On dairy, lactose intolerance and childhood drug addictions
Read on to find out about the drug I was addicted to as a child, how my early life was affected by a mysterious condition and how it links to my later life decision to ditch dairy.
My brain doesn’t hold on to names terribly well but cetrizine dihydrochloride is one name that is burned into my mind. This is the drug I was addicted to from childhood through growing up. By saying addicted, I mean that I had to take it every day without fail, could not sleep without it and my health often slipped below liveable standard without it. Sometimes I would fall asleep without it only to wake up wide-eyed hours later and realise I could definitely not go back to sleep if I didn’t take it. Sometimes I went to sleep without it and my airways would become so constricted I would enter into states of delirious half- sleep. My brain wouldn’t have enough air to work with and my heart would pound to make up for it yet my body would be stuck in a half- awake sleeping state, thrashing about the bed, feeling suffocated, confused, foggy, having exhausting lucid dreams, talking in my sleep. In short- I needed my cetrizine. I almost saw it as a part of my identity. My cetrizine- I needed to have it around, never run out of it, bring it with me. I eventually knew when I needed two pills because I was bad or when a half would be enough, just by sensing myself. This goes back to very early memories of my life.
Cetrizine dihydrochloride is basically a relatively mild anti- histamine which meant I was able to take it daily from a very small age with minimal side effects. Anti- histamines in essence subdue allergic responses. As a child I was constantly having allergic responses and was generally often sick and often weak. My nose was always bleeding. I had problems with breathing because my airways would often flare up and the inside of my nostrils swell to the point of leaving me only a weak stream of air to breathe with. I was often off school. I remember frequent consultations with doctors and talk of operations on my nose to open it up to more air. The diagnosis always was that I was suffering allergic reactions but it was unknown what they could be. I had skin testing that came back clear. There was even hypotheses that I could be allergic to something produced within my own body. My reactions were frequent, often suddenly onset, and often quite strong, but were also basically background noise throughout my life. They had no observable relation to seasons which is what was assumed it must be- some sort of plant- but no plant around grew all year round or should cause a reaction while I was in the house.
I guess back then food allergies weren’t a known thing yet. Not in the depths of rural Poland maybe, not to medicine from those days. Western medicine only acknowledged lactose intolerance as a thing relatively recently. Such is the nature of knowledge I guess, until it is there it is absent and only those who think seriously out of the box just conceive of something without coming to the knowledge of it somehow. Maybe through observation maybe by logic maybe research. We seem to tend to rely on information that had been handed down to us through some process and when I was small noone was handing down information about the potential of diet to make a child sick. Poland loves its dairy and it certainly did back then, and my diet was full of it. It often even came straight from the cows the farmer next door kept, the same ones I often watched while I played outside.
I was aware of the terms ‘lactose intolerant’ and ‘milk allergy’ for a long time before I came across the full definition and description of what those terms meant at 16. As soon as I became aware of what the symptoms were I just knew. Lightbulb moment- and everything fell into place. I made the decision to cut out dairy on the spot. I had one last blast as it was one of my siblings’ birthday and we had cake and cream and chocolate and I had a LOT of it, specifically, to hypothesis check and also to say a final goodbye. This was followed by a very sick time and a lot of stomach upset which only confirmed what I thought already was true.
For those of you who don’t know much about dairy allergy and lactose intolerance, here are some facts:
- Before I say anything else, I just want to say this: no human is okay with consuming dairy or any other species’ milk for that matter because no human is a baby calf. Stating this doesn’t require research, or science, or medicine, just observation of nature, and the fact that no species ever takes the milk of another species.
- Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose because of the lack of an enzyme called lactase, in the small intestine. As babies we have small amounts of lactase to deal with the amount of lactose present in human breast milk. In the case of lactose intolerance the consumption of dairy or milk causes digestive upset and symptoms are typically diarrhoea, bloating, and gas.
- The ability to digest lactose drops off after infancy naturally- about 65% of people experience some form of lactose intolerance as they age past infancy.
- Some populations have developed a heightened ability to break down lactose- among Europeans for example, rates of lactose intolerance can be as low as 5-15% but they are as high as 90-100% of adults in some communities of Asia and Africa as well as indigenous communities. Lactose intolerance is common among people from West Africa, the Arab countries, Greece, Italy, and among people of Hispanic and Jewish descent.
- In the case of lactose intolerance, your body is not fully able to break down lactose. However even adults who can break it down into glucose and galactose, are left with the galactose which can’t be processed further and stores in your body over your lifetime causing build ups called galactose challenges. These can build up anywhere and be responsible for a variety of conditions including waning fertility and senile cataracts.
- Milk allergy in turn is a reaction involving your immune system, like other food allergies, and can be very serious in a more immediate way showing up as soon as two hours after consumption. Your immune system treats the milk protein as a threat and fights against it. Symptoms include rashes or hives, a swollen tongue or lips, wheezing or chest tightness, itchy, red and watery eyes, difficulty breathing, vomiting, feeling sick and diarrhoea.
- The symptoms above are just a few from a long list of possible symptoms caused by either lactose intolerance or milk allergy, but which both are caused by the consumption of the same food group.
When I went cold turkey on dairy I literally got a new lease on life, overnight.
I can’t describe in words how I felt. I was a new person. I had been sick all my life and didn’t realise what feeling good felt like until I suddenly felt amazingly better. I got my health back. I had more strength. My tummy suddenly felt right. Calm. My lungs started to handle exercise better. I had more energy, a clearer mind. I never realised the way I had been feeling after most meals wasn’t right. I suddenly had clearer skin, even my emotional state was more stable. I felt amazing. (I still feel better and better lol) This was at about 16 years old and although I see the purpose in everything in life, if there is one thing I wish it’s that I had never had to consume dairy. (or anything else that came from other animals for that matter) And I hope that the care I have been putting into my body has restored the damage that all the years of dairy would have done.
Needless to say, I haven’t needed my cetrizine since I gave up dairy.
It’s funny how life works out. Today I am so much better. I feel amazing but I look back at so much that I am just not. okay. With. I am not okay with how sick I was, but I also appreciate it because well for one it never stopped me enjoying life then and for two I can enjoy and appreciate my health a lot better now than I maybe would otherwise. But what I’m really not okay with is the belief system in the society that has made it okay to forcefully impregnate cows with forcefully extracted bull semen to take away baby calves from their mothers to perpetually steal their milk to feed it to baby humans. Who get sick from it. I’m forever indebted. To the innumerable cows and their babies whose milk I took from them, inadvertently, tragically. The most amazing gentle creatures who I had and have so much love for. Who were taken away from their mothers and who had to die so I could have their food and get sick. For all the ignorance that has led humanity to steal other species’ milk and expect it to turn out right, science aside. I will keep sharing until I see reason around me. Hopefully someone will read this and maybe they will think, oh that was me too, maybe they will come to understanding as well or at least be triggered to do some research too.
Milk allergy is the most common food allergy in children, guys. The most common. The visible symptoms are so vastly different too. Is there something off with your child? It’s likely dairy. Your child is not a baby calf or a baby goat or pig or giraffe, imagine that. This is serious it’s not a game it’s day to day wellbeing. The compound effects of consuming dairy are *serious* This may shock and you might feel like denying it, that is OK and natural but I have done my research, I’ll be asking you to do the same. Research it. Watch ‘Udderly Amazing’ by Prof Walter Veith for a summary. Video going through the ins and outs on dairy in an amazingly digestible way. Pretty please!
I mean you well peeps. <3 By the way the cover photo is plant based milk which is just made out of blending plants 🙂 #domyownresearch #dairyisscary