I am writing this blog so I can come back here and remember next time I'm tempted to eat dairy.
Last night, after a day of particularly healthy eating, I had the SMALLEST amount of grated parmesan cheese on my dinner... literally, just like .1 oz., but that was enough to set off my intolerance symptoms. And they were awful. Today, I am still feeling awful. I'm so mad at myself, because it was completely avoidable. I knew I shouldn't do it, but I let my mind trick me into thinking a little bit wouldn't hurt. As it turns out, when it comes to me and dairy protein, a little bit hurts, a lot.
Parmesan is lactose-free, so there's no way I'm just lactose-intolerant. It's almost entirely casein protein... and, apparently, my body hates it. It's either an allergy, or an intolerance, or something else. I've read a few things online about fibromyalgia sufferers who avoid dairy and find some relief, so I am beginning to wonder if it might be that. Either way, it's bad for me, and I can't let it happen again. I just want to feel like a person again.
I REFUSE to let it happen again.
So here is a list of reasons why I can't eat dairy:
1. It gives me a "brain fog" which interferes with my ability to study or focus on anything.
2. It makes me feel fatigued, sore, depressed, and irritable.
3. Digestive symptoms: bloat, constipation, occasionally sharp pains.
4. It interferes with my ability to do physical activity -- every muscle in my body is cramped and tight and painful, as if I had just done a 5 hour strength training workout or something (and no amount of stretching or massage makes it go away, I just have to wait it out for the next 2-3 days).
5. The pain keeps me up at night, and the lack of sleep makes the pain worse.
6. I get very emotional, very anxious, and I have panic attacks.
7. I tend towards emotional eating when I feel like this, because I just want to feel better so badly, and I feel like cooking is impossible, so I always want to order take out or delivery.
8. All I want to do is sleep, so I blow off appointments and classes and end up sleeping much longer than usual in an attempt to repair my muscles.
9. I gain 5 lb overnight from water retention, and it tends not to go away very quickly (it takes at least a week of good eating, good sleep, and exercise for it to go back to my pre-dairy weight).
That is what happens to me every time I eat dairy, and it's counterproductive for my weight loss efforts, as well as my health in general.
So, after reading all of that, I hope my future-self will make the right choice and avoid that sprinkling of parmesan, that shredded cheese on my salad, that dollop of "healthy" greek yogurt on my potato, or those questionable restaurant foods which possibly contain dairy.
There is one exception to this rule: Ghee. It's made of butter that has been clarified to get rid of the proteins, so it's pure butterfat, and it doesn't bother me at all. It's the only dairy that doesn't seem to set off the symptoms above. This is the brand I buy:
I like using it on vegetables, eggs, and in curries. Grass-fed butter and ghee is a great source of K2 and CLA, so I'm glad that I can still incorporate it into my diet.
I'll be OK in a few days... and hopefully, re-reading this blog will keep it from happening again.
Sources which helped me realize I'm not alone in my experience:
"Dairy-free = Pain-free:" www.godairyfree.o
"A Massage Therapist's Experience With Dairy and Muscle Tension:" bodytechnician.co
"Allergic Tension Fatigue Syndrome: "