Why I Don’t Eat Almonds or Dairy

Brette Bliss at 15, showing off her tummy in a grey sweater and skirt with text that says "Why I don't Eat Alonds or Dairy"

I love food, but some foods don’t love me. I have spent most of my adult life constipated and in pain. I was in such constant pain that when I finally removed the foods in my life that were contributing to the pain, I actually began noticing when other foods upset my stomach.

I know TMI, constipation, but here’s the deal; a lot of people deal with this but no one really talks about it. I definitely rely on other bloggers to help me make it through life, but when it comes to the inability to poop, I found nothing. Everyone has a supplement they say you should try. Been there, done that, my constipation is severe and a lemony powder mixed into my morning glass of water wasn’t going to cut it. I didn’t necessarily want a magic fix, I just wanted to read that someone else understands and was going through the same thing.

I chalked my constipation up to my antidepressants (more on my mental health here), which are known contributors. Google searches told me to eat more fiber, eat almonds, avoid dairy, etc. It was the same advice over and over again. I had labeled my digestive system a lost cause. I thought my lactose intolerance was the only thing I had to worry about and my constant constipation was merely a part of how my body functions.

I have been lactose intolerant for as long as I can remember. I didn’t realize that the lunch ladies weren’t being cruel when they gave me juice instead of milk like the other kids until I was reminded one day that I was lactose intolerant and that’s why they told me “no” every day when I tried to reach for a carton of chocolate milk and they would plop a tiny half frozen carton of grape or orange juice on my tray.

Because of my lactose intolerance, I exclusively drank almond milk. It was a staple in my diet for years. I also put almonds on top of my (coconut) yogurt. I had never considered that my constipation might be linked to almonds.

It wasn’t until I was at a family beach weekend this past August when my mom and my cousin’s boyfriend were talking about how much pain almonds cause them. I hadn’t realized before then that the only thing I hadn’t tried to cut out of my diet was almonds.

I went home and considered the possibility that my beloved almond milk was causing my constipation. I decided that as soon as my half gallon of almond milk was gone, I was going to give it up for a while to see what happens. It wasn’t until September that I finally gave it up.

It was about three weeks into September that I started to notice a difference. I had become more regular and was no longer dangerously constipated. and by dangerously constipated, I mean I was once advised to go to the hospital by a doctor if our last resort didn’t work.

I also dropped five pounds, which is probably directly linked to being more regular.

It’s December and I have not had almonds since September. I do occasionally indulge in cheese or dairy yogurt, but it is fairly rare. I will admit that the Greek yogurt in my fridge is dairy, but that’s because coconut yogurt isn’t as affordable right now (I know, excuses).

As I said earlier, I notice now when other foods upset my stomach. I get an upset stomach from the lactose intolerance now when I hadn’t felt that for a while. I also feel when there was too much fat or sugar in something. Bacon and pastries make me feel icky, when I hadn’t really noticed before because the constipation pain covered it up.

I guess my take away from this post is, don’t rule out the possibility that a food you love is hurting you because “everyone else” says that it doesn’t “do that.” Its tough to cut out a diet staple, but if it is truly the cause of your pain, isn’t it worth it?

Almonds are often toted as something to eat to alleviate constipation, but they were contributing to mine. I’m incredibly glad that not only is my family okay with talking about constipation, but that those conversations have made it possible for me to take care of myself.

I no longer eat almonds and I stay away from dairy. My body hasn’t felt this good in a while. As for what I put on my cereal? I have been testing out other dairy alternatives like soy and pea milks. I will let you know which I prefer.

I am still chronically constipated, but I’m definitely more regular than once every 10 days like I had been for so long. I will probably always struggle with constipation and there is no quick fix for that. As long as it’s not causing me pain and discomfort, I can live with it.

I wondered if this was something I should post or not, but in the end I needed someone to be real with me and I couldn’t find that when I needed it. If I can be real with others, then I’m going to do it. Uncomfortable topics don’t bother me and I really have nothing to lose addressing them honestly. If  I’m gonna post a topless photo of myself on this blog for my breast reduction anniversary (another uncomfortable topic), I might as well also talk about my digestive issues.

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