It has been roughly 8 1/2 months since the pediatrician confirmed what I already knew to be true; Maddox has an allergy to dairy. It was on that day in mid-September that I decided to cut all dairy from my diet. Since then, (other than one recent occasion), I haven’t had so much as a bite of cheese, butter, yogurt, ice-cream, or other form of cow’s milk. At first the thought of going a year without any of these foods seemed daunting but slowly this has become my norm. I’ve gotten so used to telling restaurants that I have a dairy allergy (way easier than explaining that my son who I’m breastfeeding does) that I actually feel like it’s true.
As for Maddox, his symptoms (crying, gas, funky looking poops) dramatically improved. His eczema, which he was diagnosed with around 6 months, has almost disappeared. (This I also attribute to all of the probiotic foods and bone broths that I include in his diet.) It is no question of whether removing dairy from my diet has helped him.
As for me, my mother would tell you that I’m too thin and she’s probably right. Most days I eat more than my husband does but despite this and all of the squats I do, my booty has no sign of reappearing. Once a vegetarian, I am now officially a carnivore. Sure, I still eats lots of fruits and veggies but there are few days that I don’t have some kind of meat in my diet. Although I still eat some gluten and some grains, my diet resembles the Paleo diet. I’ve gotten used to drinking my coffee with coconut milk and eating my eggs cooked in olive oil. I don’t miss cheese on my salads anymore and I’ve food a decent delicious & gluten free pizza.
Sometimes I like to flatter myself. I tell myself that I’m a good mom and that I’m making sacrifices for Maddox. While I can continue to tell myself all of this, the truth is that I don’t really even believe in eating dairy. In all of the research and reading that I’ve done, it seems that raw, unpasteurized dairy has health benefits but the milk we buy in the grocery store does little more for us than help our bodies make more phelgm.
What about calcium you might say? Turns out, despite what the milk industry would have you believe, there are plenty of other ways to get calcium in your diet besides eating dairy. I had a physical in February, roughly 5 months dairy free, and my calcium level was 9.2, well in the normal range of 8.5-10.6 mg/dL.
Last week I took Maddox to the allergist where he had a skin test which once again confirmed his dairy allergy. It also revealed that he had a slight reaction to beans and cashews. We still need more blood work to confirm the other food allergies but either way I am entering new terrain. According to FARE (Food allergy research & education), roughly 6 million or 8% of children have food allergies but this is new to our family. I can not help but wonder what caused his body to reject these foods and to hope that someday he will grow out of these allergies. As much as I don’t believe that dairy is healthy, I also have a hard time thinking that we’ll never be able to share an ice-cream cone. Regardless though, I know that things could be worse. So many children suffer from life threatening food allergies. During this month of Food Allergy Action Month, it is a good time to reflect on what this means for so many families.
Learn more about food allergies at www.foodallergy.org.