Non-Dairy January

I love cows. They are a key piece of the keto, borderline carnivore, way of life that I use to manage swelling and inflammation. My day usually starts with heavy cream in my coffee, continues with parmesan crisps and guacamole in the afternoon, and ends with a ribeye steak and some full fat greek yogurt in the afternoon. Thank you, cows, for making that possible. Like many people, I increased my dairy consumption when I went keto over a year ago and it has been a wonderful source of both fat and flavor in my diet. Until now.

There is a lot of talk about bio-individuality and food sensitivities in my lipedema circles yet I have long pushed away even the possibility that I could have a dairy intolerance. That would be a disaster! But as I deepened my levels of ketosis and incorporated fasting to accelerate my healing, strange things started happening to my stomach. Without warning eggs, which I’ve eaten all my life, started sending me on sprints to the bathroom and I started to wonder about some of my other food staples too. My conservative treatments (compression, pneumatic pumping, whole body vibration, etc.) were doing a lot, but some days I could still see swelling and feel inflammation. Something was still going on.

Google “food sensitivities” and you’ll see that eggs and dairy are some of the most problematic foods for human stomachs. Could dairy, I wondered, be behind the occasional inflammation and swelling I experienced even after eliminating eggs? Please no. Curiosity finally won out about a month ago when, on a whim, I picked up an EverlyWell at-home food sensitivity test during a Black Friday sale. Please no, I again prayed as I pricked my finger and promptly bled all over my kitchen, but it was too late. Pandora’s food sensitivity box was already open.

The results came by email a few days later and… Ugh! The only food it showed “high reactivity” for was cow milk. “Moderate reactivity” included egg whites (no surprise) and yogurt. Double ugh! I immediately went back into denial and rejection. It turns out the EverlyWell test is a little controversial and there is plenty of criticism of its science (or lack of it) to be found other places on the internet. For a second opinion I called my friend Kristin Arntz who is one of the great nutrition coaches at Lipedema Simplified. While she also shared doubts about the test itself, she nonetheless encouraged me to try an elimination diet. “But I don’t have symptoms!” I protested. I could feel her shaking her head even over the phone. “You don’t know if you have symptoms,” she corrected. “Eliminate all dairy for a month then see how you feel.” The one month part is important. Kristin noted that anything shorter than that wouldn’t give my gut enough time to heal.

So, on January 1, 2022, here I go. One month without dairy seems impossible, but I keep reminding myself that life without flour and sugar also seemed impossible at the beginning of my keto journey… but here I am 15 months later. We can get used to anything if we give it enough time. Wish me luck! Check back for updates on how I tweak my diet and if I notice any improvements in my health.

Are you doing any experiments of your own for 2022? Have you noticed any new food sensitivities after adopting a ketogenic way of eating? Drop me a note below in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Author: Rebekah

Vibrant, creative, thirty-something living life to the fullest with chronic disease.

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