No Milk May

Every May since 2012, I participate in a stupid tradition called No Milk May. It’s not a thing, nor do I hope it ever becomes a thing. I don’t have any supporters and that’s the way I like it.

Because do we even know if milk is good or bad for us? The internet can’t seem to agree on an answer and after spending a small amount of time doing some Medium Rare Google searches, my research looks like this:

photo (17)Milk is bad for your teeth

Point: Milk secretly has a lot of sugar and sugar rots teeth.

Counterpoint: Yeah, but milk’s white and teeth are white, plus calcium so I mean, who knows right?

Milk is unnatural

Point: We are the ONLY mammal that drinks another mammal’s milk. I mean what’s up with that?

Counterpoint: We are also the only mammal that drives cars and plays basketball and are capable of lighting our own farts on fire. All are pretty remarkable achievements.

Milk makes you fat

Point: Studies have shown that milk makes you fat.

Counterpoint: Actually, dairy products have a slimming effect on one’s waistline.

Milk makes your bones weak

Point: Despite common belief, milk doesn’t fight osteoporosis.

Counterpoint: That’s not what my mom told me.

Type in “Milk causes” and my Google bar is ready to fill in the blank with, “Acne, cancer, osteoporosis and mucus.” Type in “Milk fights” and I get, “Cancer, depression and back.” Click on “Milk fights back” and there are thousands of links about #MilkTruth and my favorite slogan ever, “Dairy Aint Scary.”

The pro-dairy vs. anti-dairy war is heated and I don’t mean to stir up a firestorm like I did with escalator etiquette. I know everyone reading this ranges from, “Three Oreos and a glass of milk every night” to “Leave yogurt out of this!” to “I’d rather die of thirst than drink a glass of that stuff” so I’ll proceed with caution.

I do No Milk May for two reasons:

  1. Because that first glass of Oberweis on June 1st tastes incredible.
  2. Because if milk is actually bad for me, this is the best way to abstain.

Disclaimer – I continue to eat cheese and ice cream because, well, come on, let’s not make this too challenging.

Why does the strategy work? 

The problem with attaching an, “I’m not going to eat/drink this anymore” to a New Year’s Resolution or Lent is the stakes are too high.  New Year’s Resolution is a 365 day challenge. Lent has the “I’m going to disappoint God” pressure. The higher the stakes, the harder the resistance fights.

If you read the Cleaning Out the Fridge series, I call this “resistance” the Middle School Monster. If you didn’t read that series, think of this part of the brain as the internal resistance that keeps us from following dreams like writing that novel, training for a 5k or sailing around the world. When you set a lofty goal, the resistance only wants to see it fail.

With No Milk May I start out by agreeing that it’s a stupid idea. The resistance has nothing to fight. This is stupid. I know right? Then why are you doing it? I don’t know, but oh well, I already started it. Within the first week No Milk May gets categorized in the brain as an annoying chore that you don’t want to do but have to do like taking out the trash, cleaning the dishes or wearing pants to work.

For whatever reason, chores are easier to maintain than lofty dreams.

So far I am 3-for-3 and 18 days into the 2015 edition I am doing just fine. And these aren’t close games either. I never pour a glass of milk, sniff it, dip an Oreo before coming to my senses, “Chris, no, what are you doing!”

If you are trying to give up something big, my Medium Rare advice is to not also attach a big occasion to it. Relieve the pressure. No need for the, “I gotta pull my life together” because the resistance will be champing at the bit to keep tearing this ideal new life apart.

Instead, build your own No Milk May; an obligation rather than an inspiration. In the end its amazing how inspiring this uninspired idea can be.

More Medium Rare coming every Monday from here until June 22nd, which will kind of strangely mark the one year mark. End of Season 1 sort of thing. I’ll disappear for a few weeks then to recharge the batteries, but why am I talking about this? Thanks for stopping by. If you want to read some fiction, check out the Cleaning Out the Fridge tab. If you want to subscribe by email, just enter in the box below. See ya next week!

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