Seems like along with the Gluten-free phenomenon that has swept the nation, has come another food trend of going dairy-free. I myself was skeptical until I met my fiance, who helped to change the health of my daughter before my very eyes.
My fiance is a Naturopathic doctor. When I first met him my daughter was suffering from chronic ear infections. This poor girl couldn’t catch a break. From allergies and bad sinuses to consistent earaches and infections, I felt like she was a perfect reincarnation of myself when I was her age. However what I didn’t know was that the dairy products she was consuming were the very cause to all of her health woes.
Did you know Dairy is naturally inflammatory? Yeah, I didn’t either.
When a child consumes a large amount of dairy, it can cause inflammation in the ear canal. Since kids already have such a small ear tube, (clearly using correct medical terminology there. Babe, I hope you aren’t reading this!) when it becomes inflamed it is so easy for liquid to get trapped and infected. Makes sense right?
Well after doing a little research and I decided it was definitely worth a try.
And just like that, after a week my daughter was 100% better. Not only were her ears better, but all of her eczema was gone.
Yes, dairy can cause eczema too. I was shocked, for one, that it actually worked and two, felt a tad frustrated with myself for not finding this out sooner. Thus began our dairy-free life. I am happy to say that my daughter stopped all dairy at about 2 years old. She is now almost 5 and has only had two ear infections in 3 years time, which we were able to cure without the use of antibiotics. She also hasn’t had strep throat once and her eczema ceases to exist. That’s a heck of a lot better than every month like it was prior to that.
Now I know what you are thinking, the BEST kinds of food have dairy.
Stripping out all cheese, milk, butter, sour cream, ice cream, etc. does not sound like a fun time. However, with some trial and error, I found some great alternatives that allow my daughter to get all the calcium and nutrients she needs, with some added flavor too!
Here are some of my dairy-free substitutes from all of my food experiments. Enjoy. 🙂
1. Earth Balance Butter – This tastes EXACTLY like butter, but is a non-GMO, organic vegetable-based butter. Don’t knock it till you try it. Perfect for baked potatoes, dairy-free Rice Krispie treats, Corn on the Cob, etc. You can find it in any regular grocery store, even Walmart.
2. So Delicious Dairy Free Organic Vanilla Almond Milk – After sampling quite a few non-dairy milks, this one I felt the best about. It doesn’t have many ingredients, is organic, and the added vanilla flavor helps sweeten it up. My daughter thinks she is drinking a milkshake. However, I will say there are other organic soy milks that contain a higher amount of protein and calcium. My daughter takes multi-vitamins for that so it doesn’t bother me as much.
3. Marzetti Poppyseed Dressing – Every kid loves Ranch Dressing and if you can’t have it, this is the next best thing. Poppyseed is a sweet dressing you can find normally near the bleu cheeses. It has a sweet component which makes it adored in my household. My daughter will down her entire salad with some of this drizzled on it. You can also use it for dipping vegetables.
4. Ben & Jerry’s Dairy-Free Ice Cream – The thought of not letting my daughter eat ice cream felt like a sin. Thank heavens for Ben & Jerry. Their dairy-free ice cream is amazing! You’d never know that it wasn’t the real deal. It’s also Non-GMO like all of their other products making it a win in my book.
5. Dave’s Killer Bread – Bread has been a struggle. Finding a dairy-free bread that isn’t slightly stale, too-seedy or just not enjoyable for kids took a while. I’ve landed on Dave’s bread products. I still have to cut off the crust, but it does the job and she eats it with no complaints. (It is delicious bread!)
6. Mezotrace Minerals – If you are concerned your child isn’t getting enough calcium or mineral intake, just get these chewables (suitable for both kids and adults). At first the taste is funny, but soon you will be craving these all the time. Trust. My daughter loves them and gets one in the morning and one at night along with a children’s multivitamin.
Now I’m not saying dairy is the devil. Some people can have it and it suits them just fine.
For my family, cutting it out of our lives has just helped us to feel better. So if you or your child is suffering from sinus problems, ear infections or eczema, try going dairy-free for a week or two and see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised!