You’re Going to Give up Greek Yogurt?!?

by HEAB on April 15, 2009

Hello my almond butter loving friends. If you're new to HEAB, you may like to subscribe to my RSS feed or receive my posts via email. Thanks for reading!

Yes I am, and no, I haven’t lost my mind.  There are several reasons why I’ve chosen to go dairy free.  Growing up, my mom could not keep enough milk in the fridge for me and my brothers.  It was was served with every meal and every snack.  Nothing tasted better to me than a tall cold jug glass of milk, and I know it was a big contributor to me being overweight.  I’m not saying you have to cut out dairy to lose weight, but it did help me as I was simply taking in too many calories in milk, ice-cream, and cheese form…way too many!  I was also plagued with ear and throat infections, not to mention a horrible case of bronchitis every year.  My friends used to refer to it as “the cough”, and it never failed to show up every winter.  Some years, a week did not go by when I didn’t miss a day of school, and it seems like I was constantly taking one antibiotic or another.

Dairy and I have always had a love/hate relationship.  Back when I was younger and OD’ing on any dairy product I could get my hands on, I suddenly developed lactose intolerance.  Even a half cup of milk would have me doubled over in pain, and I gave up the stuff for 2 years.  I was able to incorporate dairy back into my life and began guzzling down the milk again without a second thought, but looking back I really think my body was trying to tell me something.  I’ve always been a bit stubborn, and of course I didn’t listen.  I wanted my ice-cream, even if it did cause mild stomach discomfort.

I gave up drinking my calories in the form of milk and soda and switched to nothing but water my senior year of college.  My weight plummeted.  I then began walking and started eating better and two years later, you would have never guessed I had been overweight my whole life.  There were so many benefits to losing weight: I had more energy. Taking hikes with my friends was no longer a dreaded task.  Do you know how long I lived in men’s XL sweaters?!?  Shopping in the girls’ clothing section of the GAP was like a dream come true…don’t take this for granted girls!    Gosh, people were just nicer to me in general…but that’s another post for another time.  Anyway, something else I noticed after losing weight was that I rarely got sick anymore.  Yes, I’m sure the weight loss and a healthy diet were factors, but I truly believe that cutting on back on dairy helped me regain my health and wellness!

Fast forward to present.  Milk? No thanks.  Cottage cheese? Yes please.  Greek yogurt? Couldn’t imagine life without it! I won’t lie…my consumption of the latter two has been a bit out of control over the last couple of years.  When I find something I like, I tend to go a little overboard…have ya noticed? :)  Since I don’t eat much meat, I figured cottage cheese and yogurt were the perfect source of protein and calcium. I usually had one or the other at least two or three times a day and just ignored the belly reaction that always followed a few hours later blaming it on something else I ate.  The other day while scarfing down some Greek yogurt, I picked up a book I recently received in the mail:

gdfcover123thin2Well, after reading author, Alisa Fleming’s own history with dairy, I quickly put my yogurt down, and sat there totally engrossed in her book.  I read it in its entirety in one afternoon and then went crazy bookmarking all the great recipes in the back of the book.  Alisa too battled infections all of her life, forcing herself to consume dairy products for calcium, despite not really liking them them.  Even though she had been diagnosed with a milk allergy as a baby, her doctors figured she had outgrown it, constantly telling her she needed dairy products for calcium.  As her health continued on a downward spiral Alisa saw doctor after doctor, finally finding an alternative MD who suggested she give up dairy.  Thinking he was crazy, but desparate to try anything, Alisa gave it a try. After 3 days of no dairy products, all of her symptoms cleared up, and Alisa has remained healthy and dairy free for over 5 years now.

Reading Go Dairy Free caused me to examine my own health history, and although I never get the cough or throat and ear infections anymore, I still struggle with UTI’s, and have all my life.  In fact, when I was 11, I was hospitalized while my doctors tried to figure out what was going on inside my body.  After 2 days of tests I would wish upon no other child, the doctors had nothing to say but give up soda and stop taking bubble baths. Gee, thanks, that was helpful.  Anyway, barely a month goes by that I don’t get at least a mild UTI, and I hate it.  For those of you that have never experienced a bladder infection, they are awful.  I’ve tried all the natural remedies, but when that pain sets in, I’m on the phone with my doctor in tears requesting more antibiotics. Yes, I’m a big advocate of probiotics and take them daily to make sure my good bacteria stays intact, but I’d give anything to never have to take antibiotics again.  As grateful as I am for them sometimes, I just don’t think they’re the answer!   I thought back to last month’s half-ass attempt to give up dairy and noticed that I did not experience one bladder infection symptom.  I quickly emailed Alisa asking her if she’d ever heard of a connection between dairy consumption and UTI’s.

Below is Alisa’s response:

Before I start, I must give that general disclaimer – I am not a physician, so this information is based upon my own opinions and findings, but you should always consult a physician before undergoing any change in diet or where your health is concerned.

I too had chronic ear and sinus infections as a kid, and my parents knew that I had a milk allergy. It saddens me how many infant milk allergies go undiagnosed (leaving those little ones to suffer) as some doctors still insist that infections are not a symptom of food allergies. Even in western medicine a link between the two was proven a long, long time ago.

That said, I am not sure of the exact science behind it, but from what I have read, milk allergies can weaken the immune system allowing infections to take hold. It is also possible that the hormones in milk (natural occurring and possibly synthetic) could somehow play a part too. This makes me wonder since I hear many more cases of infections with milk allergies than with other food allergies. Ear and sinus are the most common it seems, but I had yet to make a correlation between bladder infections. I did some reflecting after I read this email and came to realize that in my early 20’s I was plagued with UTI’s, during my stint of consuming milk, and since then do not have a problem. I chalked it up to that particular age hormonally, but now I am wondering. Especially since I had huge bladder issues as a kid (when the doctors insisted that my parents make sure I get enough dairy).

