Several years ago I began to experience some mysterious symptoms. Despite following a diet rich in vegetables and good quality proteins and fats, I began experiencing joint pain, unexplainable exhaustion and terrible swelling and cracking skin around different areas of my body, especially my face and hands!
In upcoming blog posts, I hope to share with you my journey from this mystery autoimmune condition and the things I did to heal myself, but in this post I will share why I gave up dairy – after years of swearing that I was perfectly fine on it. And why I have stayed off dairy since.
Some of us may do better than others on dairy, and while some people have some more severe symptoms than others, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other things happening in the body that we aren’t yet aware of.
My background in holistic nutrition always made me question dairy consumption; On one hand there are those that claim that if you can tolerate fermented dairy and raw dairy it is an incredibly healthy food rich in calcium, vitamins, healthy fats and proteins. On the other hand if you can’t tolerate dairy, it can be behind many symptoms, such as excess mucus in the body, inflammation in the joints, stomach pain, rashes, constipation.
The question is, why are some of us ok on dairy and others not? Is this even something to debate? Is dairy even good for any of us?
After going through my own personal health issues, I realise that the body doesn’t always tell us things in the most obvious ways. What I mean by that dairy many be one of the triggers in a cascade of triggers that is leading you to not feel your best. For example you may be experiencing symptoms that you aren’t aware of. Perhaps your lack of energy, lethargy, anxiety, malabsorption of nutrients, your unknowing sluggish liver, are all being exacerbated by dairy consumption.
According to Anthony William, author of Medical Medium, dairy feeds many forms of unhealthy bacteria and viruses in the body. In the book, The Medical Medium he speaks about the Epstein Barr virus that many of us have either dormant in our body, or alive and wreaking havoc in your body. If it dormant, it may be waiting for that perfect moment when we are overly stressed, sleep deprived, dealing with emotional turmoil, to invade. If it is alive and wreaking havoc, it could be what’s behind mysterious symptoms, hypo or hyperthyroidism, and countless other autoimmune conditions. Epstein Barr feeds on dairy making it stronger to continue to attach your body.
So do you run to your doctor and get tested for lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy? You could but that may not really give you the answers you want. Like me, you may not be diagnosed with an allergy to dairy, but still do so much better without it.
Whether you are dealing with an autoimmune disease, like I was, or could simply use more energy in your day, better skin, better digestion, less bloating, then you have the power to see if eliminating dairy could bring more wellness into your life.
Eliminate it and see how you feel without it for yourself. Remove it from your diet for 6 weeks and document your experience in a journal. Ask questions such as: How is my energy level today? How are my bowel movements today? Am I bloated today? How do my clothes fit around my waist line today? …It’s a very powerful feeling taking your health into your own hands and discovering what foods make you feel great and which you want to stay away from!
Now, I know that giving up dairy is not easy. For me it certainly was! There was a time I actually said “there is absolutely no way I would ever give up dairy” …but hey, it’s now been 5 years and I can honestly say I crave it maybe once a year.
The key is to replace dairy in your day with other foods that taste good and are nourishing. Switch your morning yogurt or cottage cheese for chia pudding, your creamer in your coffee for almond milk, your cheese on your salads for nuts and seeds…the idea is that there are other options.
Here’s a really easy to make Cashew Cheese recipe that I love to make. You can use it as pizza topper, have it with crudite, spread it on anything really!
Cashew Cheese Recipe
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 garlic clove, finely minced (or a roasted garlic clove (this makes it extra yummy!)
½ teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
¼ cup water (approximately)
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and water of necessary.
Certified Health Coach
CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach
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