I struggled with pelvic pain for years, and it was often accompanied by gastrointestinal upset. I thought bloating and nausea were a fact of life, and I blamed my pain medications, birth control, or diet. Yeah, I was a vegetarian, but I ate too many carbs and drank too little water.
After I'd recovered from my pelvic pain by about 95%, I visited with a gastroenterologist to pose the question: "Am I lactose intolerant?" She told me that the true test of lactose intolerance involves drinking a giant container of milk and then testing my breath. However, she warned that it can be pretty unpleasant for those who indeed are lactose intolerant, so she suggested an alternative test: banish dairy from my diet for two months. If my stomach was still bothering me, I should return for a follow-up visit. If I felt better, I could cancel the appointment.
Holy cow. (no pun intended) I felt so much better, and I continued to improve throughout those two months. I didn't have a pregnancy-sized belly bloat each evening, and I no longer woke up feeling nauseous. I'd confirmed that my body strongly disliked dairy, and I felt a substantial relief from my pain as the bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other gastro issues stopped creating such abdominal pressure and inflammation.
If you're considering a more neutral or anti-inflammatory diet, always check with your provider and a qualified nutritionist or dietitian first. But, if you decide to try an elimination diet (where you remove things from your diet and evaluate any differences in how you feel), and you decide to cut out dairy, here are my favorite non-dairy groceries. I've been dairy-free for three years now and I've never felt healthier. Give these a try, and add your own to the list!
Bread is life.
Rosen's brand bread and rolls (a Chicago favorite!)
Van's gluten free apple cinnamon waffles
Nature's Path flax seed waffles
Udi's gluten free chocolate muffins
Miyoko's Kitchen sun-dried tomato garlic creamy cheese
Kite Hill chive cream cheese-style spread
Fill your fridge.
Earth Balance whipped dairy-free butter
SoDelicious coconut milk yogurt (the raspberry flavor is ah-mazing)
Califia Farms almond milk bottled lattes/mochas
Orgain vegan chocolate protein shakes
Daiya creamy ranch dressing
Just Mayo mayonnaise
Hippeas vegan white cheddar chickpea puffs
goRaw pizza flavored snacks
Earth Balance vegan cheddar squares
Way Better Snacks sweet chili chips
Late July jalapeno lime chips
Newman O's cookies (fake Oreos!)
CocoWhip coconut whipped cream
Ben & Jerry's dairy free ice cream
Chocolate Dream dairy free chocolate chips
Dandies vegan marshmallows
BarkThins chocolate bark (try the peppermint flavor!)
Justin's dark chocolate mini peanut butter cups
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