals, but I wonder how many other people have experienced health benefits like I have? I decided to share a little more about the advantages I’ve noted since knocking dairy on the head.
As a baby my parents struggled with my skin. It was always red raw and sore. Back in the 70’s there certainly wasn’t the information around regarding allergies and intolerance as there is now, but seemingly my folks were told to stop giving me cows milk. Instead it was replaced with goats milk and my skin improved in time. For whatever reason, as I got older cows milk was reintroduced into my diet. My skin suffered as a result over the years. My gran, a woman who believed in using natural remedies, would thick my skin in olive oil and give me tinctures to heal this affliction. Once I hit puberty that’s when the fun really started..
My skin became so bad, especially on my face, that I took to wearing make-up at the age of 12 to mask the sores. I’d wear long sleeve tops and tights, even in the middle of summer, to hide the marks on the creases of my body. Visit after visit to the doctors and to see specialists never gave me any relief. I was using steroid creams every day. The doctor gave me tablets and chalked it up to hormones. My fragile ego was battered by people at school asking if I had scurvy or impetigo. I felt embarrassed to go out with friends after school and self-conscious in lessons about drawing attention to myself. I felt I couldn’t be any more ‘ugly’ than I already was and had a negative relationship with food where I’d binge and purge.
Thankfully after a few years my skin started to improve, especially on my face, but the physical and mental scars remained. My skin continued to flare up and I’d visit the doctors for a course of creams. At no point did anyone say to me that dairy could have been the cause. There were never offers from the GP of allergy testing or food diaries kept. Instead I just thought that my skin was one of those things I had to learn to live with.
As I’ve written about in the past, my initial reasons for becoming vegan were environmental. I wrote about it when I initially took the Veganuary challenge and you can read about them here. I also briefly mention about my skin condition. Eliminating dairy was hugely beneficial to my skin and to improving my IBS. Stress will sometimes trigger both ailments, but they aren’t a daily presence in my life anymore.
My skin has dramatically improved. I rarely get spots and my face looks fresher than it has done in years. I’m often told I don’t look my 39 years – although I’m not sure I agree with that – and I don’t feel like I’m approaching alleged middle age. Long gone are the steroid creams and tablets I took to control my skin. I feel sad no-one connected the dots when I was younger about my issues with dairy, but I guess things are different now. Medicine has moved on and now there are many well documented studies on the link between well being and the food we eat. With so many great plant based alternatives widely available I think anyone struggling with gastric discomfort or skin conditions could try cutting dairy out of their diet to see if it makes a difference. On a very basic level we weren’t supposed to consume our own mothers milk after we were weaned, so why is it ‘ok’ for us to chug on that of another species in adulthood?
You may agree or disagree on this but I’d love to hear from others who are contemplating the switch or those who have had positive benefits from veganism, too.
Thanks for reading,