20 March 2013

Dairy & Mood Swings

 
I feel strange being the anti-dairy blogger.  ha!  Never thought this would be me.  I actually ate dairy my whole life and don't even have a traceable allergy to dairy.  But, I cannot help but pass on some of my experiences now that I'm dairy free.  It has been life changing.

And what does dairy have to do with love & relationships, you ask?  In some cases, A LOT!!  :)  Keep reading...  :)

Here's the deal...DAIRY MAKES ME A BIT CRAZY.  Literally.  It now does something to me mentally if I have even a smidget of it.  Remember those new probiotics that I've been taking?  Well, it turns out that they had MILK in them.  (oops!)  Within 24 hours, my mood went sharply south.  I knew something was up, because since going dairy & gluten free, mood swings and pms of any kind have literally been NON-EXISTENT for years now!  (I need to write about this.  That is one of the most amazing effects of being dairy & gluten free.)  And yet, all of a sudden I felt irritable, short, angry inside for literally no reason, anxious, distant, and just blah inside.  Danny was as sweet and patient with me as could be.  I was good at keeping it under control, but I sure felt something trying to take over.  Also, my face had broken out with acne, pores increased in size, and my face looked rough, red patchy and less glowy.  Sure enough, over a week later, I finally discovered the hidden dairy (I figured it must have something to do with dairy as I now have the same reaction to it every time).  I stopped taking those probiotics immediately and about 48 hrs later the mood lifted completely and I returned to feeling as cheerful and happy as can be.  My skin also returned to being what I would call (for me) dewy and glowy - which still shocks the heck out of me that this is even possible. 

This dairy stuff is nuts.  Oh, how I love cheese and cream and yogurt.  But seriously?!??!  Even a smidget of it is capable of doing something THAT drastic to my brain and my body???  It's just crazy!!  If it's affecting me this much, I figured I couldn't be the only one.  Who knows what it was doing to me all those years that I ate it.  If any of you (or your children) struggle with moods or irritability - or suffer from skin problems - it might be worth it to try going dairy and/or gluten free (100%) for about 8 wks to see if it makes a difference.  It may not be a cure all for everyone, but MANY people have had extreme improvements so it seems worth a try.  (FYI, it takes awhile to get it out of your system - and in fact, my doctor at the time said that going off dairy might feel like a drug withdrawal and I would say that it did...much like the symptoms I described above.  It lasted a few weeks.  I never knew or noticed that dairy had so much control until then.)

So - cheers to being dairy free and happy about it.  Life is really still so good with almond milk, coconut milk, and coconut cream.

And how about for any of you??  Has anyone noticed these internal/mood like symptoms in relation to dairy or the lack thereof?  I'm so curious to hear.  You certainly can't get this info. from most doctors.  And, could you give up dairy to say good-bye to PMS?

P.S.  Here's an article about the connection between dairy and mental health.  And here's some more details from Dr. Frank Lipman about why the processing of dairy foods might be so bad for us.  There's plenty on google about the connection between PMS and Dairy.


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39 comments:

  1. Mara I experience the exact same mood symptoms when I have gluten! I haven’t tried going off dairy for too long, so I don’t know if I’d have similar reactions to it, but it’s just crazy how drastically gluten can affect my whole psyche and make me weepy, depressed, and anxious.

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    1. Oh absolutely, I can relate to ALL of this so much. As soon as I have gluten or dairy, my mood goes down the crapper and I become a pretty angry, anxious person, which is really weird.

      I had milk last night for the first time in months and within an hour of drinking it, I felt my mood go down and started feeling irritable. I immediately felt the skin on my face reacting too, today I have a pretty bad acne flare up. I'm not joking, this is no exaggeration.

      I've been on paleo for over a year now (no grains, dairy or legumes) and it COMPLETELY changed my life for the better. I tell people all the time how much it made such a massive difference for me, it's night and day.

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    2. Oh and also, dairy not only makes me feel anxious, angry and down, it also makes me feel tired and can give me a headache.

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  2. I'm pregnant (due in 1 and 1/2 weeks! eeek!) and started to get sick (after my morning sickness went away! woe is me... :)) right around Thanksgiving last year. I thought it was a stomach bug but it just would not go away. It was toooorture. It turned into 4 months of being sick. I cut out dairy after 2 months of not figuring it out, and that helped a ton! I wasn't 100% (I think I just had some weird pregnancy thing going on), but I was so happy that I would do ANYTHING to not feel so crappy. It was really really hard (pizza has been my biggest craving while pregnant and I couldn't have it!) but so worth it. Last week I had some dairy on accident and found out I was fine. Since then I've had some and have been fine. But I'm relating to what you're saying here. I've also been a little more crazy this week. I think it's worth it to test it out. Thanks for the tip.

