Saturday, January 14, 2012

Does Diary Cause Mucus?

Twice since going vegan I've had dreams about eating dairy and then getting very sick.  It was a fatal attraction: delicious cheese that left me with stomach problems and unable to breathe.

As those of you who read my Buddhist blog know, I'm a lawyer, not a doctor.  If you have a medical problem, you should see a doctor, rather than relying on what non-doctors say, but even if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition, there are still ways that you can complement the work of traditional medicine by making lifestyle improvements.  I've experienced some great improvements in my health since going vegan about a month ago.  I wasn't really expecting many changes in my health other than maybe some weight loss, but I was shocked by what I discovered only days after I became a vegan.

Three days after becoming a vegan I woke up and felt strange.  I stayed in bed for a few minutes trying to figure out what was different compared to every other day that I woke up over the last six or seven years.  The difference was that this was the first day that I could remember waking up and not feeling tired.  I actually felt refreshed and healthy, which I hadn't felt in a very long time.  For the last few years I've been waking up in the middle of the night, choking, coughing, and having trouble breathing.  I couldn't live a life of CPAP machines, constant doctors visits, and constant worry.  I had bronchitis for about three years and was diagnosed as possibly having asthma.  I was 28 years old and extremely sick.

Does Dairy Cause Mucus?

I began to research why going vegan helps breathing problems.  One thing I discovered is that drinking dairy and soy products can lead to an increased sensation of congestion or mucus, even if these beverages do not actually produce mucus.  Cow's milk can lead to mucus if the drinker has an allergy.  Dairy may also make mucus thicker, according to the Mayo Clinic.  According to my doctor, Dr. Soling Li, who is the best doctor in South Florida, drinking very cold beverages can exacerbate asthma or other breathing problems.  Of course, you always drink milk when it is cold.  You do the math.

I can't say that dairy is bad for your health or that avoiding dairy improves your health.  What I can say is that you will definitely feel better if you have a dairy allergy or intolerance and you stop eating dairy.  I can also say that if you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods, you will be healthier.  I have felt amazing since quitting dairy, so I don't think I'll ever go back to my old way of eating.  At the same time that I gave up dairy I went completely vegan, gave up most processed foods, and started eating vegetables and whole grains.  I also started taking vitamin supplements.  I really can't tell you how many years I was vegetarian and never really ate a green vegetable.  The bottom line is, do what feels right for you and what fits within your ethics.  I am just filled with joy about being vegan, even if other people in my life don't feel the same way about my decision.  (More on that later.)

What health benefits have you received from your vegan diet?  If you're not already vegan, do you think going vegan would improve your health?  Since I don't know so many vegans, I'd appreciate your comments below.

Posted as part of: Best Posts of the Week, Share the JoyWeekend Wander.


  1. Back before I turned vegan I had constant tummy issues but never made the connection. Now that I'm dairy free, I almost never have stomach aches. Turns out all those years I was guzzling milk, I was lactose intolerant. I feel so much better now! :)

  2. Thanks for your comment lady bug! The crazy dragon/horse design in my chia seeds was a total fluke- I didn't even recognize the shape until you pointed it out, nice one!

    What is NOT awesome about this transition to vegan?! I am wholeheartedly loving this life changing experience. The main thing I have noticed is a real shift in my energy levels {a positive shift}. I also know that when I eat more wonderful raw foods, my skin is clearer and my eyes are brighter. I've recently been researching a little into gluten sensitivity: I get acne break outs, a few digestive issues and my toes are always numb {which may be related to gluten}, so my next goal is to experiment with wheat free cooking at home- I love to make my own bread and crackers.

    Oh, and dairy is the devil!
    Have a great weekend!