I want to start by saying this dairy free update is way past due. I apologize to those that have asked me to share an update. I really did not mean for it to take me this long and it really has been too long. We went dairy free for the month of January and it is now April. Yes, it is a bit over due.
For those of you that may not have read my posts from earlier this year, my daughter and I went dairy free for the month of January to see if it would help some digestive issues that she was having. She also has asthma and I was curious if it would help that as well. I went dairy free with her for moral support.
For those of you that are dairy free, I feel for you. I think it was as hard, if not harder than gluten free. I had no idea how much dairy we ate until I started to cut it out. We are definitely a dairy loving family.
I think taking one thing out of your diet every once in awhile is a good thing. Whether it is dairy, gluten, sugar, or something else. When you take something out of your diet it makes you focus more on what you eat. You read labels more and it is very eye opening. Going dairy free taught me a lot about what we eat and don’t eat.
As far as my daughter goes we learned that dairy does bother her, at least to some degree. Her digestive issues were much better when she cut dairy out. As far as her asthma, we can’t say for sure if it made a difference. At first I thought it did, but then when she added it back in we really could not tell a difference. So, although it helped her stomach issues, I don’t really think it helped the asthma.
She went dairy free for the month of January and we slowly started adding it back in one thing at a time. She quickly realized that small amounts of dairy don’t bother her, but large amounts do.
She seems to be fine with butter. I am not sure if that is just butter in general or the fact that butter is usually eaten in small amounts. Even if a cookie recipe has 1 cup of butter in it, you are not getting very much butter per cookie. A cookie with butter in it does not bother her at all.
Pizza, ice cream, or a large glass of milk definitely mess up her stomach though. They all contain pretty high amounts of dairy and she is pretty much avoiding them.
So right now she is eating about 90% dairy free. And really it has not been that hard of an adjustment. Now the whole family is not 90% dairy free, but she is.
At first I worried about how we would make it work, but it has not been as hard as I thought it would. She now rarely drinks a glass of milk or uses milk on cereal. She uses a dairy free milk for that. Buttermilk doesn’t seem to bother her, so I have been making my pancakes, waffles, and other things like that with buttermilk.
For homemade pizza I just make a small pizza or a section of the pizza with little or no cheese on it. The same thing goes for mexican food and casseroles. I try to make a smaller dairy free one for her to eat or avoid the cheese on one section of the casserole.
The biggest thing, and probably the hardest thing, I am doing is letting her make the choices on what she eats. She already eats gluten free, and one of the things I learned with gluten free is that it helps when they realize it makes them feel bad. Slowly they start making the right choices.
Yes, it is hard to watch her eat something I know might give her a stomach ache, but since it is not an allergy, I am letting her figure out what she thinks is worth eating and what isn’t. The reality is that I can’t always be around her. She has to learn to make wise food choices. And overall she is doing great. I am really happy with how careful she is being and what a good attitude she has had.
Now if her dairy issues were an allergy, or a more severe intolerance, we would be handling this differently. For now though it is working for us. I would love to hear how those of you that are dairy free, or have dairy free kids, handle it?
And I have to include a quick update about myself going dairy free for the month. I did not notice a difference at all. I did not think I would because I have tried dairy free several times in the past. I went dairy free mainly for support for her and I am glad I was able to do that for her. However I did not stay dairy free. I have cut back some on my dairy, mainly because it was eye opening to see how much dairy I normally eat, but I did not cut it out not completely. I still eat my cheese, yogurt, and a few other things.
One thing that clued me in to how much dairy I ate was the fact that I lost 5 pounds while dairy free for a month. Yes, 5 pounds. I think it was a variety of reasons, but still 5 pounds is a lot for me to lose in a month when I was not really trying to lose weight. And another clue to the fact that I eat too much dairy was that I gained it back quickly once I added dairy back into my diet. The conclusion I came to with that is that if I ever really need to lose weight, I will start by eliminating dairy from my diet. In the meantime it is dairy in moderation for me.