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My Breakup with Dairy

I want to start by making it clear that I am not a doctor. I am not a certified nutritionist. This is my personal experience discovering a food sensitivity and how I eliminated it from my diet. In no way is this blog post medical advice. Please consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any medical issues.

Has anyone ever told you that babies are gassy? Newborn babies have underdeveloped stomachs and intestines that can cause a lot of issues. Any air taken in during feeding can get trapped in their tiny tummy and be very uncomfortable (read: lot’s of crying). Fortunately, a lot of this can be avoided with proper burping after every feeding. No one ever told me this, but at least you know now.

As a first time mom trying to figure out breastfeeding, I was panicking that my little babe was fussy all the time. Naturally, because I had no self-confidence, I blamed myself. Google told me that something in my diet was affecting my breastmilk and upsetting Addison’s sensitive stomach.

The four biggest culprits (according to Google) were: dairy, spicy foods, cruciferous vegetables, and chocolate. At three weeks postpartum, I gave it all up to help my baby be comfortable, even it meant no dessert. Addison responded quickly to the removal of those foods. Although, I was still unknowingly eating some things that had butter and dairy byproducts in them, though in small amounts.

After I few months without dairy I noticed some interesting, positive effects:

  • No more cystic acne breakouts.
  • I was no longer depressed.
  • My anxiety became more manageable.
  • Plaque psoriasis patches on my nose, eyebrows, corners of my mouth, and neck disappeared.
  • Seasonal allergies were gone.
  • Asthma symptoms went away.
  • I lost my allergy to avocado (give me alllllll the guac!)

And the weight just fell off. I had struggled with my body size since I stopped dancing at fifteen. It was so cool to watch myself shrink with minimal effort (knowing what I know now about nutrition and the questionable ingredients used to make food shelf stable, this might have been a side effect of eliminating those products).

When I went wedding dress shopping, I tried on sample sizes and some of them had to be clamped tighter to fit properly. Up until that point I was wearing clothes that were too big, not trusting that the “old me” wasn’t going to come back. Addison was around nine months old at the time and I was still dairy free. That was really the point where I put two and two together: maybe dairy was the culprit all of these years. Maybe dairy was keeping me fat, depressed, and miserable.

I am not sure about the exact science behind dairy consumption and inflammation. In fact, there are studies that suggest eating diary as a mildly anti-inflammatory effect. From what I understand, when there is already rampant inflammation, dairy can act like gasoline on a fire. The best way to see if you have a dairy sensitivity is to eliminate it for a month and then add it back and see what happens.

The ultimate confirmation that milk products are a no-go for me was when I gave into some cravings during my second pregnancy. At the beginning of my second trimester I had some really intense cravings for jalapeno cheddar bagels and cream cheese and I caved. I ate one everyday for a week. It was a massive mistake that I’m still paying for. All the inflammation I had spent the last year calming came back, but worse. The acne, the psoriasis, the weight gain (ok, I was pregnant, but my face packed on some pounds), the anxiety and depression, all of it.

And then, as if my body wanted to give me a constant reminder to NEVER DO IT AGAIN, sciatica set in. My right hip started popping whenever I lift my knee. When I get up from a lying or sitting position, there is a deep ache and sometimes a shooting pain from the top of my right butt cheek down the outside of my hip. It made the rest if my pregnancy suck a big fat troll toe. Seriously.

It’s gotten better as I’ve continued to be diligent in keeping my diet free from inflammatory foods. I’ve even cleaned up so many other aspects that the occasional dollop of whipped cream or butter on my steak doesn’t have the same debilitating effects it once did. I can take the kids for long walks without much discomfort.

What has been your experience with dairy? Can you tolerate it? Does it give you issues? Tell me what your journey has been like!

Common forms of dairy

  • Cheese (supposedly Parmesan is lactose free)
  • Milk (nonfat, skim, whole, etc.), milk fat, dry or evaporated milk
  • Cream, heavy cream, whipped cream
  • Whey, whey powder, whey isolate
  • Casein and caseinate
  • Lactose, anything starting with “lact”
  • Butter, butter derivatives, and ghee
  • Yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Cottage Cheese

Follow me on Instagram to @joyandotherthingsblog to see how I’m finding joy today.

3 thoughts on “My Breakup with Dairy”

  1. Hi Cindi! In 2016 I went vegan, and going dairy free drastically improved my breakouts. I’m happy to hear you’re feeling well!

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