Monday, November 23, 2009

Allergies suck. Please help me!

As a child I was allergic to milk. Anytime I drank it I was afflicted with horrible ear infections.  My Mom eventually figured out what was going on and strictly forbid the consumption of said product, but by this time I had scarring in my ears and suffered hearing loss. Thankfully, I outgrew both the hearing damage and the milk allergy by the time I reached my teen years. As long as I didn't over do the dairy intake, I could consume small quantities of milk and anything I desired that contained milk products. I was so thankful and I pitied those with any kind of food allergies.

Recently, however, my allergy has re-manifested itself and as a far more sensitive mutation. As of last month my body has simply decided that it does not wish to digest a variety of milk products. At first I denied it. I claimed it was a virus. I claimed it was hormonal. Anything but an allergy! Maybe, I thought, maybe there was a build up of yeast in my body that was causing it to react strongly to dairy and I wasn't actually allergic to anything!

So last week I went completely off of refined sugar so that the yeast would have nothing to feed on. Additionally, I took all dairy out of my diet to make the reactions stop while I sorted out this sugar thing. I hoped that after a week I'd be fine and could return to my normal eating habits, which really are pretty healthy. I felt great all week. There wasn't a single sign of my reactions I'd been having. "Great!" I thought, "logic wins again!"

But no, when I resumed my usual eating over the weekend so did the pain I'd been suffering the previous weeks. Bang goes that theory. I feel betrayed by my body, like it's attacking me. But I am finally ready to start thinking about what my future without milk, cheese, ice cream, and perhaps even butter, will look like in the future.

Today I bought soy milk so I can experience cooking with it. I'm also already back to a dairy free diet in the hopes that I will be able to slowly introduce things to see what my body can handle. Example: Will my body accept butter? What about yogurt? Ice cream? (The latter is, no doubt, ridiculously hopeful.)

So my question to you, my faithful readers, is this; do any of you have milk/lactose allergies? How do you deal with that? Do you find that your allergy makes it difficult for you to live like a normal person?

Meanwhile, I'll be checking out the soy ice cream section of Trader Joe's. Mournfully.

11 comments:

  1. I'm Bethany Laurel from HSA and found your blog from there.

    My mom cannot have any dairy products. They give her bad muscle spasams. Thankfully none of us children have it; however, for several years now we have only cooked with soymilk and now rice milk. Mom used to buy it but now makes her own. She has also found a substatute to ice cream!

    If you want more infomation, ideas, product names, or want to email my mom, send me a message on hsa.

    I hope you figure it all out!
    Bethany

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  2. I feel, really, really, really bad for you! :(

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  3. Hi Elisabeth,
    You might look at "The Probiotics Revolution" by Dr. Gary Huffnagle (it's on Amazon..or your MIL has it). He's a microbiologist and immunologist who studies probiotics. He discusses using probiotics for food allergies, specifically Lactobacillus GG to help control milk allergies. It might be worth a look...I take this probiotic every day in a capsule form, and it has been a HUGE help in controlling some nasty side effects of my scleroderma. They sell it at Walmart under the name Culturelle. Let me know if you want more info...
    Cara

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  4. Rice milk was going to be my suggestion too. We have slight allergies around here and so we use rice milk. (I cook with it and Joshua always took it in his bottle...which I found a bit unbelievable and, quite frankly, disgusting.) We use it on cereal and they even make "ice cream" with it! (You get used to the taste.) It's not THAT bad but I think it does take a little getting used to.

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  5. Actually, there's no such thing as a lactose allergy. True food allergies only occur in response to proteins (an IGE mediated response), and lactose is an enzyme. My daughter has milk allergy and even a molecule of milk protein touching her skin gives her head-to-toe hives; ingesting it leads to anaphylactic shock. It sounds like you have a lactose intolerance as opposed to an IGE mediated allergy. Either way, it sounds awful, and I feel for you. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network has a lot of helpful information about milk allergy: www.foodallergy.org. Best of luck!

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  6. OK... stop drinking soy milk! Do not do any soy products! Soy causes loads of problems including infertility!! so get off soy ASAP!

    it sounds like you don't have enough lactase to dissolve the lactose which is why you are allergic to milk... you are "lactose intolerant" the best thing to do, and you're gonna kill me for saying this is drink raw goats milk. BLEH! unless you can find raw cow's milk. but you need the raw milk because it has the lactase in it. the homogenized milk when its processed kills the lactase and thus produces people who are lactose intolerant.
    so get some raw milk. :)

    personally, I can't stand milk, and hardly any dairy. ice cream, cottage cheese, cheese and that's about it.

    hope this helps some, darling. I feel bad for ya... that's gotta be horrible!
    {HUGS} love ya!

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  7. First of all, do NOT feed soy milk to my son-in-law! While I'm not in a huge hurry, I want to have grandchildren some day. Go on youtube and find out how to make your own almond milk and rice milk. Secondly, I think lactose is a sugar, thus the "ose" ending on the word. I second Cara's advice about the probiotics. You might be able to tolerate raw milk products that are living and contain the stuff you need to digest them. Good like finding raw milk products that you can afford. And there is always KEFIR! :D

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  8. I was off dairy for about 6 months to a year- it wasn't that bad.
    my first suggestion- NO SOY MILK!! Not until you are like menopausal!!! severe hormonal problems have been found in young women who consume soy products
    Goats milk and cheese isn't that bad and doesn't usually have the same effect as Cow milk (my niece is allergic to dairy and that is what she drinks)
    Look on the bright side, At least you know what it is- you don't need to spend lots of time, money, pain, and aggravation trying to figure it out!

    (I would tell you about soy ice cream- which is delicious- but, that little "soy problem" ruins that. Once in a while is probably ok, though)

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  9. Dearest daughter-in-law,
    Please try to find a soy milk substitute! Also, do what Cara says. In fact, I'll send you the book. We had to add a culturelle type product to the last two babies' diets and the results were dramatic. I am sensitive to milk, but am able to eat other dairy products, especially if I'm eating a good diet, (whole grains, good fats, water, fermented foods, etc.), eat yogurt every day, exercise and don't cuss too much. And, go out and get a dark chocolate bar to nibble when you're feeling like it's all too hard. Love you!
    Mom S

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  10. Gina probably hit it on the head... you cuss too much! :D

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  11. Yup! I'm lactose intolerant too! It was my 18th birthday gift to myself. One day I was fine, then I had my grand bowl of Apple Jacks with cow milk and was sick as a dog! So I did make the transition to soy milk. I have since grown to love the creamy texture, but can't drink it too much because the consistency is milk-like and sometimes hurts my tummy.

    I've heard soy is good for your female parts-but that's mainly for perimenopausal women. I CAN have butter, yogurt, sour cream, and ricotta cheese. All the good stuff--ice cream, lasagna, soft cheeses, and the like are enough to make me want to meet my Maker. You'll have to figure out what makes your body tick.

    I did no-dairy for a while and now I don't even crave milk stuff anymore. Good luck in adjusting your life! It only gets better!

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