Logically, an infection is an infection, whether in your ears, sinuses, lungs, or digestive tract. And milk, as a liquid, passes through our bladders, so your suggestions makes sense.  I looked up some information and did in fact find several health websites which suggested a firm link between UTI’s (as well as bronchitis and other infections) and food allergies. Here are just a couple:

http://www.alive.com/1710a5a2.php?subject_bread_cramb=425

http://www.thedietchannel.com/Alternative-Womens-Health-Prevent-and-Treat-UTIs-Using-Natural-Remedies.htm

http://www.drmyattswellnessclub.com/foodallergy.htm (also notes chronic bronchitis)

I’ve often wondered if I ever really outgrew my lactose intolerance, but do I have a milk allergy?  Honestly, I don’t know, but I’m willing to give going dairy free a try if it means feeling better and experiencing NO MORE bladder infections! Thanks for reading as I know this was a super long post, but many of you keep asking why I want to cut dairy completely out of my life. Well, now you know.

Many thanks to Alisa for taking the time to answer my questions and for all the research and time she put into Go Dairy Free…it was a huge eye opener for me! Please be sure to check out Alisa’s blog, One Frugal Foodie, and her website, Go Dairy Free for more information.

I’ll leave you with my oat AND dairy free breakfast. :)

Who needs dairy?

Who needs dairy?

Cooked brown Basmati rice blended with water & Sun Warrior vanilla rice protein topped with peanut butter and raw chia pudding. Delicious!

EDITED TO ADD: I’ve added some dairy back into my life, mostly high fat dairy products, low in whey and casein, like butter, ghee, & cream. I used to get UTI’s about once a month, but since cutting back on dairy, I’ve had a total of two infections over the past 2 years. Less dairy has made all the difference for me.

{ 103 comments }

VeggieGirl April 15, 2009 at 9:57 am

I’m going to be annoying and say that I have recipes in that cookbook ;-)

Denise April 15, 2009 at 10:01 am

I’d be crushed if I was allergic to dairy. I love my milk! But I don’t eat high fat diary, so that keeps the weight in check.

It’s also interesting to point out that a lot of studies have shown calcium (non supplement form) aids in weight loss.

Mara @ What's For Dinner? April 15, 2009 at 10:10 am

I have often wondered if I have a dairy sensitivity. I don’t have a problem with infections, but I have found that the less dairy I eat/drink, the more energy I feel. Interesting.
I’m very interested to see if going dairy free helps you… keep us posted!

FoodsThatFit April 15, 2009 at 10:11 am

Wow, Heather! Great and thorough post. I haven’t read Alisa’s book, but now I am intrigued. I too love Greek yogurt, and don’t think that I could eliminate it at this point, but I have tried to cut back on dairy in other ways. I have substituted milk for Almond Breeze (super delicious, and I actually prefer it to regular milk now), and have been experimenting with nut “cheezes.” Cottage cheese is a weakness of mine, and once I discovered the “whipped” kind I was hooked!

I have heard others talk about the benefits of giving up dairy and am anxious to hear how you feel after eliminating yogurt. Please keep us updated!!!!

Trish (girlatgym) April 15, 2009 at 10:12 am

I’ve been thinking about the whole dairy thing lately. I seem to be having a lot of issues with allergies and I was wondering if giving up the cow products would help. I thought I might cut them out and see what happens. I do tend to eat a lot of dairy – tons of cottage cheese, in fact. It will be hard to avoid it, but I am very curious if it will make me feel better to do it.

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Trish,
Try going dairy free – we can do it together. I was a total cottage cheese addict, but now I don’t even miss it. Do you eat meat? I do, and I also use protein powders. Both of those help a great deal, and I’ve found other snacks to replace my cottage cheese. It just takes finding find other foods that you love. Let me know if you ever need any dairy-free support. :)

Rose April 15, 2009 at 10:14 am

Great post. You honestly really have me thinking now.

Bill doesn’t drink milk morally, and I’ve always questioned it (the idea that we are the only species that drinks another species’ milk).

I’m not sure exactly where I weigh in, but I am curious to see how this keeps going for you…

ksgoodeats April 15, 2009 at 10:20 am

Cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are two of my staples! Other than that, I don’t eat much dairy – usually it’s soy milk and I don’t eat ice cream.

I hope that this helps alleviate some of your problems!! Good luck and keep us updated :)

coco April 15, 2009 at 10:22 am

I can’t wait to read that book!!! :D post man: speed up in the delivery!
thanks for sharing your story with us and recommend the book to us! :D

Erin April 15, 2009 at 10:27 am

Good luck on your dairy free journey, with a breakfast like that, what’s to miss?
That book sounds really helpful, and it certainly makes sense that diary could cause UTIs. And yes, those are absolutely horrific. I’ve only had one a couple of times, but it was sheer agony. I really hope you can free yourself of them!

fitforfree April 15, 2009 at 10:29 am

I really respect your reasons for giving up dairy. I’ve only had one or two UTIs, but they were unbearable!!!

Yasmin April 15, 2009 at 10:34 am

I would not survive! GOod luck!

polly April 15, 2009 at 10:39 am

Hi honey! I so love this post, as you know we have similar stories! Oh how I love my milk and dairy! BUT… life is so much better without it. Maybe in heaven someday we can suck down some milkshakes together!! :) XOXO

Sweet and Fit April 15, 2009 at 10:39 am

i need dairy in my daily diet to get enough natural sources of calcium – best of luck to you!

justine April 15, 2009 at 10:47 am

Heather, great post!! Are we still on for tomorrow?