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  3. my son had horrible eczema and asthma as a small child. i had read something by someone who had gone off dairy (not a doctor) and said their asthma improved. we took my son off of dairy completely, and within one week he had no symptoms of either asthma or eczema. he was off of all medications completely within another week. not one doctor i have told this to seems interested in the results at all. they have laughed at me, been short with me, or said it is a coincidence.

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  4. I have been eating a "Primal" diet since the beginning of the year, and it is remarkable at how different my body feels! I have lost at least 15 pounds of fat (at least at my last weigh-in) and have such great energy! I was off dairy the first month, but I feel raw milk is a delicious, small part of my life, so I include it in my morning tea and sometimes in my scrambled eggs. I try not to eat any other dairy foods, aside from some homemade mozzarella, but then again I've never had the symptoms you explain, but it's nice to know you were able to figure it out and cut it out again.

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  5. The things we put into our bodies carry so much more weight than we realize. I did a mostly gluten & dairy free diet for awhile (not fully cutting out either but drastically cutting back.) I can live without milk (I use rice milk exclusively) but it's the cheese that I haven't found an acceptable substitute for! Maybe you should go into the dairy free cheese making business.

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  6. I am not completely lactose intolerant, but do have a lactose sensitivity. When I first found out, it was because I was feeling so sick and gross and finally started paying attention to what was happening after I ate certain foods. The doctor though it was my gallbladder, but I was 21 and healthy and the tests all came back negative. I later went to my nurse practitioner for a regular check up and thought to ask her about lactose intolerance. She was awesome and said testing me was a waste of time, and instead she printed me a copy of hidden sources of lactose. She said if any of those foods bothered me, it was likely because of the dairy. And she was spot on. Luckily I have never loved milk or cheese, but I still enjoyed a good pizza and a bowl of ice cream. I now use almond milk exclusively (soy milk makes me sick, too) and limit the cheeses and yogurt. I still eat a little but, but at that amount it doesn't bother me. I have seen the improvements with my skin, but I never experienced the mood swings. I seriously don't doubt it though. Love that changes like this have some awesome effects on our bodies!

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  7. just to say: I tried going dairy-free for more than a month, and it did absolutely nothing for me physically, or for my mood. Indeed, my blemishes got *worse*, and thinking back on it, it was one of the grayest months (emotionally) i remember for quite some time. Food affects each of us in different ways, but for some (like me), dairy is by NO MEANS the trigger.

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    1. Emily - yes! The detox period after going off dairy could be extremely bad (emotionally)! It can last 6-8 wks. It was just awful for me - I remember thinking this is what depression feels like. And I think my skin got worse, too. My dr. said milk is like a drug on the body and it so this "detox" period can literally feel like a drug detox. But after about 6 wks, things turned for the better (better than before) -it was just shocking.

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  8. I've had digestive problems for as long as I can remember, but so does everyone in my family, so I thought that I would just live with it. But last summer, it was getting much worse, and I finally began paying attention to how different foods were affecting me. I realized that dairy was a big problem. It's been hard coming to terms with it! I love dairy and couldn't imagine giving it up. After months of half-heartedly trying, I finally got off it (almost) last week, and I can already feel big changes. For one, my belly shrank! I haven't lost weight, so I think I was just constantly bloated. I'm hoping I can continue to avoid it and find out if my skin and moods improve, too, since that would be very nice, for me and my family. Thanks for all your tips, Mara!

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  9. I've been avoiding dairy for almost a year now and I noticed a lot of improvements like clearer skin, less severe seasonal allergies, and much better digestion! But, I struggle to avoid dairy while dining out - it always seems like butter or cream is lurking in every dish. How do you avoid this, Mara? Are you super picky about which restaurants you go to or do you ruthlessly question the server (ha-ha!) about dairy in the dishes? I'd love to hear how you handle this part of being dairy free. :)

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    1. Yes, I've been wanting to ask you about this, too, Mara! Also, what do you do when people invite you over for dinner and they've made some special dish with lots of butter and cream? I feel so bad refusing food that people have gone out of their way to make, and I feel sort of awkward just announcing that I don't eat dairy anymore.

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    2. Just say you have a severe allergy. They can't argue with that.

