You had a stressful day at work and you just wanted to treat yourself to your favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. On the drive home you begin the mental debate “should I take that gamble?” You think about the last time you had dairy and rationalize why this time won’t be as bad. That last time was just an fluke. So you take the leap, go to the store, and buy your ice cream. Already starting to regret your decision, you take that first bite. You wait a couple seconds waiting and listening for your stomach to let you know how your night is going to be. After awhile you finish your bowl and you lay on the couch and settle in for a nice night… Then it happens.. your stomach comes alive!. You sit up right away clutching your stomach and your doing the dash down the hall.
Sound familiar? Many people deal with a dairy sensitivity today. If you are someone that personally struggles with this issue, you’re in luck. It can be fixed!
First let me go over what milk is. As you already know, milk comes from mammals. Milk from cows, sheep, and goats have great nutritional value. Milk contains magnesium, potassium, selenium, and vitamins A,B,D,and K, as well as high levels of Calcium. Whole milk contains about 87 % water, 4.6 percent lactose (sugar), 3.4 % protein, and 4.2 percent fat ( about 70 % saturated fat, 25% monounsaturated fat, and then less than 2% is polyunsaturated fat). Did you know that higher milk consumption has been linked to lower body fat, lower levels of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), improved bone density, bone mass, and healthier teeth?
Something to keep in mind..
The media, cultural morals, and the way we were raised, have all had major influence on our thoughts and beliefs about nutrition. From time to time it’s good to step back and question or test the beliefs that we have taken on through the years.
When reading research relating to nutrition and health, we should ask what alternative possibilities are being neglected for “practical” reasons, cultural preferences, and business interests.
For example those who pay for research are those with an investment in or a commitment to the preservation and expansion of the existing systems of production and distribution. Producing a cheap product, and ensuring its durability and long shelf-life are more important than the effects of these foods on your health. The biggest companies are usually able to keep public attention away from the harm they do. Dairy products definitely fall under this category.
Where does the intolerance come from?
Some people with digestive milk issues have found just changing brands have helped with their problem. Milk with a reduced- fat content is required by U.S. law to have vitamins D & A added. The methods used in the vitamin preparation, and the chemicals that come in the “pure” vitamins themselves, are possible sources of allergens in commercial milk. So when choosing a milk, whole milk would actually be a better option as it commonly found to be less irritating amongst my clients.
A thickening agent found in many dairy products is carrageenan. It is a powerful allergen that has been found to cause a “pseudo-latex allergy” (Tarlo, et al.,1995). Carrageenan has given good reasons to believe that its toxic effects are the result of the human body having issues with metabolizing calcium. (see for example Abdullahi, et al., 1975; Halici, et al., 2008; Janaswamy and Chandrasekaran, 2008).
In my experience with people, I find the common problem of digesting dairy is actually a sugar sensitivity. Lactose, or milk sugar, requires the enzyme lactase to digest properly. A hormonal condition that may contribute to someone having a lactase deficiency is being deficient in progesterone. A lack of progesterone in the body can come from stress and an increase of estrogen and cortisol. When this happens, a common problem is that the production of the enzyme lactase decreases. When a person is deficient in the enzyme lactase, symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas and more severe distress for some, such as a “shards of glass” feeling in the intestines. Lactase is produced in the microvilli of the small intestine, and is released once lactose enters the intestines. The problem starts when the gut and intestines become inflamed and damaged (usually happens over time with the consumption of alcohol, drugs, poly-unsaturated fats (PUFAs), grains, processed foods, additives, etc.) and lactase production shuts down. When this happens, lactose cannot be broken down and what we develop is intolerance to anything containing lactose.
So how do you fix this….
Since the issue is inflammation within the gut, cutting out foods that irritate the stomach and intestines would be a good move. Foods that are in high in fiber cause more damage and increased inflammation and irritation to our already damaged guts. So cutting out or minimizing raw veggies, and fibrous fruits would be ideal. When we consume that much fiber on a daily basis on a inflamed gut, the fiber, which is essentially wood pulp, just sits in the gut and ferments. This encourages unhealthy bacterial growth and brings stress on the body. By limiting or cutting out consumption of alcohol, nuts, seeds, grains (PUFAs), and junk foods, you’ll give your stomach and intestines a break allowing them to heal.
To help with the healing process, add good sugar to your diet such as fruit, juice, honey, and even at times table sugar to your daily diet. Sugars can reverse the damage of stress that your body is under.
Today I consume probably 24-32 0z of milk daily, as well as eating plenty of cheese and good quality ice cream. Whenever I have a few extra pounds i’d like to lose, dairy is the first thing I increase.
You may find adding dairy into your life will simplify things. A glass of milk with a little added honey contains a sufficient ratio of protein, fat, and sugar to qualify it as a small meal. It’s the easiest meal you’ll ever prepare. Adding a small amount of milk with your meals is a good place to start when attempting to build up your production of lactase. We’re talking 1 or 2 ounces of milk with a complete meal consisting of protein, fat and sugar. For example, I may eat a small piece of steak, a side potato, some melon and a glass of sparkling water. I’ll then just add a couple ounces of milk to chase the meal.
Another great way to add milk into your day is by drinking it in your coffee. So many people find they can handle milk when it’s in coffee.
Give it a shot! Be sure to leave a comment and keep me posted on your progress.