~Justine

runsarah April 15, 2009 at 10:49 am

Awesome post! I am lactose intolerant and can only handle yogurt. I am trying to cut it out as well, once I can find a decent soy substitute.

eatlivelovedream April 15, 2009 at 11:05 am

HEather you must make the artichoke dip! It’s awesome! Josh and I have been putting it on every thing! Even our sandwiches’. It’s a good dose of healthy fat:) and it doesn’t have tofu in it, so yay for you!!

Gena April 15, 2009 at 11:06 am

What an incredible post, Heather! I have very strong feelings about dairy and I’m 100% supportive of you! This is a GREAT decision and I have no doubt whatsoever that you’ll feel good about it. Once upon a time I thought I’d miss greek yogurt, too, but I never give it a second thought.

I plan to try out some raw yogurt substitutes soon, and I’ll keep you posted.

brandi April 15, 2009 at 11:09 am

I hope it works for you! I know it’s gotta be hard giving up something you love, but if you feel better – it’s worth it :)

Shelby April 15, 2009 at 11:22 am

Yikes! I’m glad you made this decision for your body, I bet it will thank you =)

I used to get bladded infections as a child and that is some intense pain. I can’t imagine it every month!

I bought that cookbook a while ago and have been flipping through and marking recipes too! I’ll have to bring it out and actually MAKE some of them haha

Delish rice pudding!

amy (veganissexy) April 15, 2009 at 11:28 am

Heather I’m so proud of you! It’s not an easy task to cut out dairy. I used to eat yogurt and cottage cheese EVERY DAY! Those two items were the hardest to give up and replace. However, I did notice the weight just fell off as soon as I cut out all dairy. I didn’t do it to lose weight, but needless to say that is a great side affect! I really hope this takes away your ailments and finally gives your tummy a break! Good luck :)

Sarah April 15, 2009 at 11:30 am

What an amazing revelation! I used to get bronchitis every December 10th for YEARS, my doctor would even joke, “See you next December 10th.” Wow. I also got strep every April.

I also think I developed a lactose intolerance last year. I cut it out for several months and then was able to gradually work it back in. I still don’t go overboard like I used to, thinking that I had to get the equivalent of 3 cups or more a day — now I average about 1.5 and take a calcium + Vit. D supplement.

I also like to alternate my dairy milk and milk alternatives (soy milk, coconut milk, etc.) every week or so just to make sure I’m getting all the benefits of both worlds :)

Great post, good luck to you!

Erica April 15, 2009 at 11:39 am

Best of luck! I hope the dairy free diet helps you to feel better overall! Just make sure you get enough calcium!!

Missy (Missy Maintains) April 15, 2009 at 11:51 am

Good luck with this! Those UTIs can be torture! Really interesting post because I never would have thought the two could be connected!

Anna April 15, 2009 at 12:06 pm

This is really interesting…thanks for all this info!

I began easing off on the dairy for the past couple months, and noticed an immediate improvement in my digestion when I did. However, I haven’t been paying as much attention to monitoring my dairy intake in the past couple weeks and I haven’t noticed a huge difference. I think for me, it might be the combo of dairy + sugar that really does me in. Ice cream, hot chocolate, chai (not that I drink those last two very often anyways, but whenever I do my stomach freaks out).

Diana (Soap & Chocolate) April 15, 2009 at 12:26 pm

How interesting! I wouldn’t have made the connection, but then again, I don’t have any food allergies/intolerances (at least none that stop me from eating whatever…). Thanks for sharing!

Heather April 15, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Heather, congrats on the discovery and good luck! I originally cut out dairy as an elimination diet which then progressed to my veganism. Like Gena, I have strong feelings about dairy but won’t go into that here. There are pleth of other ways to get calcium, too!

In my personal experience, I always got bronchitis but never linked the UTIs to dairy. What a revelation!

Erica April 15, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Heck yes I love froyo! I will def tell my FIL! He is the BIGGEST froyo fan! We should be out there at some point this summer. As soon as I know a date, I will tell you and we can plan a dinner or lunch or coffee…or froyo ;)

Holly April 15, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your dairy story with us! I, too, had wondered how cutting out dairy had positively impacted your health. I feel so guilty reading this, though, because a. I love my dairy (not milk, but I love yogurt and cheese of course) :-) and haven’t ever had any digestive problems with it. That said, I am open to other forms of calcium and protein whenevah!

I am knocking on wood now (well, my “fake” wood desk, but it’s the best I can do), but I’ve never in my life had a UTI. My sister struggles with them frequently, though, and I can’t imagine how painful they are! I hope you’re onto something with the < dairy = < UTI thing. :-)

charlotte April 15, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Very interesting! When I was vegan I took out all dairy products and didn’t notice much of a difference in that department but then I don’t really suffer from the symptoms you described either. Although i will say that after living without dairy for so long, when I brought it back in, it’s still sort of limited. I don’t just drink milk anymore. Although – yeah – I still love my greek yogurt;)

Q: In all your research did you find any difference between fermented dairy – like yogurt and kefir – and regular dairy like straight up milk?

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Hey Charlotte,
Yeah, that Greek yogurt is good stuff, and I just read that Trader Joe’s now makes an organic version. Bet it’s a lot cheaper than Oikos.

I did read the following in Go Dairy Free:
Like yogurt, kefir is a cultured or fermented product, and studies have shown that it typcially produces little to no digestive symptoms when ingested by lactose intolerant individuals. Kefir is not a cure for lactose intolerance, nor is it lactose-free, but rather a tolerant food for some who may crave a little mammal milk. Cultured products contain anywhere from 1.9 to 6% lactose. Use with caution, as neither yogurt nor kefir is a safe haven for all lactose intolerant individuals.

