There can be many components in dairy that can cause people to have issues, with the most well-know being lactose intolerance. Lactose is a sugar that can be hard to digest. The most common symptoms are gas, bloating and diarrhea. If lactose is the only culprit, then taking a lactase enzyme can be a tremendous help. Dairy products can also cause several other symptoms, including congestion, post-nasal drip, sore throats, chronic coughing or throat clearing, snoring and bumpy rashes. The rashes usually show up on the backs of the arms and on the cheek area of the face. They often look like large, goose bumps. Sometimes the rash can also be red. Most people who have this rash have had it most of their lives and never knew what caused it. Sometimes it will clear up a little, but generally it is always there.
The good news is that avoiding all dairy products will usually help all of the above symptoms either go away or diminish significantly. So, that means no milk, ice cream, cheese, yogurt or any sort of product containing diary. You must completely eliminate dairy for 30 days. This can be a challenge! Interestingly, most people suffering from dairy sensitivities absolutely love dairy and actually crave it. Statements like, "But, I love milk!" or, "I can’t give up cheese!" are pretty common.
With a little help and some preparation, anyone can go dairy-free. Don’t worry about not being able to get enough calcium as there are plenty of vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes that are good sources of calcium. Some orange juices and non-dairy milks are also enriched with calcium. If you are worried that you still may not be getting enough calcium, then take a good quality, pharmaceutical grade supplement.
Here are some alternatives for dairy:
• Instead of cow’s milk have: almond (Almond Breeze is the best brand), soy, rice or hemp milk.
• You can get yogurt, ice cream and cheese made from soy.
• Ice cream type treats are okay as long as they are sorbets or are made from soy or coconut milk.
The best places to find these products are Trader Joes, Fred Meyer, Central Market, PCC and Whole Foods. Take advantage of the Internet. It is a great resource for dairy-free cooking ideas. If you take a week or so to prepare to go dairy-free, you will be more successful. If after 30 days you have not noticed a significant decrease in your symptoms, then something else is probably to blame. If your symptoms decrease significantly, it would be best to continue avoiding dairy.
WARNING: If you decide to reintroduce dairy into your diet, your symptoms will return, and often with 24 hours!