The body knows more about dairy than science

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The body knows more about dairy than science

In the last 7 years I have been experimenting with removing certain food groups such as dairy, gluten, alcohol, refined sugar and processed foods out of my diet; then occasionally reintroducing them – either out of emotional need or because I followed the thought pattern of “a little bit won’t hurt” – and observing the effects.

Like the scientist and guinea pig wrapped into one, I conducted my own experiments and used my body’s messages and communication to draw upon and base my conclusions and understandings. These tests were very simple, repeatable and my only requirement was to be open to listening and feeling the results as they came back to me from my body.

In the case of dairy, as a very small child, I found that I could not tolerate cow’s milk and was put on a dairy-free diet. As I grew older and went to school, dairy entered my diet with cereals, cheeses, milk, yoghurt etc. because that’s what everyone else did. Never during those years did I consider my health being affected by dairy, as this was simply a normal part of life. I don’t remember anyone around me suggesting that I pause to see how I felt after eating to see if my body liked that food or not. Ingesting dairy was normal, ignoring the body was normal. We were all ignoring the messages from the body that dairy was not good for it. Fast-forward to college and this is when the experiments of removing it from my diet to feel the difference began: first with gluten and then dairy.

However, it appears that this method is not widely supported by the mainstream scientific community en masse. Research in papers, journals, anything outside of our bodies’ messages is considered king when it comes to developing a scientific method of understanding life. We give our power away to outside sources rather than going to the body that is constantly experiencing the life we live and the choices we are making. Science values repetition of results and my experiments with my body were definitely repeatable and predictable, yet in some instances when visiting doctors and nutritionists there have been comments of my diet being restrictive and possibly hazardous to my health.

If these ‘restrictions’ lead to greater levels of not just energy but vitality, health, less illness and when I do fall ill I bounce back faster than I ever have, it makes me wonder about the science that has been held to be the truth of life – is it really the truth it proclaims to be if my body is telling me otherwise?

A standard English breakfast could be toast, wheat bricks and milk, cereal or the like around the realms of gluten and dairy, yoghurt and fruit etc. We are told that we need breakfast to keep us powered through the day. However, what I have experienced is that if I had a high protein breakfast (omelette etc.) then I would be fine; having porridge with milk I would feel tired, irritable and unable to take my mind off of food, being completely distracted at work thinking about what next to eat. These days just soup/broth works for me, and sometimes my body doesn’t want breakfast.

I often hear “We need dairy for our calcium”, but it gives me sinus and gut issues; plus we can get calcium from spinach and sea greens that don’t adversely affect my body the way dairy does. The science that comes with a sense that its research is for everyone doesn’t make sense to my body, as it shows signs of ill health when I consume these foods.

So who do I listen to – science or the body – in order to achieve a state of health and vitality?

Despite the symptoms I receive, another body may not act in the same way – everybody is its own science which mainstream nutrition cannot provide a ‘one size fits all’ approach for.

With all of these sensitivities, it may appear that my diet becomes more and more restricted but the more I connect to this inner wisdom I realise that food is not the be all and end all when it comes to having a healthy body and healthy lifestyle. Certain foods leave and come back later on; the diet is never a rigid fixture and yet for many, we can live on the same foods at the same time of day for many years and not question if this is truly supportive for us. Or has it gotten to the point where we find that it works to address our underlying issues to maintain this consistent dietary pattern?

The point to all this is that our bodies are unique and based on our choices and our quality of life, our requirements are known from within, and by connecting to our bodies we learn what it needs as opposed to following a guidebook from outside in the form of science. Science is brilliant in showing us what does happen but when this science is controlled and measured to fit a personal or group agenda it no longer is for the all.

This is where our bodies can support us in discerning what outside information can best support and confirm what it knows about our diets, such as in the case of dairy and every other aspect of life.

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NutritionDairy freePseudoscience

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    By Leigh Matson

    A lover of exploring everyday life and what there is to be discovered each day. Waitress, cook, writer and so much more.

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    Photography: Cameron Martin, Video and Photography