Dairy Free Diet to beat my disease

Hey, I’m really glad you liked last week’s “personal note”, so my plan is to write more of these for you. 

This week, I want to share a funny, yet hopefully inspiring story about my “disease” that’s motivating me to go on a dairy-free diet in February.

It all started with my swollen fingers.

For the last three years starting in mid-November, my index and middle fingers on my right hand would begin to swell.

I actually thought I had an infection, but I didn’t do anything about it until this Christmas.

You see, I had this bright idea that I was going to ice my fingers. But doing so only made it worse.

On Christmas morning it looked like I had two sausages on myhand instead of fingers. They were plumped up to almost double the normal size.

So I went to the doctor, again, expecting him to tell me that it was a strange infection.

Instead, he took one very brief look at them and said, “You have Raynaud’s“.

That’s a phenomenon (not quite an official disease) that causes me to have cold hands. Even as I type this in my hotel room in Florida, my hands are really, really cold.

And when winter comes to Canada, the cold causes my fingers to swell up – because my fingers are trying to get more blood to the area.

Pretty weird story. Funny too, considering that my silly decision to ice them only made the problem much, much worse.

So…fast forward to my trip to Miami in early January, and Iwas talking to Dr. Peter Osborne, a functional medicine specialist who is also known as the Gluten-Free Warrior of www.GlutenFreeHealthSolution.com.

Doc Osborne suggested I remove dairy from my diet to see if this would help reduce the inflammatory response of my body that might be contributing to the swelling.

At the time, my diet was hard-core gluten free, and remains that way today. But I decided to wait until February 1st to start my monthly challenge of going dairy-free.

(I’m also doing TWO other new physical challenges that I’ll tell you about next week. They are both working out great, so stay tuned.)

Eating dairy-free shouldn’t be too difficult. The only dairy in my diet these days is whey protein and butter, with the odd serving of Greek yogurt.

And I had already cut out drinking chocolate milk after workouts because I’m trying to avoid an ingredient called “carageenan”, a
gum-like substance you’ll find in way too many food products.

On the road, it’s easy to eat dairy free. I avoid cheese in my omelets or on salads, avoid butter, etc. When I return home to Toronto next week, I’ll switch out my whey protein and try using egg white protein or hemp protein in my blender drinks instead.

For example, Friday’s meal plan went like this.

I ended a 16 hour fast at 10am with Athletic Greens, an apple and 2oz raw almonds.

Lunch at the hotel was a chicken breast, some pork tenderloin, spinach salad, and roast vegetables.

That was followed by snack of 2oz of roasted and salted almonds along with some dried fruit (apricots, raisins, etc.)

Finally, I had dinner with over two dozen fitness experts, including John Romaniello, Shawna Kaminski, Joel Marion,
Yuri Elkaim, Flavia and Vince Del Monte, Dan Long, Adam Steer, and my best friend in the fitness industry, Jason Ferruggia and his amazing wife Jen, plus many others, at Parkshore Grill in St. Petersburg, Florida.


It was a great night and the big meal consisted of tuna tartar, salad with pecans and cranberries (no dressing or blue cheese), grilled chicken breast with mixed vegetables, and mixed berries (no cream) for dessert.

So that’s my current challenge – no dairy for a month. This will also help me stay away from the dreaded chocolate covered almonds that are my dietary Achilles heel.

Sunday I’ll be at Joel Marion’s Superbowl party, and last year John Romaniello and I must have ate 200 chocolate covered
almonds between the two of us.

I did notta feela so good after that, let me tell you.

That’s another reason why I delayed the dairy-free experiment until February – because I knew it would help me get through the Superbowl without overdosing on those treats.

It will be interesting to see if the no-dairy diet helps prevent my fingers from swelling up in the cold since I’ll be up in the cold weather of Canada for the next two weeks (starting Monday night when I return home).

During that time I’ll be walking ol’ Bally the Dog outside for about two hours each day. And even with a pair of warm mitts, this is enough to make my fingers turn into what looks like pale white versions of those little breakfast sausages.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

If you want to follow along with my daily diet, you can do so at: 


So my friend, that’s my plan and I’m going to stay strong and go for it and stick to it. 

Just like you are going to stay strong and keep on pushing towards your own goals, right?

Though we might have different struggles, we’re in this together.

Right? Right. 

And my final words of wisdom to you are this:

So much can be accomplished with a long term vision and resilience to short term setbacks.

Not every problem is conquered overnight, but if you persist and never give in, you will succeed.

And by the way, don’t let anyone’s criticism stop you from going after and achieving your goals and dreams.

I know a lot of TT readers struggle with this, so remember:

It’s easier to deal with criticism & attacks when you see the criticism and attacks for  what they really are…that they are ways for the attacker to protect themself from whatever it is that they are lacking…whether it is talent, courage to act, integrity, or confidence in themselves.

Criticism/attacks “on you” are not really an offensive tactic, but a defensive tactic by the criticizer to protect their own ego.

Once you understand that, you kind of feel sorry for the attacker, and you can laugh off/brush off the negativity & keep marching on strong.

We are all here to support one another.

See you over at www.TransformationContest.com.

You rock!

Stay Strong and get stronger,

Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer