Saturday, 2 June 2012

Milk Allergy / Milk and Lactose Intolerance

3 John 3: 2  Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
The reason I am writing this post about milk allergy is that it is my hope that my struggles with this problem will help someone out there who is suffering to get to a healthier place in their life also.  I do not have any medical qualifications at all, I can only speak from my own experiences. I believe that God is seriously interested in helping us in all areas of our lives and that includes our health. I have come to understand that lactose intolerance is not the same as a milk allergy. So here is my story.
I had known for about 7 years that I was intolerant to milk. As is the case of most people I know that are milk intolerant, consumming milk or milk products will then cause stomach ache, bloating and diarrhea, so it was for years for me also. I could have ice-cream, pudding, pizza or whatever knowing that I would pay for it later in the ways listed previously. But I accepted that. Slowly the symptoms got worse and I cut down on my milk intake but I would still consume some. One of my friends who also is milk intolerant said she could have milk without it bothering if she took 2 week breaks from milk consumption in between. It helped her to be more able to tolerate it again. So I did that also and it seemed true and I continued to consume milk, after all milk is  supposedly  nature's most perfect food. Then last fall I began to feel generally sick constantly, nauseous, hot, almost feverish as if my body were fighting itself, and frequent anxiety spells. It didn't occur to me really that it was related to me consuming milk. Then it turned to stomach attacks where about a half hour after a meal where I had conummed a milk product, I would experience serious stomach pain, nearly passing out and felt very sick. I would be sick in bed for a few hours after the attack. The pain in my stomach would slowly disappear in three days time. This attack happened to me three times  and I knew I needed to get to a doctor. Just as I was preparing myself emotionally for visiting my doctor, thinking that I must have developed some very serious disease, I felt the LORD whisper in my ear - "you know you are intolerant to milk, Stop having milk!"  I knew right there that before I would go to the doctor I had to do this. God had instructed me to go off milk entirely. So I did. Since then I have not had any more attacks and I feel so much better over all. I would not say that I am super healthy or that I won't be sick anymore or anything close to  that but I have learned that God is interested in my health! and I find that very exciting indeed. I pray to Him for my health.
I learned that there is a difference between being allergic to milk and being lactose intolerant. With an allergy you will experience a serious reaction, mine occured about a half hour after the meal, while with intolerance it will produce unwanted ill feeling effects but it is not as life threatening at that point.
I know now that I must not consume any milk, not even trace amounts. The difficult part is of course to know what food products contain milk and which ones do not. For example, my daughter loves microwave popcorn. So one day  her and I decided to make some. I was so looking forward to eating some of it and I had read the ingredient list on the bag and I thought it should be fine. So we had our popcorn and soon I began to feel nauseous, and I thought to myself - I feel like I have had milk but I didn't think I had. I reread the ingredient list on the popcorn and one ingredient was butter flavor. I went on the internet to see what butter flavor is made of and sure enough it was made from milk. So as you can see, I am still making mistakes as I learn to this new way of eating. I have found ways to cook without milk now using milk free margarine ( Fleishmans, or Becel vegan). The hardest part is learning which words on an ingredient list all are forms of milk There is milk is many many food products that you would not expect it to be in. An example being chocolate. A woman like me likes her chocolate but it's not easy to find milk free chocolate just any place. I don't mind drinking an occasional glass of soy milk but I can't quite accept that on breakfast cereal yet. I enjoy orange juice that is fortified with calcium and Vitamin D. All I can say is that it is an ongoing learning process for me and that I know the LORD is with me in my journey. May God bless and have mercy on all who are suffering with health issues of any sort.
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

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