Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Going dairy-free for my nursling was the easiest choice.

I spend a lot of time talking about gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, yadda yadda yadda-free eating. And this is why my recipes are gluten free and dairy free. It's not exactly my idea of the perfect diet, says the cheese-loving egg-nog-missing me. But it has been by far the best choice I could ever make for me and my family.

Allow me to explain.

Around August of 2009, I started to put two and two together (OMG, FOUR!) and realised that I was not healthy and in denial. For a large part of my adult life I had been sick and still did nothing about it. So I started reading. I talked to a doctor, I talked to many friends with similar afflictions, and I decided to reduce gluten in my diet.

I started feeling a lot better. I reduced it even further. I immediately noticed that my skin was better, my stomach felt better, I was less bloated, I didn't spend hours in the bathroom every morning. Within a month my depression had lifted. Within two months, my lady-cycle was regular.

After I became pregnant, I noticed anything gluten made me much sicker than before and completely stopped eating anything with gluten. Now even a slight slip up and I am violently ill.

Easy peasy, right?

I wish that were all. After the birth of my son (almost a full year ago? holy balls.) there was a steep learning curve. He threw us for a loop. Why was he always coughing, sputtering, and screaming? Why did his breath smell like acid, why does he hiccup all day and arch his back away from me when I try to nurse him? Don't babies like to nurse? The doctor diagnosed him with reflux, gave us a prescirption and sent us on our way. We used it, and it helped with the reflux, but not with the tummy pains. And definitely not with the mucousy, frothy green poops. Yeah, that's right, poop talk. I'll try to keep it limited.

All of this, of course, was accompanied with one very unhappy baby. So we searched for answers. Several mothers recommended eliminating certain things from my diet, especially dairy, so I played around with it and saw results. Three weeks off dairy completely and we were able to ditch the reflux medicine. This led me to try a full elimination diet, eating only rice, chicken, some vegetables and few fruits for two weeks, and then slowly re-introducing foods.

At first it was very apparent that Squeaky D reacted to dairy, egg, soy, and peanut, and at the time I also suspected beef, beans, citrus, and tomato, though I can thankfully eat those now!  Lately I have also stopped eating cashews and shellfish because of recent reactions. Some of these we have actually let him try, like egg, and he has had rashes across his face and chest almost immediately afterward. Scary.
Eczema Baby D - Still getting rid of dairy
For a long time I had nothing but the anecdotal experience of very wise Mamas to back me up, and a lot of defending to do about my diet and our restrictions to family and friends. I've been told to give it up and "just wean to goat's milk" because this all must be "fake" or "too hard." But then I read Dr Jay Gordon's article analyzing dairy protein allergy in children and nurslings and I felt vindicated. More and more literature supports nursing moms who decide to eliminate dairy and other foods from their diet.

And honestly. It hasn't been that difficult. There have been times when I have forgotten to read ingredients and had a slip up, and ohh boy. There is nothing inside me that wishes that kind of pain on my little boy, no amount of delicious applewood smoked gouda could convince me to go through the terror that the following two days (and three nights) would bring. No matter how drool-worthy.

So that is why all my recipes are weirdly dairy free. And egg free. And gluten free. And all that other stuff free. I have enjoyed the challenge of teaching myself to cook, especially within these interesting restrictions. And I love me a happy, healthy baby.


  1. And I bet you're healthier too?

    Since going gluten-free, I have felt so much healthier. I recently found some homeopathic meds that help with my migraines so someone asked me if I would just take those and not be gluten-free anymore. I smiled and said no, that I felt better with no gluten in my diet.

    That stumped them.

  2. You are so right, I am so much healthier, especially in regards to the gluten-free diet. I was eating so much bread, so many processed foods or breaded foods. I was slowly destroying my gut!

    But yes, I totally agree with you. If your body has a reaction, why just treat the symptom - like we were doing with reflux? Why not just give the body what will actually help it to be healthiest and eliminate what is causing the problem in the first place, right? Thanks for the comment, Tristina!

  3. You have to make the choices that are right for you and everyone else can just suck it. Son No. 1 was diagnosed with allergies at the age of 15 months - wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, eggs. Even with a medical diagnosis, we still had an uphill battle with people who didn't understand allergies.

    Stay true to yourself and what's good for you body.

  4. Love this! I discovered after eliminating dairy for my daughter, who is 2 & extremely sensitive to any and all dairy, slightest cross contamination for either of us is bad bad bad. But, discovered that health issues I've had for years are gone! I lost a ton of extra weight, no more migraines, IBS, yeast infection, canker sores. I thought all that was just the way I was. Take some pills when stuff got really bad and that was that. The IBS had me in the hospital and I got pills for it. Now, no more. Lovely. I do miss egg nog though ;-)

  5. So excited I happened upon your blog!
    Since 2000 i've been restricting my diet and have learned so many amazing things about this meat-suit of mine <3
    You write beautifully and it's a treat to hear about your experiences.

    most of my recipes and food experiments are dairy, flour and 'common-allergen' free. here's a neat one you might like :)