and let me tell you a few things about cow’s milk.
Do you have a post nasal drip that just won’t quit?
Do you have trouble breathing after meals and you don’t have furry pets?
Do you have itchy skin and constant rashes?
Are your eyelids puffy and you have flakey skin around your hairline?
Stomach cramps after eating a creamy or cheese dish?
Followed by what smells like something died and was left to decay in the room?
Well, my itchy, sneezy, gassy, friend with a stomach ache, it just might be time for you to give up nursing; on a cow!
Can you give up all dairy products for a week? You will have your answer in four days, your symptoms will fade, you will feel lighter, think clearer, you will lose the puffiness and the trouble with breathing. You will feel so much better that you will be willing to give up the cornerstone of flavor in sooooo many classic meals: dairy products. But don’t lose faith, there are many substitutes that will give you the flavors you love without the animal fat or congestion that goes with it.
What’s the difference between lactose intolerance and dairy allergy?
A dairy allergy is when the immune system, which normally fights infection, responds to the protein in dairy being digested, as if it were a virus or an infection. In most cases, a type of the body’s antibody known as Immunoglobulin E (IgE) responds to milk protein as if it’s a dangerous invader, triggering a cascade of immune response that causes potentially dangerous symptoms.
Several different proteins can be involved and it isn’t always just an IgE reaction. Sensitivity can be IgA and/or IgG mediated. These proteins are the common casein and whey but also butyrophilin that is produced by the cells that also produce milk fat by the animal. IgG and IgA reactions tend to be slower reactions than the IgE mediated types and are therefore harder to recognize as caused by something you ate days ago. Some labs are providing antibody tests and other tests that can be helpful in learning sensitivities to some of these proteins.
Lactose intolerance is trouble with digesting the sugar in milk. Lactose is milk sugar and lactase is the enzyme that digests it, this is a condition of not having enough lactase in the digestive system. Unlike an allergy, where the digestive system aggressively attacks the digestion of dairy, dairy intolerance produces problems in the digestive system from this missing enzyme. Babies and young children usually have enough lactase enzymes to digest milk sugar, but this decreases over time. This intolerance shows up early in babies, by about a year old, and there is some evidence that it is natural to develop lactose intolerance when solid foods are introduced to a baby’s diet, a natural way to stop nursing. Some will outgrow lactose intolerance by age 5 or 6 but 10-20% will keep it for their entire life.
When lactose intolerance develops in later childhood and adulthood it is more likely to be a lifelong condition.
About 1 to 2 percent of children have experienced a milk allergy, which some ultimately outgrow. Milk allergy is found more commonly in boys than girls. With lactose intolerance, 90% of persons of Asian descent have the highest 70 % of Native Americans and African Americans have lactase deficiency, lactose intolerant is basically the norm for adults worldwide.
Milk allergies differ from person to person from the severity of the reaction to the specific symptoms that result. IgE antibodies bind to different parts of the protein in milk; this difference at the molecular level is why allergic individuals experience different reactions. One can be allergic to either or both major milk proteins: casein and whey. Casein makes up about 80 percent of milk protein; whey accounts for the remaining 20 percent. Although casein is thought to be more allergenic than whey, the specific protein causing the allergy is not relevant to the care and treatment to a milk-allergic person receives. Both require avoiding eating any dairy products.
I have been allergic to milk since birth, I consider eating dairy products weird and cross-species nursing. Sounds strange, and it’s an example of how culture dictates what one thinks of as edible. When one steps away from a common diet one can be critiqued and ridiculed. It certainly isn’t easy to avoid dairy, it takes commitment, but it certainly is easier now than it ever has been before. There are substitutes for dairy items in recipes and it isn’t very hard to find soy cappuccino’s in fine dining establishments, including my own dinning room.