If a person is actually allergic to milk rather than just lactose intolerant, they would need to avoid all dairy products, including yogurt and kefir as the leading two allergy offenders are the casein and whey proteins.

Andrea April 15, 2009 at 1:49 pm

YAY FOR YOU! I wish I could give up dairy completely. I’m still holding on to just straight cheese. It will be interesting to follow you on this journey.

~Jessica~ April 15, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Well done for taking control and ditching the dairy! Every one of your dairy-free meals looks divine anyway and I know that, although I became vegan for ethical reasons and therefore eliminated dairy by default, I definitely noticed health benefits too. I hope that going dairy free helps you to maintain your lovely glowing skin & hair.

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Jessica,
Thanks so much for the encouragement. My shipment of Sun Warrior made this decision much easier. :) Hope you get your’s soon!

Dani April 15, 2009 at 3:06 pm

I too suffered from the winter cough for years and thought I was allergic to dairy. Not! Turns out it was gluten. Took all wheat products out of my life three years ago and a one of many surprising side benefits was no winter cough. If stopping dairy doesn’t do it, try a gluten-free diet!

Thanks for your great posts and product tips. I work for the Manitou School District and found out about you through Jillian. Maybe we will meet up in Manitou on the trails when you make it out here!

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Dani,
The doctor I work for sees patients all the time who have been miserable all their lives, never knowing they were gluten intolerant. I”m trying to cut back on wheat to see if that makes a difference in how I feel. We’ll see. Can’t wait to get out to Manitou and meet you. Love that Jillian – thanks to both of you for reading my blog!

Alison April 15, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Good luck on staying off dairy – I think it’s great you’re willing to give up things you like to improve your body. I don’t like milk all that much and probably could go dairy free without sacrificing too much. Dairy has it’s upsides and downsides, but I don’t think it’s essential to a diet. I’m all for giving it up if you feel that’s right for you.

Sarah April 15, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Heather, thank you for all of this information. It is helpful to me on many levels, including trying to understand other people’s LEGITIMATE reasons for restricting their diets and also understanding what is going on inside my own body.

I think I need to read that book!

Happy Wednesday!

niecy April 15, 2009 at 3:18 pm

sex also increases the incidence of UTI & bladder infections…are you going to be giving that up as well? heehee :)

on a serious note, make it a priority of yours to get in that calcium and Vitamin D! I’m sure you know that your bones rely on it so much, especially as a woman. Building up your calcium stores to increase your peak bone mass now will help in the future.

You are certainly stronger than me!! i could not live without greek yogurt! good luck with your goals :)

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Niecy,
Yes, I hear that both sex AND coffee can irritate those individuals susceptible to UTI’s…2 of my favorite things. Hehe. This is why I try to limit myself to only 1 cup of coffee in the mornings…and as far as the other one goes…well, we just won’t go there. :)

No worries on the calcium and D. I get plenty from the other calcium rich foods I eat, and I take a multi-vitamin along with vitamin D drops everyday. Gotta take care of those bones! Thanks for caring. :)

cleanveggiex3 April 15, 2009 at 3:47 pm

I never would have guessed you were overweight either!! You look like one of those lucky ones who has been slim and drawn to healthy foods your whole life. But do whatever works for you and your body! I wish you the best of luck!

im so with you though – when I find something I like I consume in excess.

HeatherBakes April 15, 2009 at 3:52 pm

That’s interesting- I have noticed that when I’m congested, milk tends to make it worse. But it would be SO HARD to give up dairy. Great info!

Maggie April 15, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I’m actually in the middle of that book, and thinking of going dairy free again. This is so frustrating! I love my yogurt, but my skin has gone back to breaking out, and I’m 99% sure now that it IS the dairy. I might give up the yogurt/cottage cheese, but keep the normal cheese since it seems not to give me trouble. Sigh. Why, dairy, why??

I was at WF today and I got new calcium chews that don’t have dairy. Not sure if you take or want info on a supplement, but I’ll let you know how there are once I try them. They’re fruit flavored whereas my old ones were chocolate.

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Maggie,
Would love to know more about your calcium chews. I’m thinking I get enough calcium from the other foods I eat, and I take a multi-vitamin daily. That being said, it would be nice to have a little extra calcium boost as I know there will days when my food intake doesn’t contain enough. Too bad they don’t make a dairy-free chocolate version. :) If you go dairy-free, we can do it together!

carolinebee April 15, 2009 at 5:22 pm

v. interesting heath, i have one friend who gets them a LOT and i’m gonna show her this stuff- god knows i’ve used up all my jokes on her already :D II won’t tattle if u have a little fro-yo slip though!

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Caroline,
You’re back! I’m so behind on blog reading – I need to read all about your trip. Yeah, I can’t make any promises. There may be a few fro-yo slips…It was just confirmed that Nashville is getting a Tasty-D-Lite. :)

Elizabeth April 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm

This is so interesting! I have a long history of stomach problems and no one has ever been able to taell me what it is. I havent been able to pinpoint dairy or any other specific food that does it to me, but I have always assumed I must be “mildy” lactose intolerant. What great information!

I’m sorry youve been plagued with UTIs! I have been lucky enough ot never have one but I have a friend who gets them all the time and she has told me how painful they are. Good luck with the new changes! I hope you see significant changes!

Ashley April 15, 2009 at 5:27 pm

It sounds like you’ve made a decision that can only be beneficial for you. I think that I am now where you were a few years back – I don’t drink milk, but I do occasionally have cottage cheese and greek yogurt. It’s interesting… there are quite a few studies which suggest our bodies aren’t made for digesting dairy. But I’ve read similar things relating about wheat. There’s so much information out there it can be a bit full-on to navigate through it all. In any event, congratulations on making your decision and I look forward to what dairy-free goodies you come up with!

rhodeygirltests April 15, 2009 at 5:30 pm

thank you for this great post. i am trying to give up dairy but i am having a really tough time, especially as i am not interested in any dairy substitutes. i am going to check out that book (heading over to amazon now to buy it).

and side note, i am a frequent reader but not so frequent commenter… i LOVE your blog.. keep up the great work!

