Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Babies & Milk-Protein Intolerances

Being a new mom terrified me. As a type-A perfectionist, I had an almost paralyzing fear that I would "get it wrong". (I'm happy to say I'm now the mom of 2 happy and thriving daughters - I might have gotten a lot of things wrong, I'm trusting God to help me get the important stuff right!)

It was only a few weeks in with my first that I was in tears every night. My some times smiley baby would spends hours and hours screaming. The only way it seemed to calm her was to nurse her, and the crying would stop for about 20 minutes. I had no idea what was wrong or why I couldn't console her. In my sleep-deprived stupor I would try rocking her and rocking her... And nothing would work.

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What I didn't realize at the time is that she was suffering from abdominal cramps due to her gas, caused by the milk products in my diet, and more specifically the milk proteins in milk products.

My mom, thankfully, helped me realize it was gas causing the issue, and then I began the process of eliminating various foods from my diet to figure out what was causing the gas. Unfortunately when I was researching, I tried some of the usual suspects - broccoli, garlic, onions, and other veggies. 

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It was on some obscure website that I read that milk frequently causes gas in newborns, and more specifically, milk proteins (so "lactose free" products were still problematic). I went off milk and the difference was night and day. I realized very quickly that I consume a LOT of dairy products in a day - from yogurt to cheese to ice-cream to chocolate to lattes.... All culprits and all reasons I would get minimal sleep at night.

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Thus my milk-free diet began. At the time I feared it would go on forever (at least until I weened her... Though that feels like forever away when it stands between myself and chocolate!) I began taking calcium to replace what my diet was lacking (there are some green leafy veggies that can do this, however they can cause gas from time to time too).

I was fortunate, she wasn't soy intolerant, a common additional one, so I was able to use soy cheese in some of my cooking. I avoided soy milk as I found the taste quite awful compared to the real deal, unless it was in a latte. Beware with switching to soy, however, as soy contains hormones and long-term exposure is not so good. 

Over time, I learned to make (and enjoy!) brownies without chocolate chips. Meals became a bit more creative. Instead of cheesy sauces, I made a lot more tomato sauce based pastas and Chinese food.

-soy based cheese

-there are other options out there, but our tiny town stores don't stock them yet

Chocolate: (stash the good stuff until you can eat it again!)
-Brownies (replaced butter with margarine and no chocolate chips)

-Mix-in-a-Pan chocolate cake

Hot beverages:
-apple cider
-herbal teas
-Soy chai lattes or London Fogs (for a special treat!)

-sorbets (watch the label!)
-frozen banana substitutes

-lasagna (remove my portion of noddles & meat before adding cheeses)
-pizza (sprinkle soy on my portion or individual size)
-homemade dough to make buns and cinnamon buns (their recipes often call for milk!), and also pizza crust and bread
-tomato soup with water (and toast with dried basil sprinkled on instead of cheese!)

Things to be careful of:
-pastry (often made with butter!)
-icing (butter/milk)
-"cream of"soups (often in casseroles)

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