Our thanks to Jim for giving this interview on how he's doing after his food intolerance test last month showed a strong reaction to dairy.
Says Jim, "When Amie asked me if I would like to have a food intolerance blood test done for a You Tube video I was intrigued to see if I had any reactions to the basic 46 foods. To be honest I have had tummy troubles on and off for years but I had learnt to live with the bloated, gassy feelings and acid reflux. My answer was just to reach for the Gaviscon or Rennie!"
Continues Jim, "The test itself was very simple and only involved a finger prick so not painful. The results only took 50 minutes to develop but those 50 minutes have changed my life and the way I eat now! The reaction tray showed a strong reaction to dairy and for those that have not seen the You Tube video of my test - click here to watch - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slFjr4cNqtg .Before we did the test I explained my symptoms to Amie and she predicted cow's milk would show up but the reality of seeing it in black and white made me realise how much my body had been struggling. I started excluding dairy straight away and as it was a strong reaction I have to remove it from my diet for 12 weeks. My greatest fear was no milk in tea and giving up cheese but I soon read up on what I could replace it with and began to relax."
Adds Jim, "Within 7 days of removing cow's milk from my diet I started to notice the difference, no more gurgling tummy and much less bloating and gas. I was really motivated to continue but I missed cheese so much that about 2 weeks in I buckled and indulged in 3 slices of cheesy pizza. It tasted delicious at the time but the following 4 hours were very painful and made me realise that because my reaction to dairy was very significant I was going to have to ban it entirely whilst my body repaired."
"8 weeks in now it has got easier to manage my dairy free lifestyle and I am no longer tempted to indulge - I don't want that bloating back again thank you! Its true what they say about planning ahead and part of that planning is checking labels, I've been amazed the number of things I've found cow's milk in. Crisps, gravy powder even some salamis have milk in so I am much more vigilant now. I use the Food Maestro app to help me identify foods with dairy in and I have let my friends and family know I am dairy free for a while so that helps when eating at other people's homes. If you are also following a food intolerance programme I really suggest you find alternatives to your favourite or most missed items. Also ask for the allergy details when you're in a restaurant as the good ones have a full list of what's in each dish."
Jim's Top Tips;
Milk for tea - I have found oat milk is a very palatable alternative, coconut milk just doesn't work for me but I do like it in coffee. Rude Health's range of nut and oat milks are the best I've found.
Breakfast - Coconut milk is great in cereal and I have swapped my Greek yoghurt for nut based yoghurts made from coconut or almonds which are very tasty and still high protein. The only downside to nut yoghurts is the price but that's a small price to pay now I'm feeling so much better. Best brands are CoYo and KoKo.
Ice Cream - I have tried quite a few and found some very tasty options but I was absolutely shocked with how much sugar is added to the 'non dairy' versions. I now stick to natural no added sugar sorbet to be on the safe side or Perfect World carrot cake ice cream is amazing!
Cheese - I can still eat Goats and Sheep's cheese, there are some very tasty alternatives that I've tried but I've also fallen foul of one sheeps cheese made with raw milk (Roquefort), that didn't agree with me at all! I have learnt some things by trial and error but I know one thing for sure, vegan plant based cheese is not for me. Tastes of nothing!
Chocolate - Thank goodness there are some fabulous dairy free chocolates out there now but Salisbury based 'Heavenly Chocolate' is my favourite - and just down the road!
I'm currently working on my gut repair programme which means including foods and drinks I had never heard of before but that add good bacteria and healing properties. Kombucha, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and bone broth are now part of my daily food intake, I never thought I was say that!
My next step with Amie's help will be trial a few items to distinguish if I have a full dairy intolerance or just a lactose intolerance. It's been an interesting health journey so far with the added bonus that I have dropped 4kg in the process!