A Cure for Constipation
by Ada McKay
This article is about how I discovered, when I was 68 years of age, the reasons I had suffered from constipation all my life.
I had been constipated from childhood and my mother just could not understand it. I was given Ex-Lax, Syrup of Figs etc and as I grew older I took charge of the situation myself. I took Andrews Liver Salts every morning, ate everything which is supposed to help the problem -- prunes, figs, rhubarb, whole-meal products etc but nothing helped.
I would note when I had a bowel movement and I could go up to four days with no action. I was taking laxatives sometimes twice a week and I am familiar with every single laxative available that you can buy over the counter.
Going on holiday was a nightmare. In my suitcase I would pack a bottle of Syrup of Figs and my usual tin of Andrews. Once home I would take a massive dose of laxative to clear my system.
What help, if any, did the medical profession offer me. None! Whenever I had occasion to visit my GP I would mention the fact that I suffered from constipation. I got the usual nutritional advice and told to drink plenty of water. If I was given a prescription I would be told "Oh, a half will do you, you don't need to take the full dose."
I would think "I have just told you I have chronic constipation and you tell me to only take half the dose!" In actual fact I had to double it to get any result.
I just do not think that doctors really understand the problem of constipation.
How I Discovered The Cause and
The Cure For My Problem
I have always been interested in diet and nutrition and I was reading a book by Gillian McKeith entitled "You Are What You Eat." In this book she said that constipation can be caused by consuming dairy products. I read this with astonishment. I have loved milk all my life and would often take a glass of milk in preference to a cup of tea. I loved ice cream, yoghurts, milk puddings and all types of cheese.
I decided to give it a try for a couple of weeks. I bought soya milk and avoided as far as possible all "cow's milk" products. It was really very hard because milk is in almost every food item you can buy. I also did some research on the internet and was that an eye-opener!
We are told all our lives that we must drink milk to obtain calcium and give us strong bones. Well, statistics have shown, that western countries, where the population consume the highest amount of dairy products, also have the highest rate of osteoporosis. Eastern countries where they do not drink milk to the same extent (It's an animal's body fluids!) have the lowest rate of osteoporosis.
I have learned that the calcium we get from cow's milk is bad calcium as it leaches good calcium from our bones thus making them weaker. It is better to obtain your calcium from other sources. I looked back with horror to the milk I drank all through my schooldays.
The Result Of My Change
I found I was going to the toilet every morning after breakfast to have a bowel movement. I rarely take laxatives these days, usually only after a holiday away from home and constipation for me is now a thing of the past.
How difficult did I find it to keep off cow's milk products? Initially I found it very hard because there is hardly a food item available which does not contain milk. I would check all the ingredients remembering that whey is one of it's names. It is even in things you would never consider.
However I did find out about dairy free products. I buy soya milk to put on cereals and to make sauces (see the Vegan website for recipes which do not contain milk), but for my cup of tea and to drink by the glass I like Rice Dream Milk. Both of these contain added calcium and both are readily available in supermarkets. If you don't like these brands there is Goat's milk ,Oat milk, Nut milk and other varieties. I discovered lots of soya products. Soya yoghurts, soya mousse, soya custard, soya cream. Swedish Glace is a soya ice cream which comes in a number of flavours and I have just discovered Bally Bleat ,a goat's milk ice cream which I think is delicious. More and more dairy-free foods are coming onto the market. See the "free-from" aisle in your local supermarket.
What about cheese? Well, I now buy Goat's cheese and one vegan cheese I really like is Tofutti Creamy Smooth which tastes to me just like Philadelphia Cream Cheese. I also buy the PURE range of fat spreads which are made with soya or sunflower oil. (I never did like butter!)
Besides the supermarkets, local health stores stock lots of dairy free products on their shelves and in their fridge/freezers. I make a point of eating food which contains calcium and Tahini, (crushed sesame seeds), is one of the highest there is.
I am not rigid about keeping off cow's milk. If I visit a friend's house for tea I will just accept the milk offered. Similarly when eating out in a restaurant. A small amount of milk does me no harm.
I am very angry at the medical profession as I am sure they must have known that dairy products were a possible cause of constipation. I hope this article I have written proves to be of help to those with this problem. Don't dismiss it -- we've all been brainwashed into believing milk is good for us.
Try giving up milk for a couple of weeks and see if the problem goes away.