Could Dairy Be The Cause Of Your Symptoms?
The great dairy debate. Should you or shouldn't you drink milk or eat dairy?
Personally, I don't drink dairy milk and I don't eat ice cream. They leave a film in my mouth, an aftertaste and I end up spotty and bloated. I haven't completely been able to remove cheese from my life yet, I don't buy it however I do find myself gravitating towards a cheese platter at a party! Always regretting it after.
There are two sides to this debate (the one I am having here with myself): you could be removing dairy because you are vegan and don't ingest animal products or it may be an intolerance to lactose that you have recognised or had tested, so you no longer eat it.
However, there are many of us walking around with symptoms that are are related to dairy intake that we could be either happily ignoring the reality of these symptoms because a lot of us are 'addicted' to dairy and find it hard to give up. Researchers have found that the casein, or protein fragments, found in cheese triggers the opioid receptors to release opiates called casomorphins, which create a calming effect the same way heroin and morphine do.
And before you tell me you need dairy for calcium, I have a rebuttal for you - dairy is not the ONLY source of calcium as it is widely found in, and sufficiently absorbed from, dark leafy greens, almonds, sesame seeds, chia, hemp milk and tofu.
Nature always supports us, the only thing in the way is our opinions and beliefs, so do take your time to research when there are multiple views on a food source so that you have all of the information you need to make the right choice for you, and also be open to listen to what your body is telling you by experimenting with and without certain ingredients to know what you are able to ingest and thrive on the most.
So here are the symptoms you may be experiencing that could potentially be driven by including dairy in your diet.
Spotty skin / acne - if you have acne or experience sudden flare ups, dairy may be causing this. Many teens, and even adults, can be impacted by this. No one feels good with having spotty skin, however it does take time and discipline in this area, particularly as skin conditions require elimination and gut and liver work, which can be done with food and herbal support.
PMS symptoms - dairy causes inflammation, which may be exacerbating symptoms leading up to, and during, your bleed. Removing dairy may improve by the next cycle, however with your reproductive cycle you really need at least 3-months to see the full picture. Working with your Naturopath and Nutritionist with a full diet elimination protocol and herbal tonic support can really work wonders in this area.
Bloating and digestive issues - some men think they have a 'beer belly' but it could possibly be a dairy belly! Dairy may also be a contributor to issues such as constipation and diarrhoea. It's worth keeping notes on how your body responds 24-48 hours after, but if you are having it everyday that may be harder to pinpoint. This is where a diet diary and working with a Nutritionist can help.
Respiratory and / or reoccurring illnesses - dairy is mucus forming leading to respiratory illnesses that just 'don't go away properly', with many children in particular finding it difficult to give up milk, which may be leading to a cold that doesn't seem to shift.
Seasonal allergies - a seasonal allergy is just that, caused by the season, however you may find that removing dairy improves these symptoms. Supporting the immune system will also improve your body's response, so if this is something you experience every year, make a move to get support with a Naturopath before your symptoms strike.
These are the main areas that I see clients and patients experience symptoms that improve when dairy is removed. The sticking point for most is in being consistent in removing the triggers so that we can be sure what is actually causing, or exacerbating, these symptoms for you.
Natural remedies and food elimination can take time and this is something that many struggle with. Dairy is an issue for the majority rather than the minority, however you don't know what your body needs until you go with an elimination, healing and reintroduction process.
When you work with your body to support its innate processes, you need to decide that you are willing to give it the time it needs, which is where a Naturopath and Nutritionist comes in, especially if you are finding it difficult to stick to a program or unsure what your body is really telling you.
Some of us can see significant changes within 2-weeks of giving up a food that triggers us, however for many this is a complex dance that requires us to heal and seal the gut, improve liver function and then support and regulate the hormones, which is where a Naturopath and Nutritionist can be of great service, providing the ongoing care and support as you work together with YOUR body and its unique needs.
There are many ways to ensure that you are getting the right nutrients for your body, whilst also feeling like you aren't missing out on your favourite foods. Sometimes it can take a little while to get used to a new food, like a coconut latte, but with the right support you will find that your body starts to thrive and you stop thinking about the other food, realising that you no longer need it and you no longer have to fight that 'urge' to have it.
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