Mark ~ I’ve recently become dairy-free due to health issues, and it’s been a life-changing experience. I had been having digestive issues for a few months (I’ll spare the details). Occasionally I’d have a really bad sickness that felt like food poisoning but only lasted a few hours, but after looking at the timing and what I’d consumed I couldn’t peg it as a particular type of food causing it all and was beginning to worry that I could have a more serious health issue. After one day where I’d taken in much more dairy than normal and the usual upset stomach et. all forced me to go home sick from work it finally clicked that dairy might be the first thing to cut out …
It was then that I decided to avoid dairy to see what would happen, and the results were startling. After three to four days it was obvious that dairy was the cause of my problems; I had been unaware that I had a pretty strong lactose intolerance and my body was fighting the constant dairy consumption for months, maybe years. The upset stomach issues stopped completely. My trips to the bathroom were greatly reduced and no longer a concern. I felt my energy spike and was surprised to go several days in a row without feeling fatigue. I had often needed to take a 20 minute nap after coming home from work or on a weekend afternoon, but no more.
I also noticed my appetite was stronger and the food I was worried would be bland was tasting better. This led to the most unexpected development, which was the affect on my mouth and throat. I had suffered from excess phlegm and tonsil stones for several years. This problem was so bad that I often had to rinse with mouthwash when I woke up at night because the gag-inducing taste in my mouth was so bad that it would keep me awake if I tried to go back to sleep. The mouth and throat issues also made me feel ill during the day quite often, particularly when a tonsil stone would be in the back of my throat. I always had to have mouthwash and breath mints handy. Doctors didn’t have an answer for me; I went in a couple times when it was really bad and was just prescribed antibiotics. I had looked several times into sinus surgery as well as tonsil removal surgery, as I believed the two to be the culprits of the problem that had plagued me for years. It was unbelievable when after four days of going dairy-free my throat was completely clear, I could get through the night and the day without relying on mouthwash, my mouth just felt clean, and everything was tasting better as well.
It’s a little hard to believe that I will never drink milk or eat cheese or butter again (as well as the thousands of things they seem to be added to), at least the dairy varieties. I know I could take in a little dairy as opposed to the exorbitant amount I had previously eaten and it probably wouldn’t have a noticeable affect on me, but why, especially when my body treats it like poison? It was quite the experience to completely change my diet. My first trip to the grocery store took three times as long, reading labels, being shocked at how many things contain milk, and trying to figure out what my breakfast, side dishes, and dessert were supposed to be now that milk, doughnuts, buttered and cheesy noodles, and cookies were not an option.
But the change in diet has been rewarding as I’ve discovered some great new foods, and without the throat and mouth issues I had in the past old foods taste much better. Because of this I’m enjoying the new diet more than the old. It’s truly been an amazing and life-changing experience due to the health benefits alone. What started out as an experiment to see if I would be a little healthier has had unimaginable benefit, and I’m happy to say I’m now dairy free.