I really want to share our family's story of why we cut dairy from our diet especially with a toddler in the house. I came across the below article a couple of weeks ago and it inspired the topic of this post. Now, I am not a health care professional and this is not medical advise. This is just our story.
Milk does a body good?
Milk was always a big part of my diet growing up. My mom can attest that I was a milk junky. It also did not stop with milk, I was in love with all dairy. That is probably why I worked at the local Dairy Queen in high school and college. I mean really, soft serve ice cream around all of the time, who could resist? I also remember when I was growing up always having digestive issues. I had random stomach aches quite often and I would also vomit on occasion which would usually make the stomach ache go away. I did go to the doctor for this and they could not find anything physically wrong, so we just figured I had a "weak" stomach and it was something I would just have to live with.
Fast forward to my mid twenties, I started having some painful abdominal cramps which I had never had before. These were very sporadic and didn't occur very often at all until I hit my late twenties. That is when I would get these cramps all of the time and this really scared me (oh yeah, google painful abdominal cramps and I am sure it will indicate that you are dying). Now, I went to the doctor again because this was defiantly a change. So, they did an ultrasound and other tests that came back fine. I was told that I probably had IBS and just had to live with it.
I then got pregnant and had my beautiful baby girl. At two months she was diagnosed with MSPI and since I was breastfeeding I had to eliminate dairy and soy from my diet. Now, I did have the IBS throughout my pregnancy, but the funny thing is once I was on the no soy and dairy diet my abdominal cramps went away. I could not believe that for four months I was cramp free! I quit breastfeeding when Ashlyn was 6 months old and I admit that I am weak for dairy and soy, so that was back on the menu and wouldn't you know the cramps came back. Now, at this point in my life I was so sleep deprived and busy with family and work that I really just did not care about the pain.
Fast forward to Ashlyn's first birthday. We tried giving her cows milk and it did not go well, so we switched her to soy milk and she did great. After her 1st birthday we tried cow's milk on and off, and by the time she was 18 months the cow's milk seemed to finally agree with her tummy. I was very happy at that point because now we could buy the less expensive cow's milk. Around this time I went to see a GI doctor. I told him about how my IBS issues cleared when I removed dairy and soy from my diet, but he was not convinced and told me if it is IBS there is no known cause, it just happens. He wanted to do some invasive tests that I declined, but I did agree to do a blood test for a gluten allergy and that came back fine. At this point I was fairly convinced that my issue was dairy related.
Fast forward to January 2013. At this time Mark, Ashlyn, and I all seemed to be having digestive issues. That is when Mark and I really started doing research on our diet and how our digestive issues were most likely due to our diet. All of a sudden a light bulb was turned on and we made some drastic changes to our diet. After 2 weeks of removing all processed food, dairy, eggs, and meat from our diets our digestive issues were clearing up and as time went on they just continued to get better. We also saw an improvement in our congestion, sleep habits, and energy levels among other things.
I look back now and I am positive that dairy was the culprit in my life long battle with my "weak" stomach. Mark and I love cheese (Ashlyn has never really liked it unless it is on pizza), so that was the hardest to remove from our diet. We do have times now where we do eat cheese and when I do I feel the effects. I cannot say that I will never eat cheese again, because that would be a lie, but at least know I can make a choice knowing the consequences of my actions.
We now have unsweetened almond milk in our home and that is what Ashlyn drinks as her milk. We have discussed this with Ashlyn's pediatrician (who we love) and she is perfectly fine with our decision to remove dairy from Ashlyn's diet. She said that dairy and meat are not necessities in her diet. Because this diet change is always a learning process, and I know we do not get enough dark leafy greens in our diets we all take a multivitamin to make sure we are all getting enough iron and vitamin B12. So, in the article the Dr. suggested making the recommended dairy intake 0-3 servings per day. I want to tell you that we are mostly in the 0 servings per day and our tummys could not be happier.