Is dairy addictive?
Why is it hard for us to give up dairy when transitioning into an endometriosis diet? Some researchers believe that dairy is addictive. Casein is a protein in diary, this protein naturally has opiate molecules. When opiates are consumed, they attach to the same brain receptors that heroin and morphine attach too. This triggers brain reward systems and can potentially initiate addictive behaviors. Neal Barnard, author of The Cheese Trap, says that milk contains these opiate molecules to reward babies for nursing.
The negative affects of consuming too much dairy:
Consuming too much dairy can lead to weight gain, high cholesterol, cardiovascular problems, and even contribute to heart disease.
The negative effects of consuming dairy with endometriosis:
Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease, so it is best to avoid food that cause inflammation such as dairy. Dairy products also contain growth hormones and antibiotics, and this can contribute to the symptoms of endometriosis.
Why I eliminated dairy from my diet
I used to get bloated, have stomach aches, and worst of all I had very painful periods to the point of throwing up. I had other symptoms that came with my endometriosis but these three were enough for me to start to eliminate things from my diet.
Inflammation is a big contributor to bloating, stomach aches and painful periods. Having endometriosis, we are very prone to inflammation. It is important to eliminate food that causes inflammation and increase food that reduces inflammation.
Dairy, along with gluten, alcohol, red meat, sugar, and caffeine, causes inflammation. I know right now that sounds like a lot! Your thinking “I don’t want to eliminate all that from my diet, there will be nothing left to eat.” I don’t suggest going cold turkey and cutting all of this out of your diet immediately. Eliminate one thing at a time, and you can slowly reduce the amount you eat until you have eliminated it from your diet.
It’s okay to have slip ups! If you keep working at it you eventually won’t crave those foods anymore. I had a lot of slip ups in the beginning, but I eventually learned the direct cause and effect of my symptoms. It wasn’t worth it to me anymore to eat something that would cause me pain for the next couple of days and possibly longer. I don’t have cravings for dairy anymore because I haven’t eaten it in so long, like any addiction, cravings reduce more and more the longer you go without it.
My huge motivator to eliminate all these inflammatory foods was my period pain. I was at a point where I would try anything to help reduce my pain. When I first started my journey, I was taking ibuprofen (very damaging to the liver, which eliminates toxins and excess estrogen) once a month for two days straight on my period and I would often still throw up multiple times. I had excruciating cramps that made me so nauseous that I would only eat enough to take ibuprofen. This is not ideal because it is so important that you are getting plenty of nutrients on your period to help assist your body in cleaning out the uterus. Eliminating dairy, other inflammatory food, and making lifestyle changes has helped me eliminate my period pain. Breaking my addiction to diary was 10 times less painful then dealing with my past periods.