It’s been a whirlwind of a journey the past few years: everything from becoming a newlywed, new parent, move across the country (and back), unexplained chest pains… things have been crazy up in the life of Loriel!
If you did not read my previous posts about my chest pains, I invite you to read them so you can get a background idea of what I’ve been dealing with. Read them in chronological order HERE, HERE, and HERE
If you don’t really feel like reading the posts I’ll give you a short and sweet summary:
Basically since Andrew has been born (2011), I’ve had unexplained chest pains. They came periodically but I began to notice a pattern when they started getting worse: they only came when my body temperature was elevated. It was so bad at one point that I could not wash my hands or take a hot bath without my pain flaring up. At times I could not even take Andrew to the park because I was afraid I may have a heart attack from the pain I was feeling.
You might ask, “Well what was the pain like?” The pain I have experienced in the past three years have been sharp but sometimes dull and the pain radiated completely down my left arm.
Anyway, after many trials and tribulations (and a fantastic Naturopath), I think I have finally closed the case of the unexplained chest pains.
Can you guess what causes them? Well folks, it’s dairy products.
And I’m not just talking conventional, pasteurized dairy; I’m talking raw, whole-fat, creamy milk, cheese and butter goodness.
WHAT! I could not believe that dairy was the culprit! I was shocked, relieved and then disappointed. Shocked because I really could not believe something like a dairy intolerance was causing the pain. Relieved because I finally knew what was wrong and could rest easy. Disappointed because I freaking love cheese and milk and especially butter. *whimper*
My Naturopath told me to get off of dairy to sort of “test” the theory that I may be intolerant. So I did.
Testing the Theory
The first two weeks I went without any dairy, I had no signs of bloating, discomfort or chest pains. Unbelievable! I was still incredibly astonished that this has been my issue for such a long time.
A couple weeks after we moved back to Florida, we had a little BBQ. I decided to make a homemade french onion dip and of course the main ingredient was sour cream. I’m a sucker for sour cream, especially in homemade onion dip. Needless to say, I did not have good willpower and ate the dip. That night,for the first time in two weeks, I had serious stomach issues.
A few weeks after the french onion incident, I began eating butter and sour cream in small amounts. I noticed when I “cheated” and ate dairy if we went out to eat, I’d have chest pain.
Theory solved. Dairy causes digestive and chest issues for me.
Thinking Back: When Did I Become Intolerant?
I’m not sure when I became intolerant to dairy or why. It seems the day I gave birth to Andrew, my whole equilibrium in my body changed; body, hair, skin, boobs (how I miss my pre-pregnancy boobs…), internally, everything. I suppose tolerance to dairy changed as well. I can remember complaining about very minor pain in my left arm a few times before I had Andrew but nothing to where it was seriously affecting me. It only really began to be a problem when we moved to California.
My speculation as to why it became so apparent in the time we were in California is that I probably overloaded on the dairy. When I first learned of raw milk and cheese, I was in dairy heaven (especially being in California). I drank raw milk each day, ate raw cheese like I was a starving mouse, and ate butter like it was crack. Dairy took up a huge portion of my daily diet and I made a point to get in all those wonderful fats.
This was also right around the time I developed really weird digestive issues. Everything from bloating (without being able to release), constipation, diarrhea (with the sweats, cramps and shivers), and even hemorrhoids. I couldn’t understand why I was having such issues! I never thought in my wildest dreams that my beloved and wholesome raw dairy products were the culprit.
As you can imagine, I was beginning to feel like the lemon child. Thank goodness for my genius Naturopath.
In the Current News
Well, currently, things have been going really well. I’ve been experimenting with dairy-free ingredients although I still use butter for my eggs and even put a little butter on my bread. I’ll be experimenting more with cultured ghee because apparently it has all the benefits of butter but not the allergenic properties. My Naturopath recommended THIS brand.
I know my limits: If I eat more dairy then I should be eating, I’ll either have diarrhea a few hours after eating it or will start to have chest pains.
I’ve heard of people reversing their intolerance through the GAPS diet. THIS is a great resource on what the GAPS diet is all about and how to heal your gut. I may try this once everything settles down and we move into our new home.
But as for now, I am just very thankful and happy that the mystery of unexplained chest pains are finally solved.