How to Address Dairy during the LEAP Immunocalm Diet
March 15, 2017
"Dairy" is probably one of the most complicated immunological soups so I often refer to it as a "Russian roulette." First, it is not a homogeneous substance, but a "mix" of over 40 different proteins, and any of those can act as an antigen. When milk products are processed into products such as cheese, yogurt, kefir, colostrum, etc, it changes and rearranges the protein composition of the final product. Some proteins are denatured and rendered non-allergenic by heating, most are not. There is a difference between allergies (non-dose dependent) and food sensitivities (dose dependent), so if a person has a sensitivity to one of the milk protein fractions, they might find that they can tolerate some milk products but not others. Therefore, some people may have a sensitivity to cheese but not to yogurt or vice versa. Then you have the issue of lactose intolerance, which is a non-immune mechanism but can cause similar symptoms as a sensitivity or allergy in some cases. The composition of "dairy" can also differ based on the type of diet the cow is eating since the antigens from the cow's diet are also present in milk. Therefore, "dairy" from Wisconsin will be different than "dairy" from a cow in Texas. It's kind of cool actually, same thing happens with humans. When mamas are nursing their young, antigens from the mother's diet will pass through the milk to the suckling infant. It's how "nature" prepares babies for solid foods, exposing their immune system to the world around them, in "homeopathic" doses allowing them to develop an oral tolerance to the antigens from the adult diet in their environment. Think what would happen otherwise, every time an infant gets fed a spoonful of a new food, can you imagine the "shock" their immune system would face if it had to deal with large doses of something brand new on a daily basis. "Nature" prevents this and eases the transition by exposing the infant to adult foods for months before they actually consume it in whole food form. Anyway, this is a long winded answer but I wanted to give some background because dairy is complicated.
Explanation by Susan Linke, RD, CLT