Breaking Up With Dairy
Last week, we discovered that my little girl had a sensitivity to the dairy in my diet. It all began when she was constipated for a few days and after each feeding, she would get what looked like hives and scream as if she were in pain.
At first, I thought it was my supplements so I stopped. But the problems continued…
One night, we went out for a 4 Cheese pizza and I ate 3 slices. I came home that evening and breastfed her and within minutes she started screaming in pain. That was when I knew something was up.
I decided to cut out dairy for a few days per doctor recommendation. Lo and behold-her symptoms improved so dairy was the culprit! Luckily though, her symptoms are not severe and I can still eat small amounts of dairy here and there without it affecting her, but when it comes to eating yogurt, ice cream, lots of cheese, or drinking straight up milk (not like I ever drank actual milk, I love my almond milk)-I can no longer do it, for her sake.
My first day of going dairy-free was hard. I mean, I was shocked at how many products actually contained dairy or traces of it. I felt so anxious about the whole thing and was neurotically reading every single food label over and over to ensure that it was not going to hurt my little girl.
As the days went on, it all got easier. One thing that helped so much was when I joined a dairy-free breastfeeding group on Facebook. It helped tremendously because of the support I received from other non-dairy moms and getting recommendations on food alternatives and substitutions.
One of the biggest hurdles to going dairy-free was finding a good coffee creamer. I drink cream with my coffee because the cream helps to prevent stains on my teeth and also, well, because I love the way it tastes. For days, I started drinking my coffee black and then I thought, there’s got to be a good sub for the real thing out there. I asked my group and someone recommended a couple of options. They said to try Kalifia Farms and So Delicious Coconut Creamer.
Another hurdle was finding a good yogurt to eat. I was so stuck on my usual snack of Greek yogurt that when I had to stop eating it, it was was a shock!
As for milk, I have drank Almond Breeze almond milk and had stopped drinking cow’s milk for the last few years and never looked back. No reason in particular other than the fact it’s healthier and tastier in my opinion.
The last thing I had to sub was butter. I used butter a lot when cooking and such, but I just made the simple switch to olive oil. BUT, obviously you cannot put olive oil on waffles and things like that so I had to find a tasty alternative to the real thing. Lots of ladies in my dairy free group recommended that I try Earth Balance.
When looking for dairy free foods, a lot of stores now make it a completely separate section in the store. Lots of the foods are labeled “DAIRY FREE” so that you can spot them easily. I know I have loved shopping at Whole Foods and Fresh Market because they have sooo many dairy free foods there to choose from.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not 100% dairy-free now. My daughter is not affected by all dairy that I consume-it just bothers her when I consume a lot of it. Therefore, I make a mental note to switch to dairy-free alternatives when I can, but to also limit how much dairy I eat in one sitting. Basically, it is a very trial and error situation where I will eat something and watch how she reacts with the next feeding. So far, things have been great once we figured out what the issue was and how to control it! I have even noticed myself getting leaner now that I cut out most dairy products and that is probably due to the fact that I am eating somewhat Paleo these days.
If you are needing or wanting to do dairy-free, here’s a great shopping list to print out and stick on your fridge for a reference:
Also, beware of the dairy hidden in some foods you wouldn’t even think! Dairy can be called different names and Kelly Mom has a great list to check out.