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  10. I can wrap my brain around the logic. I have read the studies and thought critically about what it is that I'm eating when I eat dairy...but CHEESE!!!! I can and have given up every other dairy product. I love almond and coconut milk, ice cream doesn't do anything for me. Yogurt was hard, but I can't seem to shake the cheese. I keep coming back to your posts for inspiration, but I have been unsuccessful. Will I really not miss it if I give it long enough? I feel if I can just make it 8 weeks, I will have drunk the koolaid and things will click. So...I guess my point is...pray for me? haha.

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    1. Ha ha, I totally relate to this. I want to try this out, and I think I can handle giving up milk. Frozen yogurt won't be easy but I'll survive, but...I just don't know how I can live a life without cheese!!!

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    2. Hard Cheese today severe bed ridden depression tomorrow the next day and out of balance for a week. Was tested and cheese shuts down my frontal Lobes maybe all dairy.. I try to stay completely away from any dairy and if I get it I feel irritable, frustrated, angry, depressed, hopeless and suicidal. I is in so many things I stumble into by accident. Not being a cooking type not knowing recipes I really have to be careful or I am to out of balance to leave home safely.

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  11. I've been debating giving up diary for a long time now. I don't know have a gall bladder and I've noticed every time I have a lot of dairy my stomach puffs up like a balloon & the gas pains...well that's TMI but let's just say I feel amazing the days where I have very little diary. I think I could give it up cold turkey! From your posts and comments it seems like it could possibly do me more good than harm to give life a try without it!! =)

    Ergo - Blog

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  12. Very interesting... I try to 'limit' my dairy and wheat intact, which means to say I have a lot less than before, but still some. And maybe the 'some' is why I might still have issues (namely psorasis, but also break outs, and mood swings, and crying, oh my!). Admittedly, since the ramp down in consumption, I notice a gut reaction to lots of wheat - sad face. My face thing in the world is probably garlicy, cheesy pizza or bread (and ice cream, and and chocolate... but I digress). Thanks for the post!

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  13. Meat (which also means fish and shrimps, oysters, etc.) can have a very bad effect in people's mood, skin and organs too. Mostly because generally we eat way too much meat and this excess of protein is doing us harm. So, I cut off meat 4 years ago(I never thought I could, for I loved it soooooooooo much) and it has been an amazing experience. All my health tests came much better 3 months later, I have been feeling better ever since. Now I am trying to cut out gluten and dairy too. I haven't reached the 100% free, because as others have said it here, they put it everywhere: even on medications. But I must say that I have been feeling much better too.

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  14. Though it's been a long time I've recently decided to cut out dairy to a minimum in my diet. I am a milk drinker, and often between 8 - 10 pints a week varying from whole milk, semi-skimmed to grahams gold. The taste is delicious and sooo addictive. If I've been feeling depressed or anxious then milk will be most likely my first choice above drinking water. I don't drink coffee, tea, fizzy drinks or very much alcohol, sometimes herbal tea though.

    Over these last 10 days I've noticed some changes in me, though I remain sceptical, firstly my sinuses have begun to clear up and which does wonders when I am going for a run. It's wonderful to breathe so easily, whereas after 3.5 miles of running I would feel lethargic that's not happened this week. I feel less anxious about stuff, a lot of stuff, and less confused, clouded and can think so much clearer, though fatigued through change,

    My taste buds still yearn. My anxiety often holds me back in life, so frequently, that if there is any hope the clarity I feel will last then it'll be a permanent change, we'll see in 6 months to a year.

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    1. interested in how your dairy-free experiment is going, particulary in the areas of mood? Best,Brent

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  15. i am so glad I stumbled upon your blog... I have been battling some bodily issues(stomach, headaches, irritability) lately and am convinced that it is either dairy or gluten related or both! It just seems so daunting to think about cutting both of those things out! I feel like I wouldn't have anything to eat. But hearing about how much it has helped you makes me curious to just try it out and see if it helps me! thanks for sharing your story!

    kyndal

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  16. I had to cut out dairy when I was breastfeeding my infants because they had a reaction to it via my breast milk. I will agree with you 100% that it is like a drug detox!! I truly felt like I was having withdrawals. It was one of the most difficult things I've had to do (that sounds crazy right?!) After a while my body got used to it and then I really did feel great! Some of it was physical, but my mood was definitely more even-keel and calm. I'm not quite sure if it was a direct result of that, or if it was because I was eating more fruits and vegetables and other healthy stuff to make up for the lack of dairy, or if it was because I'd lost so much weight (due to that and breastfeeding, and running after twins, etc.) I was dairy-free or at least a year and I could have gone longer, but I wanted to indulge in the foods that I "missed out on" so slowly started incorporating them back into my diet. Your article has planted a seed and now I'm wondering if I should go dairy-free again. We will see...

