Creating an Allergy?
It’s a common misconception that when one has a reaction to a food they cut out after an elimination period such as this, that they have created an allergy that didn’t previous exist. Another is that you can become intolerant to something by avoiding it for a period of time. However, this just isn’t true!
Melissa Hartwig, one of the creators of the Whole30 program, explains this phenomenon succinctly as follows:
You absolutely, positively cannot create an allergy or sensitivity to a particular food by taking it out of your diet. However, this is a relatively common phenomenon after something like the Whole30, for a few reasons.
First, awareness. These foods were affecting you in a negative fashion when you used to eat them, but you didn’t notice because you always just kind of felt a little crappy. The Whole30 brings you to an entirely new point in your health, and how you feel on a daily basis. It’s like smokers who say they feel great, and then quit smoking, and then smoke another cigarette again a year later. That cigarette makes them feel like crap, not because they are now more sensitive to cigarette smoke, but because they are far more aware of how awful it’s making them feel (compared to how good they’ve been feeling).
Second, in the face of inflammatory, gut-disrupting foods, the body has some defense measures. Your gut flora change, and the mucus lining of your small intestine gets way thicker, as a buffer to try to protect your body against those inflammatory substances. When you remove them and allow the gut to heal, the body can relax. Flora restore to a normal, healthy balance, and the mucus lining sloughs off, as you no longer need it to protect your small intestine. So what happens, in the absence of these defense mechanisms, when you reintroduce that inflammatory food? It hits you twice, three times, four times as hard. Because the body isn’t prepared for it, because it hasn’t been exposed to it for such a long time.
Reintroducing these foods so that your awareness disappears and your body starts to recreate these defense measures is not the answer. The answer is recognizing that, in the face of such serious reactions to a particular food, you should never eat that food. This is your body’s way of saying this food makes you seriously less healthy. I’d pay attention now that you’re able to listen.
I hope that clears things up a bit for the naysayers.
What’s Wrong with Dairy?
But why might dairy not be a good food choice? The Whole9′s Dairy Manifesto can be located here. It Starts with Food also provides an interesting discussion about growth hormones in milk, which (if true) is a little scary. In spite of that, many respected medical practitioners and nutrition scientists propose that dairy has a variety of benefits. The following links cite a variety of research on dairy, and share both positive and negative effects:
Confused? Yeah, me too. For me, the bottom line is that I kind of like cheese a lot, and wanted to see how I fared with it. Without further ado, onto the reintroduction!
Day 1: Reintroduction
So, on Friday, I decided to reintroduce dairy. Unfortunately, I was also suffering from a minor cold, so some symptoms of that might be conflated with symptoms of dairy reintroduction… oh well! Keep in mind that everything else I ate on this day was normal and Whole30-compliant.
Around lunchtime I had three small squares of a Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate bar with hazelnuts, along with one of those single serving packets of Justin’s Hazelnut Almond Butter. They were both pretty tasty… until I got this weird chemical aftertaste (and burps)! It was awful. Neither of these things had anything overtly questionable in them, but this tasted nasty! There were also a few small stomach pains, but nothing too suspect.
I made an interesting decision come dinnertime (and probably a bad one). I made a roux using butter and chestnut flour, and then added a bit of whole milk. Then I added some aged hard cheeses, followed by spaghetti squash, chicken, and bacon. I ate this with some salad greens and tea. My stomach rumbled a bit, warily, but that was the end of it (until I woke up the next day with an… interesting trip to the bathroom). Surprisingly, I suddenly wanted to eat all things sugary, or just mindlessly eat in general, so I ate tons of handfuls of coconut flakes. Ugh. While trying to fall asleep, I had a brief pang of anxiety that I hadn’t experienced in a while. My legs also felt a bit restless.
Day 2: Awareness
As I briefly mentioned above, the dairy seems to have gone right through me as of this morning. That sort of thing had not happened since I took too much magnesium before bed! I am left, however, with a pretty seriously bloated stomach, and my cold symptoms (runny/stuffy nose, post-nasal drip, raspy voice) have not improved.
I made the mistake of making a batch of “sweet potato pie pancakes” (3 eggs, 8oz mashed sweet potato, 1/4 cup chestnut flour, ghee, and berries) and while it was a fine recipe (not for Whole30 – very SWYPO) it felt so heavy to me. No added sugars or anything, but afterwards I just felt like lying down and falling asleep again. I went to the gym and tried to work out an hour later, but felt like I was going to throw it all up every time I lifted. Blugh.
Day 3: Return to Baseline?
I thought everything would be back to normal, but this morning I had diarrhea again (sorry), which (once again) hadn’t happened all month. And, I had some pimples on my forehead and chin! What?! I never really had a problem with acne, so this was quite a surprise. Additionally, I’m still suffering from the aforementioned cold symptoms, and my colds never last this long. Coincidence? I’m not sure. I’ve also felt a tiny bit depressed the past few days, but that is likely unrelated.
Dairy possibly causes the following in me:
- Mild GI distress
- Mild anxiety & restless legs
- Stomach bloat
- Cravings and mindless eating
Pancakes are not a good choice, even if they contain ingredients I’d eat anyway, because I eat far too many, and they make me feel sick to my stomach.
All things considered, dairy didn’t mess me up too badly, but another reintroduction would be necessary to tell for sure. I will likely continue to include it in my diet very sparingly, in the form of raw, grass-fed, and/or aged cheeses (because I find these quite delicious) and probably butter (because it is also delicious, but so is ghee). Oh, and of course, a bit of very dark chocolate here and there. It’ll be a few weeks before I have dairy again, but if these cold symptoms come back, I’ve gotta say it’s just not worth it!