Healthy every day
Exhaustion, headaches and sinus pressure were the norm for Lindsay Morris. But when she finally discovered the easy-to-avoid culprit, she quickly regained her energy—and her life
The bathroom secret that cures a sneaky allergy that affects 65 percent of women
Just keep your eyes open… do not fall asleep, Lindsay said to herself as she sat front and center in an important meeting, desperately trying not to doze off. “I was so tired and my head was aching. I didn’t know how I was going to get through the next 5 minutes of the meeting, let alone the rest of my busy workday. I used to arrive at work at 9 in the morning, ready to tackle the day and juggle deadlines, but lately I’d been dragging myself through life, and I didn’t think I could keep it up with the demands of my newspaper job. It was time to face facts: I needed to quit.
Sick of feeling tired
“I always prided myself on being a healthy eater and a strong person. I was a good Midwestern girl from the dairy state, where there was a ton of advertising to remind us to drink enough milk, so I felt confident that I was getting the nutrients my body needed. But despite my healthy diet, I suffered from low energy and chronic sinus infections. I was given antibiotics on and off for 10 years and thought I’d get better with time and treatment, but I didn’t. I developed piercing sinus pressure and persistent headaches. Ibuprofen didn’t help. Every morning I woke up feeling foggy and unrested, and though I started each day off right with a bowl of cereal, I never had the energy that seemed to come naturally to the people around me.
“When I went to the doctor and said I was desperate for relief, I was told it was only sinusitis. He dismissed my concerns saying, ‘You’ll just have to live with it.’
“I wasn’t about to just ‘live with it,’ though, so I became a vegetarian and ate only clean foods like fruit, veggies, nuts and dairy in the hopes that it would restore my energy and help me feel better overall. It didn’t. And then a mysterious new symptom appeared: The skin inside my throat felt like it was crawling. I took overthe-counter antihistamines, but they made me feel even more groggy.
“I didn’t just feel sick, I looked sick. My face was swollen and I had what looked like an unattractive Adam’s apple. I was scared and didn’t know where to turn. Had the doctors missed a thyroid condition or a cyst? It was the most stressful time of my
life. I became convinced something terrible—even terminal—was wrong.
A simple answer
“I ended up going to see a new doctor who asked, ‘Are you drinking milk?’ I proudly beamed, ‘Yup, I drink four glasses a day.’ I thought she was going to give me a gold star, but to my surprise she said, ‘Well cut it out!’
“The doctor suspected I had a sensitivity to casein, a protein in dairy. My history of chronic stress could have played a role in my sensitivity. She recommended I try an elimination diet—avoiding dairy for 14 days—to see if my symptoms vanished. I couldn’t imagine something I thought was beneficial had been making me sick for decades, but I followed the doctor’s orders.
“After the first week, I felt like a new person. No brain fog or fatigue. When the elevator in my building broke, I took the stairs without feeling winded. My headaches were gone. And I looked like me again— no puffy under-eye bags or Adam’s apple. I even needed less makeup. Plus, I hadn’t realized how bloated I’d become—off dairy, I dropped two whole dress sizes!
“I learned to eat around casein, which is found in obvious places like butter and cheese, but also lurks in products like salad dressing and sauces. I read ingredient labels and asked questions when dining out like, ‘Are these breadsticks brushed with butter?’
“Through research, I learned that adults don’t actually need dairy. I could get plenty of calcium by eating dark green vegetables like Swiss chard or broccoli. I also learned that it is possible to reintroduce dairy after taking a break from it—but I’m so amazed with my transformation that I have no desire to add it back.
“Today I have no problem keeping up with my busy life, which includes a job that fulfills me—at Farm Sanctuary, an organization that rescues and protects farm animals including dairy cows. Solving my health riddle means I have the strength now to work hard for the causes that are closest to my heart!”
—as told to Lisa Maxbauer
Lindsay Morris, 39, Los Angeles