    Michelle
    www.amusingmamma.blogspot.com

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  17. I can't commentate on whether or not dairy improves the PMS situation (went dairy free because it made me sick while pregnant, and now it makes my breastfed son sick when I eat it) ...haven't had a postpartum period yet. I'll be interested to see though, now that you said something. I'm also gluten free and vegetarian.

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  18. Thank you for sharing your experience about going dairy-free as it inspires me to get back on the wagon...but I was wondering what you eat for breakfast if you are dairy and gluten free? Any tips? I know from being dairy-free before that the best way to do it is to not go hungry so you don't give in but I need to eat breakfast to start my day :)

    BTW, I'm good friends with Danny's high school friend Bobby and Kelli and just wanted to say how impressed I am with Danny's support of you and your blog. I've met him a couple of times, always seemed really nice, but I think he genuinely is that nice! Love reading your posts - I can tell you put your whole heart and soul into it and that is impressive and brave.

    -Marianne Brown
    whiteandgolddesign.blogspot.com

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  19. I'm the same way as you, I've cut out all grains and dairy from diet. I noticed that if I drink a cup of milk, I'll feel depressed, irritable and extremely anxious for about 2 days. Gluten also has the same effect, but usually makes me more irritable and angry then anything else.. I notice that I become very jumpy if I eat wheat/gluten, like any sudden noise will make me angry for some reason, and I get very low patience. Although everyone's different and food doesn't effect you all in the same way as it does others, following a paleo diet will do wonders for your mood and overall health.

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  20. I also want to add that wheat/gluten makes my anxiety go through the roof!

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  21. I have the same dairy related craziness! It started when I was a really unhappy baby and my mom's friend, a doctor, told her to take me off of dairy. For two years my mom didn't listen to her, as milk was supposed to be so healthy- but alas- Within weeks of being dairy free I was a changed kid- happy, no more digestive issues etc.
    My mom says when I'd have dairy as a kid I'd turn into a broken record. I would cry and not be able to express myself, just saying " I.. I.. I.. I... "

    To this day when I tell people I can't have milk or I'll get super anxious and emotional they don't believe me until they see it! It's a drastic change. I'm usually a very positive person but if I have any dairy, within 48 hours I'm anxious, my brain in foggy, and any small thing is liable to make me burst into tears! I really don't feel better until I've cried it out!... Maybe it's a need to release the toxins that are built up from the sensitivity? Who knows...! But it's very interesting for me to read that I'm not the only one!!!

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  22. I get this same symptoms. I was dairy allergic as a child but by elementary it seemed to have disappeared, though I had severe ADHD (which I still suffer from as an adult) through my teen years I struggled with depression and anger issues, until I went and saw a naturalist doctor who, by use of a cleansing diet determined the majority of these depression and anger swings were due to dairy. I wish there were more information in this because even doctors look at me like I'm nuts when I try to explain

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  23. I have been experimenting with dairy free with my
    8 year old boy due to anger, ADHD symptoms. I last introduced it in June this year as I was not coping with his behaviour and he was nearly expelled from school. Since, there have been no issues at school until I reintroduced it 2 weeks ago and 3 detentions have already been given and he has reverted back to being aggressive and unreasonable. Dairy stopped indefinitely this morning!

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  24. I have suffered from PMDD for about 18 years and only recently went off both dairy and gluten. But I am finding it terribly hard to totally avoid dairy and every time it slips in even in the minutest amounts, I get terribly angry and rageful and then thoroughly depressed. It is really awful. My eldest daughter suffers like I do from constipation and symptoms of ADHD and I suspect this is also related to dairy or gluten. My youngest never slept through the night and in the last two weeks I stopped her milk at night (they are both on a gluten free dairy free diet - within 4 days of the diet change she slept through and has continued to sleep through every night since then. I will really have to cut dairy out my diet totally and hopefully my next cycle will be better.

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  25. I actually have an opposite effect. I did some research and came across this article. I feel I am addicted to milk or possible dairy to be more ellaborate. Sometimes I can go a day or 2 from eating or drinking anything dairy. But, surely after that 2nd day the effects start to kick in. I become moody and groggy. You know that weight of the world on your shoulder feeling. Once I drink milk I'm completely back to my original self, cheerful and happy. I have read some of these posts stating that dairy is almost like a drug for your body. That once you cut it out of your diet it has drug withdrawal like symptoms. Maybe that's what is happening to me? But, I can't relate on feeling moody once I ingest dairy. Its only when I stop eating/drinking dairy that I then become moody. To be more specific - I only notice this with milk. I rarely eat or drink anything else that is dairy. Except the occasional pizza. But, as I stated I only get that mood swing if I don't drink milk for a day or 2.

