Eating a dairy-free diet means cutting out all obvious dairy products such as milk, cheese and butter. For some people who are very sensitive to dairy products it may also mean cutting out ingredients made from dairy products such as whey and casein. People who are lactose intolerant are allergic to milk sugar, as they don't have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase to properly digest lactose. They may be able to eat products such as hard cheese with no ill effects, because they only contain low levels of lactose, but they will need to either avoid products such as milk or use soy milk or other substitutes.
For a completely dairy-free diet, the following foods should be avoided: milk, cheese, butter, cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, ice cream, chocolate and other candy that contains milk, malted milk, some cereals which contain milk powder, and whey, casein, or foods that contain any of these ingredients. This is not an exhaustive list by any means - you will need to check food labels regularly and learn which ingredients contain dairy products and which are safe. Because dairy-products are a good source of calcium, people who avoid most dairy products may need to take a calcium supplement.
REVIEWS OF A DAIRY-FREE DIET
Review by Roseanne
I tried an egg-free and dairy-free diet, and found that the burning loose yellow stools I had for years went away. Before then, I had a lot of pain from the burning, and it would take me up to five minutes with loads of toilet paper, wet washcloths and baby wipes to clean after a BM. And I sometimes had embarrassing leakage.
From the yellow color of the stools I believed the miserable problem was caused by excess bile, and therefore was related to a malfunctioning gallbladder. Without testing anything, a gastroenterologist said he thought I have IBS. Removing dairy from my diet totally removed the symptoms.
One doctor prescribed a prescription powder to absorb the bile, but that also absorbed needed nutrients and gave me such a bad vitamin deficiency that my gums were bleeding. I got a severe vitamin D deficiency too.
I discovered on my own that taking either psyllium in water or two psyllium capsules morning and night kept things under control, but I still had problems with cleaning myself after a BM and sometimes leakage. I hate taking medicines. There is always a price to pay. So I want everyone with IBS to try a dairy-free diet for a while. It might change your life too.
Since the dairy-free diet worked so well I am about to investigate a gluten-free diet. I also have very bad acid reflux, so I'm still seeking a cure for that. I have an esophageal sphincter that doesn't close, so I'm guessing that there is no diet change that can prevent my stomach contents from backing up into my throat (which caused Barrett's esophagus). But the semi-permanent cracks around my lips are said to indicate gluten intolerance or celiac disease, and maybe the gluten-free diet will help with that. Thanks for this site where we can share ideas. I am sick of being a walking list of symptoms, and so I wish I could find some way to put this all behind me.
Review by Brendan
I've been having severe stomach pains and the bloated feeling in my stomach. As a student in a very old school, the last thing I wanted to do was use the school toilets!
After some time experimenting with my diet I found out that the cause for the symptoms was that I was lactose intolerant. I was so annoyed because my doctor diagnosed me with IBS. But after research I found that the two have very similar symptoms.
Going off the milk and homemade pancakes really made a difference. I still think I have irritable bowel syndrome but it's not as bad as it used to be. I have found your site very useful for hints and tips on overcoming this. Thanks for putting the site on the web!
Do you suffer from IBS? Have you tried a dairy-free diet? Please contact Sophie to send in your review.