The last several weeks have been rift with various life changing events. In no particular order:
- I was extended the position of Systems & Web Librarian at Grand Rapids Community College (where I had been adjuncting since February), of which I accepted. Yay hookers & blow!
- I was diagnosed with a moderately severe milk protein allergy.
- My car is dying – it needs to be replaced.
Each of these are fraught with their own pluses and minuses – the milk protein allergy, however, is the most poignant. Why? Remember several years ago when I was diagnosed with massive amounts of sensitivities and allergies to a variety of foods from across the spectrum? What I never really explained is that the testing was done by naturopath and it was done using Electrodermal Diagnosis. In short, my allergies were “diagnosed” based upon the changes of electrical changes when current was pumped through me. So that list that I provided of over 100 different allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities? Turns out they were patently false.
Now before you begin rolling your eyes at me at how naive I was to think that electrodermal diagnosis would even work or you know, the obvious case of BAD SCIENCE, I just want to point out that I was DESPERATE. I had just gotten insurance, I picked a local GP who turned out to be a naturopath who made the suggestion of the electrodermal diagnosis. I was sick of feeling, well, sick all the time, randomly throwing up for no reason and heartburn that would take an elephant down. When I went on the naturopath suggested food elimination diet, namely removing gluten, some diary and tomatoes, I did feel better. But it wasn’t constant even when I was good. So I began to cheat and cheat a lot.
As time when on, TheHusband and I started using my body as an experiment and the biggest thing we noticed is that when we went out to eat, processed food made me ill while the same variation of food cooked by TheHusband, was fine. So we figured, at the very least, I could not tolerate some preservative that were being used in restaurant food, no matter how local or fresh it was. And gluten? Every single loaf of gluten bread I baked gave me no distress whatsoever and I never had symptoms after eating gluten products, so that diagnosis made zero sense. After recently throwing up after finishing a pint of ice cream, TheHusband made me head to the doctor as he was getting tired of the one off throwing up gigs and my buying of Pepto in bulk. He figured it was an ulcer and I also had them do a blood test for allergies as well. I got the news while I was sipping on coffee laced with death (half’n’half, natch) that I had a level 2-3 milk protein allergy. 2 Allergy spectrum works on a level of 1-4, with 1 being more or less intolerant and four meaning death.3
So yes, I’m bearing down on 40 with a speed that often takes my breath away and I have an allergy that is typically associated with babies and kids. Because when you google “milk protein allergy,” almost all the information is geared for toddlers and kids. The irony is not lost on me at all.
So what’s the difference between being lactose intolerant and having a milk protein allergy? The former is typically categorized with gastrointestinal distress while the later can run the rampart of skin rash, hives, anxiety, vomiting – the list goes on. There is no magic pill for me to take, where those who are intolerant can tolerate some levels of dairy or get lactose-free (not necessarily has to be casein or whey free) products. I can’t. I have to ABSOLVE FROM IT ALL. I called my docs and got it confirmed I have to also stay away from goat and sheep milk based products for the moment to let my body heal. And by ABSOLVE FROM IT ALL also means any products processed with milk or milk by-products which runs the gamut from the obvious (cheese, sour cream, yogurt, etc) to the non-obvious (toothpaste!). Even store bought bread has traces of whey in it, which makes it even more awesome that I’ve been baking our bread from scratch for months. And if I’m with TheHusband, he won’t even allow me to purchase items that have zero milk product ingredient but “may contain trace of” since the product was produced in a factory that produced a product containing dairy.
There has been a lot of melodrama in my head about this – like the desire to want to motorboat a loaded bake potato and I look at cheese plates online lasciviously like how I used to stalk Joaquin Phoenix. I’m often caught drooling in the grocery store in the artisan cheese aisle, quickly wiping the drool before anyone catches me. I make cow eyes at TheHusband when he eats ice cream. Now, I know there are vegan replicas of almost every animal product on the market. TheHusband and I had swapped dairy out in various forms on and off for years, so going to soy milk and soy butter was not that big of stretch for us. But cheese? Sour cream? Ice cream? I don’t care what most vegan folks say, 99% of the replacement products to replicate sweet, sweet cow milk TASTES OF ASS AND BALLS. Yes, I’m aware of brands like Tofutti but their sour cream was meh and So(y) Delicious! fudge marble ice cream was nothing like it’s cow milk counterpart. I know the taste, texture and consistency may not be EXACTLY the same, but it should be in the general ballpark. So far, I\’m finding that to not be true.
So, according to Alice, I’m a megan – a meat eating vegan. I still consume eggs and meat, but have no dairy unless it’s artificially created and I won’t touch tofu with a ten foot pool. (And that is because I have not met tofu cooked in any way that was even remotely palatable to me.) What has been amazing about this whole dairy free thing is that how many of my physical problems were wrapped up into this allergy. In the last several weeks since I went dairy free:
- My rosacea has almost completely cleared up.
- I’ve had almost no panic attacks or panic attack symptoms
- I’ve slept better, with better energy
- Rashes/breakouts on my back and legs have almost entirely cleared up
- I don’t feel like my stomach is full of knives
- My arthritis has subsided quite a bit
Will I end up talking about this more on my blog? Probably because it’s hard to find dairy free blogs and websites that don’t get the super preachy HIPPIE VIBE thrown at you. Not consuming milk proteins is not a personal lifestyle choice, for me it’s a medically necessary one and I can do without the vegan hypocrisy when reading about a dairy free lifestyle. I cry at the thought that I’ll never eat a gooey, tasty, dripping with grease slice of pizza ever again.
1. Reverse Richard Brautigan.
2. I’ve also got an allergy to mold, which makes sense since I have an existing allergy to penicillin but I’ve never wanted to motorboat mold before so it’s not that exciting.
3. Not really, but sounds way more dramatic.