Feeling Good

Factory School Boy Blazer

January 1st always feels like a fresh slate, but I like to think we can all have a clean start every Monday so today I’m challenging you guys to join me on my quest to feel better this month. It’s never too late to start feeling good!

After the holidays I pretty much always feel like a congested, achy blob, so this year I started a little early and the day after Christmas I gave up gluten, dairy, and wine… A random combo, you say? Why yes, it might seem that way from the outside but after years of listening to my body, I’ve learned that when I cut these three things from my diet, I feel my best.

And guess what? I’m feeling good… like really good. And on top of it, I lost the last of my baby weight in the process which was a happy accident.

Here is how I learned that these foods negatively impact me:

About eight years ago I had sinus polyps which meant that I couldn’t taste or smell anything for a year… a YEAR! It was awful and so annoying. I went to a homeopathic doctor who had me cut all gluten, dairy (I was already dairy free), sugar, citrus, alcohol, and caffeine. My polyps started shrinking and my sense of smell started to come back. I ended up getting surgery to remove the polyps because I just wanted to nip it in the bud, but in the process I learned just how much food can impact your health.

Then last year when I was trying to get pregnant, Aimee suggested that I give up gluten and wine (I was allowed vodka and tequila only). After about two weeks, it felt really easy and I had never felt better. I got pregnant a month later after 2 miscarriages and trying for 18 months with no success. Go figure!

I’ve always had sinus issues and when the weather starts to get cold I’m constantly blowing my nose and feeling congested. Ever since I started this January challenge, my sinuses are almost 100% clear. It’s actually mind blowing how much these three food groups (yes wine is a food group) can affect me. Not only do my sinuses feel clear, but my stomach isn’t ever upset, I have more energy, and I’m just plain happier.

Let me break it down…

Gluten Free: I don’t have Celiac Disease and I don’t have a gluten allergy, but I notice that when I go gluten free I feel better and my belly fat (hate that phrase) disappears into thin air. Every time! A lot of the gluten-free alternative foods are packed full of crap so just watch out for that. For gluten-free snack ideas, check out my go-to 15 favorite snacks.

Dairy Free: I was dairy free for 10 years because of what I was pretty sure was a whey allergy (I was always sick as a kid and had constant stomach pain until I finally gave up dairy in my early 20s), but then I got pregnant and started craving cheese so hard that I gave in and just went for it. What was crazy was that I had no issues with it whatsoever when I was pregnant and breastfeeding. Sadly, the second I stopped breastfeeding, it made me pretty violently ill again and made me very stuffed up. Luckily after so much time living a dairy-free life, I am used to it so it’s not hard for me anymore. I do eat ghee, butter, and parmesan cheese which don’t seem to affect me. If you’re looking for ways to cut out dairy, but aren’t sure how, this Dairy-Free Pesto recipe might be a good starting point.

Wine Free: Usually I do dry January but this year I decided that after a dry 9 months, I was going to just ditch the vino. I don’t like beer (it usually has gluten anyway) so I’ve been pretty much sticking to vodka and tequila only if I’m out with friends. If it’s one of those long mom days and I really want a drink, I try my go-to ways to wind down first and usually don’t need one after that.

Ok, so now that I’ve shared my three no-no foods, tell me yours! What can you give up for the next week or two that will make you start feeling good? For more food inspiration, read my three day food diary and check out my recipes page.

J.Crew Velvet Hair Bow / Factory Schoolboy Blazer / Saint James Striped Tee / AG Ripped Jeans / J.Crew Factory Leopard Flats / Cuyana Tote c/o / Julie Vos Coin Necklace

J.Crew Factory Leopard Flats

Julie Vos Coin Necklace J.Crew Velvet Hair Bow Cuyana Tote wore by Julia Dzafic from Lemon Stripes

J.Crew Velvet Hair Bow / Factory Schoolboy Blazer / Saint James Striped Tee / AG Ripped Jeans / J.Crew Factory Leopard Flats / Cuyana Tote c/o / Julie Vos Coin Necklace

Photos by Carter Fish.


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  1. Emily W said:

    Not having a sense of smell is pretty much the worst! I’m sorry you went through that for a year – it’s my day-to-day life (congenital anosmia! yay!), and while I know this wasn’t the point of your post, it definitely makes eating weird.

    1.15.18 · Reply
    • Julia Dzafic said:

      It’s the worst. I’m SO sorry you have to deal with that. I don’t think people can fully understand how hard it is unless they’ve lived it. I wish I could do something to help!

      1.15.18 · Reply
  2. Ryann Carter said:

    Mine are definitly gluten and dairy and egg (like a breakfast egg, not as a minor ingredient). My biggie however is sugar. I have Crohn’s and while the others just make me feel not so well, sugar is a long term buildup Crohn’s trigger. Unfortunately, this is my birthday week and Charleston Restaurant week and I really enjoy eating out and not adhering to my diet then. I try to eat more fish, but if what looks the best is pasta, or they have an amazing looking cheese plate, I’m getting it!

    1.15.18 · Reply
    • Julia Dzafic said:

      I think most people probably have sugar issues, including my husband! I’ve never had a sweet tooth (except when I was pregnant) so that’s actually one thing I don’t usually have to worry too much about thank goodness. Charleston Restaurant Week must be amazing btw. I’m jealous!

      1.15.18 · Reply
  3. Brynn Guster said:

    I’m backing off wine, but I take a different approach at the start of the year and look at what I can add! I add more greens (breakfast), water and apple cider vinegar for example.

    1.15.18 · Reply
    • Julia Dzafic said:

      Love that! I’m writing a guest post for my friend’s blog about 5 things you can add in and ACV is one of them!

      1.15.18 · Reply
  4. Amy said:

    Agree with everything you wrote! Gluten and dairy definitely make me feel sluggish and I noticed the stuffiness and congestion when drinking wine after you mentioned it in another post. Lately I’ve also been trying to limit tomato based sauces and soups because they give me terrible reflux (and usually have unnecessary sugar).

    1.15.18 · Reply
  5. SirQuala O'Smith said:

    Great for U Lass I Quit All Daily Product and Gluten Products And Soy Products I never Drink Anykind of Alcohol in my life Mostly Vegan Food now Except for Fish Turkei and Chicken Gluten Free now Lost of Raw Juices Fruits and Vegetables

    1.16.18 · Reply
  6. Monica Duggan Webster said:

    Love this post! I have been thinking about going dairy free and gluten free for a while now, totally inspired to start!! I too have sinus issues and this could be the trick to feeling better. Thanks Julia, have a great weekend. xo, Monica

    1.19.18 · Reply
  7. Kristie W said:

    Stripes, plaid and leopard – a winning combination!

    1.20.18 · Reply