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Rhodeygirl,
Thanks so much for reading my blog. I’ll think you’ll enjoy Go Dairy Free – a ton of helpful info and some great recipes. We can go dairy free together. :)

rhodeygirltests April 15, 2009 at 5:34 pm

just bought the book!

thanks again heather!

Meredith April 15, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Very good! At first I had so many cravings for dairy, but now I am kinda grossed out when I think of the taste! Funny how things change.

lisaheartspizza April 15, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Dairy is quite a controversial food( I think anyways) and it gets promoted a LOT because the dairy council has a lot of money! I LOVE yogurt/greek yogurt/frozen yogurt and cheese and cottage cheese but I was a VEGAN for almost 1 year so it is definitely possible to do without. I actually missed yogurt the most and it was the one food that made me switch back! I try and eat less dairy now, but it is hard. I will be using you/your blog as an INSPIRATION!

Adi (oatonomy.com - repaired!) April 15, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Thanks for posting about this, Heather. I’ll have to keep my eye out for that book.

I gave up dairy about 3 years ago after chugging it, eating it, slurping it like it was going out of style my whole life. I drank so much of it as a kid, I got rashes on the insides of my elbows that itched like crazy. It wasn’t enough to make me give it up though (sick, I know). When I gave it up, I felt 100 times better. Now, I find that I can have a bit of skim milk mixed into my oats and I feel okay, or fat free yogurt. One of my doctors thought it had more to do with the fat content of dairy than anything else (not sure if that’s true or not…)

Now I’ve had to cut out cane sugar and am slowly phasing out wheat and gluten. It helps the tummy troubles.

I hope that you can stick with the dairy free eats. I’m sure you’ll be just fine when you adjust — and you’ll surely feel so much better. That always makes the change easier!

Melissa S. April 15, 2009 at 8:17 pm

I’ve gone through some of those same symptoms with dairy products…i know how much it sucks! I hope that it starts to work out for you and that you start getting better super duper fast!

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Melissa,
Thank you! :)

lilveggiepatch April 15, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Brave, brave soul! Good luck!!!

Jessica (jesslikesithot) April 15, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Sounds like you definitely know what you are talking about Heather, and it seems like this is probably the right decision for you!!! Can’t wait to hear if you notice any changes over the next few weeks!

When my mom first started dating her boyfriend Rob a few years ago, he continuously had a sinus infection!!! Like, the first 4 months they we’re together…..little smarty me advised him to cut out or cut back on the dairy if he wanted to clear his sinuses up, and he did, and they cleared!!! I still love diary, but usually stick to only 1 or 2 servings a day (typically greek yog or cottage cheese) and when I’m sick….I don’t even touch it!!

Good luck with going dairy free!! :)

bibixs April 15, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Hey heather!!
i rarely consume dairy and someone told me that those calcium antiacid like Tums were a good source, but i don’t know!
what do you think, do you think i can take those antiacids as calcium supplements without secondary effects?

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 15, 2009 at 9:33 pm

bibixs,
Yeah, I don’t know about the Tums, but I have heard of other people taking them as a calcium supplement. I think I would prefer some of those all natural calcium chews. Maybe you could inquire at your local health food store – find out all the options. Just make sure you are getting enough calcium whether it be from your food intake or from supplements. Important mineral!

bobbi April 15, 2009 at 9:41 pm

wow nice informative post, I too lactosentolerant but yogurt doesnt bother me:)

Amy April 15, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Can’t wait to hear about your dairy free adventure! There are so many good milk alternatives out there (coconut, almond, soy) that it may not be quite as bad as one might think!

mysnackattack April 15, 2009 at 11:57 pm

have you read The China Study? I’m currently reading it and it is an amazing book and provides a lot of scientific research related to the healthfulness of a dairy-free and animal product free lifestyle.

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 16, 2009 at 5:27 am

My Snack Attack,
No, I have not read the China Study, but I’ve heard good things about it. Thanks for the tip!

Lara April 16, 2009 at 2:28 am

Hey Heather-
I too have a love/hate relationship with dairy. I’ve been able to give up glasses of milk but I can’t shake yogurt! I am very intrigued by Alisa’s book. I have read so many studies that just confirm to me that dairy is not a good idea for some or most people, but I still love it so much. The science is compelling and just the theoretical argument that questions WHY we are even consuming cow’s milk all makes sense to me. It’s just so tough! I fully support your decision to do this, if anyone can, it would be you! Oh, and to support mysnackattach, The China Study is a dense read, but I found it fascinating and I think you would too.

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 16, 2009 at 5:32 am

Lara,
Thanks for your support. Yeah, it will be tough but thankfully there are tons of dairy alternatives out there. Thank goodness for coconut milk ice-cream! Chris and I love getting soft serve when we go out for date night…can’t promise there won’t be a few slips here and there, but I’m going to do my best. I think I can talk him into a trip to the Whole Foods ice-cream section rather than our favorite fro-yo establishment. :) Do they sell the So Delicious products in England? I hope so – they’re so good!

I have not read The China Study, but I’ve heard good things about it. I’ll put in on my to-read list…which has gotten way too long. I’m always on the computer and never read anymore. :)

MizFit April 16, 2009 at 4:24 am

I love that Im HORRIFIED at the notion of going caffeine free—but dairy?
I, too, am so curious how Id feel and would totally give this a shot.

felt FARFAR better when I was 100% glutenfree!

