It only matters what works for you.

Do rats like cheese?

This rat does, very much. It doesn’t like me though.

I’ve has asthma since I was a child. If you ask around, reliable sources will tell you that dairy doesn’t affect asthma, the suggestion that it increases mucus production is a myth. Other sources will tell you that there is only a link if there is an actual milk allergy. Certainly when I was a kid no one would ever have suggested that drinking milk was anything but an excellent source of important nutrition.

Then there were whispers. Suggestions that there might be a link. Stories about people who found that dairy free worked for them.

I think it was 2006 when I started hearing this. For the first time in years I had great control over my asthma and allergies (which are very closely tied in many of us.) I was on an inhaled steroid and a leukotriene inhibitor and a traditional (prescription strength) allergy med and I felt great. I only needed my rescue inhaler a few times a month.

I needed emergency intervention a few times per month and that was great? On top of all those other drugs? What a lousy definition.

Lets not forget that, with my lousy insurance, it was costing me $350 per month to feel that good too.

When I started hearing rumors about an asthma/dairy link the first thing I did was Google it up. Medical professionals of every stripe assured me that it was just a rumor, so I happily immersed myself in the cheese I adored and ignored it. Then I met someone online who had personally given up dairy and solved her asthma troubles. She introduced me to some more people. So I had to try it.

Even with my ‘great control’ I still had reactions to extensive triggers. So when, 2 days after I went on my 2 week cheese free trial, I was planing to spend the day in the woods, sitting on the grass while people did sporty things tearing up more grass, I packed a full bag of tissues.

I didn’t need one until nearly evening, and then it was just the one.

And that was it. I haven’t touched cheese since. Because as much as it used to be my all time favorite food group? Turns out breathing is better than cheese.

It took me most of a year to get completely dairy free. I really, really didn’t want to give up ice cream. Eventually I managed. I also weaned myself off those $350 worth of “necessary” meds I was going to be on for life.

I now know that I have a casein sensitivity. If I eat dairy today, then tomorrow and the day after I will have a drippy nose and a tendency to wheeze. Usually this happens when I give in to the lure of milk chocolate or one bite of my husbands new amazing ice cream flavor. That’s all it takes. Fortunately there is no appreciable casein in butter and extensive personal experimenting shows that it has no effect on me. Having done all the personal experimentation and testing, you can now find these kinds of stories everywhere online.

Now that I’m dairy free I have almost no asthma or allergy symptoms. I’m still asthmatic, my lungs still respond inappropriately to certain stimuli like too much time on the cleanser aisle at the grocery or just going quickly from warm to cold, but day in, day out, nothing. No drugs. No problems. I carry a rescue inhaler but rarely need it. At the height of fall, my personal allergy hotspot, I take a gentle homeopathic that keeps my allergies in check. No prescriptions.

So, it was worth challenging myself to 2 weeks without milk or cheese just to see how it would go.


Comments on: "Do rats like cheese?" (1)

  1. I agree — gotta experiment!

    That’s just the response I had to going off grains for 3 weeks. My “severe asthma” and “severe allergies” and “severe acid reflux” just vanished COMPLETELY. It was unbelievable. As long as I don’t eat gluten, I have zero problem with any of the three. Even seemingly normal seasonal allergies I don’t really have any issue with.

    I have a very mild reaction to soft-dairy, but none to cheese. Except one brand of pepperjack cheese which causes a gluten reaction (Tillamook) for some reason.

    Of course, my respiratory specialist was only irritated to the extreme at me about it all. I was pretty irritated he’d never even mentioned that this stuff could be food related, so we’re even.


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