A few weeks ago, someone asked me, “Is it possible to become lactose intolerance after being vegan for a short time?”
The short answer to this question is Yes and No. Going vegan might actually make you lactose intolerant. But it just depends on the person. People who are lactose intolerant can’t digest lactose, the sugar found in milk. Lactase (the enzyme that helps humans digest lactose) stops being produced when the person is between the ages of 2 and 5, because they no longer drink there mothers milk. Without lactase to break down the sugar, it goes on to the colon undigested where it ferments, producing gas that causes cramping, bloating, nausea, flatulence and diarrhea.
Being able to digest dairy past early childhood is not normal. Less than 40% of humans retain the ability to digest lactose after early childhood. The numbers are given as close to 0% of Native Americans, 5% of Asians, 25% of African and Caribbean peoples, 50% of Mediterranean peoples and 90% of northern Europeans. (Interestingly, Sweden has one of the highest percentages of lactose intolerant people). 60% or more of humans are lactose intolerant.
Being able to digest milk is so strange that scientists say we shouldn’t really call lactose intolerance an allergy or a disease, because it presumes that the intolerance is abnormal. Instead, they call it lactase persistence, indicating what’s really weird is the ability to continue to drink milk. People don’t realize that they are not baby cows. Drinking milk has become so normalized that people think you need milk, meat, and eggs to survive. When in reality you don’t.
Think of it another way: By consuming dairy you’re not only breast-feeding well past infancy (not normal), you’re also breast-feeding on another species (not normal either!). Is it really surprising that most people are then “intolerant”?
Those with lactase persistence have a genetic mutation either from European or African ancestors. Small populations of African peoples were historically cattle herders, and that’s where their lactase persistence genes come from.
Back to the original question: Why would someone experience “lactose intolerance” symptoms after being dairy-free for a short period?
I’m not a doctor, nutritionist, or scientist — but I think the reality is you were always lactose intolerant and you just didn’t know it. But after doing research many people who have cleaned up there diet, have realized things they thought were “normal” actually weren’t. A common saying among them is “I had no idea how sick I was or how awful I really felt until I knew what it was like to feel well and thrive. People used to experience bloating, gas, diarrhea, heartburn, and other unpleasant things that they thought were “normal” and then, after switching to a plant-based diet, realized that wasn’t normal and they didn’t have to experience those discomforts.
Once you’ve adopted a whole foods plant-based diet and given your body a break (and time to heal, repair and restore) it starts becoming clear just how bad “bad food” really is. Your body starts recognizing unhealthy food as the toxic substance it is. It recognizes garbage. Although at first it will be hard not to have junk food, once you don’t have junk food for a few weeks, your body will soon realize how much trash it was putting in its body.
One health advisor said “I can’t count the number of times my clients thought they’d go cheat.. treat themselves… to some super unhealthy food they used to love. (You’d be surprised how often this is a dairy product and not a meat one!). Then the email comes. They feel awful. And the worst part? It didn’t even taste as good as they remembered, anyway.”
One of my theories for the reason you become “Lactose Intolerant” after being vegan is because when you are done drinking your mothers milk you begin drinking cows milk. But since you continue drinking milk your body keeps absorbing the cows milk even though it is hurting your body. But when your body stops absorbing milk, your body thinks “Oh she has finally grown up and stopped drinking baby milk. She is an adult now” then it stops accepting the milk. So when you drink milk again your body is like “What is this! Your not a baby cow! I am not going to accept this.”
What do you think of this? type it in the comments!
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I used some paragraphs from this article (Just wanted to give them credit)