Danielle April 16, 2009 at 4:25 am

I’ve been toying with the idea too quite recently. Because of my current stomach infection my doctor has insisted that I forgo all dairy products (in addition to raw produce, but that’s neither here nor there). Why I asked myself. If these products were so good for me and my body than there would be no need to. Hm.

I’m obviously getting back to raw fruits and veggies as soon as I possibly can though. Just so you know ;)

Leng April 16, 2009 at 5:30 am

Wow, what a story. I read every bit of it. I’m still fairly new to your blog, but am feeling sympathy for you and others who have food allergies.

This post also reminded me of news programs/commercials urging Americans to consume milk even if they’re lactose intolerant. It is truly amazing how much power the dairy and meat industry has on the public that they can incorporate just about any food into our supply. My husband is lactose intolerant. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I began experimenting with the vegan diet that he reduced his consumption of milk and cheese. Now he doesn’t suffer the bowel and painful consequences as he used to.

melissa April 16, 2009 at 5:39 am

Hi Heather,
I’ve tried sooooooooo many times to go 100% dairy free b/c I have tummy issues BUT greek yogurt AND lack of options for my morning coffee woo me back slowly. I think I could get around the yogurt thing with lots of chia/agar options tomake creamy concoctions but the black coffee thing is killing me…I’m somewhat soy intolerant and almond milk seems to make my coffee taste like dirt. Ahile back you tried the coconut milk in your coffee and I remember that you didn’t care for it b/c it didn’t taste coconutty enough. My long winded question is…did it make your coffee creamy:) Thanks and good luck with your dairy free journey.

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 16, 2009 at 5:51 am

Missy,
Your comment made me smile – oh how I love cream in my coffee. I’m embarrassed to admit that my favorite is sugar free French Vanilla Coffee-Mate. Oh my gosh, the ingredient list is awful, and I promised myself that when I finished off my current bottle, I would not buy anymore. Just had the very last last drop in this morning’s mug, and I’m actually going to try making a coffee creamer from Go Dairy Free. I’ve tried something similar before, but it wasn’t thick enough. Basically you blend ground up raw cashews with water. The book recommends blending 1/2 cup cashews with 1 to 1 1/2 cups water until smooth & creamy (3-4 minutes). For the smoothest consistency, filter the cream through a fine mesh strainer or double layer of cheesecloth. You can also add a TBSP of maple syrup or agave nectar to sweeten it a bit. Let me know if you try this. I’m making some today and plan on having it with my morning coffee tomorrow. (It will get even more thick in the fridge as the cashews soak up the water). I’ll post about it soon. :
)

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 16, 2009 at 5:54 am

MIssy,
P.S.
The Coconut Beverage from So Delicious was great for cereals, smoothies, etc. but tasted disgusting in coffee. Blech – about as bad as almond milk.

burpexcuzme April 16, 2009 at 6:31 am

guess what? I once did a presentation in school about the negative effects of milk and how humans aren’t built to consume milk. I mean, just to think about it: humans are the only beings on earth to consume the milk of another creature even after being full adults. besides, 75% of the population is actually lactose-intolerant. and all the advice about needin milk to “grow” and for calcium is bullshit. also, the milk industry is one of the largest industry in the U.S and it pays a heck of a lot of money to the government…
I don’t drink milk, but I do eat yogurt. and lots of cheese. but I find that yogurt and cheese are broken down and more easily digestible than plain milk.
to conclude, I still can’t make a clear decision whether we should consume dairy or not, but I think every body is different and since I can hold my dairy pretty well, I don’t see a problem in consuming it in moderation.
oh, and by the way: have you ever tried raw milk? Part of the reason milk causes all these problems is because it’s been pasteurized and homogenized and all that processing causes some kind of chemical altering and also loses a lot of nutrients. but I’ve heard a lot of testimonies about the amazing effects of raw milk, and that even those with lactose-intolerance benefits from it!

Heather Eats Almond Butter April 16, 2009 at 6:38 am

Hey Burpexcuseme,
I have tried raw goat milk yogurt, but the farm I used to get it from is not allowed to sell it anymore. All milk must be pasteurized in the state of TN. I too have heard some amazing stories surrounding raw milk…interesting stuff.

Elina April 16, 2009 at 7:02 am

Very interesting. I was definitely wondering why you’d give up yogurt… totally makes sense! Good luck!! :D

ttfn300 April 16, 2009 at 8:27 am

hm, very interesting… i became lactose intolerant when I went to college, but I just made the switch to lactaid milk. i don’t drink as much milk as I used to, but i eat yogurt like it’s my job and i love cottage cheese and ice cream as well. and cheese… oh boy, don’t know if i could do it :-/

Erin April 16, 2009 at 10:16 am

You’re right. Who needs dairy? It’s not impossible to “give up” (reframe: choose not to consume) dairy products. I certainly hope you notice a diff in your health!

peaceandpeanutbutter April 16, 2009 at 10:58 am

No More greek yogurt!!!!???

Lol, I think you are making a (tough, I’m sure!) but healthy decision for your body. Our bodies know what they want and what they don’t…and they’ll let us know when we’re off base! I think it’s a good decision to try it for a month, and see how it goes. And you’re right…there are lots of dairy-free substitutes (unfortunately I haven’t met one for Cottage cheese yet, but they HAVE to make one!!) Good luck girl, and I hope it makes your body Happier :-)

And of course, your bfast looks BANGIN’ as usual. Can I PLEASEEEE come over to bfast one morning? I’ll fly down to ya’!

Peace~Erika

Happy Vegan Lady April 17, 2009 at 10:04 am

I LOVE Go Dairy Free (and being dairy-free!) :) Your breakfast looks delicious, it’s making me hungry!

