I'm turning to you, thoughtful readers of the blogosphere, for some input on a decision that has been slowly building traction in the back of my mind for several days now.
Should I go dairy-free?
I saw my doctor this week, a follow-up appointment to see how I've responded to my antibiotics. My respiratory infection has definitely improved, but my bronchiectasis exacerbation from it is still pronounced, so I have a handful of new meds and inhalers to try and quell the chaos rumbling in my airways. I don't even remember how it happened, but dairy came up in our conversation. Of course, I've long known that dairy is a mucus-producer, and if there's anything I don't need, it is more phlegm in my life.
"I really don't consume much dairy," I told him, sheepishly looking at my cup of coffee on his desk, which clearly contained milk. I don't even like milk; even as a kid I never drank it on its own, it was merely a conduit to moist cereal, and as an adult, it's merely a conduit to what I think is better-tasting coffee.
But when I thought about, I do have dairy often enough. I eat cottage cheese a couple of days a week because it's a great protein source, and while I try to avoid cheese because of its fat content, I do have feta on my Greek salads regularly.
"Well, the less dairy you have, the better," my doctor said. I nodded.
The seed was planted.
And then I stumbled across this site in the comments section on Kerrie's blog (ironically, her original post included something I'd written about going gluten-free, so I'm now engaging in an amusing but totally productive game of blog-tag, I think :) ) and I started to think about giving up dairy more seriously.
Enter the back and forth dialogue in my mind: It would certainly be a big sacrifice, lots of labels to read and accommodations to make. Yet so was going gluten-free, and you wouldn't change that for anything, you know you feel so much better. Yes, but I have celiac disease, so clearly going GF would make me feel better--I am not lactose intolerant and don't think I feel any worse when I eat dairy, so would I even see results? But don't forget, you know you get more congested after frozen yogurt, so even if the only change was less phlegm and less exacerbation, wouldn't that be worth it?
And, finally, the remaining question: But your diet is already so limited. Wouldn't removing dairy make an already difficult dining situation (remember, one of your hobbies is trying new restaurants!) even harder?
Yes, but if it helped, wouldn't it be worth it?
Leaving the dialogue in my mind alone for a second, what you do think? Is it worth a try? Is it something worth doing in degrees--eg, removing "big" thinks like milk, cheese, etc but not whey and all those little tiny ingredients that appear on labels? (This reminds me of people who go wheat-free but still eat many other forms of gluten). Would I still get any benefit, or, like going GF for a celiac, is it something that only works when you do it 100 percent?