Dairy if You Do; Dairy if You Don’t
My name is Lauren, and I work with Mother Earth Products. I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), multiple food sensitivities, food intolerances (gluten and lactose), and arthritis in my knees. I’ve experienced inflammation, constipation, weight retention, and inflation (of my digestive system).
I work with a functional naturopathic nutritionist to heal my gut, bloating, hormones, and to get some traction on feeling better. I follow a Gut Friendly Diet, which removes the most common inflammatory foods from the diet. I am currently living this lifestyle (it’s been tweaked several times based on what my body needs). Since the “Foods to Avoid” list can be long, I’m giving you my personal top 5. This is the second month that I’ve been sharing, and I am excited about tell you all about the second food to avoid.
Studies show that dairy is linked to digestion issues (gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation), mucous overproduction, and brain fog even for those who don’t necessarily have an intolerance. To be clear: a lactose intolerance (per Webmd.com) involves the digestive system, and involves not having the enzyme lactase to digest lactose (the sugar in milk); but a dairy allergy directly involves the immune system, causing allergic symptoms: rashes, wheezing, hives, trouble swallowing, tightness in throat, swelling of lips and face (often), trouble breathing, loss of consciousness, etc.
Lactose intolerance, according to webmd.com, is common among adults. Nearly 30 million Americans have it BY age 20, but it’s more common in those with Asian, African, or Native American heritage. Also, you’re more likely to have it if you have a relative has it, like a mother or grandmother (my case). If you notice a pattern of what you’re eating - and I did when I drank milk, ate ice cream, and had milkshakes – and how your symptoms are showing up afterward (it could be a runny nose, hacking/ productive cough, diarrhea, constipation, brain fog), I recommend you head to your PCP, to get a reference to get yourself tested by a gastroenterologist to see if you have either a dairy allergy or a lactose intolerance.
This doesn’t mean you stop eating cereal (unless the cereal has gluten, like Month 1 talks about) with milk, but change up your milks, and stay away from cow’s milk and cheese. These days, it’s easy to find a good milk substitute (hemp, almond, cashew, coconut [my favorite], etc. I do not recommend soy), and dairy-free/ vegan cheese has come a long way!
Some people don’t even like the taste of the alternative milks, and go straight to the Lactaid type milk. Some will cut it all out forever, no substitutions. Whatever your case may be, and whatever your diet or cravings may be, I heartily recommend you try a few different milks, like in your smoothies (with our sliced strawberries or blueberries) or coffee, and settle on one or two that meets your needs and tantalizes your palate.
Finding a milk can be fun and experimental, and you can also find different recipes, easily, that you can incorporate your newfound milk into.
The other night, I used coconut milk in an Almond Butter Curry Stew, along with our dried chickpeas, dried sliced garlic, dried carrots, dried zucchini, dried bell peppers, and dried chopped onions. I use coconut milk in my smoothies, and when I drank coffee, I used aerated coconut milk. I have also used almond milk in bread recipes, and you can even get coconut milk, soy milk (which I do not recommend), and almond milk in your coffee drinks at most coffee shops now.
Come back next month for the third item I highly recommend you remove from your diet.
“Food is the most important part of a balanced diet.” – Fran Lebowitz