Melissa April 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm

wow that looks like a bowl of delish. good luck with your journey.

Jenn (eating bender) April 19, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Heather,

I’m so glad you posted about this (I know, I’m a few days behind). I am currently reading Alisa’s book too, and really struggling. I keep going back and forth with the idea of trying to give up dairy. One day, I’ll say to myself, “It can’t possibly be dairy. Yes, my stomach hurts, but I had dairy yesterday and was fine,” and then the next moment I’m reading about how so many people have found success by giving it up. Part of me feels a bit hopeless, but why the heck should I feel that way? I haven’t even TRIED it. I fully intend to try making that coffee creamer. Problem is, I have SO much cheese/yogurt/etc. products right now…and I hate the thought of them going to waste! I can give some to Bobby, but he doesn’t like everything I have bought. Ugh.

Anyway, sorry to ramble, but your post brought it out of me ;) I wish you the BEST of luck and I hope this is the answer you’ve been looking for.

Zucchini Breath April 23, 2009 at 7:11 am

Your friends, the cows, thank you. Congratulations on undertaking this commendable task. Like many daunting endeavors when you are armed with knowledge you may find the path easier than you anticipate.

I’ll be following

josie October 19, 2009 at 2:52 pm

what a great post! I too have a milk allergy but have never had a problem with greek yogurt so far ( although I don’t have it nearly as often so it may not bother me because I don’t “abuse” it in a sense ) you’ve def inspired me to really give up dairy tho. I know I let myself have it sometimes and I know its affecting me when I do so its time to stop! thanks!

Rhonda February 12, 2010 at 9:03 am

This year I diagnosed myself with gluten intolerance. I lost a ton of weight over a few weeks. Today, I am going dairy-free. I am struggling!!

Matt November 3, 2010 at 10:35 am

I was DEATHLY lactose intolerant when I was a little kid. A sip of milk sent me to the ER.

Fast forward about 15 years and cheese is one of my favorite foods. I never drink milk, but cheese, greek yogurt, and cottage cheese are staples in my diet. I don’t go overboard, but I like the taste and the protein.

erika bryant November 19, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Heather-
I just read your article about dairy and I completely understand about UTI’s. I have IC. It’s is the feeling of having an infection but not. It is painful when it flares up.I have to take an antibiotic everyday to keep it at bay.I have tried a lot of different natural remedies, but none have help. I do believe the food does make it worse so with that said, getting off of dairy is probably a smart thing. At least treat yourself sometimes. Summer is beautiful. Cherish your time a it goes fast. They do not stay teenie tiny like that for long. Have an amazing Thanksgiving.

Tal Millican November 27, 2010 at 10:48 am

My wife is now spending her 8th day hospitalized with severe stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea. The docs, after 2 cat scans, innumberable blood tests, x-rays and stool cultures and 8 days of scratching their heads, still have not pinpointed the cause; except to say it’s either a viral or bacterial infection. The night before she became so violently ill, she consumed Greek yogurt. She remarked that it had a rather medicinal after-taste.

Does anyone out there have any knowledge of history of ‘bad’ batches of greek yogurt?

Thanks,
Tal Millican
Tampa Fla

HEAB November 27, 2010 at 11:25 am

Tal,
I personally am not aware of any bad batches of Greek yogurt, but the “medicinal aftertaste” is definitely not normal. Do you still have the container in your trash? I’m thinking probably not since your wife has been in the hospital for 8 days. I am so sorry, and I’m sending healing thoughts her way.

If you remember the brand of yogurt, you could always contact the company or store where it came from to see if anyone else has reported a bad reaction.

Teresa December 4, 2010 at 3:13 pm

WOW absolutely WOW what an enlightening editorial!! I am lactose intolerant and stubborn just like you and unforetunately keep thinking that I’ll be able to have dairy products… NOT the case. Thanksgiving abounds with DAIRY DAIRY DAIRY… ie pumpkin pie, yummy mashed potatoes, lots of buttery stuffing and list goes on; well that being said yes I once again indulged and boy did I indulge. Well after all the diary scarfing I did over the holiday I apparently developed a ear/sinus infection. I didn’t associate it with the diary but the last 3 or 4 days I thought I’d better get back on track a little and lay off the diary and you wouldn’t believe but I can hear out of my ear again and my sinuses are clearing up. THANK you so much for all the info that you have provided here… I’m on my way to DAIRY FREE for sure… I too also get the annual bronchitis coughs… I can’t really can’t tell you how enlightening this information has been. HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY!

HEAB December 4, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Teresa,
I’m so sorry about the sinus and ear infection. Ugh, trust me, I’ve been there, and I’m happy to hear you’re feeling better. I’ve made some discoveries about my relationship with dairy since this post. Full fat dairy products that are low in dairy proteins like butter and heavy whipping cream don’t seem to bother me. However, if I eat products high in casein or whey, like yogurt or cottage cheese, the problems appear. So, I try to avoid them, but I’ve been loving on lots of butter these days. Now, if I could just kick my ice-cream/frozen yogurt habit, my body would be much happier. ;)
Best of luck with your new non-dairy lifestyle. I have a feeling you’re going to feel a lot better!

Elizabeth January 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Dam. I knew it! And just when I was loving Greek yogurt. I too am lactose intolerant…and I too had a diet high in dairy as a kid. I too am plagued with U.T.I.’s. I always suspected that my bladder problems had to be related to dairy! And I just never got a confirmation on the suspicion until now. So thank you. That makes total sense. I have only been eating Greek yogurt for about a week but I noticed today that my bladder is swollen and aching. Dang it. Thank you so much for this info. Going to order her book right now!

