Since going gluten and dairy free, there are certain foods that I truly miss. There are foods I can do without too, but I really do miss dairy, especially yogurt. I used to eat Greek yogurt every day, until I realized it was making me sick. I really do not like coconut yogurt or soy yogurt, so I pretty much gave it up. So I started thinking, is it possible that I can’t eat dairy because of the way commercial milk is produced?
Could it be the GMO grain fed cows? Could it be the hormones and antibiotics? Could it be possible to eat organic, grass-fed, pastured dairy products?
We are fortunate that we have a local dairy that provides grass-fed milk products. We also have a health food store in the area that carries grass-fed yogurt. On my last weekly trip, I noticed it in the case. I had been drooling over the local dairy’s milk since I noticed it in the cooler, but didn’t want to waste a whole quart if I couldn’t drink it. The yogurt seemed the perfect vehicle for a little experiment.
Meanwhile, I did some research on the correlation between GMO grain-fed cows and dairy intolerance. There wasn’t much information out there, but I did find this article. In it, the author cites several reasons why dairy intolerance might be linked to modern dairy production and also gluten intolerance:
- Processing of dairy alters the casein protein creating a molecule that resembles gluten, thus creating an inflammatory response.
- Eating dairy processed with the enzyme, microbial transglutaminase (AKA meat glue), can increase inflammation and cause an immune reaction in people with gluten sensitivity.
- Cows are supposed to eat grass, hay, etc. They are not designed to process the huge quantities of corn and grain based foods that they are fed. Some would speculate that these grain based proteins might make their way into the milk, thus creating an inflammatory reaction.
- Leaky gut – gluten can cause intestinal permeability. When this happens, people often times become allergic to the staple foods in their diet. As milk is a major staple used by those on a gluten-free diet, many develop an allergic response to dairy.
- Digestive enzyme deficiencies – those with gluten-induced intestinal damage of long standing nature tend to lack the capacity to be able to break down the sugars and proteins in dairy (AKA – dairy intolerance). This type of problem can cause tremendous GI distress, gas, distention, bloating, and pain. The undigested dairy materials can putrefy (become rotten) while in the gut. This, in turn, can create secondary inflammatory reactions. This can also lead to disruption in the healthy bacterial counts of the gut. As these bacteria are largely responsible for regulating immune response and inflammation, disrupting their numbers is a common cause of GI disturbance.
He goes on to say:
- The cows are GMO
- The food for the cows are GMO (primarily corn and other grains)
- Recombinant bovine growth hormone
- Cows kept in tight quarters, little exercise, and exposed to massive quantities of antibiotics and hormones
- Ultra-pasteurization of the dairy denatures and destroys much of the protein and nutritional value.
I do believe that commercially produced dairy has some effect on dairy intolerance. If at all possible, you should get your milk from a local dairy that practices organic and hormone/antibiotic free processing.
Thus began my experiment a couple of days ago. At first, I was nervous. Would I get instantly sick?
I took one teaspoonful of the yogurt, and waited. Nothing happened. No bloat, no gas, no diarrhea. Hmmm, interesting. Yesterday I increased the amount to two teaspoons. Same thing. Today it was three teaspoons. In fact, I ate it while writing this post. It’s too soon to relate my reaction to today’s amount, but I am almost confident that I will be ok.
Just how much grass-fed dairy can my body handle? Could I possibly eat a whole container of yogurt? Could I have milk and cookies again? We shall have to wait and see. So stay tuned!