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  26. Mara, you are not alone! The same thing happens with me and every member of my family. Growing up, my mom, sister and I would go through 4 gallons of milk a week without a problem. I have been milk free for years now. I still cannot give up cheese or yogurt. So I've made wiser choices. I have discovered the problem is not the dairy, but homogenizing and pasteurizing of the milk, which is a very new and modern process to milk. It's amazing what physical property changes are made to the protein chain and the milk fat. The body cannot recognize the protein anymore! We have a great dairy down the road in Gilbert, AZ that sells raw milk. We absolutely love it! I still do not drink the milk, but I make my own yogurt, kefir, butter and cottage cheese (I purchase other organic cheeses). The essence of raw should be in every aspect of our food! Raw is so much better than altered foods! ~Eryn

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  27. My son, when he was 10 was diagnosed with OCD, anxiety, and had severe fatigue. He had severe brain fog, sensitivity to noise, seemed depressed... it was awful! We limped along through the rest of his 5th grade year and then finally at the beginning of 6th grade, seeing the same symptoms starting up again with school, I took him to a naturopath. We eliminated dairy based on her recommendation and saw a complete turn around with a week of him being off dairy. He is now out going, energetic and the anxiety and OCD have completely disappeared. He "cheats" once in a while - a few days ago he ate half of a very cheesy pizza and is now suffering, feeling depressed, fatigued, etc. I just find it so sad that main stream medicine doesn't recognize food sensitivities and their link to so many symptoms. I am just so thankful to the Naturopath (and my sister who went through something similar with her son). I also feel better without diary, though my symptoms aren't quite as bad. My younger daughter hasn't completely eliminated dairy, but I can see behavioral changes when you has it on a regular basis.

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  28. I also noticed irritability when taking probiotics. I wonder if I have an issue too? I get really depressed when I have milk chocolate and mochas from Starbucks but black coffee I feel good. I always thought it was the chocolate. I also noticed yogurt makes me depressed and irritable. Hmm

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  29. I've been a reader since the beginning of your blog but now that I know you had Hashi's I'm going through it again with new eyes! Hashimoto's is the worst. And what you said about going off dairy and depression is so true! Thanks again!

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  30. Typically, I snap on a whim. Something tiny ticks me off and I fly off the handle turning it into something huge when in fact it was nothing to begin with. But I've been off dairy for about 2 weeks now. At first, I thought I was just having some really good/happy days, not associating my lack of anger with my lack of dairy. Just thought I was having a good run. But it's way rare for me to go longer than maybe 4 days without having an attack of rage and now I've gone 2 weeks.

    Some people have chuckled when I tell them about the difference in my personality and the possible association to dairy and they figure it's probably just a coincidence or that maybe everything's been peachy, so why would I need to be angry? But that's not it. I recognize all the same triggers that would typically set me off still exist around me, but that I'm handling them much differently now. And the only major difference in my life is my lack of dairy. So I'm 85% convinced I have some sort of brain/chemical allergy to dairy that shortens my temper and keeps me more frequently agitated.

    I only just found this blog by the way and have never really considered a dairy free diet (since I'm a huge fan of anything cheese), but from the original post and several of the responses, I realize that I share in many of the same symptoms and cases. I also feel the sluggishness, low-energy, depression feel that others are feeling. Not sadness per se, but just a lack of energy. Never thought I'd connect so well to a post like this (diets aren't typically my thing), but I'm seeing the results first hand and it's pretty astounding.

    I have read other articles in the past that have led credence to the idea that milk is generally bad for everyone except babies, who need it for sustenance. But this is the first time I've had proof, even if only a personal sort of proof, that milk is probably mucking up my emotional stability. I'm just hoping the sluggishness passes quickly and I can get back to my typical, higher energy self while still maintaining my new level of self-control.

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  31. Yes! I'm glad to find other people experience this as well. I'm having a hard time even convincing myself but the evidence seems incontrovertible. Gluten and Dairy make me irritable, angry, paranoid and depressed. I don't want it to be true and I know everyone else thinks I'm crazy but it seems to be a 100% correlation. It takes about 24 or more hours to feel 'better' when I go off it with every day seemingly better than the last and about 4 hours after eating anything dairy or gluten I feel terrible again. I wish there was more scientific backing to this concept or a test of some sort that I can take to confirm it!

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