HEAB January 17, 2011 at 12:10 am

Elizabeth,
Ever since backing off foods high in whey and casein, I hardly ever get UTI’s anymore. Back in my yogurt, cottage cheese, and whey protein powder days, I would get them monthly, but I think I’ve only had 2 in the last two years. I miss my Greek yogurt, but it’s been so worth it! Best of luck to you, and I hope you’re feeling better soon.

Elizabeth January 17, 2011 at 12:13 am

Thank you so much. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to know that dairy is the cause of my bladder pain! But more importantly my 4 year old is lactose intolerant and this just confirms that i need to keep her completely dairy free. I was letting her try to add stuff in but Im ont going to do that anymore. I have ordered the Go Dairy Free book and cant wait to dive in. Thanks again!

C. Bryant February 19, 2011 at 8:51 pm

if you have uti problems, and I have, the problem has been totally solved by having about 4 oz. of cranberry juice every day. No calories basically if you use diet cranberry juice. It is delicious mixed with orange juice.

Bob Pacl September 1, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I love cranberry juice and cranberries in general. Great for relieving UTI irritation. Not so good for people who have constipation problems, at least not for 2 people. Definitely a trade-off I can’t make.

Amy @ ElephantEats March 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm

So I know it’s random to be posting on this NOW, but I was doing a search for dairy free and this came up. But the actual reason I’m commenting is because I’m wondering if your bladder issues have disappeared? I ask because my mother also experienced what she thought were UTIs all the time and no doctor could figure out what was wrong…and then finally she found one who knew what he was doing and she was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis. Have you ever looked into whether you might possible have it?

HEAB March 2, 2011 at 8:55 am

Hi Amy,
Sorry – just found your comment in my spam folder. Glad I looked! I used to get bladder infections at least once a month, and yes, I was told I might have Interstitial Cystitis, and so I gave up all acidic foods for a while, including most dairy, and it helped. Then after reading Alisa’s book, I got to thinking about the dairy connection and cut way back on my whey and casein intake. I still eat dairy foods high in fat, but low in dairy proteins, like butter and heavy cream. Since this post (which was almost 2 years ago), I’ve only had 2 UTI’s. I can’t tell you how much cutting back on dairy has changed my life for the better.

Amy @ ElephantEats March 2, 2011 at 9:04 am

Thanks for responding :) Wow, what a HUGE difference! So glad to hear you’re doing much better now. I avoid dairy now, but for more of a lactose issue…I wish I could still eat butter and heavy cream. Well, if I create any more dairy-free recipes I’ll be sure to let you know!

Brittnie August 13, 2011 at 5:31 am

I am about 2 years late reading this post, ha ha, but I find this so interesting…

I used to eat A LOT of dairy (milk, two Greek yogurts per day, cheese, etc) and I never had (or so I thought) an immediate negative reaction. Yet one symptom I did experience was extreme constipation. Now this didn’t always mean I was in pain, or even severely bloated, I just was not regular (think 2 weeks w/ no movement down there!). But since I wasn’t in pain and not always bloated I just thought this was “normal” for me. At one point I was diagnosed with IBS (constipation side) and was given some non helpful solutions from my MD.

Well… fast forward a few years and I am currently seeing an acupuncturist for natural fertility treatments (to compliment my Western medicine treatments). My acupuncturist practitioner, after hearing me discuss my overall life habits and health issues/symptoms, suggested that I go dairy free for just one week and see if it relieved some of the constipation issue. I kid you not that after 3 days of no dairy I was a new woman. I have been dairy free for almost 3 months now and seriously cannot believe what a difference it has made. He suggested that I keep at it for a few more months and then I can incorporate a small amount back into my diet, just not to the extreme I was eating it before.

Such a great post, thanks! I would like to check out that book you recommended.

HEAB August 14, 2011 at 11:29 am

Brittnie,
Better late than never. ;)

So happy to hear you are feeling like a new woman. Like I mentioned in my post, I have incorporated back in some dairy, mostly just butter and cream and still feeling great. Have been eating some cheese lately (why is cheese so good?!?), but still nowhere near the amount of dairy I was eating before. I miss my cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, but so worth it! Trust me, I get it. Hope everything works out with the fertility treatments. It will. :)

Bob Pacl September 1, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I too have had bonchitis all my life. I always linked it to my asthma exclusively but that may have been premature. My UTIs started about 25 years ago. I guess I’ve had maybe 6-7 of them since then. 2 were completely immobilizing. My connection with yogurt has been quite erratic. Eat it for a while and go off for a much longer time
Never made a connection between the UTIs and the yogurt until my daughter did; she went on and off several times and her UTIs always coincided with her going back on. This is only the second time for me – not statistically valid but good enough to keep me off yogurt. And I just bought a new yougurt maker too. NO!!!! I know as much about sanitation as doctors. I’ve kept ultra-pasteurized cream for 6 months after opening but it requires surgery room measures almost – no fun.

HEAB September 1, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Bob,
Interesting. I seem to do okay with goat milk yogurt, and sometimes I’ll eat full fat yogurt. However, the fat free dairy stuff does me in every time. I’m assuming b/c it’s higher in whey and casein.

Thanks for your comment – comforting to know I’m not alone.

Carolina Carol September 11, 2011 at 8:28 am

I’ve taken dairy out of my diet due to following the paleo diet. Yesterday I ordered a burrito bowl and had accidently had add sour cream with it. About 2 hours after eating it my stomach was bloated to the point where I looked as if I was 6 months pregnant. I had then recalled a trip to NY where we had scrambled eggs for breakfast with the same result. It all clicked that the dairy was the common denominator in the bloated stomach that day too. I’m going to watch this more carefully when I’m ordering food out and keep my flat tummy.

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 8 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: