Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Milk: It does the body... bad?

Brandon and I represent two sides of a coin when it comes to dairy. He was raised consuming a hefty amount of dairy products, and in my household, we hardly had any, save for a couple times a month when dad made biscuits and gravy, or mom sprinkled a little on a casserole.

My family was pretty aware that dairy products didn't really mesh well with our systems, so it wasn't something we guzzled down with breakfast, while it was fairly common for my husband's family to drink a large glass of milk each morning.

I knew dairy made my stomach all sorts of icky unless I kept it to a minimum. So I could have a cheesy enchilada one day, a small ice cream the next, and be okay, and by that I mean I wouldn't be running for the bathroom, stomach bubbling furiously and my gut letting me know it hated me with frantic, stabbing pains.  But, if I had just a little too much, you can bet I would be regretting it.  The richer the dairy product, the worse the effect. So I learned to choose my dairy-treats wisely.  I didn't go for cheese on a burger. I'd rather have chips and queso. I could pass up cheese cake because I'd prefer cream cheese stuffed jalapenos!.  I'd skip milk in my cereal because several spoonfuls of gravy running over fresh southern biscuits sounded much better.

Bacon wrapped cream cheese stuffed jalapenos. I could eat the whole plateful!

One thing about going on the Whole30 is that it separates you from foods you may have known caused issues, but you believed were okay as long as there was balance.  Dairy was one of those for me.  I mean, I like thick, rich creamer in my coffee. Even better, I like sweetened homemade whipped cream in my coffee! A tad here, a bit here, and I should be fine. No big deal.

So I decided to test it out yesterday with a small serving of icecream.  Ah, no tummy aches.  I felt pretty good. No real issues..... and then BAM.

Back pain.

I may have mentioned that, since taking the Whole30 challenge, my back pain has pretty much been nil. This is pretty amazing because I have suffered with back issues ever since I was really young.  My husband logged a lot of time massaging out knots and sore areas in my back.  There is one specific spot that frequently gave me trouble.  This spot in between my shoulder blades often sent stabbing pains through my body.  It would trigger my asthma and often make me feel like I was having a heart attack.  Sometimes the pain would be so bad I would hardly be able to breathe or move.  I also often had pain on the right side of my lower back/waist.  The muscle there was tender, and I also felt like my leg was out.  I had forgotten how bad the pain could be... until last night.  

As I crawled into bed, I could feel the tightening between my shoulder blades, and the pain in my lower back/side.  It was pretty miserable, and I knew it was due to dairy.  I never realized that my back pain was tied so closely to my dairy consumption.  It makes sense because as my diary consumption has increased over the years (being married to a cheese-lover and all), so has my back pain.

Back pain, migraines, rashes, and such are not normal.  These are warning signs.  After dealing with back pain for so long, I had just accepted it as a part of life, something I couldn't change but could only manage with chiropractic care and massages (which are great options, but not cures!).  Sure, changing your diet may not take away your every pain and woe, but your body doesn't hurt and break out in rashes or have a range of mild to severe reactions just because it enjoys playing such terrible games! 

This is your body's way of telling you something is wrong.  It's the alarm that says, "Intruder alert! Intruder alert!" or warns you that something needs fixing.  We can throw medicine down the hatch, or we can change what we throw down the hatch.  

I know some of you are thinking, "But I can't do without....."
I know some of you are major cheese addicts, much like my husband.  But, if Brandon can give it up, so can you!  The first few weeks of breaking an addiction are difficult. I'm not going to tell you that it will be easy, because it won't be, but you just might find it's worth it.  

Many foods cause inflammation- even some of the foods allowed on Whole30 may cause inflammation issues for you. But, the great thing about removing dairy, grains, and legumes is that the main inflammation culprits are taken out of the game!  If you are struggling from back pain, arthritis, migraines, or various forms of chronic pain, you may find some relief in removing these foods, just as many others have.

Another reminder- you can't just give it up for a few days or a week to see if "it works".  Your body requires time to cleanse your system and recover.  That is why the Whole30 challenge is so beneficial.  In 30 days, you can see a lot of changes and experience a good bit of healing.  For many, it will take even longer.  In 30 days, you might find a lot of food idols being broken down, and you will see that you can indeed live without the foods you thought you could never go without.

Some find that raw dairy suits them just fine, but, for many of us, the only dairy we can handle is butter.  And I love butter, so that's fine with me.

No comments: