Lactose, we loved you well

Ever since M decided that the only princess for her was Cinderella, I’ve been calling her Stinkerella.  Little did I know that I was foreshadowing more than a little.

You see, my delicate (hah!) little flower of a girl really started to stink.  We’ve never shied away from making it OK to burp or fart in our house, provided you say the proper “excuse me” afterward.  I’ve seen what happens to kids who try to hold it in.  I figured that teaching her about discreetly tooting would come later.  Lately though, it turned from some absolutely hilarious sounding farts to ones that nearly made my pregnancy sensitive sense of smell send me running towards the bathroom.  We didn’t really think much of it until she started complaining of stomach aches as well.  A week of that and we went to the doctor.

The result, while she had a perfectly normal physical exam (no concern about an impaction or the like), and there is a chance it was just her reflux acting up or a little intenstional imbalance, the other culprit could be lactose intolerance.  Just like her dad.  In A’s case we came to the conclusion after a particularly cheese filled week of cooking a year or two ago.  Turns out my cooking was the source of his ummm, sensitive digestive tract. With M, there have been signs all along.  She didn’t really drink cow’s milk until she was 18 months old.  She’s never been one to pick milk as a beverage unless she didn’t have another choice.  She likes cheese, but would rather have peanut butter.

So as of last Thursday (well, Friday, thanks to a bagel snafu on Thursday morning) we have gone dairy free.  In the process I’ve learned a lot.  We (humans) weren’t really meant to digest dairy much past the age of three or so.  Over time, Westerners have adapted some to our using cow, sheep & goat milk for nutrition, so lactose intolerance is less common for us than it is for people of Asian or African decent.  (great article with all of the details here) I guess those crazy anti dairy people were on to something.

Since she stopped with the milk & cheese we’ve learned that her daycare teachers are nothing if not totally polite.  She’s cleared out half the room at daycare and they hadn’t said a thing to us.  When we told them the plan, one of them may have actually cheered a little. At school she doesn’t get milk, just juice or water.  I’m packing her a peanut butter sandwich instead of their regular entree.  It has been an easy change, and should continue to be until someone brings in an ice cream cake.

For me at home, it is turning out to be tougher than I thought.  A gets by with Lactaid pills & milk, so while I am no longer cooking the super cheesy baked ziti that I love, I haven’t changed much of anything else.  Nearly all of my regular winter weeknight go to meals involve cheese.  Mac & cheese, cheese burgers, grilled cheese, various frozen things that I can nuke that have cheese.  The list goes on and on.  I have had to completely rethink how I cook. It may get easier after we get through going milk free for the two weeks the doctor suggested.  After that she she suggested that we see what we can add back in, including yogurt (the probiotics can break down the lactose for you) and some hard cheeses.  Once we know what the extent of the issue is for her, we’ll know what we need to do as far as supplementing her diet with enough calcium.  I only really had milk occasionally on my cereal as a kid, all of my other calcium needs were met by cheese and green veggies, so I know it can be done.

I’ve already bugged the amazing Missy to find out her sources for dairy free food (her daughter has a serious milk allergy), but I’m curious of anyone has any other ideas for things I can cook that are dairy free.

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  1. tere
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    try the other nut butters too. my fav’s are raw almond & raw cashew. I also like the unsweetened almond milk for cooking thing that would usually have milk. I’ll also have to see if I can find a Ten Talents cookbook circa 1970’s. I have used it for all their dairy free things for years and with your creativity I’m sure you can adapt and figure out more yummy things.

    yeah no mac and cheese,, maybe just when you are home for the weekend and the windows are open.

  2. Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    we love fish tacos- they are SO fast…i get some tilapia fillets, sprinkle with salt and chili powder- 3 min a side in a med-high pan. serve in warm corn tortillas with fresh slaw (toss thinly shredded cabbage with tomatoes, green onions, lime juice, salt, a little olive oil, and cilantro if you’re into that sort of thing)…dairy free and start to finish about 20 minutes!
    birdie recently posted..Bring it

  3. Posted January 31, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Not much help here, just sympathy. I am about 90% sure that my kids are lactose intolerant (and I am) and that we need to go dairy free too. I just haven’t gotten up the courge to make the switch yet. I’ll be following along to see how it goes for you. :)
    MrsLaLa recently posted..Why Do I Do What I Do

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