15,000-19,999 SparkPoints 19,076

Ditching Dairy

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Not by choice, but because I seem to be sensitive or allergic. I had noticed in the last few weeks that some of the symptoms I had left behind since giving up wheat and then grains were returning. In particular a bloated feeling after eating, some stiffness in my feet when getting up, but most of all a higher resting pulse, higher heart rate at lower levels of exercise, poor sleep in spite of going to bed early etc.
At first I thought the reason was caffeine that I was not used to any more and one day I had 3 cups of decaf and a hot chocolate. But after a week of experimenting it turned out that it was indeed the dairy that affects me.
Today was my second dairy-free day and my pulse is about 20 beats lower for a comparable activity level, my resting pulse is 25 beats lower.
I would never had made the connection if I did not run with a heart rate monitor (using the Maffetone method to prepare for a Half-marathon in early March).
One day after a big dairy breakfast I started my warm-up and just walking brought my heartrate up to 115, normal would be in the 90's. I thought that maybe I was getting an infection or cold but nothing of that kind happened. That day I realized that I could just wear my heart rate monitor around the clock for a few days and see how my body was doing. So for the next few days I observed how my body responded to temperature, rest, caffeine and dairy. Everytime I ate dairy I felt bloated within an hour and my pulse went up within about 2 hours.
The last 2 days have been interesting. I was a little concerned about giving up dairy because I love cheese, cream cheese, butter and cream as well as home-made ice cream. I had already given up grain and legumes and sugar.
But the strategy that helped me to give up grains worked well so far: finding substitutes for the things I like. I had almond milk with my fruit and nuts in the morning yesterday, today I tried coconut milk. I had canned coconut milk in my decaf. Instead of cheese, for which I don't think there are very good substitutes, I had uncured salami, eggs or bacon. I also bought a 10 lb box of macadamia nuts that will be one of my favorite snacks. I've started drinking broth and herbal teas more. Keeping the carbs quite as low as I want to is going to be a little harder but I stayed under 50 grams the last two days.
So I guess now I can say that I am officially going paleo as well as low-carb.
I'm beginning to wonder if my thyroid issues may have been in part related to the dairy as well. I may still consider trying to reintroduce at least raw dairy again in the future and/or get allergy testing but for now skipping dairy is not as difficult as I thought.
I would love to hear from anyone what your best strategies are to stay away from dairy.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Once again, THANK YOU... I had read the stuff on Weston Price a while ago (it's what got me really thinking about the milk issue), but I hadn't thought to check for a local chapter of the Foundation. This may help me in my search.

    I'm in Canada... and a province away, possibilities for raw milk abound... which means a 16 hour drive round trip twice a week... not doable. Here... nobody's talking yet, LOL!

    So, in your experience, raw milk hasn't made any diffference? Is your raw milk from exclusively grass/hay fed cows? Were you making our own cheeses and yogurt as well as the ice cream?
    1806 days ago
    I'm a lot like you, and I've been eating 'primal' for that reason... I really didn't think I had a problem with dairy. It's only recently that I'm noticing that I seem to be reacting to dairy as well. My theory is that as my body sorts itself out I may find that I can notice other subtle reactions as well... when I started down this path I was one huge reaction, so discerning one thing from another was nearly impossible. Along with the dairy, my nightshade sensitivity is much more obvious.

    Conversely, I'm also hoping that as I experience more and greater healing (two years down the road... I'm patient, LOL), that there are foods I may be able to reintroduce.

    Also, as far as dairy goes, I'm not yet giving up entirely... I am giving up the real baddies, but keeping things like homemade yogurt, kefir and heavy cream (home cultured and fermented seems to not incite a reaction), minimally processed cheese (I look for super clean products... I seem to react less to unripened cheeses, and even less so to the really expensive stuff, LOL... 'Christmas' cheese didn't bother me, but our every day cheese does). Also, if you make Ghee from your butter (removes the milk solids), I suspect there is less a reaction, if any... so you get the richness and flavour, but not the troublesome components.

    Do you have the book 'Nourishing Tradtions'? I find it incredibly helpful and supportive... SO MUCH MORE than a cookbook:


    I'm also curious about the difference between grain/grass-fed and raw/pasterized dairy products... I'm trying to find a source of grass-fed raw milk to see if I still react. As you can imagine, since farmers can be jailed/bankrupted for selling raw milk, this is not easy, but I'm getting closer!

    Making GHEE:

    1807 days ago
  • RUSSELL_40
    I am not sure what people mean when they say dairy. I eat eggs which I buy in the dairy, and I don't have any issues with butter, but cheese I have to limit. I don't drink milk, eat yogurt etc. because it makes it harder for me to breath due to excess phlegm being created. I also try to avoid lactose, and fructose, which are sugars. So not much dairy.

    I have felt better with longer aged cheeses, and heard they have almost no lactose, but love cheddar, so I have it rarely, and in 2 oz doses.
    1813 days ago
    Thanks for this, Birgit. Glad you were able to isolate the problem. I'm going to try the heart rate test and see what happens. I ate some yogurt in the evening and had poor sleep and terrible morning congestion so, I suspect I am going to have to forgo the dairy, too. Have you ever tried the chia-piocca to replace yogurt to have with fruit/nuts? We make it with 1/4 cup white chia seeds and 1 small can of coconut milk, 1 tsp vanilla or you can add spices like cinnamon if you like. I sometimes add extra unsweetened coconut as well. You stir it well then let it sit for several hours in the fridge. Best if eaten within 2 days.
    1814 days ago
    Brigit you are correct. The allergy symptoms WILL cause an elevated heart rate. There is a test (Coca Pulse Test) that you take your pulse before and after eating anything you suspect and if it is elevated you have an issue. I personally find my pulse immediately going up after eating dairy, within minutes. If you are less sensitive it might take some time. I also feel my intestines rebelling within minutes...even though it is not in there yet! Dairy can be an addictive substance as well just like wheat, and for me it is worse than wheat! I just can't seem to shake it for good! PS I also get dandruff, sebhorrehic dermatitis and perioral dermatitis from it. It resolves if I stay off a good amount of time.
    1814 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/31/2013 5:50:31 PM
    Just to clarify, I don't know why my heart rate went down exactly but assume that an allergy/sensitivity to dairy causes inflammation which leads to a raised heart rate. It might be worth experimenting with for people who think they might be sensitive to dairy. I assume that inflammation can affect any part of the body incl. hormone-producing glands and any organs and the brain, all of thich could affect heart rate. Other people may have totally different symptoms as a result of dairy intolerance. emoticon
    1814 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/31/2013 12:59:20 PM
    Interesting blog! I've been trying to stick only with fermented dairy and less dairy overall, but can't seem to give up cream in my coffee. The coconut creamer isn't the same, but I might have to give the canned stuff a try, or just learn to like black coffee. I really love the almond/coconut blend milk that comes in the 1/2 gallon milk cartons. Really good with paleo granola! Well done on figuring out what was at the root of the issues you were experiencing.
    1815 days ago
    Thanks, I hadn't made the association before either....I'll read up more about it!
    1815 days ago
    I had no idea that dumping dairy could lower your heart rate. Thanks for the post!
    1815 days ago
  • LINDY2013
    I am drinking almond milk...I use SILK Pure Almond unsweetened Original...it is 30 calories a cup, and I use it in my cereal, or when I make a Greek Yogurt/Strawberry smoothie in my blender (yum)
    1815 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.