I thought it was time for an update since my Casein Confession. I have been dairy-free since last December, a little over three months. Not too difficult as long as I eat at home. When eating at a restaurant I avoid the obvious, like cheese, but haven't been very adamant about butter (or whatever other dairy is hidden in restaurant food). This hasn't worked out in my favor. Even though I stick to protein and veggies, usually a nice medium-rare steak and broccoli, there hasn't been one time I have eaten at a restaurant, over the past three months, I have felt good the next day or next several days.
Strawberries & Dairy-Free Whipped Cream
In the past three months, I've spent a considerable about of time researching food allergies, gut health and the immune system as well as reflecting on the symptoms I have experienced. I also consulted with my Chiropractor, Doctor and Registered Dietitian friend, to become an expert. Not a food allergy expert, but an expert of my own health.I'm not a fan of labeling an affliction or claiming it as my own. Too often when we are given a diagnosis, it becomes us and defines us. This was a very hard lesson for me to learn as it was an obstacle I had to overcome in order to conquer adrenal fatigue. With that being said, in my search for food allergy answers, I stumbled on a disorder called Allergic Tension Fatigue Syndrome (ATFS). Exactly as it sounds, ATFS is muscular tension and an overall fatigue caused by a chronic food allergy and very consistent with the symptoms I experience after eating dairy.
ALLERGIC TENSION FATIGUE SYNDROME
At this point in my research, I was still hesitant to claim my symptoms were a result of a food allergy. Nothing had been confirmed by a doctor or a lab test, this was all theory on my part. Couple that with the fact that much of those symptoms are similar to adrenal insufficiency, something that had been confirmed and diagnosed. But when my symptoms started to disappear with the avoidance of dairy and quickly return, even when eating very small amounts, I started to become a believer.
One thing that has troubled me for some time, that didn't resolve as I recovered from adrenal fatigue, was the chronic tension in my head, neck and shoulders. I have done just about everything one can possibly do to alleviate this. From weekly massage therapy, to acupuncture to chiropractic care. At one point this summer, I was getting chiropractic adjustments three times a week with little relief. Not only was I frustrated, but so was my chiropractor. She was stumped at the inability of my cervical spine to hold an adjustment and how difficult it was for my neck and shoulder muscles to relax.
Dare I say, the tension in my head, neck and shoulders has resolved since avoiding dairy. As if that isn't enough, my morning watery/sticky eyes are gone. The lingering morning lull and low-grade depression, that I attributed to some residual adrenal issues, has lessened to the point that I went caffeine-free in January. For the most part, I wake up ready for the day and don't have to “force” myself to be me. All of these symptoms are gone as long as I stay dairy-free.
I recently had the opportunity to trial a food allergy home test kit by US Biotek. I jumped at the chance to find out, not only if I was truly allergic to dairy, but if there were any other foods that were not my friend. This test kit was identical to the Holman Omega-3 Test. No special preparation was required prior to the sample, a simple prick of the finger and then dotting the blood on the collection card. Once dry, in the provided envelope it went and then off to the lab to be tested. A couple of weeks later the results were in my mailbox…….