The Milk-Free Zone
We have gotten so much mail over recent years that we decided to add a Letters page to the Milk-Free zone, since the tales they tell reinforce our story, and often have a different focus that may help other readers out there.
I am a Special Ed. teacher in Alberta, Canada and recently have been researching the link between milk and behavior problems. I have become quite a milk hater as I have seen such a huge difference in 3 of my students that I suggested their parents take them off milk. One child went from saying 2-3 word utterances to linking 5 and 6 sentences together and being able to retell a day's events! Another parent came to me for advice on treating her FAS granddaughter's behavior problems (lots of self injury, temper tantrum, over stimulation...) after one weekend milk-free she is another student! Thanks for you web site and information - As an educator I would like more people to know about this.
I am going to spread the word here as much as possible. I was at the International Autism conference in BC Canada in May and Paul Shattock and Andrew Wakefield were speaking - many educators and parents were willing to try the diet intervention and many parents who had already tried it could not believe the difference in their children. I believe that it could help a larger spectrum of children than just autistic children. The book by Karyn Seroussi - Autism and PDD and parents research and recovery story is EXCELLENT!! At the conference a doctor stood up and said he thought it was a big leap to suggest that food can affect the neurological functioning of children - Dr. Wakefield said he'd be happy to re-explain the connection of food we ingest and neurologic functioning over a glass or two of beer! To even assume that food doesn't affect our whole body seems so backwards!
My name is Marina and I want to thank you for sharing your story on your site. Your site is the first one that I have found about pain specifically. I have been looking for this kind of information for about 3 years and have stumbled on several other books that are also worth mentioning.
The first book that really helped me on my road to a cure was The Elimination Diet Cook Book by Jill Carter and Alison Edwards. Also, The Food Allergy Book by William E. Walsh, M.D., F.A.C.A.
The Elimination Diet Cook Book has lots of case histories which helped me identify my problem. At the time I was living in Thailand so it was really difficult to do the diet cause many of the ingredients were impossible to find. In any case the overall content really helped me to start eliminating milk.
Then I moved to Brazil, where like in Thailand not necessarily all ingredients are listed on the package! Luckily my best friend is Jewish and she helped me a bit to identify imported products marked "parve" and told me about different disguised names. Then last week I stumbled onto the nomilk site which has been the answer to my prayers. It has opened up a world of things I always thought but couldn't find a doctor or a book that would explain it to me.
My problems started when I was 17 years old (I'm 41 now). At that time I thought I didn't have any allergies and was a basically healthy person. I was water-skiing in Hong Kong when it was baby jelly fish season. No problem to a normal person, the water is just a bit jelly-like. However, for me I was having major runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes. I just thought the water was irritating me, I didn't know that was a typical symptom of an allergic reaction. So I just kept on skiing. As it turned out I got the first anaphylactic attack because of it. All I could do was try to stay alive and breath, we were 2 hours away from land and hospitals. The doctors gave me an antihistamine injection and sent me home.
I went to a specialist back in the states and he told me that I didn't really have any allergies just some intolerance to some types of milk protein, peanuts, mold etc. Most importantly he said that I didn't have to worry and I could continue to eat these foods just not all at once. Several more attacks later, I went to another doctor who also said the same thing.
I then started looking for something in common and could only find physical exertion and UV exposure. By then I had moved to Brazil and yet another allergist said the same thing. So I pretty much just had to live with it. I then fell into the hands of a homeopath. He was wonderful and I got cured from the anaphylactic attacks and never had any since.
Then, in 1988 I had my first daughter and started having a chronic lower back pain. Went to chiropractor, orthopedist, neurologist and even gynecologist because I thought it was from the anesthetics of the delivery. Did physical therapy, changed my mattresses but nothing helped. The neurologist said it was psychosomatic and due to depression. The orthopedist told me I needed to lose weight and the chiropractor said I needed to keep going to the sessions. So I learned to live with the pain.
Then the pain started going to my feet and my hands started getting numb and my pointer fingers would get locked. I would get out of bed bent over until I could get to the bathroom and take a long hot shower. That was how I started the day for years. Went to different doctors for other opinions and many suggested that it was autosuggestion, kind of like I conditioned myself to feel the pain. Others said I had sleeping syndrome, others told me to look for a psychiatrist for hypochondriac... I would do all the tests, rheumatism, neurological, hormonal, everything to find a clue but to no avail.
Finally went to a pain specialist because I also had a constant body ache like the flu. The specialist diagnosed me as having an incurable problem called fibromyalgia which was treated with Rivotil and acupuncture. I was treated for a year with acupuncture but refused to take the drug because I felt this wasn't the answer yet. This went on until 3 years ago when I had the intuition that it was an allergy because my homeopath had asked me to keep a food diary and my symptoms got worse with beer. I tried getting off of milk because I had found the elimination diet book which had some case studies with similar problems. Guess what? Yes, I am now pain free!!!!
The most incredible thing is that I found out other problems disappeared which I hadn't thought of as being a symptom. The top of my arms were full of little balls which made my skin feel like sandpaper ever since I was a teenager. They're now gone and my skin feels like silk. My face had a slight case of acne that would never go away. My skin has now been completely clear for 3 years. I would get a painful shock whenever I went into a pool or ocean (I went anyway, but very slowly). The day I went in the ocean and there wasn't the pain I almost cried from happiness. I now take cold showers, something I could never have dreamt of doing. My cheek and gums were kind of numb but I didn't realize it until they were no longer numb. I had a persistent pain on the ball of my foot which would not go away for 2 years. It is now gone. My fingers no longer wake me up being frozen into place. I am now able to lose weight, before my metabolism seemed frozen and I was always kind of swollen. The worst symptom of all was that I would fall asleep anywhere anytime and not be able to control it many times. I am now alert and can go to parties until early in the morning without telling my husband that I was fading or finding a corner to fall asleep. Probably the most significant thing is that I am now full of energy (before I was always tired) and my mood is always up whereas before I was very moody.
What scared me the most into trying to find a solution was that I began to lose my memory and concentration. I went to a geriatric doctor, scared that I was getting Alzheimer's like my grandmother. All the doctors would say was that I was stressed, which I knew I wasn't!! My memory is now better than ever and I don't lose concentration.
Whenever I run into milk without meaning to, the symptoms come back and take about 4-5 days to subside. On the whole I have been reborn and would love to share the good news with the world. I am absolutely certain that there must be thousands with problems similar to mine but most of the doctors just are too narrow-minded to even consider diets. I wish I could help others because the road was really arduous and could have been much shorter if the professionals in the field were aware of this. NOT ONE except the homeopath suggested getting off the milk not even the specialists in the field!!!!! Getting off means NOT ONE LITTLE bit, not even putting milk in the mouth and spitting it out. The last discovery was sodium caseinate, sweeteners and pills (with lactose). If you have stumbled on any other info for testing or an anecdote if you do stumble on the allergen please let me know. If somebody is studying something similar about pain and allergies I would be their guinea pig any time. I am sure you could do blind test cause my body knows if there's a milk protein even if I don't. The most important studies is to prove how much it can mess with you psychologically!
Copyright ©1998 Linda Blanchard All Rights Reserved. Date Added: February 8, 1998. Last Update: January 07, 2009