In December, when the pediatrician told me I had to go dairy-free immediately I was disappointed but didn't fully comprehend how much that actually meant giving up. I love our pediatrician but I wasn't given any kind of education sheet on dairy intolerance & I was totally clueless!
I am posting this to hopefully help other nursing mothers who have just found out they have to cut out all dairy/soy. There is nothing worse than a breastfeeding mother who is hungry and doesn't know what they are allowed to eat...believe me!
Step 1: Decide if you are cutting out just dairy products or dairy & soy. Our pediatrician did not clarify this when I was first told Georgia had blood in her stools. And I didn't know to ask either. I decided to cut them both out until her colitis resolved and then would add soy back in to see if she could tolerate it. Be forewarned...cutting dairy & soy cold turkey is HARD but you CAN DO IT! You can do it because you are a mom and moms will do anything for their children!
Step 2: Take a quick lesson reading labels. To be dairy free you need to cut out all forms of animal milk, whey, casein, lactic acid yeast starters, etc. To be soy free as well, you need to cut out all soybean oil (which includes vegetable oils with soy), & soy lecithin. Here are my go to lists for reading labels: Dairy Ingredients List; Tips for Avoiding Your Allergen; How to Read a Label for Milk Allergy
Step 3: Go look through your pantry and start reading labels. Quickly realize you can't eat practically anything in there. Your favorite bread, snacks, desserts and most importantly chocolate are most likely all off limits. Commence tears....
Step 4: Cry! Just get it out. I swear I went through the 5 stages of grief over this. I was in denial that she could be dairy intolerant. I was angry...angry that the cause of her pain was from my milk. Angry I didn't have the easy way out to switch to hypoallergenic formula because baby G refuses bottles. I was angry that my dairy-loving/dessert-loving self had to give it all up.
At first I focused on everything I couldn't have. Once I came the stage of acceptance and I realized that I HAD to do this and WOULD do this for my child - I was ready to be dairy/soy free.
Step 5: Find recipes that you are accustom to that are dairy/soy free and then find new ones you are willing to try. I made a Pinterest board to save all the dairy & soy free recipes and substitutions I found in one place.
Step 6: Go shopping. This will take you 2x longer than normal since you have to read every label for any hidden dairy. Just because an item doesn't list "Contains: milk, soy, etc" doesn't mean it isn't in there. Not all products are required to list it as an allergen. Read the labels fully!
The following items are dairy and soy free (but please double read the label because you never know when a manufacture changes the ingredients).
|Thank you Tostitos for making a soy free chip so I can eat my homemade salsa! Mission tortilla chips are also dairy/soy free.|
|Rudis Bread & Buns found @ Whole Foods. (I have also found Rudis varieties @ HEB). I think the sourdough is the best compared the wheat options. The wheat falls apart very easily and molds faster.|
|Udis Frozen Bagels & Hot Dog Buns found @ Whole Foods|
|*Warning: these Udis Granola bars taste like cardboard! Yes, I seriously text my husband that I was eating cardboard. Thankfully my kids liked them enough to finish off the box. |
I am a huge Blue Diamond Wasabi & Soy Almond fan and cried when I realized I couldn't have them due to the soy. If you are only dairy free, then the Wasabi & Soy flavor is safe per manufacturer!
|Original Pam has soy! Pam for grilling is the only soy-free option. I am a mayonnaise fan and the only soy-free one is the Canola Oil version by Hellmann's.|
|Enjoy Life brand makes a variety of allergen free products found @ Whole Foods or Amazon. Original Bisquick contains soybean oil - Bisquick Heart Smart is Dairy/Soy Free!|
|Found @ Whole Foods. They offer all sorts of flavors made from either coconut milk or almond milk. I'm not a big ice cream fan so this wan't really a big deal for me.|
It is extremely hard to eat at restaurants with an allergy restriction. A lot of our favorite places don't provide allergen menus or ingredient lists of their items. I just don't go to these places anymore and hardly eat out at all now. The places I have found to be allergen friendly are:
Carls Jr. provides an allergen list. They use 100% pure beef. The Famous Star without cheese is an easy way to get a dairy/soy free burger including the bun. The fries are also dairy/soy free.
Chipolte has an allergen list. The only dairy is the sour cream & cheese; the only soy is the flour tortilla and sofritas.
Costco Deli hotdog with bun is dairy & soy free. The staff was accommodating and showed us the ingredient label for the buns. It is definitely not the same as eating Costco pizza but it feels me up with the rest of the family wants to order a pizza.
Five Guys provides an allergen list. They use 100% pure beef. You can get a "lettuce wrapped burger" and be dairy/soy free. Their buns contain milk & soy. The fries are dairy/soy free & fried in peanut oil.
I never would have imagined that once we got the the baby food stage I'd have to read the baby food labels too. There are puree baby foods that contain milk so please read those labels! The standard yogurt melts are not an option for a milk-free diet.
|I was very happy to find these finger food options that clearly say "Dairy Free" on them (made from coconut milk), found @ Target.|
- Don't eat deli cut meat since it is cut on the same slicers as the cheese
- Most pepperoni has lactic acid yeast starter which is from dairy. The only brand we have found to have a "non-dairy yeast starter" is Applegate Natural Pepperoni.
- Learn to love homemade guacamole! I seriously make this almost daily now to use as a spread instead of sour cream or cheese. I make guacamole & chicken quesadillas (skipping cheese of course).
- Cashew Alfredo Sauce (found @ Whole Foods) was very bitter and we could barely eat it. The whole family loves this alfredo sauce recipe using Daiya Mozzerella shreds. I add blackened chicken to it and serve over pasta.
- Girl Scouts Thin Mints are Vegan (dairy free but NOT soy free)
- Start taking a calcium & magnesium vitamin supplements
I lost 5 pounds in the 1st week of this dairy/soy elimination diet and have since lost more. I know this is all temporary and I will get to eat the things I love again.
Since this initial elimination diet began back in December, I am no longer soy-free. I requested baby G be allergy tested, which all came back negative for any type of allergic response to milk, nuts, etc. The pediatrician told me she was most likely "dairy intolerant" vs. "allergic" and I still needed to continue being dairy-free. She said children tend to "outgrow" an intolerance and she most likely doesn't have an intolerance to soy. I continued being dairy/soy free until her diapers tested blood free. Once we got her intestines back to a healthy state I added soy back in and then had them re-test a diaper for blood. She was blood free with me eating soy! I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders when I found out I could have soy. It is hard enough being dairy free much less soy free too.
However, my thyroid does NOT like my soy enriched diet now. Soy does effect thyroid levels and my TSH is now elevated despite a dosage increase 6 weeks prior. For now we are not changing my dosage again since we know the cause is a temporary one and I will be weaning her from breastfeeding when she turns 1.
I truly hope this will help someone starting down this journey! It can be done and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Please feel free to follow my Dairy/Soy Free Pinterest board for meal ideas. Best of luck!