Even though the Paleo and Vegan peeps both shun dairy, I was convinced that I had the Northern European gene that had adapted to dairy and so basically was immune to all the supposed negative effects that plague others.
I would have cheese in my vege soup, make vege nachos, eat feta and haloumi cheese, make cheesecake with cream cheese, enjoy my cheesy crisps and Greek yoghurt – good for probiotics right? Fair to say, I would have some portion of dairy every day. I didn’t drink milk as I didn’t feel good after it, but had coconut cream instead and all was well for the longest time.
Then I did the skinny maninny detox – read about that here.
One of their recommendations after you finish the detox is not to have dairy for at least a few days afterwards, giving your body a chance to get back into solid food. I did most of the things they recommended and wasn’t sure why dairy in particular was singled out, however given that I am generally ok with dairy, I didn’t think breaking that rule would be a biggie.
Boy was I in for a big surprise!
We had lunch with friends and I had a very sensible salmon and vege dish and my hubby suggested we share an apple pie with ice-cream. Sure it was sugar laden too but I had about two spoonfuls and thought nothing more of it.
This is one of the classic symptoms of dairy intolerance. At the time I didn’t link it at all but thought I might have been catching a cold or something. (Rare occurrence, as I never get sick.)
That night I had vege soup with about 3 cubes of cheese in it and all seemed well.
Next morning I awoke with the worst headache and tell tale sinus pain right across my face. Another huge classic symptom of dairy intolerance.
It totally spun me out! What was happening? I was supposed to be immune to this stuff?!
And even though on a daily basis I may not feel like it is affecting me, obviously it does. This is one of the ways they test for food allergies, to go without it, then reintroduce it and see what happens. So all this pain and mucus happened!
So of course that lead me to read more about it and through articles, comments and message boards, these are the symptoms/diseases that everyone reported:-
Congestion of sinus
Headaches caused by sinus
Ovarian & Prostate cancer
Affects energy levels
Stiffness in joints
ADD & ADHD
Casein milk protein causes cancer
Softening of bones
Affects hormones & contributes to excess estrogen
Crazy right? Hardly a healthy food for many people and look at the last one – hormones again! If you have read my stuff before you know I am sensitive to that stuff because of a family history of breast cancer caused by estrogen dominance.
So I just can’t go there.
Stands to reason that milk would be full of the cow’s natural hormones as they produce the milk for their offspring after being pregnant. A totally hormone charged time.
Many reported a decrease to disappearance of all period pain and breast tenderness/soreness when they reduced or removed dairy from their diet. And I totally experienced the same thing. (So you mean I’ve suffered every month for all these years for nothing???)
One story on the net described that the body holds approximately 3 quarts of mucus at any one time around organs and blocking the respiratory system. So that’s about 2.8 litres. I wondered how much that was in kilograms for those interested to know how many extra kilos that means they are carrying, and I kept coming up with explanations that you can’t convert a volumetric measure to weight. And I thought to myself, sure you can, I’m not building a rocket here, just approximate weight would do.
I whacked a 2-litre carton of milk on the kitchen scales. So allowing for the fact that we are talking about nearly 3 litres here, that worked out to be nearly 4 kgs (8lbs) that you are carrying around unnecessarily.
If this true and the fact that milk is designed for babies to grow in the fastest possible time, stands to reason that dairy is super bad for weight loss.
So in any case, obviously I was ready to absorb all this information and apply it to my life now – even though I have read it quite a few times before to no avail.
Now dairy will move from daily for me into the sometimes pile of maybe cheese once a week, if that. And butter, which is 80% fat anyway and full of great fat-soluble vitamins. The problematic milk solids only make up a small portion of both of these. Also I try and get organic or grass fed where possible to maximise any nutrient content.
So another huge awakening for me. What has been your experience with dairy?
PS: since writing this I have explored Dr Ray Peat’s work more and he and others advocate that dairy is anti–inflammatory and one of the best protein and all round great foods you can have! Say what?
How can it be both? Will report back in a future post!
Update 2020 – I have embraced dairy again but definitely found I have a tolerance limit. I have of a total of two cups a day of any type of dairy. After that point I can feel negative effects but the calcium and other benefits are too good to give it away altogether. Read more in the Zen Beach Diet and this article.